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EA: PS3 Orange Box was a 'challenge situation'

Publisher gives view on Valve's relationship with Sony's console

Electronic Arts has called the port of Valve's Orange Box onto PS3 a "challenge situation" - and admitted that the release didn't quite live up to the developer's expectations.

The Orange Box - which contained Half-Life 2, Portal and Team Fortress 2, among others - was ported onto PS3 by EA's UK team.

It won wide acclaim from the press - hitting an 89 per cent average on Metacritic - but some critics bemoaned frame rate issues, and the SKU didn't hit the 95+ heights of the PC and Xbox 360 SKUs.

Indeed, Valve would later call the PS3 port a "stepchild version". The developer told CVG in February that it regretted elements of the release - adding that it didn't put its "best foot forward with the PS3 community".

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EA Partners boss David DeMartini told CVG: "Valve focuses on 90-rated everything: 90-rated marketing programmes, 90-rated people, 90-rated games.

"They have a focus on excellence. What they do with all their partners, is they hold us to that same standard. If you don't reach it, they're going to get a little prickly - and appropriately so.

"If you can't operate at that level as a publishing and distribution partner, you shouldn't be participating with Valve. That's their expectation. I view it as a continuing challenge to delight them."

When it came to the question of the PS3 port of the Orange Box, DeMartini commented:

"To my earlier point, I think the Orange Box on PS3 was 86-rated; around that point. It was still very good and the team in the UK did a great job. It was a challenge situation.

"We were trying to do parallel development. Valve hadn't been on PS3 and they had made some statements about the platform which didn't exactly help. It really was a challenge situation.

"What it did point out - and it reinforced this for Valve - is that they like to have control over everything to do with their intellectual property and the games that they make.

"I don't know if we'd do another situation where we'd be doing one of the platforms and they'd be doing the other platform.

"But it very well could be that the PS3 is coming of age enough so that they would develop on it. I don't know that, but I think gamers can take it that where there are substantial platforms, Valve is certainly going to be on those platforms."

The 'unhelpful' statements DeMartini alludes to include Valve boss Gabe Newell's assumption that PS3 was "a waste of everybody's time" - something for which he later apologised to owners of the console.