BioWare’s Mark Darrah Blames Mass Effect: Andromeda Reception on a ‘Crowded Review Environment’


BioWare’s Mark Darrah Blames Mass Effect: Andromeda Reception on a ‘Crowded Review Environment’

June 27, 2018Written by Chandler Wood

mass Effect Andromeda reviews

“Did Mass Effect: Andromeda get a fair shake?” That’s the question that BioWare’s Mark Darrah wanted to address on Twitter this morning. Darrah is the Executive Producer for Anthem and Dragon Age. While he didn’t have a direct hand in Andromeda, as a high-profile individual at BioWare managing his own properties, he’s clearly invested in why other titles from the studio were poorly received. It makes sense then that Darrah would try to address why Mass Effect: Andromeda review scores weren’t great.

At the outset, Darrah admits that Andromeda was a deeply flawed game. “Especially at launch,” he says, referring to the numerous fixes the studio made to the game over the months that followed. He goes on to examine the other games that came out around that same period, calling the review environment “crowded” around the same time that Mass Effect: Andromeda released. He references the critically acclaimed NieR: Automata, Nioh, Horizon: Zero Dawn, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, all of which came out shortly before Andromeda did.

Darrah has a point. There’s certainly something to be said about launching a game nearby other great titles. 2017 was an amazing year for games, and our own Game of the Year awards were a heated battle. When you consider at least four top-tier games that released in the month before Mass Effect: Andromeda, it’s easy to see people come off of those highs and feel less-than-impressed by Andromeda’s lackluster execution. The comparison isn’t necessarily a conscious one, but the overall gaming landscape can certainly have an impact on how reviewers look at games.

He goes on to look at Dragon Age: Inquisition’s launch in 2014, saying that the title benefited from a relatively tough year for games overall. Fewer games means word-of-mouth can elevate sales of games that might not otherwise do so well. While that may be true, Inquisition was a genuinely good game with full support that is still beloved by many fans today. Mass Effect: Andromeda, on the other hand, is a flawed title that EA dropped support for, moving quickly on to other titles.

One thing Darrah doesn’t address is the Mass Effect name that led fans to have high expectations for Andromeda. Our own review was disappointed in the title because it failed to do things as well as previous games in the series, not just because of other games that released in that same window.

“[Mass Effect: Andromeda] has a lot of problems and got lapped by genuinely better games,” Darrah says in finality on the subject. He’s got a point, even if he doesn’t actually mean it got lapped by the original Mass Effect trilogy.

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