Update: Mark Darrah admits Andromeda is a flawed game but at the same time thinks reviewers were a bit harsh.
Original Story: Fun fact (according to EA) Mass Effect Andromeda’s failure was The Legend of Zelda’s doing. Yes, Breath of the Wild is the reason Andromeda failed to meet sales expectation and is highly criticised by the community and the media.
One of the developers who worked on Mass Effect Andromeda, Mark Darrah, recently spoke with GameInformer in the popular 123 rapid-fire questions series episode on Anthem. During the video, Mass Effect Andromeda came up when the host asked: “did Andromeda got a fair shot?” To the question, Darrah replied by blaming five other RPG games that released in the same window as Andromeda; and of course, he mentioned Zelda by name.
I think it came out in a really really busy window in March, perhaps the busiest window in the history of the gaming industry where 5 RPGs released in the same month. It came out in the same month as Zelda.
Darrah believes those five other RPGs releasing in the same time frame meant Andromeda didn’t get a fair shot. His statement is a blatant lie and a ridiculous excuse with no logic or sense. First, no major RPG released in March 2017 other than The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
The only other major games in the same month were Nier Automata and Ghost Recon: Wildlands and among them all, only Mass Effect can be considered a true RPG experience. Even Zelda is an action adventure first.
So to claim Andromeda released in the busiest window in the history of the gaming industry is a lie. But to hear this from an EA exec isn’t surprising at all. Because of course, this isn’t the first time someone from EA lied on camera.
And who can forget the horrendous facial animations which gave birth to the “my face is tired meme.” The title was a part of EA Access at launch and those who got to try it early reported many issues with the game including animations and while EA promised better product before launch, nothing really happened; other than a train wreck.
Kotaku’s Jason Schreier later reported on the 5-year troubled developement of Andromeda where EA forced BioWare to use Frostbite, an engine designed for FPS games. Internal politics, greed, and pure incompetence also played a significant role. In fact, one report claimed how most of the game was developed within 1.5 years after scrapping many of its aspects that weren’t working; but as we now know, even changing most of the game didn’t help.
Although an IP as big as Mass Effect shouldn’t be affected by competition still, for the sake of the arguments lets say Darrah is right, it would explain a bad launch month. But then how would you explain poor reception in the following months? How would you explain a bad year? Blame it on five RPGs?
Mark Darrah is also working on Anthem, one can only hope Nintendo doesn’t release another Zelda around Anthem’s launch.