Over the last couple of weeks, PlayStation Universe has had multiple opportunities to sit down and talk with the big man over at EA, Peter Moore. As Moore is an ex-Microsoft employee, we’re sure a lot of you felt that this may result in a lower quality product for the PlayStation 3 in some grand conspiracy by Microsoft to shaft Sony’s users. The end result of that conspiracy may have looked evident after The Orange Box debacle, but has never truly been further from the truth as Moore has told us personally “I absolutely love the PlayStation.” This came in a music-intensified environment in New York with his arms skyrocketing out in exclamation as he made the claim. It felt genuine – it felt real.
Moore on-stage with the NCAA cover athletes
Fast-forward two weeks and PlayStation Universe is in Vancouver covering an EA Canada event that includes such titles as FIFA ’09, NHL ’09, NCAA ’09 and Madden NFL ’09 just to name a few. If you’re curious on how that went, we’ll have full-fledged previews for you guys once the embargo date has passed. However, while there, we also had another opportunity to get some one-on-one time with Moore in order to discuss not only EA BIG’s future, but to also discuss some of the reasoning for Brett Favre as the cover athlete for Madden NFL 2009. As most of you know, Madden has never featured a retired player on their cover and this would definitely be a trend-breaking year as Favre announced his retirement during the off-season. We had the chance to ask Moore why EA decided to change their history of cover athlete selections.
“Brett Favre was chosen to be the cover athlete of Madden before his decision to retire. When Favre made his announcement to leave the NFL, many in the EA studio felt against continuing with him as the cover athlete but in the end we decided to go ahead with it,” said Moore. “I think Brett Favre is a great choice. I’ve watched him over the years and anyone who can last that long playing on Lambeau field and hold as many records as he does, deserves a spot on the cover of Madden.”
The next obvious question to ask of Moore was, “What about the curse? Will this put an end to that?” As many know already, the Madden cover athlete has always fallen victim to either a poor year statistically or a season ending injury. With Brett Favre somewhat retired (hasn’t filed his paperwork), he seemed unlikely for this odd trend to continue.
“As for the Madden Curse, Brett’s retired, so unless the curse hunts him down outside of the field, I don’t think it will have an effect on him. But let’s hope that doesn’t happen."
We’re not exactly sure how to react to the situation as the Madden curse always gave gamers something extra to watch out for during the NFL Season. We’ll have to get used to the idea of not expecting a leg to break or a tendon to tear (unless Favre trips while hunting or something along those lines). While a lot of us have enjoyed past games such as SSX, NFL Street and NBA Street; EA BIG seemed to be taking a backburner trip with the introduction of “Freestyle” from EA. Freestyle is currently developing three new IP’s, one of which includes the upcoming boxing title, Facebreaker. This left a lot of people wondering about what would then happen to the EA BIG franchises.
To this, Moore replied, "[With] the EA BIG brand, the theme was sports to the extreme, and with the way the market is shifting, we‘re wanting to adapt and move our focus to a more casual gaming experience. We have Freestyle coming in with the first of three new IP’s being Facebreaker. During this time we will be phasing out EA BIG, and over the next couple months be deciding what titles from EA BIG we will want to move under the Freestyle, EA Sports, and EA Games brands or drop completely."
It sounds like every franchise under the BIG umbrella may not be making it through the game filter that EA continues to provide console owners. While nothing is obviously set in stone, we’ll do our best to find out which titles will make it over to the other three EA brands and which won’t. We’d also like to thank Peter Moore for taking the time to talk EA with us. For those of you curious as to what he’s like in a laid-back atmosphere — Moore is A-OK with us.