Thursday, July 12, 2012

EA is Confusing

I don't understand EA. They have in their possession, one of the most  infuential RPG developers in history, Bioware. I would say that in the history of computer RPGs (actual RPGs not Diablo-likes) the timeline basically flows from Origins to SSI to Bioware. If I were to pick a fourth, it would be Bethesda. EA not only owns Bioware, but also the Ultima series, probably the most influential RPG series in history. But EA does not seem to know how to make this all add up for some reason.

While I was concerned about EA buying Bioware, since they have ruined so many great developers before, I was excited by the prospect that Bioware might bring us an Ultima game. It seems like the logical thing to do, Bioware is the clear heir to the style of gaming found in the Ultima series. Their games are about more than combat, and the choices you make really matter. But, of course, this is not what EA has done. Instead we got Dragon Age, now I realize that Dragon Age was in the works before EA bough Bioware, but it is hardly the most inspired game in history. The gameplay is good, and I enjoyed playing it, but the world and the story are almost painfully generic. This frustration was compounded by the release of Dragon Age 2, again this was a fun game, but set in the same bland world.

But of course we are getting this. Don't let the name fool you, Bioware is not making this game, Mythic is. The company that brought us the snooze-fest PVE in Dark Age of Camelot, and the flop Warhammer Online. They are now turning Ultima into a clickfest Diablo-clone.

Getting an actual Bioware Ultima would have been like getting a Peter Jackson directed Star Wars prequel for me. Sadly we are getting whatever the heck Mythic is cooking up, and probably another Dragon Age. 

I only hope they let Bioware off the leash at some point to pursue real original properties, not just D&D stand-ins. Jade Empire and Mass Effect have shown that when left to their own devices, Bioware can knock it out of the park.