C&C Labs News Wire

— Tuesday, September 30, 2008 —

Posted By: Blbpaws at 2:33:07 PM ET

Tiberium Canceled

According to reports at Kotaku and MarketWatch, the following memo was sent around EA by Mike Verdu, announcing the cancelation of Tiberium, the quasi-C&C first person shooter:

It is with a heavy heart that I announce an end to all work on Tiberium effective immediately. I've consulted with Nick Earl and Frank Gibeau at the EA Games Label and together we have reached the conclusion that given the time and resources remaining, we will not be able to deliver this product to an appropriate level of quality.

The game had fundamental design challenges from the start. We fought to correct the issues, but we were not successful; the game just isn't coming together well enough to meet our own quality expectations as well as those of our consumers.

Unfortunately, this action will result in several individuals on the team being released. We will make every effort to place affected individuals on projects within the studio – and where that isn't possible, to connect them with opportunities in other teams at EA.

This is the right move for the studio and the company, but it's particularly hard for me because of the impact it will have on our people. Many individuals contributed their time and talents to this game. I spent time in the trenches with them and I was continually impressed by their work.

Moving forward, we need to make sure this doesn't happen again. I believe we are already doing a better job of engineering success in from the start. The quality bar has been raised. Now we need to step up our focus on great design and execution, catching any problems early and correcting them quickly.

We will strive to live up to our values: To make great games, treat people right, keep our commitments, and grow our business.

I strongly suspect Mike Verdu will not be one of the individuals released.


Curious is Verdu's attempt to draw in EA Games Vide President Nick Earl and President Frank Gibeau--is he trying to imply that the decision came from above?

This is another failure in managment on EALA's part. Something went wrong here again. My guess: the game announcement was moved up for some unknown reason (I'm sure the exclusive cover on a leading gaming magazine was a nice perk) and was put out into the open before it had its design settled and much art done. The public updates were sporadic and not particularly well received. What EA could have--and should have--done is kept quiet about the game, as they already had Red Alert 3 in development and on fans' minds and waited until much later to announce it, perhaps after the RA3 release.

Ultimately, we don't know if this is good or bad for C&C (this is better than another rushed and buggy game), but it will be a significant financial hit to EALA. When I was at EALA in June, I saw the Tiberium team filing in for a staff meeting, and it was quite large in size, perhaps fifty individuals. The cost from paying all those individuals for at least a year of development (the game was announced last December, but was almost certainly in development at least a bit before then) has to be quite high. To put it in other terms, I would be willing to bet that EA spent more on this (now dead) game than they did on Kane's Wrath, which they outsourced to another company. This is a significant day for EA and Mike Verdu as they try to shape their label of games moving forward. It certainly bears watching.

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