EA creates new studio led by Kevin Stephens for an open-world game

By Kes Eylers-Stephenson,
Electronic Arts is creating a new Seattle studio led by former Monolith Productions chief Kevin Stephens. The team will create an open-world adventure game in line with Stephens' previous work on Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Middle-earth: Shadow of War.

As reported by GamesIndustry.biz, Kevin Stephens will be reuniting with EA senior VP and group general manager Samantha Ryan for the first time since being at Monolith together. Their former studio is currently under threat from the WarnerMedia/Discovery merger, whereas EA appears to be in a very strong position at the moment.

EA's chief studio officer, Laura Miele, gave an interview that elaborated on the purpose of the new team. "We look forward to supporting him while he builds his team. As someone known for his open-world action-adventure games, we know players will be eagerly awaiting more details on this new studio and its projects." It looks like EA are desperate to start supplementing their output with more single-player open-world games. The publisher recently had a big hit with Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and have recently published Mass Effect Legendary Edition without multiplayer functionality.

Samantha Ryan continues the interview. "The action-adventure space is a hugely important genre in our industry, and to us, at EA [...] players and fans of those games are so passionate and it's also one of my personal favourite genres." Having spoken extensively about the Codemasters deal recently, EA certainly seems to be trying to open lines of communication with the fans a little more. Though, it remains to be seen whether the promised output will meet expectations.

There are some other items to note. Ryan brings up Star Wars: Squadrons and Mass Effect: Legendary Edition when talking about new player-bases that EA has accessed. Despite this, when asked about the direction of the studio, she declined to comment on if Stephens will be working on new or old IP, and said that they are "still figuring out a lot of foundational questions." So, EA is open to making anything that Kevin wants with its wealth of IP, the studio isn't really off the ground in any substantial way, and has no active project. I'm getting a strong whiff of PlayStation's announcement about Jade Raymond's Haven Studios here.

We will hear more about the studio this autumn and you can bet we will keep you updated. What do you think of the announcement? Any EA IP you want to be infused with Shadow of Mordor's-style open-world? Get us thinking over here in the office with your whacky suggestions!
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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