According to Jason Schreier, making Anthem was Bioware idea; EA actually gives the studios autonomy and more

Josecitox

Member
Oct 25, 2017
379
Argentina
Hard to believe after how many consecutive big EA games have been huge disappointments.

If they're really giving their studios a good amount freedom then maybe freedom isn't the best idea for all of them
Which is what led people to believe this game will bury Bioware, why would EA keep giving them time and money when the only thing they've delivered in recent years is controversial headlines and broken games.
Instead of putting that money there, EA will put it on Apex Legends instead, which again, makes complete sense.
 

FairyEmpire

Member
Oct 25, 2017
15,549
Yeah, this was known. I know people like to push every fault of a game on the evil publisher instead of the saint developers, but the reality of things is never that simple. Anthem was Bioware's biggest and most ambitious project to date, they put their all into it, and it turned out the way it did. EA definitely has faults, but Bioware has worked on it long enough already to these results, another delay would not have fixed the core issues the game has.
 

Cabbagehead

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
4,019
Yeah i don't see the big difference either. So EA doesn't directly force devs to produce this live service crap, but Indirectly through financial pressure. And then shuts the studios down if they're not happy with the business model of a certain game.
With this corporate culture it's no wonder that Bioware has gone to shit.
Exactly. But I must say that I firmly believe that most of the fault is on BioWare. They had almost seven fucking years.
Yeah i don't get why folks are painting this as EA not being involved in creating a shit environment for Bioware. Of course the heads at Bioware aren't blameless but this is just basic corporate financial strong arming, made to look like it's all self inflicted errors. Make no bones about it, every pit developer/producer/director feels that pressure to deliver on EA terms not on Bioware's terms.

Don't even get me started on their tactic of creating half baked satellite studios as feeder farms to do live service and then all of a sudden. Making/allowing them to make a big budgeted games, far above their experience level. While using the title of legendary names to make up for the poor products that they produce.

I mean i see developers talk about how 'open" EA is but that just sounds to me like a trap, for you to fall on your own sword if you fail. Along with a few unspoken company interests.
 
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Veelk

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,604
"hey guys, love what your doing and keep at it, we want you to make whatever game you feel is best. Btw, the bosses feel it'd sure be nice if this game your making had a long term revenue stream, but that's its own thing, you do you. And on a totally unrelated to that issue at all note, that's a nice game budget you have there. It'd be an awful shame if something were to happen to it."

... Is basically the message I'm getting out of this.

Not that I think Bioware is a total victim in this, I'm sure they truly believed in Anthem, but what he's describing isn't Bioware having real autonomy.
 

Death Penalty

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
1,774
I'm pretty sure EA is a huge part of why Anthem is monetized and structured how it is, even if they don't overtly order Bioware to conform to those standards.

It's probably Bioware's fault Anthem sucked, though. Seven years of dev time and a massive budget shouldn't produce what Anthem was.
 

Karonoth

Member
Nov 10, 2018
806
EA didn't force Bioware to make an online game but they did force them to make a GaaS, which in most cases it's the same thing.
 

Unclebenny

Member
Oct 28, 2017
452
Good to see this thread is full of people completely disregarding what Jason is saying and sticking to their "EA is the evilest" narrative.
 
Oct 26, 2017
3,793
I am sure an AAA single player game with limited post launch monetisation would've been greenlit by EA.
BioWare chose what to pitch knowing what strategy EA is pursuing.
 

bxsonic

Member
Oct 30, 2017
357
I feel like this is just an indirect way for EA to get what they want? How else do you get long term recurring income from a game? Would EA fund a AAA single player game from Bioware with some DLC (Lol. Just kidding. Obviously not)? Sure, EA is not pointing a gun at Bioware's head, but the end result is all the same.

To be fair though, I think Anthem's lack of quality is Bioware's own fault. But this is just EA basically telling their studios what type of games they expect.
 

K Samedi

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,296
A very naive take on the situation. Pushing a studio towards long revenue tail games is in other words asking for a service game with micro transactions. EA not giving bigger resources to any other kind of project forced Bioware to make such a game and they’re not even particularly good at it.
 

Mass_Pincup

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
3,800
That’s exactly what I said about Aprx and should be obvious.

I’m not saying that they didn’t want to make an FPS, I’m saying that they factored in what could be greenlight by EA when choosing a project, making EA an actor of that decision.
If EA says “you can do want you want as long as it’s making FUT/Fortnite money” then they’re not really hands of are they?
 

olag

Member
Oct 28, 2017
645
"Where's your version of Fifa UT?" is basically this in videogame management form...

As much as I hate this particular quote I actually agree. Im more surprised that everyone is immediately going,"See this is all Bioware!!" but the content of the tweets suggests that EA themselves are only interested in supporting projects with a high revenue stream which immediately restricts what genres you can invest in as a project.

I mean this is pretty standard"Hey you can do what you want, just make sure it makes us a lot of money" high level management directing isnt it. While Biowares fuck ups are completely apparent here Im not completely sure they are as autonomous as Jason is implying.
 

Jakisthe

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
1,206
But hold on - I thought EA was pure evil slavedrivers who micromanage everything?

Oh, wait, no, that was the hoi polloi who have no idea what they're talking about, right right right. I've talked to a ton of EA strategy folks over the years, and I could have said this from the start: the higher organizational structure doesn't get that nitty gritty into every little choice. They can't; that's why they acquired these teams in the first place. They trust said teams to be able to come up with long tail revenue streams, and will help with overall direction and looking at the big picture, but aren't going to demand specific games from specific teams a lot of the time. EA wants to make money, not waste time and effort forcing things from people who hate their jobs being under the thumb of some huge evil empire.
 
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TheZodiacAge

Banned
Oct 30, 2017
1,068
That was clear but people tend to protect Bioware because they made some good games long ago with people mostly not working anymore there.

Its not EAs fault Bioware had at the end only this version of Anthem to show.
Even in a scenario where EA gave them a "subtle hint" this was probably long known to them and doesn't excuse that there is next to no content available and what is available is that bad to begin with.
Maybe its even too much freedom because Anthem clearly lacks on every corner while time to deliver was apparently really high.
 

BassForever

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,899
CT
"Where's your version of Fifa UT?" is basically this in videogame management form...

Exactly, I’m not surprised large parts of Anthem’s design/problems came from Bioware, same shit happened with Bungie and Destiny. The issue I see is did Bioware’s top brass decided from the outset to make a massive gaas rpg that could make money forever independently from EA, or did they decide they needed to do that because it’s what EA wants?

I think it makes sense for the core chunk of the development to have companies EA or Activision be hands off, but when things aren’t a massive success you see what is happening with Blizzard and I’m sure this time next year we’ll be talking about Bioware in the same way.
 
Oct 25, 2017
12,709
Sweden
No the constraints are there because if theyre asking for X amount of millions of dollars, investors told them they need to hit X amount of projected revenue. They knew what they signed up for when taking this project. Blaming EA for wanting a return for hundreds of millions of dollars is asinine especially when the brunt of the problems with the game would have nothing to do with the publisher interfering. This is how any basic investment works, you ask for X amount of money, they tell you what they need to see before giving you X amount of money-the onus for how they come up with that is on them in addition to accepting the terms in the first place. They could have just worked on another project if they didn't feel comfortable hitting the numbers EA wanted them to. There is nothing misleading here, its just people not understanding how this process plays out and wanting to blame the EA boogieman
what you don't get is that "not asking for X amounts of dollars" would mean "firing X amounts of people"

yes, i'm sure benevolent papEA would have allowed them to make a game without GaaS-type post launch revenue if bioware would have been willing to fire half of their staff. what a great choice offered by our benevolent corporate masters!
 

Steiner_Zi

Member
Oct 28, 2017
308
Come on, are we kidding ourselves here? When you ask your studio "what's your version of Fifa UT?" then that's hardly a pass for creative freedom. Bioware had to operate inside the limits of making a live-service game... No Baldurs Gate, Jade Empire or Mass Effect would have been created under these requirements. They didn't even let the Star Wars single-player game finish ffs and that was a SW game.

The subpar quality and mediocrity of the final product is on Bioware, of course.
 

TitanicFall

Member
Nov 12, 2017
3,001
I would have told EA we're doing a single player rpg but we're going to have a game within a game that we can monetize, a Gwent clone with multi-player.
 

TheRaidenPT

Member
Jun 11, 2018
3,877
Lisbon, Portugal
The problem is that it does not really matter who intended what with Anthem. The problem is that Anthem is a loot game that feels like the loot part was hacked in at the last moment. The world also feels incredibly boilerplate and the story and gameplay is so disjunct that I understand everyone who looks at it and says: This has to be a decision from corporate, this studio can't have degraded that much in just one project.
Pretty much this.

I've decided to vote with the wallet starting with this year, so yeah I won't be buying Anthem because of it's quality.

Instead I went with DmC5.
 

Kalamoj

Member
Oct 28, 2017
323
Europe
Come on, are we kidding ourselves here? When you ask your studio "what's your version of Fifa UT?" then that's hardly a pas for creative freedom. No Baldurs Gate, Jade Empire or Mass Effect would have been created under these requirements. They didn't even let the Star Wars single-player game finish ffs and that was a SW game!
Do you mean the Visceral sw game? If I remember right, after years work they had virtually nothing to show, they just burned millions on nothing.
 

jgwhiteus

Member
Oct 30, 2017
19
I understand what Jason's saying but this is why I still partly "blame EA" (and Bioware) for Bioware's more recent output: EA paid a ridiculous amount of money to purchase a studio known for its in-depth singleplayer RPG experiences and tasked it with creating multiplayer and online experiences (e.g. SWtOR Online) that it thought would generate billions in long term revenue.

Even though Bioware has never (IMO) shown much finesse or mastery of multiplayer online experiences with the exception of some limited gameplay modes in its singleplayer-focused titles, that's what EA bought it for and what it's demanding from it now to justify the studio's purchase.

It's like paying for a world class soccer team and wondering why they're not winning you baseball championships. It's a mismatch between resources and business goals, and it reflects poor management on EA's part, and poor decision-making on Bioware's end to try to shoehorn their entire ethos into game modes and styles they've never really excelled in. Sure Bioware has a "choice" in the actual games they produce, but within the confines of satisfying EA's revenue demands.

In my alternate fantasy world (as a Bioware fan), they were purchased by a publisher that was more attuned to their strengths and was willing to fund more modest projects with long tail revenue coming from other sources like DLC, rather than tasking its studio to come up with the Next Big Thing.
 

Fastidioso

Banned
Nov 3, 2017
2,827
People dislikes EA because of their recent practices also people needs to stop pointing fingers on EA due to their studios failures. Don’t forget that months before release BioWare said that it’s their idea and that’s what they wanted to make. I still understand EA’s hate though
I mean they seem pretty incapable to distribute good products from years. Where we have to point our fingers? By the way no one here think Bioware is an innocent victim because EA. But from my memories I remembered most of the talented crew has abandoned the studio?
 

10k

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,235
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I believe it. My issue with EA is not wanting to invest in the closed box $60 games anymore with 3 dlc packs over a 9 month span that they did last gen with Bioware games. Those days are done.

I think we can also all agree that the Bioware that made the Mass Effect Trilogy, DA Origins and KOTOR is gone. The doctors leaving ended an era. They just don't have the talent to be that anymore. Anthem is proof of that.
 

Sanka

Member
Feb 17, 2019
687
Wasn't Destiny and Bungie cancelled by Activision because it didn't hit their targets despite making loads of money? Now imagine how high the pressure would be from EA to produce a game that hits numbers like FIFA does. It's not good enough for these companies to make their money back and some, they want the absolute maximization of profits.

Bioware definitely has problems in its management, but in no way is EA innocent. They give them the narrow framework in which they are able to operate and Bioware overestimated themself and wasn't good enough to deliver a decent game.
 

jdmonmou

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,098
I still mainly blame EA for only wanting to invest in "live services." Bioware deserves a lot of blame, but it's clear that EA is pushing them to make these live service grind-a-thons infused with MTX which isn't their forte.

I think Red Dead Redemption 2 did it in the least offensive way. You still have your 60+ hr story and then the online component is completely separate. I just played the single player and completely ignored the online. The only bad thing is that we probably won't have any single-player DLC because of the online. But, if Anthem did something similar it would've been better off.
 

Durante

Dark Souls Man
Member
Oct 24, 2017
5,070
"if you want resources, show us how your game is going to make long-term revenue."
This means that a large number of games -- in particular, the types of games Bioware used to be known for -- are basically off the table.

So I'm not sure if I agree with that making a large difference.
 

Patapuf

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,990
I feel like this is just an indirect way for EA to get what they want? How else do you get long term recurring income from a game? Would EA fund a AAA single player game from Bioware with some DLC (Lol. Just kidding. Obviously not)? Sure, EA is not pointing a gun at Bioware's head, but the end result is all the same.

To be fair though, I think Anthem's lack of quality is Bioware's own fault. But this is just EA basically telling their studios what type of games they expect.
Bioware released such a game just last year with ME Andromeda. And Inquisition before that.

Everything i've heard form EA is that it's a publiser that gives devs enough rope to hang themselves. And sometimes they do. Andromeda had 6 Years. Anthem even 7. Both were hugely ambitious projects. Probably too ambitious.

The pursuit of ever higher profits is not unique to big publishers btw. Recurring revenue is the goal of pretty much every dev. Even indies.
 

Dekuman

Banned
Oct 27, 2017
8,627
Bioware released such a game just last year with ME Andromeda. And Inquisition before that.

Everything i've heard form EA is that it's a publiser that gives devs enough rope to hang themselves. And sometimes they do. Andromeda had 6 Years. Anthem even 7. Both were hugely ambitious projects. Probably too ambitious.

The pursuit of ever higher profits is not unique to big publishers btw. Recurring revenue is the goal of pretty much every dev. Even indies.
It was outsourced to a spin off studio and the narrative for the last few years was they weren't up to the job ... Until the main studio released Anthem. And now that game looked more competent.

We'll be talking about counterfactuals but you have to wonder if they'd be better off focusing on a single game with the support studio doing the supporting

Jason's version of events doest really discredit the notion EA caused this mess by allocating resources to encourage certain types.of games and suggesting direction the studio should take. And yes, providing the resources but also the pressure for the studio to double and triple down on a troubled project because it broadly aligns with EAs business model.

A BioWare that doesn't have such a safety net and was working as a studio fo r hire may have cut losses and released something else years ago.
 
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Almagest

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,265
Spain
It was outsourced to a spin off studo and the narrative for the last few years was they weren't up to the job ... Until the main studio released Anthem.

We'll be talking about counterfactuals but you have to wonder if they'd be better off focusing on a single game with the support studio doing the supporting
Well, MEA's story is a little bit more complicated than that. Basically, BioWare Montreal spent a lot of time trying to drastically change the series' formula by implementing procedurally generated planets, the player actually flying their ship through star systems etc. and a lot of people (including animators, hence the faces) left. Then BW Emonton and other studios took more control of the project and we got what we got.

Aside from that, I think you're right about focusing on a project and having other studios acting as support. ME3 might no have been the most beloved of the trilogy and was more or less rushed, but having Edmonton working in the SP part and Montreal in the MP part resulted in a good game with a great MP component that really satisfied EA in terms of 'constant revenue streams' and the players because it was fun and had lots of free updates. It seems to me like BW really spread itself thin running all these projects in parallel.
 

Dojima

Alt-account
Banned
Jan 25, 2019
2,003
I mean they seem pretty incapable to distribute good products from years. Where we have to point our fingers? By the way no one here think Bioware is an innocent victim because EA. But from my memories I remembered most of the talented crew has abandoned the studio?
You point your fingers at the developers. They’re the ones making the game not EA. You point your fingers at EA’s greedy practices and if there’s any proof that they’re rushing their developers. Other than that? No. You don’t get to point your fingers at them for a developers failure
 

Dekuman

Banned
Oct 27, 2017
8,627
You point your fingers at the developers. They’re the ones making the game not EA. You point your fingers at EA’s greedy practices and if there’s any proof that they’re rushing their developers. Other than that? No. You don’t get to point your fingers at them for a developers failure
You'll never get proof. When you control resources and have the authority over peopel you only need to suggest for people below you to do it as a directive. This is Bourne out by Jason's tweets about each studio needing something like FUT

There isn't going to be an email from EA with the kind of proof you want unless they were dumb enough to do so. Even then those would be internal and youd need someone to leak it.
 

Fisty

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,359
"Let's make Destiny but with more microtransactions and broken. It'll be the Bob Dylan of video games."
- Casey Hudson, 2014
 

Dojima

Alt-account
Banned
Jan 25, 2019
2,003
You'll never get proof. When you control resources and have the authority over peopel you only need to suggest for people below you to do it as a directive. This is Bourne out by Jason's tweets about each studio needing something like FUT

There isn't going to be an email from EA with the kind of proof you want unless they were dumb enough to do so. Even then those would be internal and youd need someone to leak it.
True that, but with all the leaks in the recent years nobody can actually leak something like that? They’ve been leaking stuff that are worse than that.
 

Dekuman

Banned
Oct 27, 2017
8,627
True that, but with all the leaks in the recent years nobody can actually leak something like that? They’ve been leaking stuff that are worse than that.
Internal company emails? It would be easy to figure out who leaked it. That would be more than anonymous sources. And frankly the stakes aren't high enough for a leak to happen. I venture to guess people working there would do anything EA wants to make sure they do not get shuttered and is probably feeling the.bunker mentality