DICE: EA Gets "Too Much Crap for Not Being Innovative"

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DICE: EA Gets "Too Much Crap for Not Being Innovative"

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DICE general manager, Karl-Magnus Troedsson, thinks EA's reputation for churning out sequels is ill deserved.

Like most of its big publisher peers, EA is often accused of shying away from innovation in favor of sequels and guaranteed money-spinners. Many argue that the company actually hampers the creativity of the developers it acquires. Not so, according to DICE general manager, Karl-Magnus Troedsson.

"There are those examples that have gone into big products that people don't really know about, but they actually came from smaller, other, more innovative test experiments inside of DICE," he told Gamasutra when asked if DICE gets to experiment with new titles. "In the background of everything, we run a business, of course. But with the success we have had, there are opportunities. It's quite easy for us to explain to upper management that, 'We want to do this. We want to try this out.'"

Since 2002, DICE has released twelve Battlefield titles if you include the various F2P spin-offs. The only non-Battlefield games released in that period were the adventurous Mirror's Edge, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and a modern reboot of Medal of Honor.

"And EA is actually very prone to try out new things, and I have to say that sometimes I think we get too much crap for not being innovative," Troedsson continued. "We do release new IPs, and we do take care of IPs that have been out there. And perhaps not so successful, but we try to get new things out there as well."

Troedsson also argues that some players expect an unreasonable degree of change from established franchises, and that effective changes may not always be apparent to non-players.

"Innovation is something that actually changes something for the better, renews something -- and I think we do that all the time," he added. "But some of them are big and some of them are small, and some people disagree, saying, 'That's not an innovation!' and it's like, 'No, maybe not for you, but for the people playing the game it's a big thing,'"

Troedsson does have a point there. Franchises like Pokemon are often accused of being stagnant or lacking in innovation by non-players. However, fans of the series will insist, at great length, that there are huge differences between each installment. Likewise, 2D fighting fans often argue against similar criticism leveled against their favored titles.

While EA has been putting out new IPs as part of its push to break into the "indie" market, the publisher has been mainly sticking with "safe" titles when it comes to traditional retail products. According to EA Labels president, Frank Gibeau, the company intends to rely on its current properties until Microsoft and Sony get around to releasing next gen consoles.

Source: Gamasutra

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I reckon he has a point. There are still a lot of other reasons to give EA crap, though.

Of course every game they release is innovative. Just about every game that gets released these days has something that could be seen as new. People take offense because of EA's perspective; they don't care about innovation, or even putting out a good product. If they had the ability to repackage literally the same game every year and charge full retail price for it, they would.

While he is fully right - there are changes - he misses an important point: Releasing a game every year with a tiny weebit changed as opposed to a fully refined game with grand changes every two or three years is the problem. Milking a franchise by getting people to pay full release price for what is essentially a patch, is what people complain about, not the lack of innovation itself.

lack of inovation is not my problem with EA.....

KBT seems to think that the history of the last 10 years is apparently inaccurate.

Tbh I dunno why Nintendo gets away with it as much as they do though. That is a pretty good point. Wiimote radiation or something.

Then where's Mirror's Edge 2? DICE were working on it, but instead we're seeing countless add-ons to Battlefield 3 and announcements for Battlefield 4 already.

Also, new IP =/= innovation.

Zaik:

Tbh I dunno why Nintendo gets away with it as much as they do though. That is a pretty good point. Wiimote radiation or something.

Because they're experts at selling nostalgia. They know exactly how to take an old idea and make it look fresh over and over while still making it feel familiar. And I admit it works really well on me, for Zelda at least.

"Innovation is something that actually changes something for the better, renews something -- and I think we do that all the time," he added. "But some of them are big and some of them are small, and some people disagree, saying, 'That's not an innovation!' and it's like, 'No, maybe not for you, but for the people playing the game it's a big thing,'"

So they stripped away everything what made battlefield 2 unique and the amazing game that it was and that the fans loved and made battlefield 3 more cod run and gun with small choke points on linear maps... yeah that's innovation at its finest -__-

I too think this is ill deserved.
EA are very innovative when it comes to DLC, Microtransaction, DRM, preventing resale of games and other ways of ripping off customers.

Oh please. Each new Battlefield game has been more limited and lacking than the last, save for BF3 finally bringing back 64 player servers and more shiny graphics.

They are stagnating the market with there repeat after repeat, you know what we get if we keep using the same crap over and over again? Michel Bay. I dont want a Michel bay in a game.

Oh yeah, EA innovates all the time.
That's why we don't get the same shit over and over.

Granted, it's a valid point, but with how everyone talks and criticizes EA, "not being innovative" is usually the last thing I hear.

Yep they 'innovated' the shit out of Commandand Conquer 4, Generals 2, and Syndicate didnt they?

I'm sure I'm not that only one that boycott EA games (yes even bioware now).

Maybe I'm getting old and played too much game, but I'm starting to notice those subtle things in games that differs between different game companies. Everytime I play a EA game there's that distinct "EA" feel to it.

From positive to negative would be:

Positive:-
1) Well programmed with minimal bugs
2) Good graphics and smooth animation

Negative:-
1) Lack of love, you can feel the game isn't made with love
2) Complete lack of innovation in design
3) Poor level of details of design
4) Bad writing
5) Very bad customer service (cut contents for day 1 DLC, Cannot login to Origin and sometimes cannot get access to DLC purchased)

They just feel like fast food in the food industry or Michael Bay in the movie industry. They create things that lack innovation, creativity and depth.

A good game accounts for player's action and shows the developer's acknowledgement by putting something fun in game. E.G. if you choose to shoot a wall next to a guy's head he will turn around look at the bullet hole then run for cover, if you just came out of the sewer and walk into a bar the patrons will comment on your smell.

All these are design details that give a game depth and enhance the immersion. But EA doesn't do any of that because of the lack of love for games as art, they just see it as a business. In addition EA design lacks freedom and likes to force players to play the way they dictates.

Step 1: Purchase popular niche developers.

Step 2: Niche? We can't have niche, right? Time to screw around with everything that makes the developer popular to begin with, in an attempt to "broaden the audience" (and fatten the EA shareholders' wallets).

Step 3: Oh, crap, something went wrong. Must be the developers' or customers' fault. Time to shut that whole thing down.

mirrors edge was really something different and is among my favorite titles and i still hope that one day part 2 will come out.
yes, he has a point. certain things shoulndt be really changed but at times it woulndt harm to try something different like mirrors edge. for certain franchises i woulndt do too many changes either but at least try to care about it like from ME 1 to 2.

this is a minor thing i hate about €A. yes, they use the same tactics as they have proven again with syndicate. thats why i never got it. but seriously...is it really that hard to try something new for a change? there are always few things you can add or change or even improve.
but well, €A will never do this because they are afraid they might lose 2$ and they dont want that.

JediMB:
Step 1: Purchase popular niche developers.

Step 2: Niche? We can't have niche, right? Time to screw around with everything that makes the developer popular to begin with, in an attempt to "broaden the audience" (and fatten the EA shareholders' wallets).

Step 3: Oh, crap, something went wrong. Must be the developers' or customers' fault. Time to shut that whole thing down.

nope, blame the pirate and end users son

lull
'It's not really new, but it's innovative for people who play this series!'
That's... not really the definition of innovative guys

Evil Smurf:

JediMB:
Step 1: Purchase popular niche developers.

Step 2: Niche? We can't have niche, right? Time to screw around with everything that makes the developer popular to begin with, in an attempt to "broaden the audience" (and fatten the EA shareholders' wallets).

Step 3: Oh, crap, something went wrong. Must be the developers' or customers' fault. Time to shut that whole thing down.

nope, blame the pirate and end users son

Nah, JediMB had it right. You're thinking of Ubisoft. *ba dum tish*

I don't think I ever had a problem with a company not being innovative. My problems with EA lie elsewhere.

I'd call it innovative if they went back to WWII with their Battlefield Series :P

I'd love to see a remake of 1942 with the Frostbite 2 engine.

P.s. if you are looking for innovative within a franchise one need look no further than Creative Assembly and their Total War Series. To non-players it all looks the same, but the tweaks and new features within each game are amazing additions.

A >>>>general manager<<<< is protecting the company he's working for. What a surprise. A suit defending the actions of other suits.

Nothing to see here, move along!

EA still is a company I wouldn't buy anything from anymore.

protecting existing IPs EA? Bullfrog Westwood and origin studios would like a word with you .

Grey Carter:
"Innovation is something that actually changes something for the better, renews something -- and I think we do that all the time," he added. "But some of them are big and some of them are small, and some people disagree, saying, 'That's not an innovation!' and it's like, 'No, maybe not for you, but for the people playing the game it's a big thing,'"

So that's what innovation is. Alright. So what do you call it when EA takes a survival horror franchise and turns it into a co-op 3rd person shooter? Is that innovation or homogenization so that you can, quote "reach out to a broader audience because if this game doesn't sell 5 milliion copies the franchise is getting the axe"?

Sorry. Mr. DICE, but your argument falls flat when a game like Dead Space 3 cries out in agony "I coulda been somebody! I coulda been a contender!"

He does have a point.

Problem is, nothing in what he says apply to EA.

Also, as others pointed out, a tiny innovation in a game doesn't make a full IP innovative. It just add a little good thing.

I'd just like to point out that DICE only co developed NFS: Hot pursuit, and I'm pretty sure the same can be said for Medal of Honour too.

The only major new IP DICE has released is Mirrors Edge (which was fantastic imo) and yet that is what hasn't been re addressed often. Medal of Honour is getting another sequel, and that reboot from a couple of years ago sucked big time.

EA probably does get more crap than they deserve you're right, but they still deserve to get crap.

EA IS very innovative: they keep thinking up new and exciting ways to rip us off.

Huh, you make some good points DICE, to bad that all of 'em get squashed by EA's yearly games being as stagnant as a white turd.
Glorified patches I tell you.

Now let's talk about "niche markets" shall we? Hmm?
Think of them as a small hole at the back of gaming that gets filled nicely by smaller developers.
This is where EA jumps in and buys out these "smaller" guys, but EA is not happy with the size of these hole.
So EA starts cramming extra things in to stretch the holes out, this may make some extra room eventually and this pleases EA but over time it does nothing but damage the hole and make it too stretched out to be filled any more.
In the end EA leaves the hole, damaged and hurt, because EA can't fill it any more and doesn't want to anyway.
It will take awhile for this hole to be fixed and sometime for someone else to want fill it.
Thanks EA the hole has been broken, just because they wanted a bigger, looser hole.

PureIrony:
If they had the ability to repackage literally the same game every year and charge full retail price for it, they would.

sarcasm?

Ahem... Changing the font is not innovation and neither is changing the color of your HUD.

When i first read this one major thought jumped into my mind, who the hell is DICE? Then i read the list of games and thought, "ok so they made mirrors edge and... o god what is this drivel."

Developers of some of the least innovative games in the history of gaming don't have the right to support other peoples ability to innovate. They make crap, and making a game like mirrors edge doesn't remove the stain of mediocrity that covers them from head to toe. Saving a child from a fire does not excuse a life of mass murder.

Atleast the pokemon series generally adds more than just a updated roster of new vermin that you have to collect, like you know... a story.

"innovation" is a meaningless buzzword. Sure, they're "innovative," I'll give them that, because it's an empty word.

But what of the games he listed besides Battlefield? Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit even taks its name from a prior installment in the franchise that has had a yearly release for most (if not all) of that decade he references. And a MoH reboot.

the only game left is Mirror's Edge. Congrats, you worked on one new and different franchise in the last decade. You also made 9 gazillion Battlefield spin-offs.

Even if we accept that "different titles=innovation," which I don't, you're not helping your case.

Zaik:

Tbh I dunno why Nintendo gets away with it as much as they do though. That is a pretty good point. Wiimote radiation or something.

People love Mario and Zelda. >.>

Just putting this out there: if it weren't for EA, I wouldn't have been able to buy some of my favourite games of the past ten years. So I'm all for EA keeping on keeping on.

Not my first complaint about EA, but whatever.

My artistic problems with EA aren't so much that it's "not innovative", more that it's creatively bankrupt. Retooling a franchise from one genre to make it more like your biggest sellers in the hopes of dragging along the IP's fans and bringing in the fans of the homogeneous pap you already release is a nakedly cynical cash grab with no respect for buyers, and has less artistic merit than the blood spatter pattern at a murder scene.

"Not innovative" is painting multiple paintings that are similar. EA is running around the art gallery and painting over everyone else's stuff.

PureIrony:
Of course every game they release is innovative. Just about every game that gets released these days has something that could be seen as new. People take offense because of EA's perspective; they don't care about innovation, or even putting out a good product. If they had the ability to repackage literally the same game every year and charge full retail price for it, they would.

They do. It's called EA Sports :P

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