There’s one thing we can’t deny: 2017 was a phenomenal year for gaming. The amount of game releases was immense. The amount of good game releases was also immense. The Nintendo Switch turned out to be a colossal hit, being this year’s most desirable piece of tech, all thanks to its great hybrid purpose and games like Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. A lot of developers that had been, at the very least, controversial over the last few years have managed to redeem themselves with great releases, such as Ubisoft (thanks to titles like Assassin’s Creed Origins and the shockingly good Mario + Rabbids) and Bethesda (portable Doom, anyone?). Even Konami, once gamers’ reigning punching bag, had a quiet but competent year with its decent enough Super Bomberman R.
And then there’s EA.
EA’s 2017 was something else. This was a year filled with controversial company decisions, PR disasters, disappointing releases, and much more. Given the fact we at WTMG are currently in a Christmas-esque mood, we’ve decided to list all the reasons Electronic Arts is most likely going to end up on Santa’s naughty list this year.
A “family pack” featuring a yakuza
This actually happened in the last days of 2016, but given how most people have blatantly ignored it back then, we thought it would be a good idea to remind the general populace of this episode. It’s definitely one of the minor sins EA has committed, but it made us chuckle and shake our heads saying, “Only EA.”
Meet Shinichi Morohoshi, a man who’s well-known in Japan for being a notorious Lamborghini tuner, as well as being open about his ties to the country’s main mafia, the yakuza. Morohoshi is part of EA’s 2015 version of Need for Speed, a game that, well, wasn’t very well-received by fans. That’s not why we’re here, though. In the end of 2016, EA decided to release a “family pack” of sorts, containing three titles: Plants vs. Zombies, Unravel…. and Need for Speed. You know, the one game about illegal street racing featuring a guy linked to the yakuza. We aren’t trying to be the PC Principal from South Park, nor do we consider ourselves as overall saints, but including such a game in a family pack? Only EA. . .
Mass Effect: Andromeda
While far from being a completely broken and unplayable game, there’s no denying that Mass Effect: Andromeda turned out to be one of the most disappointing releases of the year. You’re probably already acquainted with lots of videos showing how weird the facial animations are. You already know how glitchy the game was at launch. After reigning supreme as one of the best franchises of the last gaming generation, it’s sad to see how underwhelming Mass Effect‘s debut in the new generation turned out to be. You can check out Kyle’s review for Andromeda here.
This guy at their E3 presentation
FIFA 18 on the Switch
Let me be clear with this one: I actually like FIFA 18 on the Switch. In fact, I gave it a very decent 7.5 on my review (you can check it out here). Why is this game on this list, then? This is simple: the Switch version of FIFA 18 is the least impressive of all the versions and, more importantly, has the least amount of content out of all ports. But it’s still being sold for sixty bucks. What’s their excuse?
This is something a lot of gamers have been fearing for years. Sadly, it did come true: in October, EA decided to shut down Visceral Games, the creators of the widely acclaimed Dead Space. Visceral’s demise was inevitable. After the poor reception and commercial performance of Dead Space 3, a game plagued with terrible microtransactions imposed by higher-ups from EA’s main office, Visceral had been demoted from the publisher’s group of elite developers and drafted to develop the equally poorly-received Battlefield Hardline. Finding out about Visceral’s demise a few years later was sad, but definitely not shocking. With that, we also have to say good bye to Amy Hennig’s Star Wars project.
News regarding EA’s purchase of Titanfall developers Respawn hit the internet mere days after the announcement of Visceral’s closure. Fan backlash was fierce, as EA’s poor marketing decisions resulted in Titanfall 2, easily one of the best shooters of this generation and a game that did not feature season passes, performing poorly commercially. I really hope I’m wrong, but signs of Respawn becoming the next victim in EA’s serial closing spree in a few years are actually pretty believable.
Need for Speed: Payback
Yet another massively disappointing 2017 release from EA (you can check out our review here), Need for Speed: Payback is a game riddled with technical issues, a tremendous case of identity crisis (it doesn’t know if it wants to be Need for Speed, Forza Horizon, Burnout or Fast & Furious) and, the biggest offender of them all, lootboxes everywhere. The game’s lootbox system alone would later be overshadowed by yet another EA release, the now infamous…
Star Wars Battlefront II
Star Wars Battlefront II‘s lootboxes, progression system, and most notably, PR disasters were, without a shadow of a doubt, three of the most discussed and controversial episodes in 2017. The controversy became so bloated and discussed that mainstream outlets like the New York Times and Forbes made articles about EA’s practices. EA’s attempt at stitching the wounds became the most downvoted comment in Reddit history. Politicians denounced those practices, calling Battlefront II a “Star Wars-themed casino.” Disney itself had to intervene. EA’s stock price took a nose dive afterwards. All in all, this resulted in the most controversial gaming episode of the year, as well as arguably the most disappointing game of 2017. You can check out our review here.
The Sims 4
Buggy, with poor graphics, a terrible control scheme, and featuring more than three figures worth of additional DLC available at launch on the Xbox Live and PSN stores. Not to mention the extremely quiet release, with little to no promotion. That’s the console version of The Sims 4, ladies and gentlemen. Just stick to the PC version, or as said on our review, just stick to the much superior The Sims 3.
And this was EA’s 2017. Here’s to hoping they have a much better 2018, as we’re looking forward to titles like Anthem, Fe, and A Way Out.
Do you think we missed something? Comment down below!