Peter Moore On BioWare: “The Studio Has Done Great!”
BioWare has had a very difficult couple of years. Where once they were a shining example of a company that both made great games and was beloved by their fans, since the beginning of 2011 they’ve made misstep after misstep that has led to their being largely considered a de facto casualty of Electronic Arts’ track record, if not de jure. Let’s run it down, shall we?
Dragon Age 2 was – so I will insist until the day I die – groundbreaking in terms of its story, and departures from the typical Tolkien-esque RPG game, but it launched will a ton of bugs and horrid recycled assets. It is probably the most divisive overall game BioWare has released in recent history and most of what they did will probably not reappear in DA3.
Star Wars: The Old Republic. No, it’s not a flop but EA is not thrilled with its performance. And what can you say except that it’s probably not going to last long past the transition to free to play.
Finally, Mass Effect 3. While 90% of the game is brilliant, the incredibly botched ending, and the company’s initial reaction to it, is most assuredly the moment the bloom fell off the rose.
So how does EA feel about the company they are probably going to dismantle within 5 years?* In an interview with Eurogamer, comments of support from Peter Moore are interesting. Eurogamer presents his comments as giving the company a vote of confidence, but a careful reading suggests perhaps something else. When asked about the developer’s trials over the last 18 months, Moore said this:
You say the last 12-18 months, I think of three things: I think of Star Wars: The Old Republic, I think of what Mass Effect 3 has done and all of the offshoots we’ve done of that, and then a little bit further back Dragon Age. So from that perspective I think the studio has done great.
It’s true that Mass Effect sold well. EA claims it’s generated $200 million, and Moore is positive about the controversy. “It’s been interesting with the whole ending thing,” Moore said. “It’s a fascinating debate. More power to gamers. They have the outlets now. I always say, people are passionate about movies, people really like music, people are into their TV shows. Nobody in entertainment has more passion and a bigger megaphone than gamers. And to their credit they put their hands up. A lot of them said, we’re not sure about this ending in Mass Effect 3. So the team at BioWare, again, to their credit, said, all right, we’re going to stop a few things right now, the team’s going to go back and provide some DLC, no charge, to provide more context around what went on there.”
Of course, EA is pleased by the money and willing to stand by BioWare’s decision. But his comments lack anything specifically thrilled. He is largely insisting things are good despite the bad times, which isn’t the same thing. For now, at least, all seems well but much like unless a politician says “I strongly support [person X] over the [scandal Y]“, you know they’re about to cut them loose, EA continues to send mixed signals on BioWare’s fortunes. Particularly since other EA bigwigs seem to indicate the company cares more about brand success than developer success.
Anyway, what do you think? Let us know in comments.
*Like I always say, if BioWare exists in anything like its current state by 2017, I will be shocked.