After EA cancelling Visceral’s Star Wars single-player game, a lot of gamers feared that the big publisher would no longer invest on single-player experiences. And it appears they were right. According to a former Bioware developer, EA is currently interested in games that can be more easily monetized. And from the looks of it, single-player are not among them.
As ex-Bioware gameplay designer Manveer Heir told Waypoint, EA is generally pushing for more open-world games because it can monetise them better.
“The words in there that were used are ‘have them come back again and again’. Why do you care about that at EA? The reason you care about that is because microtransactions: buying card packs in the Mass Effect games, the multiplayer. It’s the same reason we added card packs to Mass Effect 3: how do you get people to keep coming back to a thing instead of ‘just’ playing for 60 to 100 hours?”
Electronic Arts has a reputation of being one of the worst publishers. The company was voted for the worst company in America. Moreover, and according to Ian Bell, it tried to acquire via shady means Slightly Mad Studios. And… well… let’s not forget that it shut down Visceral Games recently.
According to Heir, most publishers – and not just EA – only care about the highest return on investment. As such, they don’t care about what the players want but about what the players will pay for.
“You need to understand the amount of money that’s at play with microtransactions. I’m not allowed to say the number but I can tell you that when Mass Effect 3 multiplayer came out, those card packs we were selling, the amount of money we made just off those card packs was so significant that’s the reason Dragon Age has multiplayer, that’s the reason other EA products started getting multiplayer that hadn’t really had them before, because we nailed it and brought in a ton of money. It’s repeatable income versus one-time income.”
Heir concluded that single-player triple-A games are dead on EA, at least for now.
“Anthem is not a traditional-looking BioWare game, right? If that’s what you’re seeing from a place like BioWare, owned by EA, a place where I worked for seven years; if that’s what you’re seeing from Visceral now closing and going to this other Vancouver studio; what it means is that the linear single-player triple-A game at EA is dead for the time being.”