BioWare- one of the most successful studios in the video game industry with a track-record that speaks for itself. Almost 9 out of 10 games the Canadian studio developed were received well; these include the likes of the Mass Effect and Dragon Age trilogies, and from the previous generation, classics like Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights and Knights of the Old Republic.

And yet all it took was one game, i.e. Mass Effect Andromeda to unleash the fury of the fans and give BioWare a bad name. Lets dig deeper and try to figure out what exactly was the root cause of all this discontent among gamers.

BioWare and Anthem

Most people will answer that question with one word- EA!

And to some extend that is true. EA isn’t the most gamer-friendly publisher. With a history of micro-transactions, paid DLCs and bunch of other anti-consumer practices they have more than earned that tag. Micro-transactions however have been here since forever, both in mobile games and MMOs, though not so much in single-player titles. It’d be fair to say that they aren’t going anywhere either. The question remains though, why has the issue been highlight so much in recent times?

The answer to that takes us back to the disastrous launch of Star Wars Battlefront II, one of EA’s worst nightmares. EA broke many records that day, none of them good, the company’s Reddit post was down-voted to such an extend that it became the most disliked post in Reddit history. The company’s shares also took a hit due to all the drama and in part also due to Battlefront’s disappointing sales. EA was forced to remove all micro-transactions from it, but many of the company’s later games re-integrated them.

So why did people complain about micro-transactions only in Battlefront and not any other EA game? Because you had to grind endlessly for several dozens of hours just to unlock a single hero, and lets not try to calculate the time required to unlock all of them.

Granted micro-transactions suck, but lets face it, a good chunk of the players actually pay for them. That in itself is a good enough reason for publishers to include them. As for myself, if they don’t add to the progression of the game or don’t prevent me from accessing any particular content or equipment, I don’t mind. Cosmetics are not really my thing, and if they are present in a game, it shouldn’t really be an issue. I mean it’s a win-win for everyone- publishers can make games more profitable and gamers can enjoy what they paid for (expect for those already used to m-t).

BioWare and Anthem

Back to BioWare now. I’m pretty confident that Anthem will be a decent game, if not the best BioWare has ever produced. Considering that the bulk of the studio has been focused on it for a while now, I highly doubt that they’ll develop a sub-standard product. Andromeda was the work of rookie developers, but in case of Anthem all the big guns seem to be on-board. Casey Hudson, the creator and lead designer of the Mass Effect trilogy took over as the GM of BioWare Edmonton roughly six months ago, and given his confidence about the project, I expect favorable results.

Furthermore, it’s important to note that BioWare wasn’t acquired by EA recently. That happened more than a decade ago and the studio went on to produce master-pieces like Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age Origins. Yes, the later DA games aren’t the best examples, but regardless, Inquisition still went on to become the GoTY.

Taking all this into mind, I doubt EA will ruin one of BioWare’s biggest project ever by repeating a recent mistake and implement micro-transactions that alter the player experience. As always, opinions are welcome.

Further reading:

PS: In case you are wondering where the cover image is from. It’s a fan-art of Morrigan from Dragon Age.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Yes let us give them our hard earned cash.
    I mean sure, EA is publishing it and they have been sneaky and are opposing the law in Belgium. And sure EA claims to do it’s best but over the years has gotten worse and keeps closing studies.
    And sure. Bioware made Mass Effect Andromeda, a dissapointing follow up to a series that in itself had a dissapointing end where they straight up lied it. And okay, they ruined Dragon Age II and Inquisition looked better by comparison but was fairly dull and easy and uninspired. And yeah, Bioware did make fun of the Mass Effect community when people were complaining about Andromeda.

    But ya know what? Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt! /s

    I hope Bioware and EA go under one day. I have 0 faith in either of them anymore.

  2. I have a medium sized YT channel, and I have been upfront about this exact subject for quite some time. All it took was some large influencers hate for EA, and a few mistakes at just the right time. first of all, Bioware Montreal had an influencer/media closed-door preview of the game which was still being polished and without its day 1 patch. It is never a good idea to show off the game in the way Bioware Montreal did, which was full access to as much as you could see in two hours of post-alpha gameplay. Usually, these kinds of playtests are polished demos or a slice in which things can be controlled. So that was a big mistake because when it was over, there were rumors plenty about the facial features, so it started the hate train way earlier than usual. This particular Bioware studio had never created or released a game on its own. It was always the smaller assisting studio or the one that created DLC’s. I believe that they just tried to incorporate so much into this game that they ran out of time, overwhelmed the studio and couldn’t keep up. With no previous experience creating a start to finish game, they let some things slip through the cracks. That was all it needed to back up the still fresh hate for EA and once some of the larger influencers and media channels got ahold of those mistakes, it was over. Play the game today, without the harsh negativity looming over it and the updates, you will see that it is far from a bad game. As a die-hard Mass Effect fan, I wouldn’t call this a true successor to the Mass Effect franchise, but rather a different viewpoint of events that happened while Shepard was out saving everything. It’s the best combat in any Mass Effect game, it has immense crafting options, tons of space, beautiful open world areas, and memorable characters. While the dialogue isn’t quite on par with the other games, Andromeda is a fun game that did not deserve the level of toxicity it received. There are other games out there that are 10 times worse, but received less hate than Andromeda. I’m excited to see what Bioware can do when you put all of its studios, and all of their talents, into a single game. There will be some tough contenders releasing at the same time, but I believe this will be one of Bioware’s best and even though EA is apart of Bioware. The creators have the final say as to what’s included. I think that Casey Hudson will do what’s right and I think Anthem will blow people away.

    As a side note, I think Andromeda was created with Frostbite test leftovers in the Anthem creation process. Frostbite has never been used for an open world, vertical game. So while testing these different open world scenarios and scenery, the Montreal studio saved that work and build a Mass Effect game out of it. When I went to EA Play I noticed MANY similarities and this is completely speculation on my part, but it makes sense when you think about it. Anyways sorry for the novel, but I still hate to see a perfectly fun game and studio, in ruins because of hate for a company that started for a completely different reason.

  3. It would be a shame for greed and empty suits to kill off the golden goose, the fine franchise that the Mass Effect trilogy exemplifies.

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