Electronic Arts Los Angeles

Gunhero [Cancelled – PS3, Xbox 360]

After finishing Medal of Honor: Vanguard and Medal of Honor: Airborne, in 2007 EA Los Angeles started to work on a new game for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, titled Gunhero. While keeping a first person view as their previous MoH titles, this new project would have been set in a post zombie-apocalypse world, focused on using melee weapons and close quarter combat, somehow preceding what Techland did 4 years later with Dead Island and one year before the release of Left 4 Dead. The project was still in early development and many features were not decided yet, as the plan for a possible coop multiplayer mode, but unfortunately it was cancelled before to be completed. The game was noticed in 2011 by Siliconera after Gunhero’s Art Director Zach Schlappi published a few concept art online.

The main character in Gunhero was a volunteer SAR pilot whose crew fatally died after their Jayhawk was brought down by a rescued survivor who was hiding the zombie infection. Caught in the middle of the quarantine zone, the pilot had to survive through zombies to rescue scientist who may hold a cure.

Even if their early prototype did garnered a lot of internal praise, Dead Space was also pitched to EA during the same time and they decided to cancel Gunhero as there was not room in their portfolio for two survival horror games. Even if Dead Space became a success for EA, the popularity of open world, first person zombie games in the following years marks the cancellation of Gunhero as a huge missed opportunity for the studio.

In 2010 EA Los Angeles would be re-branded as Danger Close Games, but 3 years later after the commercial failure of Medal of Honor: Warfighter, the studio was dissolved and some employees moved to DICE Los Angeles.




LMNO [X360 PS3 – Cancelled]

LMNO (also known as The Escape Artist) is a cancelled action adventure that was in development for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 from 2005 to 2010 by Electronic Arts Los Angeles, with the help of Steven Spielberg. As we can read in Wikipedia, the partnership with Spielberg, first announced in 2005, was to produce an action game with an aim to evoke emotion, described as “a mix of first-person parkour movement with adventure/RPG objectives and escape-focused gameplay, all based around the player’s relationship with an alien-looking character named Eve”.

The team never released many information about the game, but after it was officially cancelled in october 2010, 1UP wrote an interesting article about LMNO, in which we can read some previously unknown facts on the project and see a target-render video:

When EA signed its deal with Spielberg in 2005, some of the specifics were intentionally left unclear. The deal committed him to create three franchises for EA, but initially, LMNO was the only one locked in, and there was no team in place to make it. Project two, “PQRS,” went on to become Boom Blox, while project three hasn’t been mentioned publicly since the deal was announced.

EA’s answer was to hire designer Doug Church and build a small team around him in their Los Angeles studio. Through 2007, they put together a group of 25-30 people who worked under Young’s EA Blueprint group — a quiet experimental label designed to build new intellectual property while outsourcing much of its production (such as some of LMNO’s level design that went to Arkane in France late in the project’s life) — to prototype ideas. […]

On the surface, it was a first-person action/adventure PS3/360/PC game set in modern times. Players would split their time between light role-playing objectives like talking to characters to uncover information, and action sequences featuring a lot of what the team referred to as “escape gameplay” where the player would run from approaching helicopters and FBI-style agents too overwhelming to fight face-to-face. […]

The developers did a lot of prototyping with Eve to make for a strong connection between her and Lincoln. Part of that came visually — Eve’s design was deliberately exaggerated, with large eyes and lanky fingers, to help the animators express her emotions, and she was designed to be sympathetic and sensitive rather than a sex symbol. Part of that came with her abilities — she could team up with Lincoln for cooperative attacks, or project things into his vision because she had the power to tap into his mind, so things like storm clouds would appear when she was in trouble. […]

In 2008 EA laid off most of the LMNO team, and the project evolved from a characters-driven adventure into a more traditional action game (now called The Escape Artist), somewhat similar to Uncharted. It seems that the original LMNO concept was too abitous and even after the change in its design, EA decided that it was not worth the risk to continue with the development, after so many years of work and money already spent on it. Instead in November 2009 EA acquired popular social game developer Playfish, and on the same day laid off approximately 1,500 employees in other EA studios“.