Slightly Mad Studios CEO Ian Bell has stated that EA Games has tried to destroy the studio by canceling racing game Need for Speed: Shift 3 weeks before the studio was supposed to start its development.
In a video uploaded by YouTuber SpotTheOzzie Bell stated that EA Games tried to bankrupt the company by canceling racing game Need for Speed: Shift 3 after the company agreed to a 1.5 million USD publisher exclusivity deal.
According to Bell, the studio accepted EA's offer and paid employees bonuses but received word from EA Games stating the publisher had decided to cancel the game instead just weeks before development was due to start.
The cancelation of the game caused financial struggles for the company that recently released the second Project Cars franchise title Project Cars 2.
According to Bell, EA Games then proceeded to try to recruit the studio's key team members in an attempt to take knowledge away from the studio. Three game developers accepted the offer but returned to Slightly Mad Studios months later.
"They tried to kill us. They tried to steal our technology." said Bell in the video. "They tried to f*ck us over. [..] It is by sheer luck that we're still here. Those guys are assholes. We have no respect for EA. I'll never do a deal with them again." Bell added.
It is the first time a studio CEO has spoken so candidly about its relationship with EA Games and how the publisher supposedly operates.
The mastermind behind the deal is said to be Robert "Patrick" Söderlund, Executive Vice President of Electronic Arts, though Bell never goes into detail on what role Söderlund played.
Before signing the deal, Bell transferred the company's technology to a separate business entity, ensuring EA Games would not be able to claim ownership of the studio's proprietary technology, which the publisher eventually tried to claim.
EA Games has not yet commented on Bell's statements.