Electronic Arts has unveiled Motive Studio's next project: a single-player third-person action game based on Marvel Comics character-turned cinematic franchise frontman Iron Man.
This news comes via a blog post, which normally would be a a low-key way to unveil a game based on one of the world's most popular superheroes. But it's 2022, and game announcements aren't just for summer game events or end-of-year rewards shows. They're also recruiting tools aimed to attract talent in a hypercompetitive market. EA ended its announcement with an explicit invitation for developers to check out the company's job board.
In said post, EA announced that the game will be helmed by Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy executive producer Olivier Proulx. Industry veterans Ian Frazier (who helmed the design of Star Wars: Squadrons) Maëlenn Lumineau, and JF Poirier will also be leading the project.
The game is being produced in partnership with Marvel Games, which has been rather ambitious lately to get as many studios as possible working with characters licensed from the comics. Insomniac Games, Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal, and now Motive Studios have all worked with the Disney-owned game division to produce big budget games under different publishing banners. It will feature an "original narrative" inspired by the history of Iron Man.
That likely means the final product will resemble something like Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: the character will be vaguely similar to the cinematic version of the character, but Motive Studio will plunge the character's history for an original story and setting.
Motivation for Motive Studio
Motive Studio's been something of an odd child in EA's library of developers. It was first founded by Jade Raymond, but eventually absorbed the staff of BioWare Montreal, and found itself serving as a support studio on games like Star Wars Battlefront II and racing titles from Criterion Games. There was a brief moment where the team there worked on the single-player Star Wars game that would sink Visceral Games.
A major change in studio leadership (Raymond left in 2018), the studio put two major projects in development: an open-world game co-named "Gaia" with crafting/building elements in an online world that was briefly teased in 2020 before being cancelled in 2021, and Star Wars Squadrons, the mid-sized passion project that finally made it to market.
Most recently, it's been working on the remake of Dead Space.
The news is out! 🎉We couldn’t be more thrilled to collaborate with @MarvelGames on an all-new single-player, action-adventure Iron Man game. While we're still in early development, this is an exciting new adventure for our studio: https://t.co/zpuT61TKtV pic.twitter.com/309lhm02dY— Motive (@MotiveStudio) September 20, 2022
Today's revelation of an Iron Man game seems to indicate that Motive is finally getting its feet underneath it as a studio producing standalone games. The cancellation of Gaia (supposedly in development for six years) and shuffles in studio leadership seemed to indicate that EA wasn't quite sure what it wanted the Montreal-area developer to be.
There's also something interesting in seeing the studio cancel a multiplayer open-world crafting and exploration game that would be an original intellectual property (surprising in a world where every company is scrambling for a metaverse product), but a big-budget single-player based on an (expensive?) licensed character is getting the green light.