Do you love games like Unravel? Then EA Originals should be a breath of fresh air.
Patrick Söderlund, Executive Vice President of EA Studios, delivered an address at E3 that announced the creation of a new division within Electronic Arts. Called EA Originals, this new branch is tasked with bringing independent games and passion projects to larger audiences.
Söderlund spoke with enthusiasm about EA’s discovery of Unravel and how their team fell in love with its concept and execution. According to him, it inspired Electronic Arts to continue its exploration of independent games and developers and bring their creations to the world:
We also know that there are more out there: Passionate developers telling amazing stories, creating spectacular games. We are committed to working with small developers, finding these great new games, and giving all of you a chance to discover their magic.
According to Söderlund, the EA Originals program has three goals: First, it aims to take first time experiences that are unique, gorgeous, innovative, and memorable, and bring them to the world. Second, it aims to support small developers and help them make the most of their games. Third, it will offer funding and a level of security to the development process. The surprise here comes at the end of Söderlund’s talk when he mentions Electronic Arts will distribute all profits from these games back to the independent developers. So what’s in it for EA? Expect more on that as the publisher releases more information about the program.
For now, let’s talk about the absolutely gorgeous first game distributed by EA Originals: Fe.
Developed by Swedish studio Zoink, Fe is “a personal narrative about our relationship with nature,” according to developer Klaus Lyngeled. “It is a game without words — a celebration of our longing to be one with the world around us. It’s a story that reminds us that everything in this world is connected, living in a delicate balance that is constantly under threat.”
The player takes control of a young cub in a dark forest with no idea of who you are or how you got there. You discover that each creature in this world, even the plants and trees, communicates through a unique song. By learning these songs, you connect with the forest and take steps to learning more about the world around you and more about your own kind.
But there are adversaries as well. The Silent Ones corrupt the forest you inhabit and spread their silence everywhere they go. Their purpose is one of the game’s many mysteries — one that you will solve as you explore the forest further.
Most importantly, Fe is an open-world game. It doesn’t tell you where to go or what to do. It merely sets the stage and invites you to experience your own story.
You can watch the full video below, or skip ahead to around 5:00 to watch the gameplay demo:
Electronic Arts has a reputation as a game developer, and it’s not a favorable one. They tend to go for licensed properties with a built-in audience, then rush a game into production and out the door, often before it is ready for public consumption. Perhaps the EA Originals program is an attempt to win over some of its harsher critics.
Hey, if they’re not the ones developing it, maybe that means the games won’t be rushed and released half-finished, right? Right? Yes, I’m still bitter about Star Wars: Battlefront. I’ll get over it one day. But today is not that day. Tomorrow isn’t looking good, either.