Studio Head Jade Raymond Sheds Light On Motive's New IP
Three years have passed since former Assassin's Creed producer Jade Raymond originally re-joined Electronic Arts to form a new studio focused on creating Star Wars titles as well as a new action-adventure open-world IP. Though Motive has kept busy creating the single-player campaign for Star Wars Battlefront II, we have yet to see or hear much about the maligned Star Wars action game that recently changed directions or the new concept.
During our extended sit-down with Raymond at E3, we extracted some clues that give us a rough outline of what to expect from the original franchise.
It's A Dynamic Action-Adventure Game
We've known for a while that this new IP is going to be an action game, but after talking to Raymond, we now understand the scope goes beyond just being a static action game. "We're trying to reinvent action-adventure games for the future, an action-adventure game that lives on and the world is dynamic, living, and breathing," Raymond said. "I think that's a great problem to solve because we make these amazing worlds and then you play through them and they are gone. What does a dynamic one look like?"
This points to the game having a live service element where it can continue evolving well beyond its release and subsequent patches.
"We're working on a construct where even if you might not say, 'Okay, like Assassin's Creed it's got to support a box so it's different every year,'" Raymond said. "It won't be that; we're building it so that it can support major changes that keep the experience fresh more within the construct of still staying live."
It's Not Just About Killing
Raymond said that in the early stages, she's continually pushed the team to conceptualize gameplay elements beyond the traditional triple-A fallbacks "shoot" and "kill" during prototyping. "I think the key innovation has to be through the other verbs," Raymond said. "'Explore' is a big one. One of the goals for Motive and the types of games that we're making is games allow for relentless discovery. We want to build worlds without limits that allow for relentless discovery and experiences worth sharing. That's our mission."
It's Being Built With Flexibility In Mind
One of the topics of conversation that came up when talking about the new IP is how more and more brands like Fortnite and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds canvass all major gaming platforms. Even when the play experience on mobile doesn't match the fidelity of console or PC play, they are making the option available for those who prefer (or only have access to) touchscreen devices, opening up a huge alternate install base of potential players.
"I think what you have to think about is what do the new players value, and how do you remove barriers and deliver that without thinking of all the conventions we have traditionally," Raymond said. "That's the approach we're trying to take, and yes, I think one of them is touch and controllers. But I think instead of just focusing on it that way, it's thinking about what the players want and what are the things in the way ... That's the lens we're putting on it to make sure we're relevant. Whether I have five minutes or two hours, whether I have a mobile phone or a console, whether I'm a core gamer or I play mainly Candy Crush or Farmville, I can go in there and do something and be a part of something and contribute."
The most vibrant live service games organically build communities around them, allowing friends to share their experiences with one another. Motive hopes to create a project that brings people together as well.
"One of the big fundamental needs is sharing experiences with friends," Raymond said. "Video games are a widely enjoyed pastime of people now. It's not just, oh, I'm a gamer. I'm a nerd. I play on my own in the basement. Everyone is gamer. Everyone plays, and it's something we do with friends. It's a pastime now. So how do you deliver something that is an incredibly enjoyable way to spend time with friends? I think that's been answered in some categories, but not the category of action-adventure."
It's Probably Science Fiction
Recently, Raymond wrote about her affinity for science-fiction universes. When I asked her if this was an allusion to her past experiences with brands like Assassin's Creed or a subtle nod toward her new project, she said, "Well, the point of it was just to point out I have an affinity toward science fiction. [Laughs] Which I do. So, one can make some guesses about what the new project is..."
It's Still In The Early Stages Of Development
Raymond said Motive's new IP has experienced some road bumps of its own, with some people who joined the project early on having already left. Though ideas have been percolating for some time now, the game still hasn't left the conceptual phase as they continue to hire developers for critical leadership roles. "I'm hoping we'll be able to talk about it a bit next year, and you'll see those people up on stage and get a sense of who they are," she said.
Raymond wouldn't say whether or not we'll see this project before or after the open-world Star Wars title. To learn more about the Star Wars game being developed at the same time, check out our news on the talent staffing that Vancouver development team.