Unravel Dev: EA “Didn’t Need Our Game To Make Money”, They Needed It “Because They Care About It”

EA are not always the big bad they are often made out to be, it seems.

Posted By | On 16th, Feb. 2016

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Unravel is a delightful little game by ColdWood Interactive- it’s the kind of game that makes you stop and think, the kind of game that puts a smile on your face as you play it. It is, in other words, the complete antithesis of the kind of AAA game that gets put on the market so often.

Which makes it surprising that the game was actually published by EA, who are probably the biggest and most typical AAA publisher that there is. In an interview with GamingBolt, Coldwood’s Martin Sahlin talked about how this unlikely union came about- and how the common perception of EA as the big, bad, evil publisher doesn’t necessarily hold up in their experience.

“Well, they sort of are [focused on the AAA experience]- or they have been,” Sahlin said. “But they’ve also been working really hard to change the direction for the company, and try to do more creative things, more experimental and interesting things.

“We had a meeting with one of the guys at EA, and that’s when we showed them the game. Basically, the reason we got that meeting was that we’ve worked with EA before. We have- we made a PC port for Bad Company 2 a couple of years ago. So we have a history of working with them. So they kind of knew us, and they knew what we are capable of.”

The pitch itself turned out to be far more interesting than the average game pitch usually is- it ended up being EA pitching themselves to ColdWood as much as ColdWood pitching Unravel to EA.

“We pitched Unravel to them, and it basically turned into them pitching EA to us, and talking about how they want to turn things around, how they want to do things differently, and how they really cared about projects like this.”

What made the meeting stand out in Sahlin’s opinion was the earnestness and honesty that EA exhibited during this meeting.

“[EA were] really honest about saying that they didn’t need our game to make money- because they are already making money. But they needed our game because they really cared about it, and they thought it was really cool- a really cool concept, a great theme for the game.

“So yeah, it was just a really good pitch- because it’s kind of nice, when you’re working on something that you care that much about, to know that,” Sahlin finished.

It is interesting, but not as atypical as one might think, for EA to be so passionately supporting a project like this. Big publishers often get a bad reputation, because a lot of what they do is, in fact, something that deserves scrutiny and criticism- but at the same time, these same big publishers do still have a passion for games- why else would they be in the business? That is the reason that a company like Ubisoft supports projects like Rayman Origins, Child of Light, and Valiant Hearts, or the reason that EA was willing to back Unravel so thoroughly.

Unravel is available now on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.


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