EA's acquisition of Codemasters won't kill the studios creativity

By Kes Eylers-Stephenson,
Codemasters will be left to operate with its independent spirit intact after EA's acquisition of the studio for $1.2 billion, Electronic Arts' CEO Andrew Wilson claims.
F1 2020

Wilson spoke to MCVUK, as reported by VGC. Firstly, he notes the characteristics EA identified before purchasing the studio. "You’re looking for strategic strength, cultural fit, and really strong leadership." Wilson is already suggesting that the leadership structure of Codemasters will remain intact and that the studio will have a measure of control over its own future. Codemasters' current portfolio is made up of annual F1 games, DiRT, the Colin McRae rally series, and others.

The CEO believes that Respawn — the devs behind Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and Titanfall 2 — is a good template for the eventual function of Codemasters within the EA setup. This makes sense considering that Respawn has been EA's only other major purchase in recent years.

"Similar to Respawn, our orientation isn’t to come in and take over Codemasters; our orientation isn’t to come in and turn Codemasters into another Electronic Arts studio; our orientation is around the provision of opportunity.

"This industry is all about amazing, creative talent. And we see little upside in the indoctrination of that amazing creative talent. But we do want to provide them access to the things that we get by virtue of our position in the industry."

Wilson is putting an art-house face on the company by offering developers the opportunity for untethered game creation using the riches of EA. But, he tries to get fans of assorted racing franchises onside, too. "It’s how we worked with Respawn, it’s more about handing Codemasters a set of keys to the cupboard, and they can come and take what they need from that cupboard, but they get to continue to be who they are, because that’s what made them special in the first place.”
Burnout Paradise Remastered

Codemasters' CEO Frank Sagnier clearly also loves owning a set of keys to the EA cupboard. “They already have Need for Speed, Real Racing, Burnout, it’s an amazing pool of IP. So it’s not like we’ve been acquired by somebody who doesn’t understand racing.” While the entire interview is clearly designed to give the acquisition a positive spin, what both parties are saying makes total sense. F1 will become the annual release that dominates the charts and brings in the big money, as it has historically done for Codemasters. The other niche series can fill the gaps: either making use of the 'cupboard' of EA IP or Codemasters' existing projects like DiRT, Project CARS, GRID, and Micro Machines, amongst others.

There is a lot of other industry nuggets to consume in this lengthy interview. Wilson talks about the price point, the use of the F1 brand, and EA's global outreach. On a rather poetic note, Sagnier states that "we found our Cinderella shoe, it is a perfect fit!" What a romantic man. He also tweets about F1 a lot. I like him.

Do you believe that this is going to be a Cinderella story for Codemasters and EA? Are you hoping for any games in particular out of this deal? We all want Burnout, don't we? (The answer is yes.) Spin your tyres and make some lovely car sounds down below.
Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Written by Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Editor Kes is our resident expert in PlayStation and other gaming news. He writes about PS5 exclusives like The Last of Us and Horizon, PS Plus news, and his favorite games — The Witcher, Assassin’s Creed, and God of War — before an evening swim.
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