BioWare’s reinvigorated voice following Anthem being showcased at E3 2018 continues to lead to reflection regarding the release of Mass Effect: Andromeda. Mark Darrah, the executive producer of both Anthem and the Dragon Age franchise, spoke candidly on Twitter regarding Mass Effect: Andromeda‘s launch. Darrah expounded on whether the RPG was given a “fair shake” at launch, touching on Mass Effect: Andromeda‘s deep flaws, the review environment at launch, and the unforgiving nature of the industry.
Darrah starts and ends his thread by acknowledging that Mass Effect: Andromeda was a game with serious issues, especially at launch. Darrah doesn’t believe those flaws should be looked at differently, but that Mass Effect: Andromeda was constantly compared to games that, “each [do] something better than [Mass Effect: Andromeda.]”
“As a result, even systems that are pretty decent get scrutinized against superiorly implemented ones. Does launching in a different window turn 72% into 90? Certainly not. 72 into 77/78? Maybe.”
Darrah is, of course, referencing Mass Effect: Andromeda‘s Metacritic review average of 72% for the PC platform.
This environment of negative comparison may or may not have affected sales, but Darrah does acknowledge the power of word of mouth in gaming. The discourse surrounding Mass Effect: Andromeda during Early Access was incredibly negative.
You launch the best game you can.
MEA has a lot of problems and got lapped by genuinely better games.
— Mark Darrah (@BioMarkDarrah) June 27, 2018
Mark Darrah’s Twitter posts come in response to a recent exaggerated controversy stemming from a “Rapid Fire” interview he did with Game Informer. Darrah was asked whether he believed Mass Effect: Andromeda was given a fair shake and he says no, citing a crowded release window including RPGs like Zelda. Unfortunately, Darrah isn’t able to elaborate, as he must move on to the next question.
As such, Darrah’s posts today shouldn’t be read as if he suddenly felt the need to leap to Mass Effect: Andromeda‘s defense more than a year after release. He was asked about the game in an interview about Anthem and wanted to make sure his response was properly presented. What happened with Mass Effect: Andromeda, everyone can agree, was unfortunate. It’s just a matter of learning and moving forward.
“That’s the nature of the industry. You don’t have full control over when you launch and no control over when others do.” … “You launch the best game you can. MEA has a lot of problems and got lapped by genuinely better games.”
Asked whether BioWare is considering moving Anthem from its February 22 release date due to a slew of other AAA releases launching around the same time, Darrah confidently says, “No.” It seems BioWare is sure Anthem will be the game against which others will be compared, this time around.
Mass Effect: Andromeda is available now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. Anthem releases February 22 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.