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EA: Pushing Games Forward? Or Pushing Gamers Away?
EA’s COO Peter Moore recently made headlines when on the matter of remakes of old games he told IGN rather smugly : “It feels like pushing stuff out because you’ve run out of ideas.”…and that they didn’t have time to do remakes because “We’re a company that just likes to push forward.”
I will come back to the latter part in a bit because I do have a few examples in mind regarding EA’s love for ‘pushing forward’ and boldly going where no other company went before, but for the moment lets talk about these HD remakes and remasters and see if they really are that much of a nuisance and resource hogs that the time and energy devoted to them should have been invested in building new IPs?
The very first thing that is quite well known about the HD remakes is they simply do not require a lot of resources At All! And why should they? It is an IP that already exists, with an already functional engine, story, music, voice over, testing, editing …the works.
All they need is high resolution textures, upgraded coding, a few tweaks here and there and they ready to go.
Also most of the time when a small in-house team isn’t taking care of the said HD remakes they are simply outsourced to other studios, a practice that is quite easily traceable even as far back as 343 industries partnering with Saber Interactive for Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary to the most rent Bluepoint Studios in the case of Uncharted: Nathan Drake Collection or Splash Damage working on Gears of War remake or scores of other examples strewn across the platforms, which makes this a rather strange claim that the remakes are made at the expanse of new IPs very hard to understand.
Being a gamer for a little over three decades now it isn’t that hard for me to recall that the HD remakes have always been here, be it Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes or Resident Evil 1 or Ninja Gaiden Sigma or Final Fantasy X/X2…every generation of home consoles had quite a number of such gems to boast about that the ever expanding legion of gamers simply couldn’t afford to ignore.
I mean can you honestly imagine someone never playing or even not knowing Grim Fandango? Shadow of the Colossus? Legend of Zelda : Wind Waker or Twilight Princess? Okami? Resident Evil 1, recently released remake of which sold 1 million copies within weeks?
On top of that Sony very recently revealed that an astounding 80% of the Playstation 4 owners had ‘never’ played Uncharted games! So yeah.
As far as my opinion is concerned I would most certainly welcome the remakes since not only they satiate my perpetual nostalgia but they are an excellent way to introduce those truly marvelous games from the days of yore (or in case of The Last of Us Remastered and God of War 3 HD Remastered not even so much of yore) to the millennials and their successors, not to mention the revenue that the remakes generate does not hurt either.
Occam’s Razor suggests that the demand of a product compels the companies to invest, and there is most certainly a steadily growing demand among gamers for the HD remakes of the beloved titles from previous generations, specially after experiencing such remakes as the Shadow of the Colossus or Fable Anniversary Edition or Resident Evil 1 HD remake.
So dear Peter Moore, sir, remakes are awesome. Not only that they do not require a lot of time or resources they have been a good healthy tradition from the past which is only getting stronger.
Any way lets come to “We’re a company that likes to push forward.” bit, shall we? Not a very long time ago Mass Effect 3 came out and with it the Day-One DLC named ‘From Ashes’, which was later proved to actually have been cut from the game and sold back to gamers as premium content.
In an interview with GamaSutra, Peter Moore said :
The other key thing is selling digital content on the day of launch…When we sold Mass Effect 3 back in March, we saw a 40 percent attach rate that that first week to DLC at Gamestop in the United States. Not only are you selling a $60 game…you’re selling $20 DLC, so the sale becomes $80
Ain’t that glorious? EA indeed sounds like a company that ‘likes to push’ indeed, though I am not quite sure about the games bit but this isn’t even the best part. While we are on ME3 do any of you guys remember the forced online multiplayer aspect in the game?
Until and unless you did that your Galactic Readiness would never raise beyond a certain threshold, making sure that you would only get the ‘bad ending, though personally I never knew which one of those colour coded endings was supposed to lift up my heart with joy.
Dead Space 3 saw the similar philosophy in action when in the third installment of a survival horror series that harkened back to those gut wrenching terror filled days of the earlier Resident Evil and Silent Hill, our hero Issac Clarke was forced to take up a co-op partner Sgt. Carver, and the reason? Because the game might be too scary for the players and to make it more broadly appealing to a wider audience.
That’s certainly not all, folks. We still haven’t forgotten the infamous ‘Two Year Entitlement Clause’ for Origin users which would expel a legit ‘customer’s paid for account’ if it wasn’t used for two years; or the fact that if you got banned at Origin “forums” you’ll have to say bye bye to your “Origin Account” with all your purchased games. Later the culprits were begrudgingly allowed to play their purchased games though, albeit only in offline mode.
Later the culprits were begrudgingly allowed to play their purchased games though, albeit only in offline mode.
So what exactly is this progression in gaming you are all about, EA? Does this vision include 31 Battlefied games in 13 years , 22 Need For Speed titles in 21 years, and 16 Medal of Honor games in 16 years too?
I don’t know about you guys but even a brief glance at only a few of the decisions that EA made, makes me wonder (and to be honest even shudder ) what exactly does EA’s vision to drag the gaming industry forward kicking and screaming into the future entails?