Old BioWare Has Become "A Distant Memory"

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by Megalith, Mar 2, 2019.

  1. Megalith

    Megalith 24-bit/48kHz Staff Member

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    Despite lead producer Michael Gamble’s claim the studio isn’t shutting down and continues to get “great support,” concerns about BioWare’s future appear to be growing following Anthem’s negative reception. USgamer and PC Gamer have both published articles reminiscing over the developer’s legendary past and how it could recapture its former glory, but while both agree the studio should simply return to the basics (i.e., making single-player RPGs), their current obligations to huge blockbusters means they may never get that chance. Anthem's physical sales were only half of Mass Effect Andromeda's, according to UK charts.

    ...the success of Mass Effect feels more and more like a poisoned chalice. It propelled BioWare to undreamed of success, but it also robbed it of its soul. It's hard to imagine it ever returning to the heights of Baldur's Gate 2, when BioWare was an independent PC developer catering to a limited but ferociously loyal audience. Anthem is the natural endpoint of a process that began more than a decade ago, when BioWare decided its traditional approach was incompatible with large-scale success.
     
  2. ConnerLeo

    ConnerLeo n00b

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  3. Patton187

    Patton187 Gawd

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  4. Loose Nut

    Loose Nut Limp Gawd

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    EA has killed another one
     
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  5. vegeta535

    vegeta535 2[H]4U

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    Yep.
     

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  6. Flapjack

    Flapjack 2[H]4U

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    Ok, as an older member of the crowd, etf does "F" mean? Fail?

    This whole thing is kinda sad. My wife and I were really looking forward to this game. I'm glad I didn't pre-order it (at x2 the cost for both of is), but we are still curious. Just the two of us want to play. We're not into the big multiplayer crowd, and are more than happy to play a game together that doesn't have another (living) soul in the world with us. Basically, we were hoping for an experience kind of like Borderlands 2, while at the same time knowing it would likely not be as good. I was hoping it would hold us off until Borderlands 3 came out.

    Is this not going to do that??
     
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  7. HAL_404

    HAL_404 Limp Gawd

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    video killed the radio star and the talent leaving Bioware will kill Bioware. October 2017 an article read, "Looks like Lead Animator, Steven Gilmour left Bioware."
    He's not the only one to jump ship through the years or be let go.

    For many, Mass Effect IS John Shepard. The other characters can come and go but it was asinine to remove Shepherd and replace him with the Ryder characters.

    Lose the talent and you lose future games / sequels
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2019
  8. Delicieuxz

    Delicieuxz Gawd

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    BioWare ceased being the studio that built its reputation as something impressive after the release of Dragon Age: Origins, and maybe Mass Effect 2 (though ME2 is a pretty straight-forward shooter and perhaps shows the BioWare touch as being on its way out). After that,BioWare has stood for little more than bland and uninspired corporate paste.

    Dragon Age: Origins is BioWare's swan song.


    Not to mention the founders of the studio, who left in 2012: https://www.gamespot.com/articles/bioware-founders-retire/1100-6396699/

    I'm guessing that a part of the reason why they left is because EA's influence was increasingly stifling what games they could make and how they could make games.

    Of course, their direction might have played a big role in BioWare's decline (aside from their choice to sell to EA in the first place), and the decline of BioWare was in strong effect by 2012 with ME 2 being a mostly-linear action game devoid of BioWare's trademark RPG heritage, Dragon Age 2 being a low-content action-based dud, and The Old Republic being yet another 'me too' MMORPG and not living up to people's hopes for the Old Republic series.

    However, 2009's Dragon Age: Origins (which started design in 2002 and was shown at E3 2004 and 2008) is likely the last game that BioWare designed independently of EA, which bought BioWare in 2007.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2019
  9. vegeta535

    vegeta535 2[H]4U

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    It is a meme is f a call of duty games where you are asked to press F to pay respect to a fallen comrade at their funeral. I believe it was CoD advance warfare.
     
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  10. Twisted Kidney

    Twisted Kidney 2[H]4U

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    Well, physical game sales are irrelevant at best. Even more so in the UK.

    Nevertheless, a philosophy of making good games and telling interesting stories is fundamentally incompatible with the live service bandwagon. A bandwagon that's pretty much full to overflowing already and due for a good crash.

    The same thing goes for mobile games. It's a cash cow so long as they can continue to target kids with micro-transactions and gambling. Paying their team psychologists to make their products push all the right neurological buttons to foster an addiction, but they're all piled in. They're all bellied up to the trough, eating their fill but they don't know when to stop. Remember when cigarette companies used to focus on kids with their marketing? They wouldn't police themselves, lawmakers ended up having to do it.

    The same thing is coming to the gaming industry. This simply cannot last.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2019
  11. Bigshrimp

    Bigshrimp Limp Gawd

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    EA has done in another great studio. Who would have thought!? :(
     
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  12. purple_monster

    purple_monster Gawd

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    Ill load up Neverwinter Nights in tribute tonight.
     
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  13. schlitzbull

    schlitzbull Limp Gawd

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    I genuinely enjoy the flying/movement mechanics of anthem. Its can be quite engaging and keeps my interest better than just running around. Too bad the rest of the game sucks. :(

    Edit: cant type on phone
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2019
  14. vegeta535

    vegeta535 2[H]4U

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    One can only hope.
     
  15. Brian_B

    Brian_B 2[H]4U

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    Again with looking at Physical sales....
     
  16. Daishi123

    Daishi123 Limp Gawd

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    Vs what digital? How many people do you think just did the EA Access stuff......I'm willing to bet a lot. So they didn't even get the full 60 off of most of the PC crowd.
     
  17. Devilpup

    Devilpup [H]ard|Gawd

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    Dragon Age was good, but Anthem seems like a Destiny clone, and it's not even a great game to clone.
     
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  18. oldmanbal

    oldmanbal 2[H]4U

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    After the Alpha I wouldn't touch Anthem again for at least 2 years. FFXIV got it right, which means any company that wants to put in the hard work and listen to their audience can succeed. Will they? I don't see a niche for them to dig with the continued success of Destiny, and iminnent release of an experienced Division 2. Anthem looks great, but it is such a far cry from what made them great, it's really a massive let down considering the beautiful world they crafted. They still have the techinical staff, if they could get a producer or lead game designer to really reign it in a push what they're good at, I wouldn't count them out.
     
  19. greenman

    greenman Gawd

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    Let's be real tho.. BioWare was amazing but also had it's own issues. Not to defend EA in any way, just saying they were getting worse and wouldn't be able to make games that we loved while EA was already involved with.
     
  20. Lakados

    Lakados [H]ard|Gawd

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    At some point you have to stop blaming EA and blame the studio's, Bioware has been bleeding talent for the last decade. I mean I am liking Anthem but it should have been launched 3 months from now. EA may have set the deadlines but Bioware is the one who failed to deliver on time, they are the ones who introduced the bugs and imbalances, they wrote and directed it EA just bankrolled and gave them a due date.
     
  21. maxius

    maxius 2[H]4U

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    physical sales are meaningless
     
  22. Flogger23m

    Flogger23m [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Both of those comments are spot on. Physical sales are dropping quick as console gamers are embracing digital games more. But this game does look underwhelming, and they need to go back to what made Bioware a good studio. Single player RPGs.

    I hope they do another sci fi hybrid shooter/RPG that isn't some 80 open world abomination. I'd really like to see a spiritual successor to Mass Effect. I think that universe (story wise) is too filled out to have anything spectacular from a story point. We're either left with side stories (which won't have the same scale or intrigue of the first game) or continue with the mess that was Andromeda.
     
  23. umeng2002

    umeng2002 Gawd

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    "Commander Shepard has become a legend by ending the Reaper threat. Now you can continue to build that legend through further gameplay and downloadable content."

    F
     
  24. 1Nocturnal101

    1Nocturnal101 Gawd

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    Eh, Dragon Age Origins and ME2 were the last good games they released, after that the quality of the work was a landslide, honestly they should have stuck with D&D RPGs and games that were Strategic Turn Based RPGs, with solid stories good rpg mechanics and the memorable Companion system.

    This is no shocker, there is just hardly any Bioware in Bioware any more, I mean sure the name exists, but after EA took over It was similar to Activision buying Blizzard, a lot of the Talent left that made them who they were, I can even say to an extent that Bethesda is no longer BGS when Todd Howard started to take over as instead of progressing the games in line with what was created each iteration is eye candy with little substance losing what made the originals so magical, Rolsten even learned the hard way after releasing Oblivion, Not to say the games aren't impressive for what they are, but they certainly aren't as complex as the series went on.

    Part of why newer games are so lack luster is like Hollywood they are trying to rely on the eye candy to push a subpar product, rather than giving us a deep engaging experience, back in the day Graphics were limited and you had to do a lot of good storytelling and nail good mechanics with tricks to make things work to sell the game, now they are merely an afterthought, which is why games as a service fails It ignores the reality of why people play games in the hopes and dreams of a CEO to hook line and sinker people the way WoW once captivated audiences and made billions, now that MMOs really aren't the scene, as so many have come and gone, They are simply trying to create the MMO but in a diminished capacity rather than focusing on the experience, while trying to monetize CoD style shooters, Overwatch in particular is a great example, is it dead ,no, but their answer to content is a map here and there and a new character every once and a while, the falloff occurred simply because they failed to evolve the game further and present newer ways to play.
     
  25. IdiotInCharge

    IdiotInCharge [H]ardForum Junkie

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    The studio is EA. Bioware doesn't exist except to make games like those that the company known as Bioware before EA acquired them used to make.

    Now they make what EA demands, with what resources EA allows them, delivering on EA's schedule.
     
  26. Revdarian

    Revdarian 2[H]4U

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    Actually in the uk digital sales are only less than 40% and closer to 25%, let's be generous and go 50%, it means that in total it sold the same as Andromeda did on physical, which wasn't a great number.

    And in reality worldwide, digital sales aren't the overwhelming majority, which is why physical sales aren't meaningless.

    Even in the usa a proper internet connection without data caps is a rare thing, so that is why NPD report is still a thing that only in the past year and a half or so started to report digital sales.

    You can play just fine through data caps without using it all, but for actual game downloads things start to become painful very fast thanks to monopolies and massive game sizes.
     
  27. haste.

    haste. [H]ard|Gawd

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    The meme generation yikes. Give it rest. F whatever the f f means. Physical sales are down across the board.

    Have a few friends that play it and say it's fun but buggy. Surprise AAA release buggy!
     
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  28. Revdarian

    Revdarian 2[H]4U

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    Digital _revenue_ is indeed massively higher due to MTX, dlc, mobile and subscriptions but for example FIFA 2019 actual game sales in the UK were 75% physical, that is why I say that even moving it to 50/50 for this game it would still be a flop.

    Digital revenue on 2018 for the UK reportedly comprised 80% of the total tho, all hail the mighty MTXs, huh?
     
  29. travisty

    travisty Gawd

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    I can tell you're not in software engineering.

    The key thing about programming is it takes time to get a new programmer up to speed during which time the others on the team will lose time answering questions from the new programmer. A programmer with 10+ years experience can get up to speed in a week or two. Anyone newer and you're looking at 2-4 weeks before they're contributing in a meaningful way.

    There is another side to: too many programmers. There's only so many times you can divide a task amongst multiple people before they're slowing each other down via code conflicts or getting deadlocked. Add to this if the company loses it's top talent and is left with code-monkeys, the code will be written like a pile of ugly crap which is near impossible to debug/fix (I've seen this too many times)

    If EA it pushing schedule and everyone's already working at their max, EA really needs to bend; which they don't and thus release crap.
     
  30. Grimlaking

    Grimlaking 2[H]4U

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    Yea I knew when EA purchased Bioware that Bioware was done. They WERE the US RPG market along with Morrowind/Fallout. Now... I don't even know.
     
  31. M76

    M76 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    As someone who didn't even like Origins that much, I have to vehemently disagree.
    Origins was a bland and boring game, with clunky fighting, that mostly depended on luck. (You could ace an encounter that you failed previously with the same exact strategy)
    Awakenings, retained the clunky combat, but at least brought interesting characters, and a much better story. So it was a decent experience.
    Mass Effect 2 is by far the best Bioware game, it might not cater to the hardcore RPG following, but that doesn't make it a bad game.
    Dragon Age 2 contrary to popular opinion is by far my favorite Dragon Age game, it is the most coherent experience, where the narrative is key, and the story and character development is great. And the combat if still somewhat clunky at least not a complete gamble.
    Mass Effect 3 does the same as 2, apart from the last 10 minutes it is as good as 2. Not to mention all the single player story DLCs.

    That's four brilliant games released after Origins. So swan song my ass.

    The first signs of trouble were in Dragon Age Inquisition. It feels like as if they did the first chapter on their own, then in swooped EA and the rest of the game is a huge empty grindfest, that's only big for the sake of being big. Not because it would add anything to the narrative.Or even necessary to tell the story.
    Despite that Dragon Age Inquisition was generally well received regardless of being an MMO like grindfest.

    Then came Andromeda, which and you might not believe me if you only heard the popular opinion on it. Is another good game, much better than Dragon Age Inquisition in almost every way. If anything it is Bioware's swan song, It's development was plagued by difficulties, and if you take into account that they did a complete hard reset on the project 2 years prior to release, then it is amazing how it turned out.

    Anthem is the point where they didn't even try to make a coherent experience or story. But they lied about it, that it will be just as good. Which as we suspected and now know is utter BS.
     
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  32. M76

    M76 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    You know how it works in the corporate world.

    Suits: Here's the project, complete it in two years.
    Staff: But it would take four years to do it properly
    Suits: Sorry that's all you're gonna get, make it work somehow, don't look for excuses look for solutions!

    2 years later:

    Suits: Is it ready?
    Staff: Almost, just a few last minute things to wrap up, we did our best but there really should be an additional layer of QA before delivery!
    Suits: Just wrap it up we don't have time!

    After delivery (a few months late):

    Suits: The customers are complaining that there are errors in the delivered product! What's your excuse?
    Staff: We told you we needed twice the time for a decent job, and we told you before delivery that we should delay a bit and do additional QA.
    Suits: The deadline was set nothing we could do!

    At the year end meeting:
    Suits: You did a shit job, didn't deliver on time, and the product had issues! No bonuses for you, be happy we don't fire you!


    So who do you think is to blame? EA (suits) or Bioware (staff) ?
     
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  33. v3rninater

    v3rninater n00b

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    I knew Anthem was gonna suck, especially when Steve @ warframe during Dev stream said they were changing the names of the Warframes to Javalines....LOL Would still play Warframe over Anthem...
     
  34. {NG}Fidel

    {NG}Fidel [H]ardness Supreme

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    Bad games happen. I'm not sure I'm sold on the demise of something based on a single title that isn't even getting universal hate but instead a mixed reception.
     
  35. percydaman

    percydaman Limp Gawd

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    This is what you should expect when a company sells itself to a large developer like EA. It's just ubiquitous.
     
  36. Nimisys

    Nimisys Likes To Play With Trannies

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    Going back through BG1 (the OG, not EE), DA:I is much like it. Reality is you only had 5 or so chapter plot points in the form of a single quest of note to the central story line and the rest was filler to give it a since of scale. the majority of the wilderness areas had no story to them and never needed to be seen outside of passing through them. DAI at least gave each area it's own storyline and benefit to spending time in. I could do without the collection quests, but I did enjoy the time spent going through them.
     
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  37. SecretStash

    SecretStash Limp Gawd

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    Bioware is failing to deliver because of bleeding talent (like you said), because of EA's policies. For example EA trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. (e.g. designing multi player focused games for a single player focused studio) EA is bleeding them dry.
     
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  38. steakman1971

    steakman1971 2[H]4U

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    I worked at a place that was developing mobile apps - we worked with a lot of startups or sometimes partnered with organizations. We had a few apps that did mediocre in the app stores. By chance, we met an organization that had a great idea and had marketing contacts - this app went viral and exploded. We worked on the prototype about 7 years ago - it's still in use across the country and has millions of users. This dwarfed everything else we worked on by far.
    The following year, my boss put this on my performance review as a goal: make another app that does well like the other app! Since we were basically guns for hire, I had no idea what my team would work on in the upcoming year. This was a ridiculous goal. Even if my team had created the IP, it's not always possible to hit gold twice in a row.
    Other things that happened to make this really difficult: I had strong team members leave for more pay (the app store created a gold rush, one team member got an offer for 110% more than we were paying him). We also got flooded by a lot of stupid app ideas. Being guns for hire, you don't turn away money...
    Anyway, BioWare lost the original team. They are just a name now. They might have more money backing them, but this doesn't mean success. Investors don't like to lose money, so I bet they are not willing to let the current team take new risks.
     
  39. MrSteel74

    MrSteel74 [H]ard|Gawd

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    EA killed Bioware you could feel the ship starting to turn with ME2. Bioware was already working on it before the merger but you can tell the game started to slip from it's RPG heavy roots into more of a FPS action game and then by ME3 EA's stench was all over that thing, the game was good but not nearly as good as the previous ones. I sank about 400 hours into ME1, about 100 into ME2 and 40 into ME3
     
  40. serial__thrilla

    serial__thrilla Limp Gawd

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    Can someone, please, edjumacate me on why people make posts on the forum with just one letter? Like the "F" posts above? WTF is this shit? What does it mean?