Is EA No Longer Capable of Releasing Quality AAA Games?

EA, a company that gave us so many great games that turned into billion-dollar franchises, is suffering from greed, shady practices, poor development choices, who it to blame here? And how can the company improve?

I remember the time I used to be in love with EA thanks to games like the original Need for Speed Most Wanted, Mass Effect 1, 2, even 3 was a decent game.

No matter how you feel about the company right now it wasn’t bad at all a decade ago. Still, they do release decent games even now (occasionally) but their AAA stream is mediocre at best right now, isn’t it?  In fact, come to think of it, it has been mediocre for a long time.

The first franchise that started showing signs of mediocrity was Need for Speed. Carbon, Run, Need for Speed 2015 reboot, Need for Speed Payback; all of them have tuned our brains in a way that we do not expect much from this franchise anymore.

“EA, it’s not in the game anymore”

What is Going on at EA Games?

Do we really feel excited about a new Need for Speed, Mass Effect, or any other EA game? There is more skepticism than excitement in me for a new AAA EA game.

It started with the downfall of Need for Speed, repetitive FIFA experiences, but a glimmer of hope came in the form of Star Wars Battlefront back in 2015. I truly believed that Battlefront is going to be the one that brings the original EA back for us, the one who focused on quality games and less on milking everything. Even the annual IPs had a quality back then which is not something easy to pull off.

Star Wars Battlefront, from what I see, kicked off shady practices and poor development choices into high gear. Here are few things worth pointing out about Battlefront 2015.

Everything Wrong With Battlefront 2015

  • In the beginning, EA didn’t tell us what was inside the season pass so you never knew what you’re buying
  • You needed an EA account to access online features
  • EA should have added Galactic Conquest to offline mode but all we had was a Training mode, AI battles, and a horde mode.
  • Starfighters had poor controls
  • For $60, only four maps for the main modes
  • Lack of weapon variety, only 11 guns
  • Trait cards unbalanced the game
  • No weapon customization
  • Ridiculous Emotes
  • No space battles
  • No classes (only heroes and regular infantry)

Now let’s move on to our favorite game that broke the camel’s back, Star Wars Battlefront 2. The marketing was a disaster and how they handled the backlash was the worst in history.

Everything Wrong With Battlefront 2

  • It came with level-based Star Cards
  • Worst than mobile microtransactions in a $60 game
  • Loot boxes unbalanced the game
  • Worst crafting system to date
  • Heroes vs Villains was just a button-masher, lack of a proper dual system
  • Boba-Fett’s special move was a direct copy of Overwatch’s Farah
  • Rehashed Endor Map
  • Poor story and poorer execution
  • Special Edition gave a head start to players as well as a powerful weapon, giving unfair advantage in the process

It is clear EA went from bad to worse with Star Wars franchise. Going as far as closing down the singleplayer Star Wars game to turn it into a more multiplayer-focused experience.

Not only Star Wars, but Need for Speed Payback had similar issues.

  • Poor story
  • No Classic car shops
  • Loot Boxes
  • Poor PC port
  • Speed Cards to improve car performance rather than putting into actual parts
  • Randow speed cards so you have no control over which aspect of your car you want to improve

Due to how EA is treating its games, we do expect much from EA anymore which is not a good sign for future games like Anthem. We hearing that EA is planning loot boxes for Anthem so red flags are there already. However, according to industry analyst Micheal Patcher, loot boxes for Anthem are going to be cosmetics only.

So the question remains that will EA screw this like Battlefront? Will they take after Overwatch and Destiny path, where the genuine entertainment is fun to play. Since where they got into an issue with Star Wars was in persuading it to pay to win. Had they restricted themselves to simply restorative things, I don’t figure anybody would have said anything. So Anthem can possibly be Destiny like as far as amusement experience, and Overwatch like in terms as microtransactions offered, where it’s all true and nobody say anything otherwise.

I think at this moment EA is testing with gamers. Everybody is watching all that they are doing. I don’t think they can afford to put a heavy microtransaction scheme in any game that is going to come in future, they have to earn gamers trust once more. So I trust they are calmed by this experience, and gain from it. In any case, I think they are brilliant folks, so I am certain they will make the best decision.

How Can EA Do Better?

The first thing EA needs to realize is that quality Singleplayer stories are still made or break for a game, especially, in the case of Star Wars and Need for Speed franchises. I personally do not mind cosmetic items inside loot boxes but aggressive and unfair models like the one we saw in Battlefront 2 aren’t acceptable at all.

A $60 game must have enough content to justify its base price. Monetization aspects should be designed around the games, not the other way around.

EA‘s reputation will take a while to be back to where it once was. Still, we hope they start repairing their relationship with the community with Anthem. But right now, we do not expect a quality product from EA which should be concerning for the company.

Is EA incapable of delivering quality products? As it stands now, yes it is! But things can change and we hope they do, especially, when this company has an exclusive license to Star Wars.