Every year at least one video game becomes a punching bag due to its flaws. The games themselves aren’t so much fundamentally broken as they are unpolished or unfinished – some try something new but all are rushed out to meet a deadline and under-resourced to the point that they crash and burn when they come to market.
Notable titles such as “Assassin’s Creed Unity,” “Aliens: Colonial Marines,” “No Man’s Sky,” “Batman: Arkham Knight,” and “Halo: The Master Chief Collection” have suffered the wrath of gamers for their problems in recent years, along with 2017’s “Mass Effect: Andromeda” which went even further – what was supposed to be something of a spin-off/minor reboot of the franchise effectively killed it off in one go.
Since its release, it has been revealed how heavily the game had been compromised in its making. BioWare did offer a few updates and fixes but have ultimately abandoned it and shelved the franchise. The game’s failure doesn’t paint a good picture for Bioware and EA who were both hit by bad PR last year and need next year’s much-hyped tentpole “Anthem” to succeed.
Now Mark Darrah, an exec at BioWare and an executive producer on “Anthem,” has spoken about the failure of ‘Andromeda’ on Twitter and discussed its fizzled launch which was only worsened by coming out against incredibly tough competition:
“I’m going to regret this in half an hour but let’s talk ‘did Mass Effect: Andromeda get a fair shake’. First off, the question was not ‘is Mass Effect: Andromeda secretly a great game and did mean Nintendo make us fail?’. “Mass Effect: Andromeda” is a deeply flawed game. Especially at launch. But the review environment was crowded. “Nier: Automata,” “Nioh,” “Horizon: Zero Dawn,” and “The Legend of Zelda” all launched in Andromeda’s window.
Each does something better than “Mass Effect: Andromeda” (again, a flawed game). As a result, even systems that are pretty decent get scrutinized against superiorly implemented ones. Does launching in a different window turn 72% into 90? Certainly not. 72 into 77/78? Maybe. Does that affect sales? Some.
But word of mouth matters so much these days. And here’s the thing. That’s the nature of the industry. You don’t have full control over when you launch and no control over when others do. “Dragon Age: Inquisition” benefited by how tough a year 2014 turned out to be for games You launch the best game you can. “Mass Effect: Andromeda” has a lot of problems and got lapped by genuinely better games.”
BioWare is going outside their normal style with “Anthem” which offers less RPG and single-player focus, rather opting for something more multiplayer, action-oriented and game-as-a-service style in nature. It is slated to be released in early 2019 and those working on it are obviously hoping it won’t repeat Andromeda’s mistakes.