vg247: "New Dragon Age, Mass Effect titles will be heavily influenced by Anthem, says Bioware"

Discussion in 'Gaming' started by SPCTRE, Sep 4, 2018.

  1. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah, I read that when it was posted and I did think to that conversation. I didn't realize they rated so low in the pecking order and I thought that given how much they paid for them as an RPG studio that they'd be higher than that. I think part of the struggles they've had have been more or less related to Frostbite and the fact that EA have made their studios use the engine across all their titles, which kind of made fitting a round peg into a square hole, and I was shocked at how much of their practice was relegated to last-minute finalizing, and like the article, I can't help but wonder how long that could be sustainable for, especially in light of the issues and overhead surrounding Frostbite. And regarding Anthem, now I wonder if that wasn't EA saying, "You know what, fuck it, just make a shooter with Frostbite rather than your costly RPGs that have never worked well with it." And suddenly you have an RPG studio releasing a shooter. It would certainly explain a lot.

    If Bioware were left to their own devices using what they know and use whatever engine they've wanted, I wonder if they'd still be in this situation. And at the risk of opening another can of worms, I think this is where a union would really come in handy, and from what I've seen over the last year, the sentiment of unionizing has been growing, and maybe they'd help with the support situation. You would think that a studio coming in from a different direction and working on different types of games than the rest of their studios struggling with getting Frostbite to work for them, would need more help not less. The logic behind that decision is baffling. So, a studio well-versed in Frostbite making EA a lot of money would get more support for the engine, meanwhile a studio struggling with it gets left to fend for themselves. Sounds legit.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2019
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  2. SPCTRE

    SPCTRE Badass Admiral

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    Of course not, they did really aim to realize synergies, but that was a gross miscalculation
     
  3. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    As fun and easy as it is to lump all the blame on EA, reading this article makes it clear that there's no shortage of blame to be had on Bioware's side of things, mostly a lack of internal leadership and piss-poor communication. I mean give EA some credit: Anthem was in pre-production for *7 years* before they put their foot down, and even at that point they really didn't have a solid handle on what the game was even about.

    Between this and the similar accounts to come out regarding MEA's development, there's a clear pattern emerging and Bioware really needs to get it's house in order fast, if it's not already too late. That kind of aimless development time and reliance on last minute crunch is not healthy or sustainable.
    As much as I love Dragon Age and want to see it continue, no video game is worth damaging someone's physical or mental health to get it done. I'd much rather the franchise die than know my money is funding that kind of abusive corporate culture.
     
  4. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    It would seem that the first major fault that could be laid at EA's doorstep was forcing all their studios to use that Frostbite thing. "The right tool for the right job" didn't seem to apply here and, like all good corporate lord masters, never listen to those who actually have to do the work. On the other hand, yes, the "leadership" of BioWare's vassal management holds most of the responsibility of the fail. They didn't listen to their people either and went pretty early on into this "BioWare Magic" denial mode bullshit. Going to that well too many times sent them down a bad road to a true Baton Death March. They got lucky when they did it before. They hit the wall this time. Very sad. I wish their talented artists well. They don't deserve to live that kind of life.
     
  5. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Sure, it's clear there are severe problems on Bioware's side of things, and I agree something needs to change with their leadership, and as-is, it's not a healthy prospect. But at the same time, I wonder how much of that is down to EA's company culture for letting something like that happen, not seeing it sooner and not lending them enough support with the engine perhaps leading them to much of their procrastination. Seven years is indeed a long time, but let's also not forget that this was Bioware working on a shooter which isn't a genre they were well-versed in. If let's say, because they are a less profitable studio, they not only get less support from EA's engine while also dealing with unfamiliarity of working on the genre unlike say, DICE, and left to fend for themselves, how is that much of Bioware's fault? Rather, I think the fault lies in both of them. If a studio feels they need help from their parent company then it shouldn't be that difficult to receive it.
     
  6. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    EA does not control Bioware's internal culture and politics. That's simply not how it works. They can put requisites and demands upon the studio, but ultimately the responsibility of how that's enacted is on Bioware's leadership. End of story.
    If they choose to deal with that by increasing pressure on the lower echelons then that's shitty management and in almost any other industry, it would not be tolerated. If they can't meet deadlines without abusing their staff, then they have no business even attempting it because it's clearly not sustainable.

    The video game development and publishing industry as a whole clearly has deep seated problems and at the very least the workforce needs to unionise to bring the suits to heel and be held accountable for chasing those quarterly gains at all costs. However, none of that absolves the people that are actively fuelling this state of affairs (mostly for short term personal gain) of their responsibility as employers.
     
  7. BillJ

    BillJ History’s Greatest Monster Premium Member

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    If they don't push the engine on the subsidiaries, then they can't pad their own books.
     
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  8. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    My point is that EA itself has long-standing corporate culture issues that could trickle down. Given the issues with Frostbite and its use as a company-wide policy, I don't think we can put the blame squarely on Bioware's shoulders for some of the issues, and in terms of last-minute finalizing we don't even know how far back that behavior has gone, but corporate culture can go a long way to encouraging that behavior in question.

    I agree about unionization. I think it's very clear that it needs to happen.
     
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  9. SPCTRE

    SPCTRE Badass Admiral

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    One important point to make is that while EA / BioWare / Anthem and this particular article are getting - unsurprisingly - a lot of attention, it is by no means an outlier but indicative of problems that plague the industry as a whole as they are very wide-spread.
     
  10. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah, if anything, it sheds some light on what might be going on in the industry as a whole. We've also recently heard about Telltale and Rockstar, proof that it can be an ugly business with questionable practices.
     
  11. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    What happened with Telltale and Rockstar?
     
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  12. Aragorn

    Aragorn Admiral Admiral

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  13. thribs

    thribs Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    God, I hope not.
     
  14. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Not doubt. But this also shows that the problem really is industry wide, whereas until recently, the usual narrative for a troubled game development has been the "poor struggling developer" having their artistic vision corrupted by the "evil money hungry publisher". This case kind of blows that image out of the water. It was a rudderless developer wasting time and money, who's error's were only compounded by publisher edicts. EA being weird about the frostbyte engine certainly didn't help matters, but it didn't exactly cause the fundamental problems either.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019
  15. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah, and with TellTale many details only started coming out when they announced their closure and employees felt safe enough to speak out.

    Heck, if we go far back enough to the beginning of the industry with Atari, there was a lot of stuff going on even back then that is appalling. This article is a great read:
    https://kotaku.com/sex-pong-and-pioneers-what-atari-was-really-like-ac-1822930057
     
  16. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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  17. SPCTRE

    SPCTRE Badass Admiral

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    BioWare is Dead

    I don’t agree with all aspects of his analysis, but I share his overall conclusion
     
  18. SPCTRE

    SPCTRE Badass Admiral

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    re: games industry being fucked up

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  19. SPCTRE

    SPCTRE Badass Admiral

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    < also, in before some of the Americans in here tell me that this is a perfectly acceptable business practice because "it is all voluntary" >
     
  20. Jax

    Jax Admiral Admiral

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    Same here and Bioware is all but dead after Anthem.

    While the story is very lacklustre, any spare time that could of been spent working on it was diverted by EA because of the fucking awful Frostbite Engine not being suitable to run any game that isn't FIFA or Battlefield.

    The Frostbite Engine is one of the worst engines in gaming and will impact any game Bioware makes.