It was to be one of the top games of 2017, a sequel to one of the best-known and most popular action and role-playing video game franchises of all time.
For some strange reason, though, Bioware’s Mass Effect Andromeda ended up being a flop, a disastrous release for a company that seemingly could do no wrong.
So what went wrong? It’s easy to point to Mass Effect Andromeda’s disastrous launch in March 2017, as the game shipped in a less than perfect state. Not only was Andromeda unfinished by Bioware’s own admission, but the game was also buggy and crash prone at launch, while the facial animation of the game’s characters was the subject of much ridicule online.
But now Bioware’s developer Mark Darrah has shed more light on what went wrong for their latest entry in the Mass Effect franchise back in 2017, as reported on GameSpot.
Aside from recognising Andromeda’s launch flaws, Darrah also revealed on Twitter that Bioware’s game suffered due to the fact that “the review environment was crowded”.
This meant that Mass Effect Andromeda got hammered by the critics as a result of comparing Bioware’s game to superior titles like Nier: Automata and Nioh, which hit the market in the first quarter of 2017 too.
You launch the best game you can.
MEA has a lot of problems and got lapped by genuinely better games.
— Mark Darrah (@BioMarkDarrah) June 27, 2018
He also pointed out how the game’s disappointing Metacritic score could have been higher had the game launched at a different time. “Does launching in a different window turn 72% into 90? Certainly not. 72 into 77/78? Maybe”, said Darrah.
The Bioware man was also right to point out how, contrary to Mass Effect Andromeda, Bioware’s earlier Dragon Age: Inquisition likely did better as a result of being launched in late 2014 as the year wasn’t particularly strong when it came to AAA game releases.
But does this mean that the Mass Effect franchise is dead and buried, and that we will never get to enjoy another entry in the spacefaring RPG series? Not necessarily, as Darrah told Game Informer last month that the studio plans to go back to Mass Effect at some point.
The thing is, and as ominous as this may sound, whether Bioware will be able to return to the franchise that made the Canadian studio famous… This is because the company’s future largely depends on the success of Anthem, a Destiny-like multiplayer game which will be hitting the market next year.
Will Electronic Arts keep Bioware under its wing if Anthem doesn’t turn out to be the hit that everyone is hoping it will be? This remains to be seen, but after EA shuttered Dead Space studio Visceral Games last year, even Bioware’s future could be in doubt. Here’s hoping then, that Anthem turns out to be a AAA success next year, and that another Mass Effect game does hit shelves at some point in the future too.