Whether you dislike or like Slightly Mad Studios for its work on Need for Speed: Shift and Need for Speed: Shift 2 or its new series of racing games Project Cars and its new sequel, did you know that the whole series might not have existed due to EA? Project Cars CEO, Ian Bell, tells a story that could have been the end of the whole studio and how Slightly Mad Studios still stands today.
With the most recent release from publisher Bandai Namco and developer Slightly Mad Studios, Project Cars 2 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One has given gamers and racing fans the chance to partake in yet another racing sim. However, the chance, whether you like the series or not, might not have been due to a deal between Slightly Mad Studios and EA.
“I wanted to clarify the basis of the interview as I’ve been asked by a handful of people. There was no prior arrangement made for Ian to come into the stream, it was completely off the cuff which is the surreal part of all of this. I was simply Live Streaming Project Cars 2 and Ian Bell popped up into the live feed chat. I invited Ian to come into Discord which he was an absolute pleasure to have on.
Ian was a complete open book – He spoke in great detail about prior business dealing that went awry with EA”.
So what could possibly go wrong doing business with EA, right? The story of Need for Speed: Shift 3 and what almost happened to the studio lies below:
“We made a game called Need for Speed: Shift, we made a game called Shift 2 and EA came to me and said “we’ll give you 1.5 million if you agree not to talk to any other publisher, to agree any other games or work on any other arrangement with any other publisher, and we’ll give you 1.5 million and we’ll sign Shift 3.” So I said okay, that sounds like a good deal. I took the 1.5 million, I paid the guys lots of bonuses, and two weeks before we were due to start Shift 3 it was cancelled with no warning. They said “we are not doing that anymore.”
The publication site took a portion of the video interview and put it into text, which makes mention that although Slightly Mad Studios made it out of this difficult vice-grip, it was done with personal sacrifices from Bell himself, who mortgaged his home to ensure that the company could keep going:
“They tried to kill us, they tried to steal our technology as well,” continued Bell. “They tried to f**k us over – there is no other way to put it.” Given the circumstances, it’s understandable the Bell and the now-reinvigorated Slightly Mad Studios has no intention of letting bygones be bygones, either. “We have no love for EA and this company,” said Bell.
If the CEO of Slightly Mad Studios is to be believed, not only did EA cancel Need for Speed: Shift 3 abruptly, the company is said to have attempted an act of theft by stealing technology.
Moreover, now that the team is out of financial trouble, it is left to be discovered whether the dev team has learned its lesson from EA and will treat its fans right with the new release of Project Cars 2 or if arbitrary scams reside in named racing title?