Up For Debate - Mass Effect Andromeda Disappoints EA, Was it a Victim of Greed?

Written by Jon Sutton on Mon, May 29, 2017 2:00 PM
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As far as hot messes go, Mass Effect Andromeda has been comfortably been the hottest mess of 2017. In gaming at least; there’s been enough high profile cock-ups elsewhere to last us a lifetime. At the end of the day though, when we think of Mass Effect Andromeda with level heads, there are far worse games out there. It wasn’t even terrible, but a much-loved franchise veering into decidedly average territory.

A week or so ago reports surfaced that the disappointing response to Andromeda meant EA was putting Mass Effect on ice, sidelining the sci-fi series for a good few years until the ill will had blown over. Any plans BioWare had for Mass Effect Andromeda 2 were effectively cancelled at that point. All members of the BioWare Montreal team were then distributed among EA’s other studios to help with other projects.

Drilling down to the absolute truth of the Mass Effect Andromeda controversy is an almost impossible task though. EA has nothing to gain from revealing its inner machinations and the thinking behind its decisions. However, the prevailing theory, and indeed the one that makes the most sense, is that EA pushed BioWare Montreal to release Mass Effect Andromeda before the end of March in order to meet financial targets.

Delving a little into accounting here, the reasoning behind this is the improper booking of revenues. Before a game is out, a publisher has both forecasts for sales figures and pre-orders. These pre-orders are classed as realisable. That is to say, the company has a reasonable expectation these orders will be kept. However, shareholders require that income is both realisable and earned, ie, that the publisher has provided the finished goods and a transaction has taken place. Without realising and earning the revenue, it’s akin to EA turning up to a shareholders meeting and saying it’s going to earn $1 billion in revenue from the 30 million copies of Mass Effect Andromeda it’s got sat in a warehouse. EA would like to record the revenue associated with the transaction before the fact, however, shareholders are only concerned with the actual point of sale.

Mass Effect Andromeda’s launch came right at the tail-end of the 2017 Financial Year (FY2017), meaning if it didn’t launch in time, EA would have a big fat red column next to BioWare for the previous 12 months. Pushing MEA out, in whatever state, could guarantee a certain number of sales that would shift those particular finances into the black. This, in turn, makes EA look like a more attractive financial proposition, regardless of what gamers thought of the end product and the impact it has had on the Mass Effect franchise as a whole.

All of that really leads us down the path that Mass Effect Andromeda was released before it was ready. That BioWare Montreal would have perhaps liked a bit more development time for fine-tuning the performance, narrative, animation, etc. It didn’t get that and the backlash from the community was huge, effectively wiping out the chance of us seeing a new Mass Effect title for a good few years. This was a game that had a huge weight of expectation upon it, following in the footsteps of countless well-received games in the preceding months. It didn’t succeed on this front, and within a matter of hours of going live on Origin Access, the internet was baying for blood. There were hilarious GIFs galore, disappointing impressions and a sense that BioWare had let the fans down.

It’s difficult to apportion blame in this situation, but do you think the general reaction was unfair on both Mass Effect Andromeda and BioWare? Is EA chiefly to blame? And will it regret its decisions in the long run? Let us know!

Is Mass Effect Andromeda as bad as it's made out to be?

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08:25 Jun-05-2017

As a game dev, i must say that is not only technical, what i mean is that it is clear that there was a problem with the engine they were forced to use and, the game was "SOLD" as a Mass Effect 4, but it was not.


Bioware said the internal relations were not so good and the greed of a sinking company (EA) did the rest, if the name of the game was Andromeda Adventure ( a spin off of the mass effect saga) we were not here debating if is a failure, Ask Casey Hudson.

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23:12 May-30-2017

I've been bioware's biggest fan since I've played the mass effect trilogy. And before mass effect 2, all of their IPs were really really good. From Baldur's Gate 2 to KOTOR, they've made some of the best RPGs to date.


But so many things ****ed up since the start of dragon age 2. Now bioware is a huge laughing stock, which makes me very sad because I WAS a huge fan of their work.

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16:52 May-30-2017

Mass Effect Andromenda is the result of all EA's attempts of making games more casual. They also did it with Inquisition, but perfected it with ME4. And now Bioware is just a shell of its former self, which honestly makes me sad, because they used to be in my top 3 developers list. I wish EA would stop trying to appeal to the masses, and instead give us the games we want, like we want. Cause all they're doing is causing the veteran loyal fans to leave.

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07:25 May-30-2017

First mass effect game I have played so don't know about how good it's predecessors were but so far I've enjoyed this game a lot. Haven't played much it though. But the story seems nice so far and its visually good looking as well.

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11:47 May-30-2017

If you like ME: Andromeda, grab original Mass Effect Trilogy. It is really cheap now and personally I liked original trilogy more. Playing them should feel familiar. Andromeda for me was ok, it was more of Mass Effect, but it just had too many issues to rise to greatness, due to devs pushing for higher size andnumbers.

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05:42 May-30-2017

Its a fail of the decade and hard slap in the face to all mass effect fans (and i thought they could not ruin the future of mass effect more then what they did with me3 ending(s) lol).


I would have a lot to say about how bad and greedy EA is (and just how many devs they have ruined) but i feel like people already know that, its just most are in denial or are what i call a zombie gamerz.

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00:34 May-30-2017

It's a victim of what EA does. Bioware is little more then a shell of what it once was, every developer who literally made the company are long gone.


Now the company is just an empty name, full of people more concerned with pushing agendas and making everything as causal as possible to appeal to the widest possible audience, regardless of the actual game. It's what EA's done since the start (poor Ultima for example). They buy a company, milk it for everything, chase the talent away and fill it with yes men, and then destroy the ip.

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06:33 May-30-2017

Then close the studio and fire everyone because they don't make enough profit, you skipped the darkest part of it :D

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08:52 May-30-2017

Sadly, yeah.


Which is exactly what happened to Montreal it seemed too.

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00:07 May-30-2017

Bioware has always had the issue of releasing a game early. Thankfully Kotor 2 still turned out to be a masterpiece of writing. If only that had another year of development too.

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00:31 May-30-2017

Bioware didn't make that game, Obsidian did. And the reason it was rushed it becasue Bioware and EA moved the release date forward and made they release it unfinished.

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23:14 May-30-2017

KOTOR 2 wasn't from the same people, and KOTOR 2 had nothing on the first one. KOTOR 2 had many holes and unfinished writing, even with the restoration mod. It wasn't as fresh or fulfilling as the first installment had.

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22:43 May-29-2017

Depends, it isn't great game, but then again it sin't really bad one either. And definitely was victim of greed. From it being released too soon, when developers themselves stated they need few more months. To cheeping out on stuff, like automatically generated facial fail...

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22:45 May-29-2017

But combat is fun, all story is not bad, it is more Mass Effect and it has more than enough content to pass good EUR/h value. Exploring is bit so so, has fun parts, but also tends to get repetitive soon. And dialog sometimes seem like they were made to cover length, rather than quality, to brag about it.

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22:46 May-29-2017

Personally I had fun with it, I won't be 100%ing it. But Still It is something like 7/10 game. Worth, if you ran out of better titles, but nothing to write back home about.

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22:19 May-29-2017

I think it was well done tbh. I think yes it has glitches but the game itself is fantastic :)

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21:18 May-29-2017

Well people hate Andromeda just because of the glitches and bugs... These annoying double standards... for example bathesda games come out filled with bugs and glitches and people adore them... but if another company releases a buggy game people bash it to the ground...

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10:20 May-30-2017

I usually could get over the glitches and bugs (and even hard crashes for a time)... But if it doesn't deliver on the narrative, a.k.a. has a bad story, I cannot like it. That's why I liked KotOR even if it was a mess (for me). Then some games, even though they might be polished (or in this case, Bethesda's games) are just meh for me.


Tht's why I still intend to play and judge ME:A for myself.

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11:26 May-31-2017

Can Mass Effect Andromeda be modded to the ground?

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12:08 May-31-2017

It has mod support, just NOT a big modding community.

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13:55 May-31-2017

They are on whole different levels of mod support.

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18:12 May-29-2017

"....any plans BioWare had for Mass Effect Andromeda 2..."
Finally something that sounds funnier than people asking for Skyrim 2.

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18:50 May-29-2017

y mean The Elder Scroll 6 and why not i tho rly hope that its gona be enaunced one day

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19:03 May-29-2017

Well Todd has basically confirmed there will be one, but that it is a ways off.

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17:51 May-29-2017

THe same happened to mafia 3, still the game was rescubable and has certain pros, but personally I like this game, gameplay is fun, but story a little repetitive and good soundtracks even if the game crashes every 30-40 min xD.

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17:47 May-29-2017

I haven´t played much, but so far the game isn´t that bad (I haven´t finished the first 3 games tho)

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16:46 May-29-2017

wow, so much butt hurt hate. had no issues personally. now 83 hours into the game (47% complete) loved every second of it as much as i did every previous mass effect.
people need to chill and enjoy rather than piss and moan about everything

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17:45 May-29-2017

Should I buy it? Do like all the previous mass effects. Now it is still really expensive but when it's cheaper, should I bother buying it?

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17:52 May-29-2017

If you would ask me, game isn't bad. It was just released too early. If Bioware had another 6 months to develop Andromeda it could have been a much better game.

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17:57 May-29-2017

Hmm, maybe I'll get it when it's finally getting cheaper.

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18:00 May-29-2017

Just don't expect Mass Effect 2 quality from it. It is Mass Effect Inquisition, if you liked Dragon Age Inquisition then you will probably like this one too.

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18:07 May-29-2017

Haven't played Dragon Age Inquisition :)

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18:32 May-29-2017

i dont get the reference as i have played InQ. either. im that guy that loved all the games and cant pick a favourite at all. im the guy that loved and had no issue with leaving me:3 where it was, perfect way to round up a series. ME:A is a start of a new adventure, in a new system, paying somewhat of a homage to

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18:41 May-29-2017

to the originals while perfectly distancing itself to crave its own path. ME:A IS most definitely the start of another amazing adventure. 11/10 game of the year. hands down

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19:05 May-29-2017

Inquisition perks and Cryo Pods are the same, viability is the same thing as influence, in both games story is fairly short and you spend most of your time building up your organization by helping people, both games have many small open world areas instead of a large one, in both games dialogue is different from classis Bioware good option/evil option dialogue, both have 4 different ways of saying the same thing kind of conversation, architects and dragons are the same, drop pods and camps are the same... Those come in to my mind right now. I am not saying they took Inquisition and added laser guns but Andromeda is definitely inspired from Inquisition. They share a lot of mechanics.

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07:33 May-30-2017

well i have to disagree on the whole small areas thing, ive spent a good 20 min driving around a planet before between several side missions. if it was any bigger it could end up in fallout 3/4 territory where its a massive map with jack Shizzle in it

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15:47 May-29-2017

It's a hot mess that was forced onto the streets only to flop because EA and Bioware believed fans are still gullible enough to buy broken crap day one.

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15:11 May-29-2017

Contrary to the norm, I'm enjoying the MP aspect soo much(80+ hours), that I haven't had time to play much campaign, only about 20 hours. Of the campaign, there were a few bugs, but nothing major game breaking.Yes, i think it was released too early, no it is not acceptable, but this is what has become of gaming,if there weren't so many pre orders, they might have held off.....When will they learn?

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14:57 May-29-2017

My Origin account name is GreedyJoo to pay homage to their greedy ways...

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14:24 May-29-2017

Yes, it was, like half of the games published by EA.

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14:21 May-29-2017

There was way too much wrong with that game to write it off as simply as it was released too early.
Bad dialogue, uninspired fetch quests, poorly written characters; this game had more problems than just day one bugs.


It genuinely killed the series. I can't imagine getting excited for another Mass Effect or Bioware game ever again.

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15:34 May-29-2017

Exactly - screw the little cosmetic bugs, the main aspect of the game - the story progression - was a major let down - nothing exciting nothing special whatsoever

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14:13 May-29-2017

I wouldn't know if it was bad or good because I have simply skipped it altogether. Sad thing is that I am a huge ME fan, but after the disappointment of ME3 I am just not interested anymore. Same is true for most game titles that EA has taken control of. KotOR was an awesome franchise until EA touched it and turned it into a MMO. Battlefront games were awesome until EA touched them and created a bastardized version of Battlefield with a Star Wars skin and absolutely no single player campaign. The list goes on and on... Unfortunately it is Bioware that has suffered the most under EA control.

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