EA is building a new studio under ex-Monolith Productions VP Kevin Stephens

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War
Middle-Earth: Shadow of War (Image credit: Monolith Productions)

What you need to know

  • Electronic Arts is working on building a brand-new games studio based out of Seattle.
  • To head the now-nameless studio, EA has brought on ex-Monolith Productions vice president Kevin Stephens.
  • Kevin Stephens is most well-known for heading development on Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor and Shadow of War.
  • The studio will be built up to develop new open-world action-adventure games, with little details shared today.

Gaming goliath Electronic Arts announced today that they're building a new games development studio in Seattle, Washington (courtesy of GamesIndustry.biz). The studio is in the earliest stages of planning and forming, so little to no details are available today. What we do know is that this new studio will be headed by industry legend Kevin Stephens, who was previously the head of development on Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor and its sequel Middle-Earth: Shadow of War at Monolith Productions.

Stephens will be accompanied by EA senior VP Samantha Ryan, who has worked with Stephens in the past. The studio lacks even a name at this point, and it'll likely be at least several years before we hear anything from the studio. However, we know that EA is looking to have this studio develop open-world action-adventure games, filling a hole in EA's portfolio. Stephens is an expert at this genre of games, so the studio should be well-equipped to deliver something special.

EA chief studio officer Laura Miele had this to say about the new studio: "Kevin is an exceptionally talented game developer leader and we look forward to supporting him while he builds his team. As someone known for his open-world action-adventure games, we know players will be eagerly awaiting more details on this new studio and its projects."

Stephens and Ryan are going to work on slowly building up the new studio over time, and are still debating issues like whether or not the studio should be entirely based in Seattle or allow remote workers. Ryan said, "We're still figuring out a lot of foundational questions. How big? What games? How fast to grow? Kevin and I both know how important it is to get the foundations of any studio 'right' and he'll take his time to figure it all out. When you rush, you don't give yourself time to be thoughtful. Why rush?"

There are still a ton of unknowns about the new studio being built by Stephens, but EA mentioned in their announcement that they're planning on sharing more details later this year. Hopefully, we'll learn if the studio plans to work on an all-new IP for EA or on one of the many franchises EA already controls. Whatever the studio accomplishes in the future, it'll be interesting to see it compared to the best games on Xbox.

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.