Bioware has been one of my favorite game developers for a long time now. Some of my favorite titles were developed by them back in their glory days. But since being acquired by EA, whose name is so infamous that I needn’t go into any further detail, I feel they’ve been on the decline. And with the recent release and quick critical failure of Anthem, many fans are questioning the safety of Bioware as a company.
Now, I think it’s too soon to label Bioware as dead. Yes, EA has a habit of closing good studios for under performing (which is fucked on dozens of levels). But it’s clear that Anthem isn’t supposed to be an instant money maker. At least not entirely. It was meant to make them more money overtime as a live-service (which I’m getting really sick of). Unless that live service doesn’t pan out, it’s uncertain whether Bioware is truly dead yet.
But considering how the game has been received already, it wouldn’t be a risky bet. It’s not certain; but it is likely. Especially since their last game, Mass Effect: Andromeda, was a critical and financial failure.
I don’t want to have to talk so negatively about Bioware and it’s games. When I was a kid, I sunk hundreds of hours into the first Knights of the Old Republic game. I played through that game in basically every way possible, and I’ll still go back to it to this day. It’s easily one of my favorite games, and one of the few Star Wars products aside from the original trilogy that I don’t hate.
While I never got as into them as I did KOTOR, I certainly enjoyed the Mass Effect trilogy. I thought the universe was fascinating and begged exploring, and the characters within that setting were cool and equally interesting. The stories focused on those characters (save the end of the third game, but we all know about that) was also intetesting and engaging. All in all, it was a great series that I’ll undoubtedly come back to again for years to come.
Except Andromeda. That game is funny, but it doesn’t deserve to be remembered.
Dragon Age falls into a similar category for me. Bioware’s excellent writing, from world to character building, was on full display in these games. Though I’m a little more biased towards fantasy settings than I am science fiction ones. This is another great series that I have loved to play.
Unfortunately, the days of Bioware crafting classic game after classic game are over. Anthem was their next big chance, but it seemed doomed to fail only a few years after being announced. Between the behind the scenes drama and the mind boggling release chart (which is about as confusing as the plot of Kingdom Hearts, only less charming and more stupid), as well as the god awful beta, hope was low for this new IP.
This was only furthered by the fact that Looter-Shooter games have become a dime a dozen. Borderlands, Destiny, Warframe and so many other games have crowded the genre. And among them, few have been considered truly fun or good.
Bioware used to set the trends. Their moral choice system has influenced countless games over the years. But now, they’re being dragged around by EA and forced to follow the trends.
If given the freedom to, I have no doubt Bioware could deliver a brand new modern classic. Rumors have been circulating about them wanting to make a third KOTOR game, especially since so few Star Wars games are being released. But so long as they’re being chained down, there is no hope for this game to happen.
Even though it would make EA a hundred billion fucking dollars, but hey. I’m not a business executive, so clearly I don’t know what I’m talking about.
Could Anthem turn it’s bad reputation around? Maybe. They’re chances aren’t any worse than Fallout 76. But I won’t be around to find out. And I have no doubt that there are thousands out there who will have jumped ship long before it has the chance.