BioWare is back in the news again, as Bloomberg is reporting that Electronic Arts has decided to make a major change to Dragon Age 4. The report says developers on the game have been given the go-ahead to remove “all planned multiplayer components” of the RPG and make it a single-player only game.
Dragon Age 4 will now be a purely single-player game, the site reported. The decision to cut Dragon Age 4’s reported multiplayer features came from two main points, apparently.
One was that Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, a single-player game, was a huge success with more than 10 million copies sold at launch. The other vector that reportedly drove the decision was that BioWare’s multiplayer game Anthem struggled to find an audience. Just this week, BioWare announced that is had abandoned its “Anthem Next” plans to revitalize the game and would instead move on to other projects (though the servers are staying online).
EA officially declined to comment to Bloomberg about the report, while BioWare has yet to address the report publicly.
In addition to the new Dragon Age game, BioWare is developing a new Mass Effect game that also has a lot riding on it after Mass Effect: Andromeda didn’t exactly make a huge splash.
In 2017, EA CFO Blake Jorgensen made headlines when he said one of the reasons why EA canceled Visceral’s Star Wars game and closed the studio was because it was a “linear” game. He remarked that those are types of games that “people don’t like as much today as they did five years ago or 10 years ago.”
While EA did indeed find success with Jedi Fallen Order as a single-player game, the publisher makes the overwhelming majority of its revenue from games and franchises that have lucrative “live service” components. For EA, mobile is more important that console and PC, which is why the company spent more than $2 billion to acquire the Kim Kardashian video game studio. Additionally “live services” and microtransactions are a critical component for EA’s business model, and these traditionally don’t exist for single-player games.
This Bloomberg report about Dragon Age 4 was released just days after EA Studios boss Laura Miele spoke about the high degree of autonomy that its studios have to control the direction of their franchises.
“I don’t believe in directing or telling games teams what to create, it has to come from the player community, and the inspiration and motivation of developers,” she told IGN.
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