BioWare boss: not releasing Andromeda DLC was ‘a defining moment’ driving studio to refocus on story

The general manager of BioWare has said that not releasing story DLC for Mass Effect: Andromeda and leaving much-wanted tales untold was “a defining moment in refocusing BioWare’s mission”, which will inform Anthem. Casey Hudson talked up the importance of story and characters in a ‘studio update’ blog post yesterday. Given that I’ve forgotten almost everything I’ve heard of the action-RPG’s story (it’s on a spaceplanet and there are mechs and monsters?), I’ll take some convincing yet.

“As you know, we were not able to deliver story DLC for Andromeda—this was as frustrating for us as it was for players, and it was something we knew we had to solve in future games,” Hudson said, noting that many fans had hoped for DLC exploring what happened to the missing Quarian ark. (That story that will finally be told in a tie-in novel.)

Alas, Andromeda’s singleplayer only received much-needed fixes after launch, with the big additions coming to multiplayer. Those continued even after EA effectively shut down BioWare Montreal, the spin-off studio behind Andromeda, by merging it into another studio. That was final: no singleplayer DLC for Andromeda.

Hudson continued:

“That experience ultimately became a defining moment in refocusing BioWare’s mission. We need to delight players with new experiences and innovation, but we must stay focused on the importance of the world, character, and storytelling elements that players expect from our games. And our games must be designed to continue delivering new stories and experiences, in an ongoing relationship with players in the worlds we’re evolving together.

“It’s in that spirit that we are working through production on Anthem–a game designed to create a whole new world of story and character that you can experience with friends in an ongoing series of adventures. It will be unlike anything you’ve played, but if we do it right, it will feel very distinctly BioWare.”

The statement is a bit weird given that the “defining moment” was almost certainly down to EA deciding that funding Andromeda DLC wasn’t a worthwhile investment – a threat that could hang over Anthem too. But hey, there’s still a lesson in getting it right the first time, and in not leaving too much hanging for hypothetical post-launch additions. EA and BioWare are saying comforting things about Anthem, between this and chat about not repeating loot box mistakes, though talk is of course cheap.

Anthem still is a bit of a mystery, seen largely in one of those there staged E3 demos, and neither its story nor any characters stuck in my memory. It has sci-fi stuff and shooting, yeah? E3 is coming back round in June so I’m sure EA are preparing to blab more. The game is due to launch in 2019 by the end of March.

86 Comments

  1. peterako1989 says:

    Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t realise story wasn’t bioware’s suit. I thought it was.

  2. Squermit says:

    Those statements say almost nothing of substance. The only notable phrase is “you can experience with friends in an ongoing series of adventures” which I read as “you can experience in our microtransaction-laden live services Destiny clone”. No thanks.

    • Hoot says:

      Call me cynical, but everytime anyone says “it’s unlike anything you’ve played before” and they aren’t Yoko Taro, I know they are lying through their back teeth immediately.

      Anthem will be a third person Destiny rip off with a forgettable story about gruff “space marines” and no doubt the obligatory BioWare focus on shoehorning in as many fringe components of society in a 10 man cast of characters as possible.

      Nah. BioWare lost me at Andromeda (and were losing me well before that). So glad they gave me a free trial of that game though.

      • Ootmians says:

        Exactly. “Unlike anything you’ve played before” = Destiny clone, loot crates, endless grinding, treadmill of “good” gear that goes obsolete after each patch, annual “expansions” that cost almost as much as the base game…. Am I missing anything?

      • woodsey says:

        Tell me about it.

        Men, women, straights, AND gays? It’s so unrealistic.

        • durrbluh says:

          Ironically, it wasn’t revealed until years later that Hoot was a pansexual genderfluid person that was being terribly misunderstood by those around them.

        • Hoot says:

          It’s interesting that you read it that way but that was not what I said at all. Also, you don’t know me so…maybe take your flame somewhere else?

          I don’t care about the sexuality of game characters. I care about the quality of writing, and in the last few BioWare games these characters I’m talking about have been little more than SJW inserts.

          Why can’t a character be a strong character and just happen to be gay/straight/alien/trans/other? Why does it have to be the first thing they mention and the only facet to their character? This is why I said “shoehorned” in. These characters were only there to push an agenda. Not to enrich the story.

          You neo-Marxist Leftist’s really need to get educated.

          And stop being rude.

          EDIT :- This comment is meant to go at the bottom of this section. Strange that RPS hold the above post “for moderation” but a cretin screaming “Get fucked, homophobe!” can just post that shit wherever he wants, despite it being incredibly rude and incidentally, entirely off the mark.

          • leontios says:

            The irony is the message you see hovering above you when you are typing your comment… “We love having a friendly, positive and constructive community” So “get fucked homophobe” is ok, but a structured and might i add poignant explanation of a point needs to be moderated and double checked in case it triggers someone and makes him/her feel “unsafe”. RPS ,, you know this bandwagon you have jumped on these past few years? Perhaps its time to reevaluate whether you are gaming site or something else entirely. Cause you might find yourself one day looking at the back of said imaginary wagon and finding that the rest of us (and yes us neutral, balanced agenda free people interested wanting to read about games and interact freely with others while voicing our honest opinions about said games are in fact the majority) have jumped off a long while back.

          • vand says:

            “neo-Marxist Leftists” lol, yep, it’s a Nazi.

          • Hoot says:

            Nazi? Because I don’t agree with the agenda of the extreme left I’m automatically a Nazi? I know this is the internet. I know reasoned debate is a rare thing. But come on, man, really? That’s all you have to say?

            “lol yep, he’s a Nazi!”

            Wow. Just…wow. Have you so little respect for history and the people involved in that time period that you can just think it’s perfectly fine to throw around words with such connotations?

            Clearly you do, and clearly your schooling has failed you.

          • Coming Second says:

            And yet you have no trouble hurling around phrases like ‘neo-Marxist Leftist’s’ and ‘extreme left agenda’. Heaven forbid someone hyperbolically label YOUR internet opinions, though! They’re just common sense!

            In fairness, I’d fucking love EA to have an extreme left agenda. Maybe they’d stop aggressively pushing micro-transactions into every facet of their games, allow their staff to unionise, put an end to crunching, and release their games when they’re ready, rather than as fast as possible, driving studios into the ground. For now though, them allowing their writers to slip a few homosexual characters into their games is probably not the worst of their crimes.

          • Hoot says:

            Again you miss the point and completely fail to address either the original reasoning I posted or the inflammatory actions of others on this comment thread.

            I’m not talking about EA. I’m talking about individuals within the development teams at BioWare.

            To quote myself:

            “Why can’t a character be a strong character and just happen to be gay/straight/alien/trans/other? Why does it have to be the first thing they mention and the only facet to their character?”

          • vand says:

            No one is responding to your points because they are clearly not made in good faith. You’re not trying to have a constructive debate. You dismissed points made against you by calling people uneducated and literally in the next sentence you cry that people are talking down to you. How dumb do you think we are? From the very outset you were not debating anything, but making a thinly veiled and cringey obvious attempt to normalize your morally degenerate opinion. This is why no one is engaging with your points, the RPS comments section shouldn’t, imo, be a platform for your frankly embarassing opinions.

          • Coming Second says:

            Your point is meaningless, which is why commenters take issue with your tone and pathetic insinuations instead. Bioware have produced many non gruff, heterosexual, white male characters for whom their difference is not the main thrust of their personality or story. Off the top of my head, if you play as guy Shepard in ME3 you probably never even realise your funny Indian-British assistant is a lesbian, it simply never comes up.

            Even if we accept that your sensitivity to this is such you feel some characters were too in your face with their sexuality or whatever – So? Is that so unrealistic? Why do you get to judge to what extent a person’s race, gender or sexuality determines their identity? From what I’ve seen, modern Bioware games have NPCs who differ widely in terms of how their various traits define them. It’s almost a bit like real life.

          • Hoot says:

            Wow. You guys are just too much. Go re-read what you just wrote. I am comfortable with who I am and what I said. I’m not crying about anything. Thankfully at least one person got it.

            I’m not in the slightest a homophobe or a bigot. I made a point. A point about shallow characters that pushed an agenda shoehorned into games I like by people with that same agenda. It’s AMAZING that you read the things you do into my words that just…aren’t there.

            You resorted to personal insults and attacks. I responded by calling ONE GUY uneducated, because he demonstrated that he was by screaming “get fucked!”.

            The only morally degenerate people here are you two. Vand with his Nazi comment then thinly veiled backtrack and Coming Second with his passive aggressive finger wagging. You’re both beyond pathetic. I can say this now because hey, shots fired. I’m done with this thread and you two. If both of you were in Crusader Kings 2, your traits would be “craven” “naive appeaser” and “imbecile”.

            “How dumb do you think we are?” Very dumb. I can draw no other conclusion when your opening comment is “lol, a nazi! parp!”.

            Fucking drongo.

          • ludde says:

            You neo-Marxist Leftist’s

            This line really punctuates the idiocy in the rest of your posts.

      • Coming Second says:

        I was with you until the ‘fringe’ comment. Bioware games didn’t stop being worthwhile investments because they started putting a few gay people into them.

      • Solidstate89 says:

        Lol “fringe components.” Get fucked you homophobe.

        • Kittim says:

          Pfft,
          Wah! Wah! Someone expressed a heterosexual viewpoint and suggested “fringe” behaviour was not something they enjoyed.

          Grow the fuck up. There’s nothing wrong with having an opinion that a certain behaviour is disgusting. I’m not going to victimise a lesbian because she hates the sight of a dick and gags at the thought of penetration.

          You’re either 12 or old enough to know better.

  3. MadMaxHellfire says:

    And nothing of value was lost.

  4. Xelos says:

    This post is so densely packed with corporate fluff that I’m not convinced it contains any actual information. If this is something they decided to share publicly I don’t think there is any soul left in that company.

    • RobinOttens says:

      Yeah…

      I’d love to believe Bioware can get back to being one of the top rpg/story focused games studios in the business.

      But with story dlc getting cut in favour of multiplayer dlc on their last game. And what we’ve seen of Anthem looking horribly uninspired and forgettable (honestly I already forgot the game’s name while typing this comment, had to scroll up to see what the game was called again xD). I will believe it when I see it.

      This corporate sounding press release doesn’t help.

      Please Casey Hudson, don’t disappoint. You did so well before.

  5. Premium User Badge

    jimmya28 says:

    It might be an idea for BioWare’s General Manager to start talking in human language then, rather than corporate babble

  6. kud13 says:

    Gimme a shout when you’re back to making single-player games, Bioware.

    In the meantime, I’ll get my RPG fix from Paradox and Focus Home (the publishers), while waiting for Cyberpunk.

  7. bacon seeker says:

    Focus on story by making a Destiny clone? That doesn’t really make sense to me. Granted I haven’t really enjoyed their modern games other than Dragon Age 1 and 2, but I would still prefer for them to contribute to the wave of amazing western rigs that have been coming out lately

  8. vorador says:

    “a defining moment in refocusing BioWare’s mission”

    Next time i get yelled at for messing up something, i will say it was a defining moment in refocusing my professional efforts in my company’s mission.

    • Someoldguy says:

      A definite candidate for top comment right there ^

      BioWare can waffle all they want. Unless they produce a game without a publisher they’re on the hook for doing what they’re told. What they were told to do, alongside how they chose to do it, killed a great franchise.

      To rework the old adage about “fast, cheap, good – pick two” I think BioWare & their publisher need to consider their paradigm to be “good singleplayer, good multiplayer, affordable – pick one or two if you get lucky”. Right now Anthem seems to be an Arpg that is striving for good multiplayer, so I don’t have any expectation that it will have decent single player story. The first thing Arpgs did when they became an identifiable genre was ditch most of the storytelling.

  9. I Got Pineapples says:

    Bioware’s problem is that their actual strength was being the only ones apart from Bethesda releasing WRPG’s of any substantial production values. The moment that changed the shine was always going to come off them.

  10. Mr. Robot says:

    It seems pretty obvious that this is going to be a numbers-treadmill kind of game. The entire reason publishers like these games is because they’re perfectly suited to microtransactions (lots of grinding means lots of opportunities to pay to skip the grind).

    In other words, I don’t believe them. This will be packed with microtransactions (if not at launch, then shortly after). And it will probably be done in the most cack-handed way possible, because that’s simply what EA’s bloated, inefficient management structure always leads to.

  11. Ootmians says:

    A defining moment, to be sure, but not in a positive way. More like a milestone in the continued decline of a once-great studio. That said, I won’t mourn the lack of an endless stream of expensive DLC. Oh, for the time when DLC was an optional, fun surprise rather than obligatory cash farming that’s necessary to get full value from a game.

  12. Nelyeth says:

    Is today “let’s hype Anthem as much as we humanly can and hope they don’t notice it’s all wind”-day? First the speech about how much EA learnt from the lootbox backlash (hint: not what we’d like), and now this “we can make great stories even though we haven’t for more than a decade” shtick from Bioware.

    Eh. Preorder, shmreorder.

  13. BooleanBob says:

    I’m not sure it matters how important the story is if you’re going to be grinding it day in, day out in search of the One True Drop. I kind of expect people will just be skipping the cutscenes after the first run anyway?

  14. mitrovarr says:

    I get the feeling that EA is starting to tire of wearing the hollowed-out remains of Bioware, and this might be the last game they make before throwing the worn-out skin-suit on the pile.

    The talent is gone and has been for a while, so who really cares at this point. I’ll miss what they were, but they’ve been dead for a while, and there’s no point in mourning the remains when they are finally allowed to stop moving.

    • DarkFenix says:

      The real question is which studio is EA going to devour next? They’ve all but finished picking this carcass clean, so it must be time for them to find another.

    • Hoot says:

      It’s what EA do, mate. And what they have always done.

      They are the “Galactus” of the gaming world. Sweeping through the industry and devouring everything in their path, leaving nothing but ruin in their wake.

      Well, ruin and yearly franchises that they sell year in, year out to people who don’t seem to want any different.

      Shame the rest of us have to take the hit on it.

      • Jernau Gurgeh says:

        Hmmm… maybe EA are actually Vogons. Let’s just hope that they don’t start publishing poetry.

  15. Jokerme says:

    I’m pretty sure that means they won’t focus on stories or characters anymore. They’ll just create open ended bare-bones characters and stories to supplement the multiplayer focus. There, now you know.

  16. Chaoslord AJ says:

    Good I had enough of that unredeemable game/company already.
    I shrugged at watching ME3’s ending misery.
    I even enjoyed Inquisition grind two times through with all DLC while many hated it outright but it’s a fricking masterpiece compared to space orks vs grinning chosen one in comparison.
    If they ditched the ME franchise and came up with something similar spacy elsewhere and having to actually put creativity in it and win over new fans we might get somewhere.
    Something like “The Expanse” or “The Culture” of Banks or “Altered Carbon”.

    • Jernau Gurgeh says:

      +1000000000 for anything like any of those. In fact, someone really needs to secure the rights to The Culture and do it justice in a series of games and/or films before I die, or else I’ll scream and scream until I’m sick so there.

      • SheepOFDOOM says:

        Quasi-RPS related “The signal from Tolva” is low-key a Culture game. It’s not what you had in mind, I’m sure. But it’s set in a society where you could easily be working of the periphery of The Culture, right down to larger “minds” debating the threads of information you’re digging up. It’s really well done fanfic at least.

  17. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    Andromeda got better after the first half or so. If you liked the first three, and you see it going cheap, maybe give it a go.

    • Jokerme says:

      Do they replace all the teammates and change the writing team?

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      Yeah, it has problems, but also a lot of good stuff. Worth playing if you can look past the rough edges.

      Good: exploration, atmosphere, combat, some fun characters, larger side missions (loyalty, crew-related and story significant stuff)

      Bad: sparsely interactable world, repetitive filler tasks, uneven animation quality, weak central villain and overall story-arc.

      • Premium User Badge

        Ninja Dodo says:

        Also it’s worth noting that the magical fix-a-planet-in-a-day technology of the Remnant, aside from feeling like a retread of the Protheans, kind of undermines the premise of being stranded in a strange new place and having to survive as best you can with whatever you brought and whatever else you can find. If you can just press a button to perfectly terraform your environment, how hard can it be, really?

        It’s a shame cause there’s a lot to like in the game, but it’s hard to not wonder what could’ve been.

    • Jernau Gurgeh says:

      Yes, I have to say that I enjoyed my time in Andromeda, even though it was quite patchy in places, and don’t regret shelling out the £13 that I did for a key code for it from one of those questionable Russian online emporiums. Mind, I played it long after the patches had sorted out most of the hilarious technical issues that YouTubers amused me with. And I sincerely doubt that I will ever play it again.

    • Oasx says:

      I think Andromeda gets a bad rep because people haven’t realized how badly the early games have aged. Take Mass Effect 2, the gameplay is sluggish and limited, and there isn’t actually much of a story, 75% of the game is recruiting people for a few missions.

      Andromeda is definitely weak when it comes to the story, but no weaker than the early games I would argue, and in terms of gameplay it is the best in the series.

      • Premium User Badge

        Ninja Dodo says:

        Even the Collectors, arguably the weakest of the original ME villains, still had a mystery and a menace about them. The Kett are just evil evil space orcs who do monstrous genetic experiments because reasons. The only vaguely interesting thing about them is their cultish religion and the hints of infighting but it’s not elaborated on much. Also they’re kind of all a visual mush which compared to the hugely distinct Reaper forces is a bit underwhelming.

        I played ME1-3 for the first time very late and replayed them shortly after and I think aside from the mechanics of ME1 (floaty combat, micro-managing equipment) and occasional arbitrariness of the Paragon/Renegade dichotomy which can’t quite decide whether it wants to be black & white or grey, they’ve aged quite well, all things considered.

    • Uninteresting Curse File Implement says:

      Mass Effect Andromeda had many things going for it, and playing through it [after a ton of patches] was way more fun and satifying to me than 3. My brain must be defective or something.

  18. Seyda Neen says:

    You all seem incredibly convinced that you know exactly what Anthem is based on a 10 minute fluffy trailer from a year ago, with no information since then. I’m not saying it’ll be good, or that this press release is encouraging, but damn, people who play games can be real smug cynics, like everything must be defined and judged before it’s even close to seeing the light of day. Can’t we just chill and wait to slap the “mediocre” sticker on the box until we actually know anything about it?

    • Mr. Robot says:

      Publishers are risk-averse companies that are endlessly chasing whatever the current money-making trend is. We all know that – the pattern of behaviour is pretty obvious. It’s not hard or unreasonable to draw conclusions based on that.

      • mitrovarr says:

        Some trends are incredibly bad ideas to chase, though. Look how well the hero shooter trend worked out for literally everyone but Blizzard. Multiplayer games gain momentum on the size of their playerbase and people usually only want to play one at a time, so once one company is in a dominant position it’s nearly impossible to break into the market

        Anthem stands a very good chance of being the Lawbreakers to Destiny 2’s Overwatch.

        • DarkFenix says:

          Uh, ever heard of Team Fortress 2?

          • mitrovarr says:

            Yeah, and TF2’s multiplayer success suppressed that market for ages until Overwatch finally broke through.

            To finally dethrone TF2 it took years of mild neglect from Valve and an extremely strong competitor. Anthem would be taking on Destiny 2 when it will probably still be pretty strong and is unlikely to be even equivalent to it, much less better. Bioware just doesn’t have the talent in that area. EA will also insist on forcing in a lot of bad stuff like microtransactions, lootboxes, etc. that will make the game worse. They’ll probably even be worse about those than Destiny 2 is (and it’s already really bad).

    • kud13 says:

      I know it has Multi-player focus. I know that, because they said so in the E3 presentation.

      Multiplayer = 0 interest for me.

    • Rindan says:

      No one is going to be upset if you come back and smugly declare “I told you so” when it is awesome. People are just being realistic. It’s an online third person sci-fi game with guns. Bioware has been gutted of talent and shackled by EA, a company that has murdered a hilarious number of once iconic game studios.

      Now maybe Bioware is going to just blow us all out of the fucking water with their stunning creativity and invent and whole new genera of games. Perhaps after Anthem, MPRPG will be a new term we all recognize as multi player role playing game. Perhaps this new genera will have all the qualities of a story and character driven RPG, but somehow seamlessly integrate a meaningful multiplayer component that actually enhances the story, rather than shits all over it. After Anthem, perhaps a golden age of meaningful online role playing experiences, not mindless grind fests, will explode and blow us all away. And we will look back and remember Anthem as a game that ushered in a golden age to a genera, and go down in history with the likes of Half-Life, Doom, Quake, StarCraft, EverQuest, World of Warcraft, Myst, Zork, and other such great classics.

      Or maybe they are going to make a shitty Destiny clone and are currently scrambling to add some more cut scenes in between the space grind.

      One of those two.

      • Seyda Neen says:

        *shrug* Whatever. I didn’t like the trailer, same as everyone, but I genuinely hope that by 2019 they’ll have managed to make something interesting. We’ll see.

  19. Wormerine says:

    It’s painful to realise that a company that once held a “must buy” status, nowadays is a complete opposite. I didn’t enjoy a Bioware game in quite a few years and from what I hear the last couple releases were the weakest yet. Here’s hoping for some glorious rebirth, but I am more and more worried that Bioware will soon disappear like so many previously great studios under EA’s banner.

  20. tslog says:

    My God, we’re “evolving together” everyone ! Gross.

    Not one of Biowares serious decline Issues was seriously addressed by Hudson in a believable way, but instead of honest appraisal we get meaningless shared growth filth.

    Hudson talks as though Bioware don’t belong to EA, Who are one of the worst gaming companies in existence.

    • Jernau Gurgeh says:

      WARNING: POORLY CONTRIVED REFERENCE TO HG WELL’s THE TIME MACHINE FOLLOWS…

      Games publishers like EA seem to be evolving into Morlocks. Unfortunately, many of their customers are adopting the role of simple fat lazy unquestioning Eloi.

      We’re not going to let them take advantage of us though, are we Weena? Meet you at the communal dining area before nightfall to discuss our plan over a nice bowl of fattening fruit.

  21. Werthead says:

    What BioWare was great at was the focused, semi-linear RPG experience lasting between 20 and 30 hours. Only once did they do something more than that and have it pay off – Baldur’s Gate II – but otherwise all of their greatest hits have been in that area. Trying to move outside that and doing something else is great, like they did with Dragon Age: Inquisition, but not when you still get dragged back into that mindset (so DA:I was a potentially great 20-30 hour linear RPG hiding inside 50+ hours of side-quest filler).

    Why EA insist on making BioWare do stuff that is outside their comfort zone is beyond me. Some companies can be stretched and made to do very different things and they do it surprisingly well, like Obsidian and CDPR, but BioWare don’t have that flexibility. When it became clear what the issues were with DA:I and ME:A, they should have looked at going back to basis and doing the kind of game that made BioWare great in the first place. Doing Destiny with jetpacks seems a really bizarre alternative tack to take.

  22. Imperialist says:

    What irks me is that, despite Andromeda’s issues being blown wildly out of proportion (tbh, ME2 “the best in the series” has no better writing than ME:A), those who did play and enjoy (and defend) it get shafted. Dragon Age: Inquisition was worse than ME:A in every way, and had the same technical issues (all the characters were as emotive as a plank, bugs, oh, and ATROCIOUS writing) and it got through mostly unscathed.
    I mean, every Bioware game hits the same exact story beats, a template that they have been unwaveringly loyal to since Neverwinter Nights…yet ME:A tried to at least be a tiny bit divergent and it got railroaded by some leaked videos and mob-mentality outrage.
    Meh.

    • Xelos says:

      We must remember Inquisition differently, because even though I dislike many things about that game, your companions were some of the most memorable characters in any game I’ve played. Iron Bull, Varrik, Vivienne, Blackwell, Cassandra were all beautifully multilayered with interesting, nuanced interactions. Well, the banter system is a bit broken, so to hear all dialogues you had to play for a looong time, but they are objectively well written.

      • malkav11 says:

        Also, not use mounts, which disable banter entirely. Which is an easy thing to avoid since they’re like 0.05% faster than just walking, but this apparently hasn’t been obvious to a lot of people who played Inquisition.

    • Droniac says:

      The bulk of the shit leveled at Mass Effect: Andromeda comes from people who seem to only like very specific kinds of storytelling and can’t accept any other. There seems to be a very distinct correlation between unreasonable ME:A haters and ME2 fans.

      This makes sense. ME2 is a very character-driven game that almost exclusively focuses on these (irrelevant) character-driven sub-plots. As a consequence it doesn’t offer much in the way of a plot, world-building, lore, etc.

      ME1 & ME:A do the opposite. They focus on crafting a plot that everything else – characters included – ties into, while offering lots of world-building and lore. This comes at the expense of substantial characters with their own self-contained sub-plots. Now add on the fact that ME:A contains roughly 4x more content than ME2, and therefore 4x more “shit” content as well.

      The result is (mostly) ME2 fanboys decrying “shit writing” of a game that in many (to them irrelevant) respects actually does storytelling a lot better than their favorite. They do this by pointing at the high volume of “shit” dialogue and characters, without realizing that in relative terms ME2 actually fares no better in that department at all.

      That’s not to say ME:A is some masterpiece of writing. It isn’t. And Addison (among others) is still an exceptionally poorly written character. But Andromeda as a whole is not nearly as bad as its often made out to be if you can appreciate something more than purely character-driven storytelling. It also does the ending thing better than any other Mass Effect game, 2 included.

      • brucethemoose says:

        +1.

        Still, I think good character building is a pretty fundamental part of telling good stories. You’re right, it’s not everything and got way over-emphasized (even from the perspective of someone biased towards it like me), but it’s not something you can just overlook either.

    • brucethemoose says:

      The animation memes/YT rants and other bad launch-day bugs are what killed Andromeda sales, not the writing. If they gave the game another month, or even another week, in the oven, we’d have our DLC.

  23. teamcharlie says:

    Suggestion: keep all current articles repeating EA’s PR statements as is, but add the words ‘Definitely bullshit: ‘ to the beginning of their headlines.

    Example: “Definitely bullshit: EA exec says they won’t repeat loot box mistakes.’
    Or “Definitely bullshit: Bioware boss: not releasing Andromeda DLC was ‘a defining moment’ driving studio to refocus on story”

  24. RayEllis says:

    Well, I suppose Hudson at least didn’t bang on about “Artistic Integrity” this time around.

    Bioware is basically the gaming studio equivalent of the Pod People from “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. They look the same, they talk the same and they promise the same as the original Bioware. However, they are just a souless, dead doppleganger of their former selves. It’s just sad, really.

    • Hoot says:

      If Ray Muzyka walked back through the front doors of BioWare would everyone just stop and point at him, screaming, Donald Sutherland style?

      I think they would.

  25. JasonofArgo says:

    “And our games must be designed to continue delivering new stories and experiences, in an ongoing relationship with players in the worlds we’re evolving together.”

    Yes, and this “ongoing relationship” is why they abandoned a doomed project and let a cherished IP fall into the dust bin of history while EA forced all of their resources onto this brand new project that totally isn’t chasing the already long-gone success of Destiny. I’m glad they think that ripping out all the things that worked under the hood while keeping the same label was such a “defining moment” for them.

    It’s good to know Bioware’s future is in good hands.

  26. DodoSandvich says:

    Bioware dying aside, why are so many people hating on multiplayer games?
    If done right, such as Borderlands, it can work out well and have good storytelling. Even playing solo.
    I guess that game doesn’t have significant player choices, which is harder to implement when the writer has to account for variable player count that may go in different directions.

    • malkav11 says:

      I like a lot of things about Borderlands, but I don’t think it’s a good example of a multiplayer game that’s solo-friendly. Having at least one other human player on hand to rez, provide fire support, and autoshare ammo and cash pickups makes an enormous difference to how enjoyable the game is to play. I think it’s actively unpleasant as a solo experience.

  27. hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

    What’s that Bioware, you’re sad that you didn’t get to tell the stories you wanted because the poor sales meant you didn’t get to make DLC? Maybe you should have put all the game content in the game and made the game you wanted instead of chopping it into bits and drip-feeding DLC to everyone. It’s almost like that would make a better game which would sell well.

    • Jernau Gurgeh says:

      +1

      Unless your DLC is an optional but fully-fledged and self-contained expansion (though not necessarily standalone), you can stick your horse armour where the sun doesn’t shine.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      That’s not how budgets work, dude.

      • Ieolus says:

        Are you saying they couldn’t have put in less ‘filler’ content to make room for the DLC stories they really wanted to tell (er, sell)?

        • Premium User Badge

          Ninja Dodo says:

          The thing with filler content is that it’s easy and fast to make, the thing with cool story DLC is it’s not.

  28. Zombiwan Kenobi says:

    No wonder some players are kind of bored of all of this poor design. They’ve been designing their games just like MMORPGs for years now – greedy companies that have chosen easy profit (did it even work?) over quality and originality.

    Ubisoft is leading the way with its well polished but repetitive, dull and boring as hell games. What a waste of talent. I wish The Witcher could have changed a thing about all of that but obviously the people who really lead this companies don’t have a clue about a game is about and keep spamming the yet dated and souless MMORPG playstyle.

  29. FordTruck says:

    Thank god for indie games even though they aren’t graphically orgasmic, little games like kynseed have so much ambition that it adds plenty of excitement for RPG/life simulation/management type of games

    • Sunjammer says:

      Hear hear. Watching the games press gush all over the new God of War while rarely if ever mentioning the fact that the game essentially *is* money just smeared all over it is incredibly frustrating. It’s a safe-as-safe-can-be game that still manages to be “so impressive” because the money and time existed to make it.

      Anthem looks much the same to me. They roll out some ultra expensive looking trailer and all I think is “this game is going to have fuck all systems in it”. No studio would spend that much money on a game’s presentation and risk it with innovative game design.

      I feel like people’s love for Bioware’s storytelling is out of whack with reality. Baldurs Gate 2 was an incredible, amazing game, but beyond that, what have they really done that has stood out or stood the test of time? Mass Effect seems weirdly beloved too for something that dropped the ball as systematically hard as it did: The most interesting part of its story was a fan theory.

      As far as I’m concerned the Bioware brand has no value. They have to work extremely hard for me to care at all about their work anymore.

    • bacon seeker says:

      Indie games and independent publishers generally are what make me optimistic about this industry… even if the likes of Arkane Studios, Eidos Montreal, or Firaxis get put down or compromised by their owners in a similar way, there should still be opportunities for their staff to make great games elsewhere

  30. MaxMcG says:

    “As you know, we were not able to deliver [loot boxes] for Andromeda— this was as frustrating for us as it was for [our shareholders], and it was something we knew we had to solve in future games,”

    Fixed that for you, Mr. Hudson. He continued:

    “That experience ultimately became a defining moment in refocusing BioWare’s mission. We need to [exploit] players with new [micro-transaction] and [loot boxes], but we must stay focused on the importance of the world, character, and [revenue] elements that players expect from our games. And our games must be designed to continue delivering new [revenue streams] and experiences, in an ongoing [exploitation of] players in the worlds we’re evolving together.

    “It’s in that spirit that we are working through production on Anthem –a [always online casino] designed to create a whole new world of [loot boxes and exploitation] that you can experience with friends in an ongoing series of adventures. It will be unlike anything you’ve played, but if we do it right, it will feel very distinctly [profitable].”

  31. Chaoslord AJ says:

    “Exploring a foreign planet” done properly is shown
    in Xenoblade 2.
    Plot: the last survivors of humanity crashland with most of the sleeper modules lost on the planet (plot twist later). You’re a rookie on one of many teams and rise by merits not by being the chosen one.
    Note: one planet, multiple biomes. Neutral and hostile Fauna as large as Brachiosaurus. 99% of which one-shot you in the beginning. The landscape looks like a world – unlike a gaming parcour. You could even navigate it without the map by the spectacular landmarks.
    Later you get flying mechs which is the best feature here. That and limb cutting.

    • Diziet Sma says:

      .. and before it Xenoblade Chronicles X on the Wii U, which was an utter masterpiece once I found a rhythm in it and got the afforementioned flying mechs.