Change may be afoot at Electronic Arts. While the publisher has yet to officially confirm anything, multiple unnamed sources confirm to Game Informer’s Mike Futter that EA is shuttering its EA Partners label. If true, the move would only be the latest in a recent series of internal decisions that see the publisher moving away from Facebook gaming, changing up its corporate leadership, and consolidating its console game development to only a handful of titles.
We’ve reached out to EA for comment, but there’s been no response to our inquiries as of this writing. We also reached out to Epic Games, an official EA Partner on Bulletstorm, but the house that Unreal Engine built refused to comment.
The Partners program was formalized in 2009, but EA started building relationships with independent studios and releasing their games long before. The publisher’s BioWare and DICE acquisitions are both products of those early partnerships, and those two studios – responsible for Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and Battlefield between them – rank among the publisher’s most valuable assets.
Some EA Partners games have yielded great success for the company, namely the Rock Band series and Valve projects like The Orange Box and the Left 4 Dead series, but the label has also produced a number of high-profile flops. Critical successes like Double Fine’s Brutal Legend, Grasshopper Manufacture’s Shadows of the Damned, and Epic’s Bulletstorm were all considered sales failures upon their release. The Partners program even produced two enormous MMO turkeys, Realtime Worlds’ APB and Flagship Studios’ Hellgate: London.
As of now, it looks like Insomniac Games’ Fuse may be the last title to be released under the Partners label. There is one other in-development project that is part of the label, though: Respawn Entertainment’s first game, which may be named Titan, based on a recent trademark filing. That game is set to appear at E3 2013. We’ve reached out to Respawn for comment as well, but we’ll likely have to wait until E3 to find out how the rumored closure impacts EA’s relationship with the ex-Infinity Ward studio.