As one of the biggest videogame publishers – EA has a treasure trove of IPs and franchise to call upon at any one time. Yet the company has also managed to acquire a reputation for hoovering up smaller developers and turning their prized IPs into absolute messes. It’s not a new trend either – the company just seemingly can’t help itself. Given how it looks like bad business decisions caused the premature death of Mass Effect: Andromeda, we figured we’d take a look at the seven franchises that we personally can’t get over EA harming beyond repair.
7 Command & Conquer
How was it killed?: Poor Decision Making
Command & Conquer is widely considered the granddaddy of real time strategy games. The series began its existence at Redwood Studios – who managed to revolutionize the genre with the original game. The series peak arguably came with Red Alert 2 – the game that blended the best of the series over the top nature with tight mechanics.
Yet since being acquired by EA in 1998 – the Command & Conquer series has struggled to find its footing. The Generals spin-off failed to excite the series hardcore fans, while Command & Conquer 3 was met with luke warm endearment. It would ultimately be Command & Conquer 4 that led to the series complete collapse. The decision to abandon the series much-loved core mechanics for
The decision to abandon the series much-loved core mechanics for half-baked mobile bases was unforgivable. Add in the fact that the game required an always online connection to play – and many fans simply balked at the final outing for the main series of games. Since the game landed in 2010, the series has been on ice. At the time of writing – the game has a 2/10 rating on Steam – quite the achievement.
With talk of Generals 2 being killed off, it looks like the future isn’t bright for the series.
6. Dungeon Keeper
How was it killed?: Going Mobile
The 1997 hit is considered a proper cult classic among PC gamers. Developed by Bullfrog, the game received near-universal praise when it landed in stores, pushing gamers into unique gameplay and some of the most impressive visual
After a period of silence, EA made the decision to revive the franchise as a mobile outing. Initial buzz suggested the game would be a faithful recreation of the original – helping to introduce the series to a new generation. Upon release though, the 2014 game was slammed for its extensive use of in-game micro transactions.
So bad was the reaction that the British Advertising Standards Authority ruled EA’s original advertising inaccurate. The game was hounded so hard that the franchise is arguably damaged beyond repair. A game many loved simply run into the ground for
5. Fight Night
How was it killed?: Inactivity
The Fight Night franchise was widely considered one of the best ways to experience boxing on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The three games that came out during that period were excellent, helping to establish the franchise’s dominance of the genre, then nothing.
Since 2011, the series has remained silent. EA won’t talk about potential sequels, despite the huge demand from boxing fans. Perhaps most frustrating of all, rumors of a sequel turn up every now and then. It’s one of the cases where fans want a sequel but aren’t given one. It probably doesn’t help that EA is more focused on the UFC license right now – which is in itself is quite lucrative.
How was it killed?: Collapse in quality
It’s amazing to think that Ultima isn’t even a fixture in the modern gaming scene. Back in the 1990’s, it was heralded as the RPG for hardcore fans and had a passionate fan base. As time progressed Richard Garriott sold his studio to EA, handing the reigns of the much-loved series to the company. They, in turn, pushed out Ultima 9, arguably the death blow for series.
The game was unfinished, buggy and a mess for all who played it. It was blatantly a cash grab by EA, desperate to cash in sentiment for the franchise. The negative reaction tarnished the franchises name – something it hasn’t recovered from since. The series has had brief flirtations with a revival on mobile games, but given that Ultima helped to pave the way for RPG’s, it’s a crying shame that such a legendary series has been left to rot so wholly by EA.
Why bother taking the franchise on?
3. Sim City
How was it killed?: Always Online Debacle
It seems EA didn’t learn anything from Command & Conquer 4, putting the sword to their legendary Sim Ciry franchise in 2013 in almosdt the same way. The king of city builders had long been the center of desire over a sequel. Sim City 4 is regularly cited as the best city builder game and while many pretenders to the throne emerged, fans remained loyal. When EA announced a modern sequel was in the works, fans couldn’t believe their luck. Then the game released.
The launch for this game was a staggering disaster. Gamers were forced to have active internet connections while playing – with no offline features offered. This was compounded upon the game’s release when servers were overloaded. Gamers couldn’t play their new purchases and were left in endless queues to get in. Even those that did had mixed experiences – many being kicked off when servers crashed.
Add in the fact that the core gameplay was stripped back compared to earlier games, and it’s easy to see why gamers hated on this so hard. So negative was the reception to this that it arguably played the biggest part in Maxis being shuttered. The series is unlikely to get a reprieve – a terrible shame.
2. Medal of Honor
How was it killed?: Playing to the Wrong Crowd
Medal of Honor was the original king of World War II shooters. The series was at its peak back on PlayStation 2 – when the franchise was a regular release fixture. Eventually, it got lost in the shuffle behind Call of Duty, falling firmly behind the emerging franchises. But EA wasn’t to be beaten.
Reviving the franchise in 2012, Medal of Honor: Warfighter was an attempt to spin the franchise with a modern twist. THe result was an outing that felt anything but fun. Long time fans berated the lack of series staples, while new fans entering for the first time felt the game was too much like a Call of Duty clone. It was clear EA were trying to position Medal of Honor as an answer to Call of Duty’s annual release, but it only hastened the decline of an already struggling series.
There hasn’t been talk of another revival since. A lack of sequels or long term support indicates that fans of Medal of Honor won’t be getting another run-out. It’s sad because this series was so great back at its peak. Now it’s just a footnote in the Call of Duty clone club – something the once popular franchise deserves better than.
1. Mass Effect
How was it killed?: Rushed.
It’s debatable if Mass Effect is truly “dead”, but that BioWare Montreal release indicates there’s no future in the short term. After gamers had waited five years to experience the next chapter in the Mass Effect series, there was a huge sense of anticipation for Mass Effect Andromeda. That anticipation would be crushed pretty mercilessly.
In March 2017, gamers got their hands on the first in what BioWare and EA promised would be a glorious new direction for the franchise. The game arrived resembling a half baked cake, drawing ire and anger from the wider gaming community. Facial animations were broken, graphical glitches were aplenty and there was a general sense that EA and BioWare had rushed the game out long before it was ready. Story’s quickly emerged in the shadow of the game’s release, indicating that many within the two company’s knew the game would be a steaming mess – but opted to focus on post-release patches and fixes. Turns out, this was a terrible, terrible idea.
Within days the fan backlash reached such levels that the development team were scrambling to try and quell anger. Within weeks – BioWare Montreal were shuttered and rumors emerged that all work on post-release DLC was dead in the water. This was confirmed in an August 2017 post on the Mass Effect website that pretty much confirmed Andromeda was dead and buried.
The fact EA handed the reigns over to such an inexperienced team in Montreal was one thing – but to then rush the game to meet a deadline is frankly disgusting. The damage this caused to he franchise will likely not become evident for a good while – but given that Mass Effect was heralded once as the golden RPG franchise and was considered a legitimate titan of the games industry, it’s quite the spectacular fall from grace.