EA Thinks Dungeon Keeper Failed By “Innovating Too Much”
Electronic Arts may no longer be considered the worst company in America, but that doesn’t mean it’s catching a break from Dungeon Keeper fans. The mobile remake of Bullfrog’s classic strategy title was overwhelmingly panned by critics, to the point that the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority was lining up with complaints. On the plus side, it’s a great opportunity for EA to look back at its mistakes so it can try to avoid them in the future. Trouble is, apparently one problem was that Dungeon Keeper was too innovative for its own good.
“Dungeon Keeper suffered from a few things,” EA mobile head Frank Gibeau told Game Industry International. “I don’t think we did a particularly good job marketing it or talking to fans about their expectations for what Dungeon Keeper was going to be or ultimately should be. Brands ultimately have a certain amount of permission that you can make changes to, and I think we might have innovated too much or tried some different things that people just weren’t ready for. Or, frankly, were not in tune with what the brand would have allowed us to do.”
Personally, I think I might have said that Dungeon Keeper’s problems have less to do with brand perception and more to do with an inescapable pay-to-play experience, but I suppose Gibeau has provided a more innovative perspective.
Gibeau also added that EA has no plans to shut down Dungeon Keeper mobile, since doing so would be unfair to the fans who are enjoying the game. “When you bring in a group of people to Dungeon Keeper and you serve them, create a live service, a relationship and a connection, you just can’t pull the rug out from under them,” he continued. “That’s just not fair … We have a committed group of people who are playing the game and enjoying it. So our view is going to be that we’ll keep Dungeon Keeper going as long as there’s a committed and connected audience to that game.
“Are we going to sequel it? Probably not … But we don’t want to just shut stuff off and walk away. You can’t do that in a live service environment.”