EA Games Exec Patrick Söderlund Is Opening a New Studio

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EA Games Exec Patrick Söderlund Is Opening a New Studio

Earlier this year, Patrick Söderlund left his position as executive officer at EA Games for a previously unknown reason. Thursday’s news may shed some light on that. Söderlund and ex DICE dev Johan Andersson are teaming up to create Embark Studios, partially thanks to an investment from Japanese-Korean mobile and PC publisher Nexon.

Anderson made the announcement on his Twitter early Thursday morning:

The team’s got big plans and they want to make sure their studio stands out. Embark was formed around the idea that games can be better and their best forms may look nothing like they do today. It wants to dive into new technologies like “connected players, big data, speech recognition, cloud computing and advanced AI,” as Söderlund notes in a statement, and make a commitment to using them to their full extent. It’s a precarious but potentially game-changing business model.

Söderlund spoke to The Verge about his week-old studio, saying:

Games today are usually built around one layer. You run around and you shoot people, or you play soccer. What if you could have 10 abstraction layers of simulation in a game where you could choose to become a farmer, or go into politics, or join the military, or be a professional athlete, inside of that world? These are some of the questions that are in my head. As I started thinking about those, along with some of the people I’m working with, I realized that it’s ambitious, and almost naive, but I think you have to go down that route to do something extraordinary.

Embark leaves fans with a bit of a mixed message: They say it’ll be understandably difficult to find a game or platform that can support their huge ambitions—but Söderlund is hopeful. He says to look for games from Embark Studios “quicker than you’d expect,” which could mean just about anything.

Follow along with Embark via the studio’s website here.