BREAKING NEWS: EA Announces... Something? (February 21, 2008)

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
This could be the big one: Electronic Arts today announced that the company is developing a game which "reinvent(s) one of EA's most acclaimed classic franchises." The mystery title (codename "RedLime") is being developed for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC - who could ask for anything more? Like Wing Commander Arena, RedLime is being developed by an outside studio (Starbreeze Studios) with leadership from an EA production team. There are several possibilities as to exactly what this title could be: Syndicate, Cybermage, System Shock... but given recent industry rumors, the nature of development and the inclusion of PC with the planned platforms the one which seems mostly likely is ours: Wing Commander. Lets hope we hear more soon! Here's the official release:
EA Partners to Publish Upcoming Title for PLAYSTATION 3, Xbox 360 and PC

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 21, 2008--EA Partners today announced that it has teamed up with Starbreeze Studios, the award-winning developers of The Darkness and The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay to reinvent one of EA's most acclaimed classic franchises. The title, with the internal code name Project RedLime, is being developed for the PLAYSTATION(R)3 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360(TM) system from Microsoft and PC.

"EA Partners is thrilled to hand over the keys to one of EA's most acclaimed franchises to Starbreeze Studios," said David DeMartini, vice president and general manager of EA Partners. "Starbreeze's pedigree is undisputed and we could not be happier to welcome them to the EA Partners family. The team is creating an incredibly innovative take on a classic property and EA Partners is poised to deliver a blockbuster launch on the global stage."

"EA Partners gives independent developers like Starbreeze access to EA's unrivaled global publishing infrastructure, letting us focus our energy on what we do best - making incredible games," said Johan Kristiansson, CEO of Starbreeze Studios. "We're already deep in development on Project RedLime and the team at EA is giving us the time we need to perfect our vision. We're excited to bring a new perspective and gameplay innovation to this beloved fiction."

Additional information about the Starbreeze project will follow in the coming months. For more information about other EA games, please visit http://info.ea.com.

Developers interested in working at Starbreeze can search available jobs at http://www.starbreeze.com

About Starbreeze Studios

Starbreeze is a videogame developer based in Uppsala, Sweden. The studio was founded in 1998 and currently employs a staff of about 75. The team has developed action/adventure games including 2004's "The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay" (Xbox and PC) which averaged a 90% Metacritic rating, and 2007's "The Darkness" (Xbox 360 and PS3) which averaged an 82% Metacritic rating.

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Original update published on February 21, 2008
 
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ELTEE

Vice Admiral
SWEET - what a way to start my workday!

I hope this does not betray my ignorance, but what do we know about this independent studio? Do we know that they are good?
 

Mekt-Hakkikt

Mpanty's bane
Great, really great. I mean, I am still only cautiously optimistic but it sounds very good.

I also would be very happy with a new Syndicate or Crusader but I am crossing my fingers for a new WC.
 

Aginor

Vice Admiral
fingers crossed. I want a WC!

(But even if it isn't a WC game, it could still be something great.)
 

Blaster

Rear Admiral
Even if it’s not a new Wing Commander, it sounds like good news and probably increases the chances of a new game in the future.

Of course I really really hope that it is a new WC game.

100 posts! I feel special.
 

GreyViper

Rear Admiral
Well these are the same guys who made The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay & The Darkness (video game), so Id say their quality should be top notch. Interestingly enough they are working on The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena. It would be great IF they made another WC game, but Im guessing its going to be some other title.
 

Andrewas

Rear Admiral
One problem with starbreeze doing a Wing Commander game - their site says that they do all their work in the Starbreeze engine, and they are not going anything resembling a classic WC game in that, it seems to be a BSP engine (Think quake, Unreal Tournament, Source, etcetera) best suited for indoor environments. Of course, theres no reason you couldn't do a wing commander FPS game, but that engine wold be better turned to Syndicate or System shock.

Of course, a new Syndicate or System Shock is just about as good news as a new Wing Commander would be, so its all good, whatever game they are working on.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
You have to think like a game developer -- from a technical standpoint Wing Commander is nothing more than an FPS without a 'floor'. There's been plenty of talking about doing a standard Wing game using the Unreal engine in the past...
 
Right, get more abstract...

All the "engine" is there for is to create the "construct" (think back to "The Matrix"...remember the "construct" they used as a training program? It could simulate almost anything...all it did was provide the framework, some basic physical relationships, etc.) within which you build the game.

What's the difference between the player "running" across a "floor" and "flying" through "space"? Gravity (vs. zero-gee or modified "zero"-gee), physical constrants (the floor surface vs. open space), whatever graphics you use to represent the player (a "fighter" or a "marine"?)

What's the difference between the player shooting a pulse rifle vs. firing a tachyon cannon on a fighter? not much...there's a certain amount of "ammo"...the projectile travels at a certain relative velocity...there's a certain "reload time"...when it hits an object, it interacts with it depending on relatively simple rules....

What's the difference between watching two capital ships battle it out vs. watching groups of tanks slug one another to pieces? Again, really not much...
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
One problem with starbreeze doing a Wing Commander game - their site says that they do all their work in the Starbreeze engine, and they are not going anything resembling a classic WC game in that, it seems to be a BSP engine (Think quake, Unreal Tournament, Source, etcetera) best suited for indoor environments. Of course, theres no reason you couldn't do a wing commander FPS game, but that engine wold be better turned to Syndicate or System shock.

Of course, a new Syndicate or System Shock is just about as good news as a new Wing Commander would be, so its all good, whatever game they are working on.

Also, there's a source mod that specifically mixed FPS gameplay and space combat. The main thing that really kept it from working for me was the space combat controls. Other than that, the mod is a definite proof of concept. I can't say whether the two distinct sides of the game melded that well ( I don't think they did really) but it goes to show that FPS engines certainly can work for space combat.
 

Andrewas

Rear Admiral
Yes, they can be made to work for space combat, but none of the strengths of a BSP engine apply to that environment. Its not even worth generating a BSP tree, because the optimum tree is one huge leaf covering the entire play area. (Unless asteroids count as static terrain, but they are generally hideous shapes to carve with, when something like that turns up in an FPS level its normally explicitly subtracted from the world so that it doesn't effect the tree).

In short, its the wrong tool for the job. If its all you have, you can make it work. If you have the choice, you would find a better tool. And surely EA have a choice here. Which makes me suspect that, given the studio they chose and the tools used by that studio, they aren't making a classic wing commander game. Normally, Id be unhappy with that conclusion, but EA control a number of franchises, and there are many I would like to see brought back.
 

Jason_Ryock

Vice Admiral
Normally, Id be unhappy with that conclusion, but EA control a number of franchises, and there are many I would like to see brought back.

I would stretch that to say that the revival of even one "Classic Gaming Series" is a step in the right direction for a new WC game. Whatever the game is, if it's successful, it would increase the chances of another WC Game being produced.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
In short, its the wrong tool for the job. If its all you have, you can make it work. If you have the choice, you would find a better tool. And surely EA have a choice here. Which makes me suspect that, given the studio they chose and the tools used by that studio, they aren't making a classic wing commander game. Normally, Id be unhappy with that conclusion, but EA control a number of franchises, and there are many I would like to see brought back.

You have to be pretty intentionally negative to decide that with the available information (that said, I would expect to see any new Wing Commander have some 'first person' element in addition to the space combat...).
 
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