Go the Way of the Dodo : Single Player
Andromeda has been my favorite game this year. I love long, single player rpgs in expansive universes where my decisions impact the gameplay. While I understand some of the arguments against Andromeda and the ambitions it tried to live up to – as a standalone product it probably would have been better received. Either way – it is sadly mothballed, we will never learned what happened to the Quarians (or any species in that universe) and a huge chunk of alternate gaming realities (the Mass Effect universe) is now, quintessentially, extinct.
And now the Star Wars RPG project is also as EA shuts it down.
Electronic Arts announced yesterday that it is refocusing the Star Wars project that had been in development at Visceral Games, an unannounced action-adventure title with a linear story campaign. EA Vancouver is taking over with a new direction, assisted by other EA studios, while EA is shuttering Visceral Games entirely and looking to shift the studio’s developers elsewhere inside the company.
It’s a sad day for single player game fans who have had a slew of Star Wars titles to enjoy in this manner. Heck, the original Knights of the Old Republic is what put Bioware on the map to begin with. Of course, I am not really surprised.
Patrick Söderlund described the industry as “evolving faster and more dramatically than ever before,” and pointed to market trends as part of EA’s reasoning.
That is executive speak for “we can’t sell loot boxes in single player games“.
This breaks my heart. We are abandoning narrative for repetitive. Choice for chance. Immersion for twitch streaming capability. Destiny 2, Battlefront 2, Anthem, Overwatch… Its all about the crates. It’s far easier to create repeatable content than meaningful content and more profitable to heavily monetize a small world than to abandon a large piece of one when you move past the narrative. I do get that.
I am just hoping that this is just the new trend, and there will be future market demands for expansive RPGs – hoping Dragon Age, Red Dead Redemption 2 or some other game can hit it out of the park and get other studios back interested in the single player narrative. My worst fear is that they will somehow add a loot crate mechanic to those games. I was very much looking forward to exploring the Star Wars Universe through a personal story lens, as it remains one of my favorite worlds to fantasize about being a part of since childhood. Very disappointed but not entirely surprised.