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Default Shamus Young - BioWare is Dead

April 17th, 2019, 09:28
In part 25 of a blog series on Mass Effect: Andromeda Shamus Young has declared BioWare dead.

Everything in Andromeda is constructed backwards. Instead of saying, "Here are the events of the past, what sorts of situations and stories would come from that?" the writer says, "I want the player to drive up this hill and shoot all the dudes at the top. What's the simplest possible scenario I could use to justify that?"[4]

The player choices are few, arbitrary, poorly depicted, and lacking in interesting options. Dialogs are rare, linear, and lacking in player expression. The few characters you meet in the open world are shallow and bland. The villain is a sophomoric one-note bore. The worlds are, by design, a mostly empty wasteland with no history, culture, or wonder. Exploration of these alien worlds consists of driving around on pre-existing dirt roads[5] so you can gun down clusters of mooks.

The developer's perception of what made the source material interesting is so wrongheaded that this project was in trouble before it ever left the dry-erase board. This team was not equipped to tell a space story on this scale. I don't care if you're talking about details-first or drama-first, this is not a storytelling team in any form. This storyteller might do an okay job if you want a linear shooter with fixed cutscenes and no player agency, but they're completely unqualified to design a world to support dozens of hours of exploration, exposition, and player expression.

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April 17th, 2019, 13:08
Kinda hard to call a company Bioware, when ALL the highly talented key veteran developers FCKN LEFT!!!!!
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April 17th, 2019, 13:20
Bioware died the moment EA acquired it. Since then it's been a husk which may faintly resembles its former self from a distance but destroys all it come into contact with.

That said, Dragon Age: Origins is my favorite Bioware game despite being released a couple years after it's death; but I can only assume that's because Bioware did much of the work on it before it was assimilated. Then biowEAre gave us DA2, and well I didn't even bother pirating Inquisition after that.
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April 17th, 2019, 13:20
That is funny complaint about ME:A when linear shooter with cutscenes and pointless exploration was its trademark since ME1.
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April 17th, 2019, 13:57
Originally Posted by daveyd View Post
Bioware died the moment EA acquired it.
No. EA only enforced Bioware Points scam, the core company was still breathing.

Bioware died 4 years after. The moment they released SW:TOR. It took one more year for it's original founders to realize it's dead, once they did, they retired from gaming industry.
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April 17th, 2019, 14:43
This pathetic excuse for a creative team/company was dead to me after the sequel to Dragon Age: Origins. Thankfully, due to the rise of the independents, we have plenty of decent companies lining up to bring us stellar products.
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April 17th, 2019, 15:01
Can't agree more. EA dropped out of Jodorowsky's nightmares and does not want to produce games that aren't fun to morons (not intended as an insult here but medically speaking). For whatever reason they thought noone will make actual videogames any more whereas the future is in scams not regulated by laws. Sure, those scams did earn them billions, numerous others who tried the same thing failed because of not being big enough to market an obvious turd as a next gaming hit.

What happened next were TW3 and KCD on PC, HZD on consoles and the final middlefinger to EA in form of Pathfinder which is BG3 using a ruleset "accidentally" of the same name as ME4 titular rank (it's just a coincidence, riiiight). In some perfect history it would be Bioware who made every single one of these. But Bioware was stabbed to death by microtransactions.
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April 17th, 2019, 15:46
Thought I would repost this from the Dragonage 4 Cancelled RPGwatch thread. Its relevant to the blog post.

Originally Posted by Wisdom View Post
Alright, last post on the matter from me. You can believe whatever makes it warm and fuzzy for you. If it makes you happy to think that "any day now" Bioware could just break free of the EA chains and create the best experience ever.. then great!

Any actual developer, employee or shareholder can verify any of this information. Its not wishful thinking, its fact.
Any talking head position (CEO, CFO, CMO, SSH, SSM) will let the lines blur between labels. Its intentional.

The negotiations to purchase Bioware and Pandemic started long before 2007. When EA finalized the purchase of VGH they "paid" 860m of which a staggering 420million was "goodwill". Goodwill includes the brand value and the fuzzy warm feelings you get when you see the word Bioware stamped on your screen. (Coincidentally 100% of the IP's owned by Bioware were transferred unequivocally to EA at this time.)

Your comments about it operating independently (ignoring the fact that Bioware as a legal entity had already ceased to exist) retained some validity from 2008-2011. 2010/11 was the first major restructure that absorbed the majority of remaining autonomy that Bioware was used to. It was also the last time "Bioware" filed separate earnings. Even this last filing was not the full contingent of Bioware staff, but more of a Mass Effect earnings report filed as Bioware earnings.

From 2010-2014 it bumbled along, still enjoying the goodwill from the brand, further promoted by the creation of Bioware Montreal, Bioware Sacremento, Bioware Mythic, Bioware SanFran. During the bumble period they rotated devlopers in and out of the teams including from Waystone, Victory and EA Mobile groups. (Don't forget the majority of these studios were closed or reabsorbed by end of 2014/15)

2013 they dropped part of the charade and amalgamated all the remaining studios into the EA Labels. Any "Bioware" staff working on mobile/social projects were assigned to EA All Play division, and any remaining were assigned to EA Games label (renamed to EA Studios 2 years later). It was also the start of the "One EA" internal restructure that wouldn't be named One EA until later. Essentially agile principles that removed borders between divisions. ALL IP's, trademarks etc were reassigned according to EA label but still owned wholly by EA.

From 2013 - today Bioware is considered a project team and a label that is stamped on the final consumer product to enjoy the last vestiges of the goodwill they purchased. The "One EA" principle in the last three years has been evident in any division with cross team function, outsourcing, reused code, online services, software metrics etc.

I will agree there are developers that would like to build RPGs that work on the Bioware team. I will agree that there are developers that do not like Frostbite. I will agree that official talking head positions reinforce the idea that they produce their own products.

I do not agree with the fantasy that Bioware still exists in any form comparable to 2000's Bioware. When news companies post articles about the struggling Bioware and how they yearn to be free from EA, its a mythconseption and based on wishful thinking and creative writing.

PS. Someone posted above that "online services is not a company line". I would find that debatable. 2018 financials for EA find Net Revenue from services exceed Net Revenue from Products for the first time. (Edit - I was incorrect, it didn't exceed technically, they ended up deferring 30mil of service income in the final report for 2018 or it would have exceeded. It ended up Product 2.58b Service 2.56b), it was 2017 was almost neck and neck. Products 2.6billion, Services 2.2 billion. Compare this with Cost of Revenue where Products is twice what Services is…. Its not hard to see why every single organizational goal has been redesigned to include the words "games and services". Lack of successful service is even one of their largest identified risks.

Spoiler – "Risk"


Even better is their overarching value commitment
Spoiler – Live Service Commitment
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April 17th, 2019, 16:05
Originally Posted by joxer View Post
What happened next were TW3 and KCD on PC, HZD on consoles and the final middlefinger to EA in form of Pathfinder which is BG3 using a ruleset "accidentally" of the same name as ME4 titular rank (it's just a coincidence, riiiight).
You really think they chose Pathfinder to show EA a middle finger?
I mean… I wouldn't mind, but imho that's nowhere realistic.
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April 17th, 2019, 16:26
Yes, agree and no real reason to belabor the long since reality of Bioware’s death.

But on a separate topic - who subscribes to Shamus’ blog? Did you read all 25 of the entries? I read most of his stuff (even on games like SpiderMan that I don’t play) … but THIS one was tiresome long before getting to the end. Mass Effect Andromeda is simply not worthy of such in-depth analysis, doesn’t offer even enough bad stuff to merit being picked apart. I generally like Shamus’ style of overthinking everything and writing sprawling articles, but I think by #20 in this series I was thinking ‘jeez, STFU and get on with something else already!’
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April 17th, 2019, 18:02
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
But on a separate topic - who subscribes to Shamus’ blog? Did you read all 25 of the entries? I read most of his stuff (even on games like SpiderMan that I don’t play) … but THIS one was tiresome long before getting to the end. Mass Effect Andromeda is simply not worthy of such in-depth analysis, doesn’t offer even enough bad stuff to merit being picked apart. I generally like Shamus’ style of overthinking everything and writing sprawling articles, but I think by #20 in this series I was thinking ‘jeez, STFU and get on with something else already!’
Totally agree. I read all of them and enjoy a lot of Shamus' stuff but this was way too much. He ended up repeating many points over and over. Bob Case (MtBtongue) is back to add to my enjoyment of the Game of Memes so that is a bonus.
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April 17th, 2019, 18:20
The way I see it BioWare and other unnamed developers aren't king of RPGs anymore, or as the saying goes "how the mighty have fallen". Still enjoyed Andromeda though.

I'm just glad new developers are taking the mantle with new RPGs.
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April 17th, 2019, 18:30
This article was lost to me when he called out PoE and other modern RTwP games as something that just doesn't do it for him. This tells me he wasn't a true Bioware fan if he thinks these RPG Shooters are what the company stands for.

I'm also of the belief that Bioware was living off their goodwill before EA bought them out. They managed to get EA to drink their Kool Aid (Bioware had started losing touch). I also think a lot of the buyout had to do with the SW:ToR contract they were just completing with Disney as clearly the plan was going to be KoTOR Online. Not only could it not miss, it would make them B$'s and Bioware was the only one who could do it.
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April 17th, 2019, 18:30
Who is shamus young and why do we need him to declare the obvious?

Most of us here knew the outcome when BioWare contracted the terminal illness that is EA. Prognosis - months to years to live with a painfully slow and agonizing death.
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April 17th, 2019, 18:54
the writer says, “I want the player to drive up this hill and shoot all the dudes at the top. What’s the simplest possible scenario I could use to justify that?”[4]
Interestingly, the name of the newly announced SWTOR expansion fits very well into this way of thinking : It's called "Onslaught!"

"What's the simplest possible way to justify making the player kill 10.000 dudes ?"
Besides, it seems to work with the Assassin's Saga as well.
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April 17th, 2019, 19:05
Biowere is just a brand name now. If the name had any commercial value, that's long gone. It's even gained a negative stigma, and so a rebrand is probably likely.
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April 17th, 2019, 19:21
Originally Posted by Morrandir View Post
You really think they chose Pathfinder to show EA a middle finger?
I mean… I wouldn't mind, but imho that's nowhere realistic.
Mhm, just as it's a coincidence the main theme was composed by Inon Zur.
Even if we'd try to explain it through chaos theory, again it'll end up being evolution's deliberate mischief.

Spoiler
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April 17th, 2019, 23:27
Oh, where O' where have all the bioware defenders gone?

I remember when there were a few here telling us that Bioware games have remained brilliant and excellent games, and we here at rpg watch were either just too snooty or narrow minded and/or unsophisticated to appreciate these amazing modern bioware games…

It really is rude to say "Dude, you must just have really really bad taste!" (if you think that these are great games), but I was tempted a few times. I'm sorry, but some people just have (really) bad taste in games, in music, in movies, in all kinds of things…a harsh truth, best left unspoken, I guess.
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April 17th, 2019, 23:32
Originally Posted by Arkadia7 View Post
Oh, where O' where have all the bioware defenders gone?

I remember when there were a few here telling us that Bioware games have remained brilliant and excellent games, and we here at rpg watch were either just too snooty or narrow minded and/or unsophisticated to appreciate these amazing modern bioware games…

It really is rude to say "Dude, you must just have really really bad taste!" (if you think that these are great games), but I was tempted a few times. I'm sorry, but some people just have (really) bad taste in games, in music, in movies, in all kinds of things…a harsh truth, best left unspoken, I guess.
Used to be a die-hard BioWare fanboy myself about six years ago, but my tastes and opinion have changed after the last few release. A few still post occasionally.

Just check out the Anthem, the last Dragon Age, and the BioWare article threads from the last few months. Me I'm more of A CD Projekt and Obsidian fanboy nowadays.

Still I have to admit I enjoyed Inquisition and Andromeda so guess I have bad tastes right ? Though I wont call them the best games ever or GOTY material at least.
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April 17th, 2019, 23:41
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
Used to be a die-hard BioWare fanboy myself about six years ago, but my tastes and opinion have changed after the last few release. A few still post occasionally.

Just check out the Anthem, the last Dragon Age, and the BioWare article threrads from the last few moths. Me I'm more of A CD Projekt and Obsidian fanboy nowadays.

Still I have to admit I enjoyed Inquisition and Andromeda so guess I have bad tastes right ? Though I wont call them the best games ever or GOTY material at least.
That isn't for me to say. I haven't played any of the bioware games since the first Dragon Age Origins (which was a great game, though in my humble opinion, it doesn't exceed or equal Baldur's Gate or Baldur's Gate II)

The negative opinion I have is based solely on reading a lot of comments and articles about what bioware did in their recent games and the game play systems and so on. I can tell just by reading about them, that I would (probabaly) hate most of these games.

While I do think I have excellent taste - not gonna lie - I'm not saying I'm the Official Arbiter of good taste, but just throwing my opinion out there…I admit my post you quoted may seem a bit over the top and egotistical, but what can I say…
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