According to a report at Florida’s St Petersburg Times, the change of developer helps EA Tiburon "solidify its position as the most significant player for sports games development within its parent company".
Tiburon makes EA’s Madden NFL Football, NASCAR and NCAA Football games and last year finished its game based on Superman Returns. The studio is also working on new games to be revealed later this year. Although EA’s other big sports title, the FIFA soccer line of games, will remain in the hands of EA Vancouver.
"We are working our tails off to bring quality games," said Steve Chiang, general manager. "We are here because we love games."
The move suggests that Tiburon might be retooling the series for next-gen – development on the most recent version was split between a number of studios, including Redwood Shores and Salt Lake City, Utah based Headgate, which EA later acquired. St Petersburg Times suggests that future Tiger games will involve user-generated content functions.
One thing is for sure – the new game on its roster means Tiburon is now on a recruitment drive. It took on 140 staff in 2006 and plans to add another 100 in 2007. It’s a marked change from a year ago, when EA shaved five per cent off its US development workforce, with some jobs lost in Florida.
What exactly the former Tiger team at California’s Redwood Shores will beworking on now is not clear – there certainly isn’t a shortage of projects to move on to, however. The studio’s Maxis/EA Sims teams are hard at work on Spore and My Sims, while work continues apace on the new The Simpsons game (unannounced, but widely expected to arrive in July with the new movie).