Ex-Mass Effect Andromeda Developer Speaks About Why EA Prefers Open World Games

Looks like EA wants to abandon linear adventures for a open worlds because they're profitable

By Grayshadow, Posted 24 Oct 2017

EA has been the target for many gamers after some questionable choices. The publisher recently shut down Visceral Games, the developers behind Dead Space and Battlefield Hardline, defended their microtransaction system for Star Wars Battlefront 2 and leaning towards open world game. In an interview with Waypoint Radio podcast ex-developer for BioWare and gameplay designer for Mass Effect Andromeda Manveer Heir confirmed fleshed this story out further.

Mass Effect: Andromeda,NoobFeed,EA,BioWare,

Heir stated "they are generally pushing for more open-world games. And the reason is you can monetise them better. The words in there that were used are 'have them come back again and again’. Why do you care about that at EA? The reason you care about that is because micro-transactions: buying card packs in the Mass Effect games, the multiplayer. It's the same reason we added card packs to Mass Effect 3: how do you get people to keep coming back to a thing instead of 'just' playing for 60 to 100 hours?"

"The problem is that we've scaled up our budgets to $100 million plus and we haven't actually made a space for good linear single-player games that are under that. But why can't we have both? Why does it have to be one or the other? And the reason is that EA and those big publishers in general only care about the highest return on investment. They don't actually care about what the players want, they care about what the players will pay for.”

Heir explained about how crucial micro-transactions have been for EA with past games:

"You need to understand the amount of money that's at play with micro-transactions. I'm not allowed to say the number but I can tell you that when Mass Effect 3 multiplayer came out, those card packs we were selling, the amount of money we made just off those card packs was so significant that's the reason Dragon Age has multiplayer, that's the reason other EA products started getting multiplayer that hadn't really had them before, because we nailed it and brought in a ton of money. It's repeatable income versus one-time income.

"I've seen people literally spend $15,000 on Mass Effect multiplayer cards." What we're seeing is a "cynical" chasing of the games making big money. "You've seen - what is BioWare's new franchise coming out?" he asked.

"Anthem," Waypoint Radio’s host answered.

"Right," Heir said. "It's not a traditional-looking BioWare game, right? If that's what you're seeing from a place like BioWare, owned by EA, a place where I worked for seven years; if that's what you're seeing from Visceral now closing and going to this other Vancouver studio; what it means is that the linear single-player triple-A game at EA is dead for the time being."

When it launched Mass Effect Andromeda was faced with heavy criticism such as a lackluster story, poor character animations, and a myriad of glitches and bugs. On top of it, many criticized BioWare for the multiplayer section, which was a copy and paste system from Mass Effect 3 with fewer character options and more microtransactions. 

Now the franchise has been put on hiatus and many hoping for single-player DLC were left vexed. 

This wasn't the only game from EA to face heavy fallout. The first Star Wars Battlefront faced heavy criticism for having no single-player adventure and lacking in multiplayer content. Now with Star Wars Battlefront 2 on the horizon, many are citing the game's microtransactions as a pay-to-win system. It would seem that instead of drawing gamers towards their game they're pushing us away by creating systems that encourage spending instead of incredible experiences.

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher(s): Electronic Arts
Developer(s): BioWare
Genres: Role-Playing
Themes: Sci-Fi
Release Date: 2017-12-31

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