Given how successful they were at one point, it’s hard to think about how hard Bioware has fallen as a company. They were the ones that constantly and consistently made some of the best RPGs ever created. We’re talking about ones that were set in a galaxy far, far away that we still remember fondly, and they started to make unique IPs that technically endure to this day. But while they had the highest of highs, they’ve also had the lowest of lows, and Mass Effect Andromeda is widely considered the title that set them on the path that they are on now.
After the end of their legendary trilogy, which gamers are still salty about even after a certain “Legendary Edition” arrived, Mass Effect Andromeda was Bioware’s attempt to keep the franchise alive. The problem was that they had been acquired by EA in 2008, and the publisher was under new leadership at the time, so they rushed the title to its launch date. The result was a title that was all over the place, hardly refined, had numerous bugs, and felt almost nothing like what players had enjoyed in the original three titles.
Enter Aaryn Flynn, a former general manager at Bioware who worked there for two decades. He was there for many highs and lows, and during a special piece for EDGE Magazine, as noted by Tech4Gamers, he revealed that he felt what truly led to the fourth game’s downfall was the “big goals,” “lack of focus,” and not putting more effort into the multiplayer parts of the title:
“Players really liked the multiplayer mode of Mass Effect 3, and it really resonated with a subset of the community.”
In his mind, had they done the fourth game more like a multiplayer title, they could’ve done “new ideas” and had the game be smaller than what the title turned out to be. A smaller title is easier to refine, so that statement has some merit. However, when you look at the big picture, that’s very much a case of hindsight leading to “a new feeling.” Yes, multiplayer was in the third entry, and many enjoyed it. But the franchise had always been a single-player-focused entity from the start. There’s no guarantee it would’ve resonated with players had it been multiplayer-only. That line of thought is something many people feel is “poisoning” the gaming world as live service titles are seen as “more valuable” than single-player titles despite their continued success.