It’s said that the new EA Originals initiative is for finding the next Rocket League. However, it turns out that EA could’ve indeed had the real Rocket League.
EA executive vice president Patrick SÃ¶derlund told IGN:
“Would I want to be the guy that found Rocket League? Yes. Would I want that to be an EA property? Of course I would like to.”
Seemingly in response to this statement, Psyonix Studios design director Corey Davis tweeted this:
We actually pitched the game to EA Partners in 2011, so I’m not sure what would be different this time around! https://t.co/FF59BS3Z6N
— Corey Davis (@mrcoreydavis) June 16, 2016
Undeterred by this, Psyonix would continue to develop the game and self-publish it four years later, finding resounding success.
As much as people like to go “tisk tisk tisk” at a big company like EA for missing a golden goose like that, this happens all the time. Major publishers that are also public companies are expected to be conservative due to having to keep shareholders happy, so less risks can be taken.
When something like Rocket League, a game about cars playing soccer, is passed up due to not looking viable at the time, you can’t really blame them for not biting. It could either be due to cold feet or just being unable to see its true potential.
If Decca Records could reject The Beatles back in 1962, then anyone could make such a mistake.
However, with EA Originals, perhaps they’re trying to bring back the creative magic that the 2007-2009 period brought about with new IPs like Mirror’s Edge and Dead Space. EA is promising to give indie developers most of the profits through this program, so it’s definitely to bank on new original IPs.
Decca would later sign the Rolling Stones, so it’s not all bad.