Welcome to my weekly series of The Weekend Rambler, a series where I rant on topical subjects that are in the news or being talked about. Today’s article is about my concerns with Anthem. Anthem was revealed fully by EA and Bioware at E3 2017 and honestly, first reactions were, “damn that looks pretty good”. Anthem seemed to have grabbed peoples attention after the poor reception of Mass Effect Andromeda and we were excited for Anthem.
As everyone knows in the industry, EA over the years has pulled moves that gamers have disliked a lot. Despite the negative opinion of EA, I felt that sometimes they could deliver a decent experience. The Battlefield series was a first-person shooter that to me was unbeatable by any war game, the freedom to wage battle the way you want whether it be tanks or aeroplanes was just brilliant, each battle different from the last. Mass Effect Trilogy had gamers from all over the world absolutely gripped into this unbelievable world that Bioware had created, even striking emotions from many during the powerful choice defining decisions that sometimes led to our favourite members of the crew dying. The Sims, an old series that expanded more and more each year and still pulls in quite an audience today. What happened though? I’m no stranger to EA’s past mistakes, Simcity always being online sadly killed the series and when they tried to salvage it, it was too late. Releasing a new FIFA game every year with little changes here and there and raking in cash on the controversial ultimate team game mode (we’ll get into gambling in games another time). Buying out Facebook game developers and then just shutting their games down, a move that upset many. Though despite these issues in the past, they could still deliver stunning games at times.
Fast forward to 2018, EA can barely put a title out without disappointing almost everyone. The Battlefield series now a former shell of itself. With only two years development Battlefield V launched empty and lifeless, maps with no soul, gameplay with no hook, it was poor, to say the least for a Battlefield game, it truly felt like a cash in rather than something for its fan base, and with Battlefield One being absolutely stunning, it was a real shame. Mass Effect Andromeda released and was a buggy mess at launch and sadly controversies overshadowed its positive points. The Sims 4, personally I do love this game, but you can tell that The Sims 4 really did take a step back in most of its most loved features, even with expansions, The Sims 2 and 3 still feel more wholesome than 4. Despite Star Wars Battlefront 2 being really quite good now due to a dedicated team at DICE, it still launched with terrible controversies and again felt like an empty game. Don’t get me wrong here, I will not blame the developers at all for this they put there heart and soul into games and to me, they are the inspirational people and it’s sad that EA has had such an effect on them. I feel that this publisher EA are to blame for these issues, rather than impressing the player it seems that it’s the shareholders that are in mind during these moves and to a point, I get how a big company like EA needs to impress the shareholders I still have sympathy for at least most of the people at EA who don’t make these decisions. If they took an example from other publishers who do realise that it has to be about the players and what they want as well as keeping afloat, I think EA might actually recover. But with moves like killing well-known development teams off like Visceral and Maxis, cancelling Star Wars games left right and centre, I don’t have faith right now.
How can EA keep this up? Like mentioned earlier at least there were EA games that were still huge hits but now they can’t even deliver a game without the audience being widely disappointed. EA need to go back and start thinking about what we want, finding a balance between impressing shareholders and impressing players.
Anthem, from what it looks like holds promise, from what we saw it looked like a good old Bioware game with some pretty fun features, but I won’t buy it, not yet. EA lately have stripped so many good games of content, there always seems to be some sort of question like, but what is it missing? What’s wrong with it? That is the question looming over each release of late. I cannot trust Anthem, I’m sure Bioware has made a solid effort on the game but sadly I just cannot shake the feeling of, so what has EA kept from release this time, or how are they going to bleed money from this title like the rest?
So what do you think of EA’s recent practises? Am I overreacting perhaps or do you agree?