With the reinvention of its FPS franchise Medal of Honor, Electronic Arts' Los Angeles studio is sprucing up its identity as well. As of last night, the team has adopted the name "Danger Close Games," a brand it says represents "pushing the boundaries and taking chances."
Like Visceral Games, the Redwood Shores, California-based internal group behind Dead Space and Dante's Inferno, Danger Close Games doesn't encompass all of the teams at its physical location. EALA also includes a mobile team, a music game-oriented team, and a real-time strategy team. Right now, Medal of Honor is the only game the Danger Close studio has in development -- but that could change over time.
"For us, rebooting Medal of Honor and taking it out of World War II into the current fight in Afghanistan is a lot like what we've done with the studio," executive producer Greg Goodrich told Gamasutra. "It's a refresh. It's an opportunity. It's a way to get our own identity."
EALA has had some tough years recently, with multiple teams laid off or heavily downsized, but Goodrich says those woes are behind the studio, and the new name is reflective of the team's forward-looking attitude.
"It doesn't feel like we need to be reinvigorated. It feels like we already are," he said. "The deeper meaning of Danger Close is, that, yeah, we got through those times, but we've come out of it. We've got a great game we feel is going to do well."
"Danger close" is a military term used when soldiers call for close-proximity fire, not long-range bombardment. Goodrich, who also spoke to Gamasutra in a longer interview to be published in the coming weeks, says it represents the studio's attitude in deciding to set the new Medal of Honor in a current conflict, with characters heavily influenced by modern soldiers.
"When an individual is calling in for danger close fire, it's the decision to take a chance, rather than sit back and call in from afar," he said. "For our team, 'danger close' is about pushing the boundaries and taking chances on telling a story we felt needed to be told. It may be controversial, but we felt it needed to be told, and we're telling it with respect and authenticity, to shine a light on these guys."
According to Goodrich, the name's origin was one of serendipity, not committee meetings.
"A few names had been thrown around," he recalled, "but then Rich Farley, our senior creative director, was playing the game at his desk and, right then, we heard one of our characters, Jimmy Patterson -- the grandson of Jimmy Patterson from the World War II era of Medal of Honor -- scream out, 'Danger close! Danger close fire!'"
"We said, 'I think Jimmy Patterson just told us what to name our studio.'"