By James Brightman
Whether it’s Bulletstorm, Mass Effect or the Taliban in Medal of honour, Electronic Arts’ titles have drawn the ire of Fox News commentators, but perhaps that’s actually by design. Getting national attention for a video game, even if negative, is a major win for a gaming company. Stirring the pot is a tactic that’s paid off for many firms, and EA Games label head Frank Gibeau fully acknowledged to IndustryGamers that he likes controversy.
Epic Games President MIke Capps has already told us that the Fox News hubbub likely helpedBulletstorm, and when we chatted with Gibeau about the media exposure for People Can Fly’s game, he was even more candid about EA’s approach.
The first words out of Gibeau’s mouth after we brought up Fox were, “We love Fox News. They’re bold… I’m serious.” Gibeau then proceeded to explain how EA doesn’t mind creating a bit of controversy around a title, especially if that new title is an IP no one’s heard of yet.
“Look, when you’re building new IPs and you’re building games and you’re looking at an entertainment audience, they see a lot of messages. Controversy isn’t a bad thing. I personally believe you should court controversy,” he said. “You should do it in a way that matches the creative integrity of the game. You shouldn’t do it in a gratuitous way, but if it matches the creativity of the game… I loved it when Fox News did the lesbian aliens on Mass Effect. I love when they covered the Taliban; I loved it when they covered the Bulletstorm stuff. In each one of those cases, it was true to the game and we were trying to do something creatively. The fact that their point of view is different than ours and represented an audience out there is fine by me. I felt we could stand up and defend what we did and be aggressive about it and be proud of it.”
Naturally, Gibeau doesn’t agree with the criticisms levied against games and particularly titles under his label, but he understands what Fox is choosing to do and is happy with how EA and the gaming community rallies against Fox (which of course creates still more media exposure).
“Fox has an editorial point of view that works for a certain audience demographic that doesn’t necessarily play Bulletstorm. From that perspective, they’re trying to get eyeballs on their channels. I understand what they’re trying to do. I’m not going to respect their point of view as it concerns some of the things that we’ve done. We’re very proud of what we’ve done in each of those cases and have been very aggressive about defending ourselves,” Gibeau said.