>> Sunday, April 8, 2007
All that is reported on a development period at Electronic Arts for CD-i left me wanting for more. Electronic Arts' brainchild 3DO promised big franchises to hit 3DO including "The Need for Speed" and Theme Park. If there was a chance for EA to publish a game for CD-i that would have been awesome, just think of the possiblities of FIFA Interactive or Madden CD-i. No way CD-i could have handled games like this, unfortunately. But in the end Electronic Arts actually has done some development in CD-i with the game Thieves' World, an adventure/RPG based on fantasy novels carrying the same name.
A spokeperson who worked at Electronic Arts from 1978-1989: "I worked with the Compact Disc-Interactive development group at Electronic Arts on software tools for the development of advanced interactive entertainment and educational software. In one year we managed to create software development and multimedia tools for the CD-i system that were far in advance of the tools available from any other vendor, though we had far fewer people and not nearly the resources of our competitors. Unfortunately, hardware delays beyond our control prevented us from using these tools in production. I also worked on a prototype of an adventure game called Thieves' World. This project was put on hiatus due to delays in getting the script from the writers in finished form, and I left Electronic Arts to start my own company at that time."
Trip Hawkins, the founder of Electronic Arts, talked about this "new media" in the ZX Spectrum magazine "Crash", which was published in 1987 by Newsfield: "IBM PC-compatibles are the single best-selling family in the USA, and one analysis (by Wharton Information Systems) expects almost 400,000 to be sold in the UK in 1987, Hawkins expects a boom in cheap PC-compatibles; there's your standard machine."
"In the USA, 16-bit machines already account for half of micro sales. And 'as computers become more powerful they will become easier to use because they're more realistic. The digital sound on an Amiga is about FM-broadcast quality.' There's your realism and user-friendliness. But digital sound occupies so many megabytes of memory that Hawkins's superrealistic machines will have to use CD-i, the 'compact disc-interactive' technology announced in March 1986 which will allow home micros to read CD data. A CD can store far more information far more accurately than a cassette or floppy disk."
EA has been licensed by CD-i developers Philips and Sony to use the new technology; EA is building a CD-i emulator; Hawkins expects a hardware prototype in early 1988 and, with luck, a machine on the market by Christmas 1988, when it will possibly coincide with digital audio tape (DAT) supplanting CDs on the cutting edge of sound recording. We live in an age of progress. In Hawkins's ideal world, CD-i and other new technologies could be 'brought back to the mainstream computers which sell better'. "And, of course, CD-i would integrate a conventional CD player with a micro; one step on the computer's way to the centre of home entertainment."