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Bright Light teases unannounced XBLA/PSN game from Spare Parts team, explains internal dev culture


Bright Light, EA's Guildford-based (UK) studio, is hard at work on at least four titles: Create, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Episode 1, Spare Parts and a fourth, "secret [downloadable] project." At an EA press event last week, we spoke with Bright Light senior international PR manager Deborah Coster, who teased the "secret project" and explained the studio's dedication to fostering creativity and its at least partial focus on smaller, polished titles.

"The team's actually been doing the equivalent of 'iron man development,' so they're making two games," Coster told Joystiq. "And they've been making a secret game, which we haven't announced yet, but they've been making it at the same time as Spare Parts. So they've been basically doing week one: Spare Parts; week two: secret game; week three: Spare Parts; week four: secret game -- literally back-to-back."

Coster confirmed our suspicion that the Spare Parts/secret project team is focusing solely on digitally distributed titles. "Yeah, this is a group that's been looking at 'What can we do digitally? We don't really wanna be making packaged goods, so what can we do?' And XBLA and PSN: the numbers are getting bigger and bigger and bigger," Coster reasoned.

With one Bright Light team working on a world-building puzzle game (Create), another working on a "third-person action game ... because you're using magic" (Deathly Hallows is not a third-person shooter, according to Coster), and now this third dedicated to downloadable titles, we wondered how such seemingly disparate projects all ended up in development at one studio, not to mention at the same time.

"One of the things we have is a 'Bright Ideas' process, so literally anyone in the studio comes up with an elevator pitch for a game they want to make. They then present it to the studio management team. And it goes through various stages, but basically they look at all the ideas and they pick, say, three ideas a year, and they try and think about, 'Well let's have a look at prototyping; let's have a look at that concept discovery stage' and just see whether this could become a commercial, viable product. And that's what happened with all of these games," Coster explained, before adding, "Potter [Deathly Hallows] is different, obviously, because that's a franchise."

But even in the case of Deathly Hallows, the project has taken a decidedly different turn from the rest of the Harry Potter game adaptations. "This is effectively our last hurrah for the Potter franchise, and the team went, 'The fiction's darker, the movie's darker -- we can make the game we've always wanted to make as a studio," Coster said. Could it be? The Potter game we've always wanted to play!

Wait a minute ... did we really just write that?

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