In a move aimed primarily at whetting the appetite of gamers heading into this week's E3 Media & Business Summit, Electronic Arts unveiled several details on two games it is developing through a partnership with Steven Spielberg.
Although he stopped well short of revealing the names of the two titles, Neil Young, general manager of Electronic Arts Los Angeles, noted that one is an action puzzle game for the Nintendo Wii that was inspired by a meeting Spielberg had with renowned developer and Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto at last year's E3.
The second game, code-named LMNO and designed for the Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3, is described as a contemporary epic action-adventure story. "The LMNO product is probably more of what you might expect from a partnership between Steven Spielberg and Electronic Arts in that it focuses on a relationship between the player and a nonplaying character," he said.
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Young was coy about the release dates for any of the games, noting only that the action puzzle game, code-named PQRS, would be out during EA's current fiscal year, which ends in March.
"There's a lot of software coming into the marketplace for the Wii, and we want to make sure that not only is it a great game but that it's got the right commercial window that it can own," he added.
As for the second game, Young said it would not be released in the current fiscal year, while the third game in the deal signed in 2005 still is at the idea stage.
Whether these Spielberg-inspired games eventually can end back in the realm of Hollywood as movies or other entertainment, Young said: "I actually think in both cases there are great opportunities to move the properties across different media. At EA right now we're concerned with trying to build intellectual property that can move in a connected way across media, and these projects are no exceptions."
Spielberg does have a track record in the gaming industry through DreamWorks Interactive, and while the division lost money before it eventually was sold to EA in 2000, it was the original developer for EA's tremendously successful Medal of Honor series.
Young said Spielberg understands that you can't simply borrow techniques from film and hope that it will make a good game.
"Steven respects games as a unique medium, and he understands very well what defines it, which is interactivity," Young said. "When Steven Spielberg introduces ideas that we collaborate on, they're' always framed by an understanding that above all else, the experience has to remain interactive and it has to remain compelling and fun."