Update 2: EA Dismisses Dungeon Keeper Mobile Criticism

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Update 2: EA Dismisses Dungeon Keeper Mobile Criticism

Dungeon Keeper Mobile Remake 3

Dungeon Keeper Mobile's producer isn't worried about criticsm of the game, because its Google Play Rating is currently at 4.5.

When Dungeon Keeper Mobile came out, one of it's harshest criticsms was that the "free-to-play" version of the game seemed severly crippled in order to try and make players fork out cash for expensive microtransactions. It's a sentiment that is seemingly shared by critics and players alike, but EA Mythic's Jeff Skalski, the game's senior producer, doesn't seem to think there is a problem. Skalski states that gamers upset with the game's microtransactions are playing the game wrong, as "Dungeon Keeper is meant to be played on the go multiple times a day with a few minutes here or there."

"We're also seeing a lot of game downloads and in-game engagement so that tells us there is a large group of people who are playing and enjoying the game. Obviously, this is counter to some of the angry reactions we've seen around the internet."

Furthermore, Skalski claims that it is only a vocal minority that has a problem with the game, explaining that "One of the important data points we're looking at is our store ratings and downloads. At the time of this interview, App Store ratings currently sit at 4 out of 5 stars and Google Play ratings sit at 4.5 out of 5 stars." He added that he and the team personally think that the game's microtransactions are "fair".

He did admit that the team was looking into further data points to see exactly where the rage is coming from, but theorizes that it is due to hardcore Dungeon Keeper fans coming into the game and expecting a full Dungeon Keeper expereince, rather than just a taste. "Our intention with the mobile version was to give as many people as possible a taste of that original Dungeon Keeper experience, and for some people, that's not the way they want to re-visit the franchise."

Were you upset with EA's Dungeon Keeper Mobile? Is it a sign of everything that's wrong with the games industry, or do you think, like Skalski, that it's just a vocal minority kicking up a stink?

Source: Tab Times

Update: As confirmed by Gamasutra, EA has a rather sneaky way of getting all those 5-star reviews that Skalski values so much. When the game asks you to rate it on Android and you choose to give it less than 5 stars, it doesn't allow you to do so, and instead asks you to message the company with your feedback. Of course, if you pick 5-stars you can still alter your rating later, but nonetheless, it's a pretty underhanded tactic.

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Source: Gamasutra

Update 2: Peter Molyneux, the lead designer of the original Dungeon Keeper game, has himself voiced his concerns about the mobile version of the game. "I felt myself turning round saying, 'What? This is ridiculous. I just want to make a dungeon. I don't want to schedule it on my alarm clock for six days to come back for a block to be chipped,'" he told the BBC, adding "I don't think they got it quite right, the balance between keeping it familiar to the fans that were out there but fresh enough and understandable enough for this much bigger mobile audience."

Source: BBC

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This guy's career is probably over if he speaks out against it, especially so early on.

Maybe keep that in mind before anyone decides to talk shit about him personally.

EDIT: That said, this game is embarrassingly bad. Nobody will ever catch me defending it.

Hkdsaklfahejfhalesjfhlskghaeghgkldfehlaegdnvleighoaglkndveulfhaf...

I've not yet found a way to properly articulate the moan of frustration that escaped my mouth upon reading this. This "game" is inexcusable. 4-24 hours between actions is not the kind of model that should exist in a game like this. Other games following the same style (that do it well) keep time limits on minor actions like digging out a goddamn BLOCK on relatively small timers - anywhere from a couple of minutes to an hour. Yeah, it's a mobile game, meant to be played for a couple of minutes here and there on the go, but TAPPING TWO GODDAMN BLOCKS AND BEING DONE FOR THE DAY IS NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT WHAT THAT'S SUPPOSED TO MEAN. Smarmy smug EA bastards.

Ugh. Fuck games. I'm gonna go read a book or something.

If I know anything about community-gathered ratings, it's that they can be manipulated. You can buy those 4.5 stars, just like you can buy those "downloads".

Nobody knows what "in-game engagement" means, because it probably doesn't mean anything.

This guy's career is probably over if he speaks out against it, especially so early on.

Maybe keep that in mind before anyone decides to talk shit about him.

Are you implying that one's career should be worth more than one's pride, character and honesty?

[FADE IN]

"Jeff, why are you staring at that blank wall?"

"The wall says everything's ok. The wall doesn't judge, the wall doesn't hate."

"They're shouting from across the street. People are REALLY pissed off!"

"Shhhh, the wall says they are just a vocal minority. The wall says we made a good game and the people like the small taste of Dungeon Keeper... and they'll pay for another taste.... and another.... and another...

"Um, yeah but isn't a hundre-"

"Hush now, that's for the hardcore crowd, right wall?"

"Those are the people that are pissed off the most! Oh god, did someone break a window!?"

"The wall says people are happy. The wall says everything will be fine."

"AHHH, run sir, they've set the studio on fire! RUN!"

"I'll stay here with the wall. The wall protects, yes, the wall protects.... I love you wall...."

[SLOW FADE TO BLACK AS THE SOUND OF THE FIRE AND SIRENS PLAY IN THE BACKGROUND]

After reading this I immediately want to the Zero Punctuation Archive and went to the Call of Juarez: The Cartel reveiw

There is an appropriate line in their that I think applies quite well.

What was it again oh yeah

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=C4csI-Dg0pU#t=256

(I forgot how to embed)

Man this game, it's like it was intentionally made to be the anti-game, not in that artistic was but in the most campy comic book bond villain way possible. It has actually looped back to hilarious as they try to claim that this is a game.

He added that he and the team personally think that the game's microtransactions are "fair".

Okay, new rule, game devs; when you're asking for more than $5 at any time, you are no longer allowed to call these transactions "micro".

I mean, seriously, they're asking for $100 (non-refundable) for a bunch of non-existent gems that are consumable objects with the game... in what universe is that considered fair!!?

I don't know what pisses me off more about this barrage of excuses, the micro transactions crap, or that he has the audacity to claim the main issue here is that "Dungeon Keeper fans were expecting a Dungeon Keeper game..."

Houseman:
If I know anything about community-gathered ratings, it's that they can be manipulated. You can buy those 4.5 stars, just like you can buy those "downloads".

You don't have to. To my understanding the game pops up a thing suggesting that you rate the game and gives you 1-5 stars. If you choose 1-4 it asks you to directly input feedback into the app. Only if you choose 5 stars does it reroute you to the Google Play store to actually place a review.

As an added bonus, I think it may at some point imply that 5 star reviews give you gems. So that's also a thing.

As for the article itself - Why yes, it is a 'taste' of the Dungeon Keeper experience, in the same way that a saltwater aquarium with three dead fish in it could be considered a taste of the Great Barrier Reef.

-Dragmire-:

Escapist, we SERIOUSLY need a "like" button. Or an "insta Citizen Kane slow clap" button. Or both. Desperately.

OT: How delusional this guy can get?, like, seriously, this is some deep shit, I'm an advocate for the F2P model done right, but jeez, this is some of the worst I've ever seen!.

The problem is it has the name "Dungeon Keeper on it. There are hardcore fans out there who have wanted a new Dungeon Keeper game for 15 years now.

Dungeon Keeper is not the only mobile game that has bullshit and predatory pricing structures like this. In fact, tons of them do and I don't even think Dungeon Keeper is the most egregious offender. However, it's one of the few that are taking a historically loved franchise and basically turning it into a cash churning mockery of everything that people liked about the previous games. Also...

it's not actually possible not to rate the game below a 5

at least, according to this random guy. If you do, it takes you to an EA support ticket instead of rating the game.

Closing your eyes and covering your ears and pointing to the rating system you're willfully and knowingly fucking with to be high as a counter point is not good.

I'm not one to point to metacritic as the end all be all of ratings, but at least EA can't screw up the whole system:
http://www.metacritic.com/game/ios/dungeon-keeper

It's currently at a 4.9 from professional outlets, and an 0.2 from users.

If someone with an device that can play this could confirm this rating system is true I'd love to hear back. I'm sure the Escapist would like a juicy news story like that too ;)

You know, I don't necessarily think he's wrong. This is the same sort of thing that happened with the most recent Sim City. Long time fans of both series essentially wanted more of what they loved previously, which isn't bad on it's own merits, but those want essentially blinded them to the fact that those desires just weren't in line with what EA was making. EA can make whatever games it wants with the IPs it controls, good or bad, and they don't have to be totally beholden to what the long term fans expect.

The fact is, we all know what the new Sim City and Dungeon Keeper games are. They're both out and that's pretty much the end of the story. Maybe some new developer will create a title more in line with what the fans wanted but complaining that EA didn't make what are believed to be proper sequels is pretty silly at this point.

You can't really blame people for being a little bit salty about the whole thing though. EA killed off Bullfrog, held off making any more DK games for the next 12 years and then brought out this "game" packed full of "micro" transactions and stop start gameplay on a device not meant for gaming.

Maybe if they made a DK3 for the PC that stayed true to the original games and released that at the same time then everyone would be happy. But EA make a shitty mobile cow clicker with "micro" transactions and slap a Dungeon Keeper title in there because why not, and wonder why people that have been waiting so long for another DK game go a bit bonkers.

Just wait for War For The Overworld folks, it's really the DK3 we've been waiting for.

So they release an abomination of a game, disrespect a beloved classic and to add insult to injury, they dismiss negative feedback as just fanboy rants

EA are really chasing after that golden poo award this year

Houseman:
If I know anything about community-gathered ratings, it's that they can be manipulated. You can buy those 4.5 stars, just like you can buy those "downloads".

Nobody knows what "in-game engagement" means, because it probably doesn't mean anything.

This guy's career is probably over if he speaks out against it, especially so early on.

Maybe keep that in mind before anyone decides to talk shit about him.

Are you implying that one's career should be worth more than one's pride, character and honesty?

Why did you quote me without my name? That makes it so I don't get the little inbox popup so I can respond.

And no, I'm not. But he's a producer, so as I understand it he wasn't even directly involved in the games design. Why should he be burned at the stake for this?

EDIT: But I'm not sure what exactly a senior producer would be responsible for here. I'm just saying that the game sucks either way, so why would he risk losing his job? I'm just trying to think practical.

Come on. I'm no dungeon keeper fan because I lived under a rock during my childhood, but 24 hours between clicks and a minimum of 5 dollars for a gem purchase? Casino games have better value for money than that.

Exactly what taste of the original Dungeon Keeper experience were you giving people here, EA? Because at the moment I only have one taste in my mouth.

Hmmm, well the way I see things is that if this game DOES actually have 4.5 out of 5 stars despite the drubbing I see being dished out, you can't quite blame EA for it's attitude because people are obviously dumb enough to buy into the product. That's half the problem right there, is that no matter what EA and similar companies do people keep on giving them money right along with the bile.

Of course given some other controversies from EA products (like say Dragon Age 2) it makes me also wonder how much they are padding up that rating.

Other than that I can sort of see the point being made about this being an "ultra-casual" game meant as more of a management sim for people to check in on once in a while, sort of like having a dungeon as a virtual pet. It certainly wouldn't be the first game designed with that philosophy in mind. *HOWEVER* If that was the intent I cannot see why they would want to attach a "Dungeon Keeper" label to it, that being a franchise directed at now-older fairly hardcore strategy gamers. The monetization of the product combined with the perception that aging fanboys with a serious game addiction might be willing to fork over hundreds of dollars for the sake of nostalgia, makes the actual intent rather transparent. If they had no intention to confuse people as to the type of game it was, or lead people to a certain conclusion (and bait these criticisms) they never would have used the "Dungeon Keeper" name.

That said I'm a guy who has pumped a lot of money into free to play games over the years, albeit ones that I have hundreds (or in the case of STO am approaching 2000 it seems) hours of playtime with. Having looked at Jim's joke in the recent "Rhymedown" I can't see someone spending 70 pounds worth of real money for a game like this, I mean how many hours worth of entertainment is that going to really get you? I guess to someone it might be worth it, but I can't see much of an audience, it's not like something like Star Trek where you have legions of people (like me sadly) who can actually get 20-40 hours worth of entertainment out of nerding out over a new spaceship, tweaking it, and terrorizing classic aliens. Of course I suppose somewhere out there is some guy who experiences orgasmic bliss watching blocks destroyed, but even so, how many of "that guy" could there be?

When I think of hours spent on a game, I don't think about the game locking me out from continuing to play unless I defeat the pay-boss with digital trinkets I have to buy. The original DK series wasn't without its faults, I'll say that, but it NEVER locked me out of continuing to play. In no way shape or form does this game resemble a taste of the original series. Unless of course by original you mean what the remnants of a taco tastes like 15 years later after it has passed through your colon, down the pipe and into the sewage system, dredged up and served back to you on a plate.

StriderShinryu:
You know, I don't necessarily think he's wrong. This is the same sort of thing that happened with the most recent Sim City. Long time fans of both series essentially wanted more of what they loved previously, which isn't bad on it's own merits, but those want essentially blinded them to the fact that those desires just weren't in line with what EA was making. EA can make whatever games it wants with the IPs it controls, good or bad, and they don't have to be totally beholden to what the long term fans expect.

The fact is, we all know what the new Sim City and Dungeon Keeper games are. They're both out and that's pretty much the end of the story. Maybe some new developer will create a title more in line with what the fans wanted but complaining that EA didn't make what are believed to be proper sequels is pretty silly at this point.

The problem with that sentiment is that, even by their own standards (as in; separate from the franchises they've attached themselves to), the new SimCity and Dungeon Keeper are still pretty poor games. The former was a complete cluster--k of issues, compromises and (I'm not going to beat around the bush here) lies that completely tarnished the entire game, while the latter barely even registers as a game at all, it's more of an hourglass simulator as you tap on various points of the screen so you can watch a timer count down for 48 hours.

That's the thing here, these games are really nothing more than cash-ins that will ultimately alienate new and casual audiences while infuriating the old school fans who've grown up with these titles.

I mean, speaking for myself, I have nothing against the principle of a free-to-play Dungeon Keeper, just as long as the game itself is good. However, even by free-to-play standards, the game they have released is just insulting.

StriderShinryu:
You know, I don't necessarily think he's wrong. This is the same sort of thing that happened with the most recent Sim City. Long time fans of both series essentially wanted more of what they loved previously, which isn't bad on it's own merits, but those want essentially blinded them to the fact that those desires just weren't in line with what EA was making. EA can make whatever games it wants with the IPs it controls, good or bad, and they don't have to be totally beholden to what the long term fans expect.

The fact is, we all know what the new Sim City and Dungeon Keeper games are. They're both out and that's pretty much the end of the story. Maybe some new developer will create a title more in line with what the fans wanted but complaining that EA didn't make what are believed to be proper sequels is pretty silly at this point.

If random guy is not just blowing smoke, then that is jaw dropping well jaw dropping.

Weaver:
The problem is it has the name "Dungeon Keeper on it. There are hardcore fans out there who have wanted a new Dungeon Keeper game for 15 years now.

Dungeon Keeper is not the only mobile game that has bullshit and predatory pricing structures like this. In fact, tons of them do and I don't even think Dungeon Keeper is the most egregious offender. However, it's one of the few that are taking a historically loved franchise and basically turning it into a cash churning mockery of everything that people liked about the previous games. Also...

it's not actually possible not to rate the game below a 5

at least, according to this random guy. If you do, it takes you to an EA support ticket instead of rating the game.

Closing your eyes and covering your ears and pointing to the rating system you're willfully and knowingly fucking with to be high as a counter point is not good.

I'm not one to point to metacritic as the end all be all of ratings, but at least EA can't screw up the whole system:
http://www.metacritic.com/game/ios/dungeon-keeper

It's currently at a 4.9 from professional outlets, and an 0.2 from users.

If someone with an device that can play this could confirm this rating system is true I'd love to hear back. I'm sure the Escapist would like a juicy news story like that too ;)

If random guy is not blowing smoke that is jaw dropping.

But the gap between the store score and the meta score reeks of something amiss about it.

You know, I've been really trying to watch my language lately (honest!), but then EA comes along and yet again says something that makes me say the following:

*ahem*

Fuck you, EA. Fuck your bullshit. Fuck your constant shitting on game franchises. Fuck your ethics, fuck your assbackwards logic, fuck you manipulated rating system, and most importantly; FUCK YOU.

Oh, yes. The ever-popular "vocal minority" blow-off.

If I point out that you can get both of the original Dungeon Keeper games at GOG for about the cost of a small cluster of gems and have a far superior experience, do you think word will get back to EA and they'll pull them?

I know this is just one producer in one wing of the far-flung, over-extended empire that is EA these days, but every time a story like this comes up, I'm reminded of why I don't trust EA as a company, why I haven't bought a game from them in years, and why I still don't have Origin on my computer. This arrogant, condescending, "be a good consumer, we know what's best" bullshit that I cannot and will not support in any way, shape, or form.

Of the links that come up when "Dungeon Keeper Mobile" is searched on Google, every result on the first two pages that isn't referencing this response or pointing directly at a download page is a scathingly negative criticism. Every. Single. One. Ignore that at your peril, EA Mythic.

Or, y'know, don't, blow a bunch of development cash that you never see back, and reap what you've sown when your game is abandoned next month for a shinier bauble that doesn't hold as much behind the paywall. That would be fine with me, too.

EA had to get back in the race, Comcast and the underdog, King, were getting a strong lead and February has only just begun. To think, at one point I thought EA would fall off the shit list entirely just by not doing anything, silly me.

"We're also seeing a lot of game downloads and in-game engagement so that tells us there is a large group of people who are playing and enjoying the game. Obviously, this is counter to some of the angry reactions we've seen around the internet."

i.e.: "It's good because idiots who don't know better think it's good."

I shudder to think of what will be considered high class entertainment once the media landscape is dominated by a generation raised on trashy reality shows and f2p mobile games.

After reading this person's statement regarding the game in question, there's only one possible answer in my head:

HOW DARE YOU?!

In the name of all that is holy and sacred in this insane universe we all live on, how do you even DARE to defend this travesty, this abomination, this amusingly stupid excuse for a theft, cause it's not even a game at all, it's just plain robbery, of both cash and time from the people who expected (and deserved) a proper come back to the freaking classic!

Just like pretty much everyone is pointing out, let's just forget that this thing ever happened on the first place, and focus on the REAL successor, War for the Overworld. I believe they even got the original voice actor for the Horned Reaper.

Your better off downloading KeeperFX (thats a free mod for original dungeon keeper that makes it easily playable and stable in new systems) that is free. It is very similar (cough, uses actual original textures, cough) to the original but with engine rewritten to work on modern machines.
Yes, its legal.

Weaver:

it's not actually possible not to rate the game below a 5

at least, according to this random guy. If you do, it takes you to an EA support ticket instead of rating the game.

and this is why i always go to the store page separately to rate all the games i play on my android. The ingame rating crap is always rigged.

EA guy defends EA's product... yeah, I've said this more than once, but I'll be impressed when this doesn't happen, and the guy, while still working at EA comes out and says "yeah the game is shit", THAT day I'll be impressed.

Brian Tams:
You know, I've been really trying to watch my language lately (honest!), but then EA comes along and yet again says something that makes me say the following:

*ahem*

Fuck you, EA. Fuck your bullshit. Fuck your constant shitting on game franchises. Fuck your ethics, fuck your assbackwards logic, fuck you manipulated rating system, and most importantly; FUCK YOU.

How the fuck can I give you cookies through the internet?

Have this one at least image

I read some of the Google Play user reviews because I noticed the 4.5 rating was contrary to everything said everywhere else. The most recent reviews are 1 star reviews that include more than one sentence actually reviewing the game. Once you get closer to the release date, you notice the user reviews become 5 star ratings with only one sentence that usually pertains to "It's just like the Dungeon Keeper I loved more than 10 years ago!".

It's not a surprise that EA would fake user reviews because everyone does it (Sony, Microsoft, McDonald's, you name it). It's just a wonder how fake user reviews don't blow things up as wide as they should.

Side note: I just watched Boondock Saints today, which critics panned and gave a 20% Rotten Tomatoes rating while users gave it an average of 92. I thought the movie was thoroughly entertaining and amazing (as long as you don't take it serious). Maybe it relates to this, but I doubt it.

well, i can kinda see where he's coming from. i think the price points are utterly disgusting, and i don't agree with it at all (a less restricted pay to play title on mobile would have been much better), but from that viewpoint, it's nothing new.

simpsons tapped out worked on the same principle, you log on a few times a day to micromanage and farm money, then after a while you get a 'free' gaming session using your built up resources. considering it's the same devs, it isn't that surprising they take the same approach.

however the big differences dungeon keeper has with tapped out are
1) dungeon keeper is an established, and beloved, franchise
2) if you choose to spend money, you get next to nothing for a large amount of money
3) the in game text advertises buying gems, knowing full well it is being a cunt about it by shoving microtransactions in your face and laughing that the game they made is unplayable as a proper game without them

tapped out only really suffered from bits of (2), but at least it wasn't taking a big steamy dump on gamers memories

Houseman:

Ugh. Fuck games. I'm gonna go read a book or something.

Better make sure it's not an e-Book by EA. If so, you will need to either wait 1 hour or pay 0,30$ to bypass the timer after each page.

Didn't you know? Books are not meant to be read at your leisure. You are supposed to read one page on the bus (must be a very short ride... goes without saying) to wherever you are going and then another page at bed, before you sleep (wouldn't want you to keep reading and miss minutes from your beauty sleep, now would we).

Userrating on Metacritic for this game 0.2 out of 10........everything is fine. It's just a vocal minority. Players must love this game.....

I would laugh at this guy if it wasn't so sad. Anyway I won't touch this game. I have cool games on my smartphone and they aren't a ripoff like this Dungeon Keeper wannabe.

Well, of course your game has 4.5 stars if you manipulate the Ratings system (against Google policy, I might add).

But then again, this is EA we're talking about. So what else can we expect?

I went to the Google play page of the game and already the bad reviews are numerous although that will not be enough to cancel out the 64,311 5 star reviews. I mean seriously WTF how doe that thing have that many 5 star reviews what are the android users really that stupid. I mean when i bought my new smartphone fe months back i was wondering why i cannot have root access and why rooting my phone would void my warranty but now i know. Turns out 85 percent of users are stupid enough to put out with this shit and giving the root would most likely result in them bricking their devices in less than 2 weeks.

Ea dismisses criticism, saying, "We don't give a shit about what you think, and never have, now give us your money."

It'd be funny if it wasn't so tragic. I'm just sort of glad that I was never a fan of Dungeon Keeper, shame for those of you that are.

But yeah, this whole article just neatly packages everything about EA that, rightly, pisses people off. Dishonesty, complete lack of awareness or empathy, and dedication to money above all else. I do occasionally defend them, because there must be sane people working in there somewhere. I've dealt with their customer support like three times, and they've always been super helpful. But their corporate culture really does need fixing. Even from a pragmatic standpoint, I can't imagine that acting this way actually helps profits.

Oh well. Not my company. Hopefully Dragon Age: Inquisition is good.

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