Q&A: Pandemic head allays fears over joining EA with BioWare

GamePro: So obviously Pandemic and BioWare have been in the news. How does it feel to be a part of the EA family?

Josh Resnick: Honestly, it feels good. We'll be working with people I've worked with for a while, like John Riccitiello, and they're great people. I love John's vision for transforming EA and his plan for the future, and that actually aligns well with Pandemic. The great news about this deal is, Pandemic is still an independent label and an independent brand. The guys at EA are very focused on keeping us doing what we're doing, only now with the broader support that EA can bring to the table. I can continue to grow the company and the brand, and really focus on the products now. So it's really win-win.

Concerning the EA deal, I saw a Digg headline that said "Bad Day for Gaming: EA Buys BioWare." What do you say to allay the fears of BioWare and Pandemic fans, who might worry that you'll become somehow homogenized by joining EA?

Over my dead body. [laughter] At the end of the day, we are just as focused, if not more so, on creating amazing games that our fans will go nuts over. We have such amazing games in the pipeline right now, and EA is so enthusiastic over them - that's one of the reasons we've joined them. EA's mantra has been "look guys, we're going to stand out of the way... you guys continue to do what you know how to do. We're here to support you." If anything, this will give us more opportunity for success in the future.

We understand why our fans might be anxious over this [deal]. But [know that] EA is working on some incredible games right now, I'm getting excited as a fan. And fans of BioWare and Pandemic have nothing to worry about - we're the same old guys doing the same old stuff. Just watch and see what happens.

How long have the EA talks been in play?

We've been talking for a few months. From the time we got that call from John R., we took a step back and said "you know, this really does make sense." After that, it went really fast. We had a collaborative discussion with all our partners and EA, and we all sat around saying "yeah, this makes sense."

What will happen to key Pandemic franchises, like [the THQ-published] Destroy All Humans? Is DAH Pandemic's brand or THQ's brand?

Well, a lot of what we're working on now are new games and aren't yet announced. We're already working with EA on Mercenaries 2: World in Flames, and Saboteur will also be published by EA.

Destroy All Humans, specifically, we had a really nice run with THQ on that. That was a Pandemic-created brand, but THQ owns that. I'm assuming THQ has other plans in store for that series.

So will Pandemic continue working on the next-gen Destroy All Humans 3?

Well, THQ is creating a new Destroy All Humans, but I don't who the developer is.

Oh, we had assumed that was a Pandemic game...

We did the first two games, and we love the franchise. We're honestly excited to see what THQ does next with Destroy All Humans, but we're not officially linked with Destroy All Humans 3.

But Mercenaries is all ours, Saboteur is all ours, as is Full Spectrum Warrior. Honestly, we've got another four titles in the works that we haven't started speaking about yet.

Page Break

Another key Pandemic game, in my mind, is the Star Wars: Battlefront series. So if LucasArts wanted to continue that series, they'd need to find another developer...

I think LucasArts may have already announced plans for a third Battlefront game, if I'm not mistaken. Same thing with Destroy all Humans: we had a lot of fun working on Battlefront 1 and 2, and we're excited to see how they carry forward the series.

How does it feel to be linked with BioWare, with Mass Effect having so much buzz?

Are you kidding? We love our partners at BioWare -- they rock! We are so excited about Mass Effect, and we are so humbled in some ways by the amazing storytelling work that they do - it's really incredible. We have gained a lot by our partnership [with BioWare] over the last few years. And this change with EA doesn't change that at all; both BioWare and Pandemic have independent brands, so we'll continue to be associated through our partnership with EA. It's just going to be more of the same, only now, we get to work with a much wider family of developers.

Will EA's technological skills and resources give you more know-how when it comes to making multi-console ports?

Well, multi-console has been a part of Pandemic's history. We like to tailor the content to each of the strengths of the different consoles. One of the many exciting things about a partnership with EA is their experience and muscle in distribution and publishing...that might seem boring to consumers, but that actually allows us to reach consumers in a more broad and efficient way than we could before. So that's great.