Electronic Arts has just announced the merger of two of its Melbourne, Australia-based mobile gaming acquisitions.
IronMonkey (acquired by EA in early 2010) is best known for their work on the mobile releases of the Need for Speed franchise as well as The Sims, Dead Space and Mirror’s Edge. Firemint (acquired in May 2011) is responsible for iOS hits like the Real Racing franchise, Flight Control franchise and SPY Mouse. Now EA has merged these two studios to form Firemonkeys.
Both studios have been developing mobile games for over a decade and combining the two teams makes Firemonkeys Australia’s largest game development studio. EA says that both teams look forward to the unification with Rob Murray, Executive Producer of Firemint commenting, “IronMonkey and Firemint have solid reputations for producing well-known games and we are excited to have the opportunity to share best practices, technology and resources.”
Electronic Arts is hoping that the by uniting the teams, they are able to sharpen their focus, allowing for the creation of new and interesting gaming experiences.
By aligning the strategy of IronMonkey and Firemint, EA is able to create an even more focused team of passionate individuals who are dedicated to developing high-quality mobile game experiences. This merge in the mobile space is resulting in positive overall growth for the Firemonkeys team, as the studio is now hiring for several positions. Fans should expect to see progressive development efforts with upcoming launch and project announcements in 2012.
Since, as I mentioned earlier, IronMonkey was the main developer on Electronic Arts’ Need For Speed series and Firemint was responsible for the Real Racing franchise, it’ll be interesting to see if these somewhat overlapping franchises are finally merged under the Firemonkeys banner, or if they will continue to release new titles for both IPs.
Should Firemonkeys decide to move forward with just a single IP, I suspect that Need For Speed be the victor, as it is much more recognizable outside of mobile gaming circles. Perhaps EA will combine elements of both series, but still adopt the Need For Speed nomenclature , or I suppose they could always call it Real Need For Speed Racing.
As for their respective existing franchises, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what the future holds. It’s kind of sad to see these veteran studios lose their individual identities, but being a fan of both of their work, I’m excited to see what new IPs will be born out of Firemonkeys.