Academy Award-winning director and producer Steven Spielberg has signed on to develop three new video games for Electronic Arts in an exclusive, multi-year arrangement for an undisclosed sum. Spielberg with work with EA at the game-maker’s Los Angeles facility to create the concepts, stories, design, and visual style for three new franchise properties.
Electronic Arts will own full rights to the games, and manage their publication and distribution, while Spielberg gets first rights on converting the games to television or film productions.
Spielberg himself admitted to being a gamer: “I have been playing EA games for years and have watched them master the interactive format. Having watched the game industry grow from a niche into a major creative force in entertainment, I have a great deal of respect for EA’s understanding of the interactive format. I’m looking forward to working closely with the team in Los Angeles.”
EA, in turn, is aiming to take advantage of game design opportunities presented by new technologies in forthcoming gaming consoles, while at the same time creating immersive, engaging titles, and feels Spielberg is a perfect pick for the job. EA CEO Larry Probst notes, “There is no greater storyteller than Steven Spielberg. In addition to his gift for pleasing movie audiences, he has an innate understanding of games and how to immerse players into a fantastic world of action and characters.” And the director is no stranger to technology, famously developing groundbreaking visuals for 1977’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind and pioneering computer-generated imagery in 1993’s Jurassic Park.
Interestingly, Spielberg co-founded Dreamworks SKG more than a decade ago; the film studio originally included an interactive unit which was purchased by Electronic Arts in 2000; that unit is now known as EALA (Electronic Arts Los Angeles) and is where Spielberg will develop these games with EA.
The agreement highlights the continuing merger of Hollywood and the video game industry. For more than a decade Hollywood has increasingly been converting successful video game franchises into films (Final Fantasy,Tomb Raider, and Resident Evil being recent efforts, with Doom and a future film based on Microsoft’s Halo capturing recent media attention), as well as lending its star power to provide voices and act in video games.