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Keeping it Edgy

General manager Glen Schofield talks about the process of rebranding, mature content, and the challenge of launching new IP

Earlier this week Electronic Arts announced that one of its oldest studios - EA Redwood Shores - was to be rebranded as Visceral Games.

Before the new identity was unveiled to the internal team, GamesIndustry.biz spent some time with Glen Schofield, the studio's VP and general manager, to talk about the process of choosing a new brand, the importance for EA of mature-content games, and the challenges of launching a new IP.

GamesIndustry.biz Why was Visceral chosen as the new brand?
Glen Schofield

I wanted something that would almost be a mission statement in a name, that would give us more focus, if you will. The types of games that we're making these days are pretty intense, action-packed, in many cases mature - although they don't have to be.

We're moving in a direction that's less Mickey Mouse and more realistic, intense, fighting-kind of games. Visceral works really well for Dead Space, Dante's and Extraction.

GamesIndustry.biz Is it a name that will give an added layer of definition to the games you make in the future as well?
Glen Schofield

Yes, that's the plan here. Let's say EA might have license, or an idea - they'll look at it and say it's perfect for Visceral Games. What we want is to define the genre that we make in the name.

GamesIndustry.biz What sort of steps did you have to go through to finish up with Visceral?
Glen Schofield

It took, I don't know, five to six months. What I wanted to do was make sure that we were branding and not just making a logo - when you brand you really have to think about something that's going to stay around for a while.

You need to think about what you want people to think of when they hear your name, and then there's all the collateral material as well - what will the website look like, what about the stationary and business cards? Everything that we do is sort of reflected in the brand.

It started with a bunch of different names, and you throw them out to a few people and see which ones stick. I didn't open it up to a large, large group, because even just coming up with the name Dead Space - you can't believe how much work that took - and finally, at the end of the day, I just said that's what I was calling it.

Every time you name something, people have an opinion. They either like it, or don't like it, but at the end of the day six months later everyone and their mother will tell you it was their idea to come up with the name Dead Space...

So I kept the group a little smaller on this one, just went to my top advisors and executive producers - then of course vetted it by John Riccitiello and Frank Gibeau... because here I am renaming maybe the oldest studio in videogame history? I don't know, it's been around a long, long time, at least twenty years, so I wanted to get it right.

GamesIndustry.biz There's a big legacy involved with Redwood Shores - did that make you a bit nervous? From now on it's unlikely people will associate any of that history with Visceral Games.
Glen Schofield

No, they won't - I'm not sure how much people really associate it with Redwood Shores, either though. That was the problem. We didn't have a logo, and that was part of my reasoning for wanting to change - after years of doing interviews, Lord of the Rings, James Bond and Dead Space, I kept hearing the same thing over again: "EA Redwood Shores, is that the name of your studio, or headquarters, what is that?"

It was very confusing.

GamesIndustry.biz The old acronym - EARS - was a bit unfortunate for a company producing games like Dead Space. Do you have a sense of whether or not the team there likes the new brand?
Glen Schofield

Well, people are looking forward to the name change, but not everybody knows what it is. We've got the big meeting today, with the whole studio, so I think my nervous point will be showing them the logo and hoping that they like it - because let me tell you, this is a departure for EA, just like Dead Space was.

You want people to like it, but it's a great departure.

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Phil Elliott

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