EA has Merged Mass Effect Studio Bioware Montreal with EA Motive

Darth Rosenberg

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Sniper Team 4 said:
Right there with you. I have 100% on the original trilogy and all its DLC. I was fully planning to do that with Andromeda, but then I heard that there was probably not going to be any single player DLC, and I was pissed. There were some serious cliffhangers, and the Quarian Ark was the one I was looking forward to the most. But now it seems even less than a pipe dream after hearing this.
I really don't think the quarian ark counts as a cliffhanger at all. The game didn't end there, and it didn't even immediately necessarily seem like that was going to be a primary goal in the next one.

Personally, if Andromeda doesn't get a follow-up I'm going to be most miffed with not being able to explore Meridian... That is a horrible tease; standing in what's effectively a new capital city looking up at the distinctly Halo-esque world through the glass, and not being able to head out. I feel ME:A's sci-fi was superior to anything in the trilogy (more Star Trek, I suppose, what with its immense new frontier), all in all, and that setting for me easily trumps the Citadel as far as major hubs go.

Also, I'd have liked to seen how they dealt with Ellen's [surely?] inevitable return. I'm not sure if it'd have had major plot repercussions, but I felt the writing was pretty good for much of the Ryder subplot, and it'd have been nice to see her saved/fixed and turned into an asset for the Initiative.

The Great JT said:
What a pitiful way to go out.
What, making pretty darn good games of the like no one else is[footnote]Character-narrative driven triple-A SP A/RPG sci-fi[/footnote]? We really need far more "pitiful" games, then...

Hawki said:
Course, I haven't played that many BioWare games, but it seems iffy to lay the blame solely at Montreal's feet. Some of it sure, given the hassles of the development process, but it was EA that forced them to use Frostbite, and EA who handed an IP to a studio that had only previously done multiplayer for said IP.
If the Kotaku (or Polygon?) article was mostly legit, then no, it seems very fair to mostly lay the blame at BioWare's feet, given it wasn't forced schedules or forced MP components that led to all the trouble; it was a fundamental lack of direction and focus that saw the entire project shift conceptually, during production.

Being able to change course mid-stream in an indie game's one thing, but starting a triple-A production cycle and still going through the biggest questions of 'what are we truly trying to make' - as the game systems and mechanics and assets are already well under way - is tantamount to developmental suicide. Going from the behind the scenes insights and anecdotes, EA had absolutely bugger all to do with any of that.

As for Frostbite? Sarcasm Mode Activated: Yeah, sucks to have gorgeous looking games... (DA:I and ME:A can look absolutely stunning) It caused some major issues, sure, but it also seems poor communication between teams compounded those, and again, that's BioWare's lookout, not EA's.

I was generally fine with ME3's original end, but that's a flashpoint for 'fans' and dogpile whiners - and that was all on BioWare. Dragon Age II's insanely fast-tracked production? That was on EA.

For me the only real glaring issue ME:A had was the day1 quality. I wasn't affected by any of that as I waited several months, but it was still an appalling misstep.

Anyway, doubt we'll see Mass Effect come back for a long time, if ever, so, um, insert Mass Effect 3 Crucible activation music or something.
Oh c'mon, like they can leave one of the most iconic sci-fi series in the history of gaming alone for long... There are a billion and one stories to tell in the ME universe, and there are also plenty of other styles of games they can roll with as a kind of palette cleanser; I've always wanted to see a good FPS set in the Mass Effect 'verse, plus something like XCOM. I personally hate RTS's so would avoid it like some kind of ugly, finicky plague, but that's also a perfect fit for the IP.

It might not be a particularly ambitious template to ape, but a hybrid stealth 'em up along the lines of Deus Ex could work great as well.

Per Vejbirk said:
Also I know I am one off the few people here I am long time Mass effect fan (been with the serie from launch of the first game) And I actually DID like Andromeda and think its getting WAY to much hate..
The negativity it received was wildly disproportionate, in part because of a very vocal section getting all uppity and insecure about their own squalid politics.
 

Hawki

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Darth Rosenberg said:
What, making pretty darn good games of the like no one else is[footnote]Character-narrative driven triple-A SP A/RPG sci-fi[/footnote]? We really need far more "pitiful" games, then...
Even if Anthem is the best thing since sliced bread, BioWare Montreal won't have anything to do with it (hence the "pitiful end" remark).

Darth Rosenberg said:
Oh c'mon, like they can leave one of the most iconic sci-fi series in the history of gaming alone for long... There are a billion and one stories to tell in the ME universe, and there are also plenty of other styles of games they can roll with as a kind of palette cleanser; I've always wanted to see a good FPS set in the Mass Effect 'verse, plus something like XCOM. I personally hate RTS's so would avoid it like some kind of ugly, finicky plague, but that's also a perfect fit for the IP.

It might not be a particularly ambitious template to ape, but a hybrid stealth 'em up along the lines of Deus Ex could work great as well.
I know, right? EA has never let it sci-fi series hang on the vine to wither before...except Command & Conquer...and Dead Space...and Mirror's Edge...and Wing Commander...and that's not even including EA franchises that have been killed that aren't of the sci-fi genre.

The blame game aside, all of the above franchises were published by EA, all of said franchises are effectively dead, or in the case of Mirror's Edge, in the old folk's home waiting to be euthanized. Mass Effect arguably has a wider cultural reach than said franchises, but even so, EA isn't above letting series die if they don't meet expectations. And again, that's just sci-fi series. If you want a list of series/developers who've withered under EA's management, then we might as well start a new thread, because that's one hell of a long list.
 

Darth Rosenberg

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Hawki said:
Even if Anthem is the best thing since sliced bread, BioWare Montreal won't have anything to do with it (hence the "pitiful end" remark).
That wasn't your line, so you can't exactly clarify the use of the P word.

It's also a matter of perspective; BioWare Montreal seemingly went out on a pretty damn good game (once the bugs were stomped), so I'd say that's something they should be proud of, ergo it isn't at pitiful end whatsoever.

...and tangential, but Anthem can go fuck itself. I'm not sure I can say I want it to do badly, but I do not want it to reshape the future of the company.

If you want a list of series/developers who've withered under EA's management, then we might as well start a new thread, because that's one hell of a long list.
The story of one IP and development house is not the same as another. I'd place bets on there being more from the IP in the future, particularly as Casey Hudson's back as GM.

That said, on the off chance there are no more SP A/RPG's in the series, is that really such a bad thing? The trilogy told its story, and I feel ME:A set up a far more interesting one, whilst still being quite self-contained. In the words of a certain augmented protagonist; "I never asked for this" - I never wanted a new IP when ME1 came out, I always wondered how a new KotOR would look with that tech and presentation. Ideally I do want a continuation of ME:A's narrative, but I'd gladly see no more ME if we get a great Star Wars SP A/RPG from them.

...also I prefer Dragon Age's world and lore, so hopefully they can learn from how ME:A improved on Inquisition and get DA4 right.
 

Plokite_Wolf

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MCerberus said:
Well to be fair, Westwood officially went out with a cult-classic FPS and Yuri's freaking Revenge, so in game developer terms, the studio was lifted off to Valhalla in the midst of their greatest glory.
Renegade wasn't as much of a cult classic, and RA2/Yuri's Revenge was made by a separate studio (Westwood Pacific, later EA Pacific, later surviving as EA Los Angeles' RTS team).

What Westwood did do in its last years was a load of subpar mess in the form of multiple projects they took on at the same time, which mostly ended up unreleased because of the closure, culminating in the failure that was Earth & Beyond.

Westwood killed themselves, not EA.

As for BioWare, yeah, they're one of EA's few remaining content creators and one of the few that has some tradition. EA has done nothing but repeatedly shoot themselves in the feet since the mid-2000s that they're running out of bottom-body parts to fire at.
 

Callate

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No amount of boilerplate about "talent" can really remove the sting of being subsumed into the parent company's "B-team", can it? "Congratulations, you get to go from making whole games from your studio's original IP to doing texture work and map building for our studios that still have name recognition. But, hey, you still have a job, so, yay?"

Y'know that thing we started hearing about in Japanese companies where instead of firing someone, they would just try to make them do dispiriting and humiliating work until they left of their own volition...?
 

putowtin

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Fensfield said:
Blaargh. I didn't dislike Andromeda but it's going to drive me up the wall not knowing what was going on with the Quarian ark. That felt like it had the potential to go sci-fi horror places,
^ This
Tony2077 said:
this sucks i am one of what ever amount it is that likes mass effect:Andromeda
^ And This

I'm not saying it's the greatest game ever, and yes if they'd have held back releasing by 3 months to work on some of the bugs a lot of early criticize wouldn't have been there, but "oh we're shutting you down cause you did one bad thing" is the reason that
1) the AAA games industry is stagnant
2)is the reason EA are the most hated company in America
 

mythgraven

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?Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.?
 

VoidWanderer

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putowtin said:
Fensfield said:
Blaargh. I didn't dislike Andromeda but it's going to drive me up the wall not knowing what was going on with the Quarian ark. That felt like it had the potential to go sci-fi horror places,
^ This
Tony2077 said:
this sucks i am one of what ever amount it is that likes mass effect:Andromeda
^ And This

I'm not saying it's the greatest game ever, and yes if they'd have held back releasing by 3 months to work on some of the bugs a lot of early criticize wouldn't have been there, but "oh we're shutting you down cause you did one bad thing" is the reason that
1) the AAA games industry is stagnant
2)is the reason EA are the most hated company in America
I remember reading an article, where EA said that if the developers wanted to work on Andromeda for a few more months they were okay with that. Yes, EA didn't mind delaying a game, that ended up needing being delayed.

But just remember that what that dev did was essentially asset flipping. Every asari looked the same except for facepaint, the buggy movement implied they never tried to do what players found in MINUTES OF GAMEPLAY. The main story was a trainwreck of ME trilogy plotlines crammed together. The companions were boring and one-dimensional. This game was a mess in a lot of respects. Personally, the only reason I stopped playing this game, was apathy. The main story, ie the one thing Bioware never failed at, was a list of things from ME 1-3, with the only difference being, new planets.

EA WANTED THIS GAME DELAYED. How often do you hear a publisher go, 'We can wait'? Seriously, unless I missed that article sometimes they get kicked out of the door early, but E damn A went 'We can wait.'
 

putowtin

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VoidWanderer said:
putowtin said:
Fensfield said:
Blaargh. I didn't dislike Andromeda but it's going to drive me up the wall not knowing what was going on with the Quarian ark. That felt like it had the potential to go sci-fi horror places,
^ This
Tony2077 said:
this sucks i am one of what ever amount it is that likes mass effect:Andromeda
^ And This

I'm not saying it's the greatest game ever, and yes if they'd have held back releasing by 3 months to work on some of the bugs a lot of early criticize wouldn't have been there, but "oh we're shutting you down cause you did one bad thing" is the reason that
1) the AAA games industry is stagnant
2)is the reason EA are the most hated company in America
I remember reading an article, where EA said that if the developers wanted to work on Andromeda for a few more months they were okay with that. Yes, EA didn't mind delaying a game, that ended up needing being delayed.

But just remember that what that dev did was essentially asset flipping. Every asari looked the same except for facepaint, the buggy movement implied they never tried to do what players found in MINUTES OF GAMEPLAY. The main story was a trainwreck of ME trilogy plotlines crammed together. The companions were boring and one-dimensional. This game was a mess in a lot of respects. Personally, the only reason I stopped playing this game, was apathy. The main story, ie the one thing Bioware never failed at, was a list of things from ME 1-3, with the only difference being, new planets.

EA WANTED THIS GAME DELAYED. How often do you hear a publisher go, 'We can wait'? Seriously, unless I missed that article sometimes they get kicked out of the door early, but E damn A went 'We can wait.'
It's an awkward situation as I must have read half a dozen articles saying that EA pressured the to get it on store shelves, hence the reason that I generally don't believe anything I read anymore (It's okay I'm safe under my tinfoil hat!)
 

HK_01

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Bioware will go the same way as Westwood and countless other formerly great developers EA has killed. It's a shame, I used to be an absolute Bioware fanboy.
 

Plokite_Wolf

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MC1980 said:
There is a very ardent minority of people who love Renegade, so I don't know why the moniker wouldn't apply. I mean, I think the game is mediocre, and that's if you want to be generous, but achieving "cult" status is not a high bar.
The only thing that can qualify it as such is the multiplayer and the derived mods (like the ones by W3D Hub) and Renegade-X (fan-made remake in Unreal Engine 3), and even they mostly get attention during major updates only.

MC1980 said:
The interesting thing about RA2 is that, the base game atleast, was a sort of passing of the torch between old WW and EA Pacific. Most of the devs were from Pacific, but Brett Sperry is still credited as one of the lead designers for it, and some other WW leads also worked on it.
In the pre-EA Pacific days, staff went from Westwood Vegas to Westwood Pacific as needed.

MC1980 said:
The same can't be said about the later games, starting with Generals. And it shows, post-RA2 there is a very clear distinction in the way the games played. The early games all were in the vein of Tiberian Dawn, while the later games all felt like different spins on Generals' gameplay. Which is a complete shame, since Emperor Battle for Dune adapted 2D CnC feel to 3D very accurately, unlike the Generals-like CnC3 and co.
Emperor: Battle for Dune was outsourced to Intelligent Games, the same guys who made Dune 2000. And it shows, since they used their own unoptimized engine and made it a game of contradictions - units oriented towards spamming, but the gameplay itself being slow and sluggish, on maps of that had the size of early TD/RA1 missions no less, which is probably one of the reasons why it was nearly forgotten after release.
 

runic knight

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Can't say I feel sorry after ME:A

I don't mean because the game was a flop, or that it was a buggy mess. Those, while very likely being blamed for EA's decision, are symptoms of a larger problem. Instead, it is because they just did not care about it at all. The lack of polish, playtesting, creativity, or even respect for the fanbase and players, that is why I don't feel sorry.

A passion project that fails is one thing. I could see people pissed at EA for doing this because a game didn't perform as highly as they wanted while the project itself showed that the people working on it really loved the project. ME:A though, it felt lazy and uninspired through and through, with the graphical issues and game breaking bugs the most obvious indicator but far from the only one.

The entire thing, including marketing, felt so cynical and fake. The mocking spongebob to the previous trilogy that itself had problems with its ending as it was. Felt lazy and like things were going through the motions because the name itself would make money regardless with the few implemented changes such as the character loadout system thing still being needlessly tedious and half baked in other aspects.

And that isn't even because it wasn't the original team. New teams, or even unrelated companies, can come in and take an existing idea and expand upon it and do it great. But they need to care. And that is ultimately why I don't weep for the Montreal studio.

They just seem to didn't care, so why should I?
 

Plokite_Wolf

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MC1980 said:
Was Nox made by the primary WW team or Pacific?
WW Pacific, as far as I know.

MC1980 said:
The Renegade part I don't get. You just listed off things a cult game's fanbase would do, no? I guess it's a glass half full thing because it's centered around multiplayer?
Yeah, except for one bit - they mostly get 50-ish players on major updates, then a few days later, only spiders making webs.
 

Gatlank

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Ehh. Can't muster the strength to care about the fate of Bioware or one of their studios.
 

gyrobot_v1legacy

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Hawki said:
Wait, isn't EA meant to be the villain here?

Oh well. To answer people's questions, right now, there's two BioWare studios. One is BioWare Edmonton, the original studio, which is responsible for the original Mass Effect trilogy, Dragon Age, and now, Anthem. The other is BioWare Austin, which is responsible for Star Wars: The Old Republic. BioWare Montreal was created to assist with the multiplayer content of Mass Effect, but got handed the reigns of Andromeda, and now you see the results of that.

Course, I haven't played that many BioWare games, but it seems iffy to lay the blame solely at Montreal's feet. Some of it sure, given the hassles of the development process, but it was EA that forced them to use Frostbite, and EA who handed an IP to a studio that had only previously done multiplayer for said IP. The analogy that comes to mind is giving keys to your car and asking your kid to park it, only to crash it. Sure, it's the kid who does the crashing, but the parent shouldn't have given the keys to the kid in the first place.

Anyway, doubt we'll see Mass Effect come back for a long time, if ever, so, um, insert Mass Effect 3 Crucible activation music or something.
EA is pretty hands off so long as you do the following, you make your game profitable and on time. They won't give a shit if your game is the most offensive or inoffensive game in the world so long as you do both in the former. The moment the game severely underperform with the press moaning about it as added salt is when they have to step in and you get one last chance to do things correct and most of the time the response by the devs is to cut and run and let EA take the fall for killing another company, they know the gamers will blame the publisher

The problem the human resources side, EA doesn't offer an excellent labor pool and thanks to years of bad reputation it is hard to hire someone with skills. Combined with diversity hires this creates a recipe for disaster as the gaming audience loves to seek blood for anything the devs post. Thanks to the hands off policy as I mentioned earlier, it mean someone like Veer can get away posting racist tweets which only adds to the rage of the audience and create a desire to see the game flop as a form of karmic retribution.

Citation: https://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/6r78op/mass_effect_andromeda_is_officially_so_bad_it/dl38sys/