EA has announced that it's consolidating its two biggest mobile studios. Firemint is the developer behind Flight Control and Spy Mouse (and was acquired by EA last year), and Iron Monkey is the developer behind EA's iOS hits like Mass Effect Infiltrator and Dead Space. Those two Melbourne, Australia-based studios are now joining up to become FireMonkeys, serving as a big internal mobile studio for EA.
Between the two studios, Firemonkeys now claims over 85 million downloads on the App Store, as well as 15 number one hits between them. EA says the teams will now be collaborating on current projects, as well as creating some new ones out of the new combined studio as well.
As a Firemint fan, this has me a little more worried about that company's popular properties. Rob Murray, Firemint's CEO, and a few original team members still remain working on the company's products. But Flight Control Rocket was a very different game than the high quality Flight Control, released before EA's takeover, and EA doesn't say what has happened to Infinite Interactive's properties, including the popular Puzzle Quest series.
An interview with MCV says the restructuring was "more of a formality" than anything else, and that the number of employees will generally be split and may even grown in the next few months. But still, I haven't seen the same quality or polish come out of Firemint since it was independent, and it seems unlikely that combining it together with Iron Monkey will do much to change that.
IronMonkey and Firemint become Firemonkeys
EA is bringing together two of the world's leading mobile development studios - IronMonkey and Firemint - to form Firemonkeys. These two studios have entertained over 50 million players in 2012 alone with stellar titles including Flight Control, SPY mouse and Real Racing from Firemint, and Mass Effect Infiltrator, Dead Space and The Sims FreePlay from IronMonkey. Based in Melbourne, Australia, both studios have been developing mobile games for over a decade and combining the two teams makes Firemonkeys Australia's largest game development studio.
Both teams look forward to the unification with Rob Murray, Executive Producer of Firemint commenting, "IronMonkey and Firemint have solid reputations for producing well-known games and we are excited to have the opportunity to share best practices, technology and resources."
By aligning the strategy of IronMonkey and Firemint, EA is able to create an even more focused team of passionate individuals who are dedicated to developing high-quality mobile game experiences. This merge in the mobile space is resulting in positive overall growth for the Firemonkeys team, as the studio is now hiring for several positions. Fans should expect to see progressive development efforts with upcoming launch and project announcements in 2012.
"Both of these studios have produced award-winning games and we believe combining the incredible talent pool in Melbourne, as well as leveraging the EA brand, sets us up for further success in the mobile arena," adds Tony Lay, GM of IronMonkey.
Firemonkeys will continue to work on separate products in addition to collaborating on new ones out of the EA Melbourne office. With the added synergy this partnership creates, fans can expect unique features and new experiences in the brands they have come to know and love.