Is EA Really Good Once more?
Few online game builders and publishers have had the lofty highs and subterranean lows that EA has skilled over the previous few many years. The identical firm that’s delivered generation-defining experiences and instantaneous classics has additionally been on the forefront of predatory monetization and voted the Worst Firm in America. However amidst this turbulent trip, it appears like we’re at a degree in its curler coaster of a life the place I no less than really feel assured in posing the query – is EA really good once more?
It’s simple to slag on the corporate that’s shuttered beloved studios, milked its annual franchises, and utterly fumbled the launches of video games that ought to’ve been a simple win. However whereas that is all true, it’s value remembering that EA can also be the corporate chargeable for a few of the most iconic bangers of this century.
In an period the place video games weren’t fairly as expensive to create, it felt like EA was extra prepared to take dangers. A few of my absolute favourite gaming experiences of the ‘00s got here from EA – the unique Mirror’s Edge felt like a revolution, Burnout 3 and Revenge are nonetheless essentially the most entertaining racing video games ever created, the unbelievable The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and Return of the King diversifications present the facility of nailing a beloved license on the proper second, and EA Large’s run of SSX, Def Jam, and NBA Avenue video games is an power I’d like to see replicated.
However as budgets ballooned and shareholders wanted appeasing, artistic dangers fell to the wayside in favor of chasing a few of the worst developments in gaming, which is how we discovered ourselves in a spot the place EA grew to become the poster little one for company greed and artistic chapter. This fall from grace wasn’t the fault of the gifted builders, however reasonably mandates from up on excessive that noticed revenue because the one and solely true purpose.
However in some unspecified time in the future over the previous few years, one thing appeared to vary. It feels just like the winds have barely shifted, and all of a sudden I’m left a developer and writer who helped shepherd a few of the most fascinating AAA video games of the previous few years, with much more on the horizon.
We’re solely a brief manner into the yr, however EA’s already had a strong 2023 thus far. The Useless House remake took recreation and made it nice, revitalizing the beloved sci-fi horror franchise whereas additionally making for Motive’s largest success but, which is nice information contemplating its upcoming Iron Man mission. Wild Hearts delivered one of many finest Monster Hunter options so far and bolstered the lineup of EA Originals that included It Takes Two, arguably one of the best recreation of 2021.
Although EA squandered quite a lot of its 10-year Star Wars partnership with Disney, 2019’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order was a strong framework for Jedi: Survivor to hopefully be the type of sequel like Uncharted 2 and Murderer’s Creed II that improves upon the unique in each manner possible. Developer Respawn additionally has a Star Wars FPS and a method recreation within the works, and alongside continued help of Apex Legends, it’s in prime place to proceed its impressively excessive batting common.
And although current information of the cancellation of a single-player Titantfall mission – together with the lingering ache that Titanfall 2 was unceremoniously despatched to die, regardless of having top-of-the-line shooter campaigns ever made – took a few of the wind out of my sails, figuring out that Vince Zampella is now in control of the Battlefield model shines a shiny mild on the dimming franchise. After the disastrous launch of 2042, having a agency hand on the wheel may be simply the factor that storied franchise wants.
However with all of this, most likely the most important query mark at EA lies in BioWare. The once-beloved developer of Star Wars: Knights of the Outdated Republic, Mass Impact, and Dragon Age has had a tough previous few years. 2017’s Andromeda didn’t seize the magic of its prior trilogy, whereas 2019’s Anthem epitomized all the things that’s mistaken with the post-Future pattern of each writer desperately looking for its personal games-as-a-service sensation.
However regardless of these two main setbacks, 2021’s Mass Impact: Legendary Version reminded audiences of why they love the studio within the first place. And if Dragon Age: Dreadwolf and the following ME each handle to stay their landings, it’s simple to image BioWare reclaiming its spot excessive on the online game mountaintop.
After all, EA’s portfolio is far wider than the video games I’ve already talked about, together with its plethora of sports activities and Sims video games. And truthfully, I’m not going to touch upon these, as a result of I’m undoubtedly not certified to talk to them. However the informal people I do know who play Madden and The Sims yearly appear to be pleased with it, regardless of neither franchise actually altering a complete lot from an outsider’s perspective. And the extremely publicized breakup between EA and the FIFA license for his or her immensely widespread soccer video games feels prefer it’s going to harm FIFA much more than it’s going to harm EA, however I assume we’ll have to attend and see on that one.
It’s comprehensible to have had a chip in your shoulder when it got here to EA prior to now. It most definitely deserved it. However given what we’ve seen over the previous few years, what we’re seeing in 2023, and what we’re primed to see within the close to future, I’m cautiously optimistic about the way forward for EA, and that’s one thing I haven’t felt in an extended, very long time.