Mass Effect: Andromeda was one of the year’s most anticipated, and the titled proved to be one of EA’s most important titles to drive an important financial quarter for the company.
However, the critical reception was rather mixed, with the game sitting well below the original Mass Effect trilogy on the review aggregate scale (although for the record, I loved it).
Andromeda‘s seemingly disappointing reception prompted investors during a recent earnings call to query EA about Bioware’s future, and whether there would be “developer turnover” following the game’s critical performance.
The delay of Bioware’s new IP, codenamed Dylan, also has investors and gamers wondering whether Andromeda was the reason for the game’s release date being pushed back.
“Mass Effect I think from a quality perspective didn’t exactly hit the mark and it looks like we’ve now delayed the anticipated new IP which sometimes is also tied to quality. So curious if there’s any change in leadership or developer turnover,” said Mike Hickey, an equity researcher at The Benchmark Co. LLC, asked.
EA CEO, Andrew Wilson, responded, saying that while review scores didn’t quite reach the heights the publisher expected, not much has really changed at Bioware HQ.
“Mass Effect is an interesting title. It was in development for a really long time and represented a lot of the great things that BioWare is known for: story, size, depth, breadth, imagination,” Wilson said. “And while overall, the aggregate review scores were lower than we would have liked, we did have over 100 reviewers score the game at 80 or higher. So it represents a fan base that’s very passionate; looking for very particular things. And many players found exactly what they’re looking for and some players did not.”
Wilson praised the work of Bioware, saying Andromeda delivers a “rich, deep experience”.
“[It] celebrates what makes the franchise great,” he said. “Wonderful, beautiful, deep rich worlds, amazing combat and engaging fast-paced, multiplayer.
“We’re very happy with kind of how BioWare is doing, how BioWare is treating Mass Effect. And our expectations for Mass Effect are still strong for the future and the franchise overall.”
Wilson then responded to claims that Andromeda‘s critical reception was cause for the studio’s new IP to be delayed.
“In terms of the new IP, the choice to move the new IP and what happened with Mass Effect are completely unrelated,” Wilson said. “The realities is we have a creative process. As a company, creativity and pioneering is really important for us. Now, innovation in games is important more now than ever. And as a leader in the industry, we see it as our responsibility to innovate. And as part of our creative process – and I get to be involved in that creative process – we recognise that there was so much more opportunity in a connected network social world to do some things in the new BioWare game that had never done before and we don’t think anyone is going to do anytime soon.”
EA is “very happy with BioWare”, Wilson continued, with the studio set to continue supporting Mass Effect.