EA shutting down Dragon Age Legends in June

Saturday, 19th May 2012 15:16 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

EA has announced it’s to shut down Dragon Age Legends next month. The firm said it will offer a free downloadable version of the game for users who want to play the title with out multiplayer. EA didn’t provide a reason for pulling the title, but during GDC Online 2011, BioWare’s Ethan Levy said the browser game failed to meet EA’s expectations. The free-to-play, social RPG debuted in March 2011 to coincide with the release of Dragon Age II. Thanks, Gamasutra.



  1. Sadismek

    I bet it was really good, that’s why I’ve never heard of it.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. TheWulf

    Didn’t live up to EA’s expectations? There’s the reason for Banner Saga right there. See, when a bunch of developers want to make things that aren’t that bloody ur-game that imbecilic publishers tend to chase, and they get cockblocked by those suit-encrusted, corporate zombies, they often just up and leave instead.

    It’s sad to hear that EA is fucking around with Bioware like this, but it could definitely explain Banner Saga. I mean, the same thing happened at Blizzard with Blizzard North. (People have short memories, I don’t.) Blizzard North get fed up of the corporate nature of Vivendi and couldn’t stand that they were being forced to chase the ur-game. So they left.

    Not some of them, damn near ALL of them. I think by the end there were only two or three people left there, so Blizzard had to close the studio. This was all thanks to Vivendi. And let’s be honest, a lot of voices are currently making noises about how Diablo III is kind of a bit shallow, barren, and empty.

    It’s not really Blizzard’s fault, I never blamed Blizzard (something that a lot of people fail to understand), but rather that the corporate influences of Vivendi, and now Activision, have just ruined them and left them a lifeless husk of what they once were.

    The Blizzard North people went on to staff Runic Games and ArenaNet and have produced and are still producing some seminal titles.

    Why explain this?

    Just to shed some light on what’s going on, here. This is the Blizzard North situation all over again. EA says “Make the ur-game!”, to which someone replies “But we’d rather actually make a really good game targeted at a demographic! And it would actually be a good game!”, which makes EA furious. “It won’t bring in the money we need!! Make this ur-game or you’re fired!”

    And that’s how it goes. People left Bioware after that because of EA’s shenanigans, just like people have left various developers because of the craziness of a publisher. And if you look at Banner Saga, it’s fairly damned clear that the Dragon Age Legends people were the ones that left.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Sadismek

    It’s interesting to read your rants. It’s almost like you’re having a dialogue… with yourself.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Judicas

    @2 I agree completely with what you said however if your going to make up a term (ur-game) could you please define what it means?

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Phoenixblight

    “There’s the reason for Banner Saga right there. See, when a bunch of developers want to make things that aren’t that bloody ur-game that imbecilic publishers tend to chase, and they get cockblocked by those suit-encrusted, corporate zombies, they often just up and leave instead.”

    Stop romanticizing indies. THe 3 guys from Banner Saga worked on TOR for 3-4 years and wanted to do their own thing so they left Bioware and were going to fund the game themeselves until this great thing called Kickstarter happened. They didn’t go to EA to sell Banner Saga they were going to do it by themself anyways.

    Source: They live in Austin and I have gone to their “studio”.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. TheWulf


    I have, many times, around the comment threads. But I’ll do it again.

    The notion of the ur-game is one where the publisher puts a ridiculous amount of funding into it in the hopes that it will bring in such a large audience to the point where not only will the funding be returned in revenue, but the profits will soar to realms unimaginable.

    Think of it like Michael Bay films. Except the games industry is a LOT of Michael Bay films, rather than there being a variety. That’s the issue with the ur-game. There’s so much funding involved that they feel like they have to substantiate that funding. How do they do it? They play it safe and they aim for the lowest common denominator.

    What happens is that you have the publisher stepping in and telling developers (and I’ve read interviews where developers have said as much) that they can’t do X or Y because they feel that it would alienate or offend such and such an audience, and thus it would receive less sales. Think of Bioware, they must have had to fought tooth and nail to get gay characters in Mass Effect 3.

    The thing is is that in the original Mass Effect, there were supposed to be gay characters, the script for them was there. But this clearly got a big “Ohhhh no!” from Electronic Arts, because apparently EA felt that homophobes make up a big amount of their sales, and they couldn’t risk offending them with something that may make them not buy the game.

    That’s what the ur-game is: Lots of funding. Play it safe. Don’t offend anyone. Don’t do anything original.

    The counter to the ur-game is, essentially, a lesser funded and more focused experience. One that targets a specific demographic (rather than ‘every person alive’), and creates a game which is focused on being enjoyable to that demographic. Look at Kickstarter. In fact, pick a game project on Kickstarter, almost any game project.

    This is why I’m hoping that the Kickstarter thing will work out, because it’s like the antithesis of the ur-game. It’s something that the developer wants to make and knows will apply to a certain demographic, they set the scale of the game (ambition and funding) based upon how big their demographic is and they run with that. The end result is a really great game for their demographic, because the people running that Kickstarter really wanted to make it.

    I’ve put loads of money out on Kickstarter projects because I want to see them succeed. The most recent being Tex Murphy: Project Fedora. It’s stuff you couldn’t hope to see in today’s industry because it’s too off the beaten path. And the RPG I backed last… Shadowrun. Shadowrun is fantastic, and it does much to upset the RPG status quo, it just tosses genre purism out the window.

    Is it fantasy? Is it cyberpunk? Who can say? They don’t care, they just made the setting they wanted to, and now they’re making the game they want to. And they don’t have publishers stepping in and saying “Oh no, that’s too risky. That’s not safe enough. You can’t do this. You do this and we’ll cancel your project.”

    How is this relevant to EA?

    The Dragon Age Legends guys likely wanted to make more of that sort of thing, but because it wasn’t a massive ur-game, it didn’t satisfy their greed for profit. The end result? The guys who’re told they can’t make more Dragon Age Legends stuff leave, and they form their own studio to make Banner Saga.

    I really think that we’re at the point where the ur-game is going to collapse, soon. And it really couldn’t be soon enough, for me. I am really tired of boring, safe games. I mean, look at 38 Games latest effort. Their Project Copernicus. Go watch that trailer. It’s like they’re terrified to throw in a really ugly, intimidating area, or that they’re afraid of fantasy subgenres that aren’t large busted elves and dwarves with giant hammers. It’s narcoleptic in how typical and stereotypical it is.

    And the world feels really twee and less for it. You can have more than one kind of setting in a game. It’s like how Blizzard used a washed out palette for everything in Diablo III, because they believed that people wanted a game that was almost greyscale. Whereas Torchlight went down its own path, away from that.

    It’s… basically obsessive crowd-pleasing, but it goes beyond that, it’s like trying to create this ultimate product that every person alive wants to buy. Trying to whittle it down to some kind of perfected ambrosia that contains the elements that the majority want, without the elements that they don’t. But chasing this notion is folly. And that’s the ur-game.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. TheWulf


    You just completely derped because you justified my point.

    Yes, they wanted to do their own thing. But they couldn’t in the corporate environment that they were in, so their only choice was to leave. If you believe that they didn’t take this project to some of their higher-ups as a proposal before leaving, then you’re a very naive person.

    Also, to think less of them for not having a large, shiny studio betrays how incredibly shallow you are.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. TheWulf


    Actually, I just try to anticipate any questions that might arise. That you put it with so much vitriol just makes you sound jealous and bitter, frankly. I’m glad I’m not you.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. Phoenixblight


    They didn’t want to do it in a corporate environment they had made enough money from working on TOR that they wanted to go and do their own thing as friends not as a little man proving Corporation wrong. They wanted to leave to make a game that they wanted to play.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. TheWulf


    Exactly. But you’re postulating that they didn’t take this idea to their higher-ups. I’m saying that you’re naive for believing so. I’m just trying to explain to you that you’ve made my point for me.

    There’s absolutely no way that they wouldn’t have bounced this off of Bioware and EA before leaving. Often, a group of developers leave because the corporate environment has made it impossible for them to work on the projects that they want to. So their only choice is to go and make this game they believe in on their own.

    See: Blizzard North.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. Phoenixblight


    Bitter or jealous of who? You? Hell No. Of Stoic, not really they did their stint with working in the industry and got where they want to be. I am just barely in my infancy in the industry. If anything I look up to Stoic and Tim Schaffer. I just don’t like people spinning their own lies when they don’t know the actual truth which you are doing and seem to always do then you post a giant wall of text that is completely rubbish because its based on that opinion based on your own “truth”.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. TheWulf


    In fact, let me tell you something. In the interviews with the guys from Blizzard North, they actually said this. They openly admitted to PC Gamer that they left because Vivendi wouldn’t let them work on their own project, and any time they did manage to pitch a project that Vivendi liked, they’d tamper with it so much that it just wasn’t worth it.

    It made them pretty much ragequit Blizzard. And if you believe that this story isn’t common, then you haven’t been paying attention. With all the layoffs and people leaving big developers in droves, lately, and all the indie studios springing up in the wake of this…

    You really haven’t been paying attention to the way things are going.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. Phoenixblight


    Again you are wrong about Blizzard North there may have been some developers that felt that way but they were actually going to be bought up by Blizzard and Blizzard North signed the Paperwork Blizzard never went with it and thats where the studio fell apart and they each went to do their own thing, Runic Games and ArenaNet which are both owned by a public company.

    @10 Again I have met them and they willingly chose to not go to the higher ups because they wanted to do their own thing. How hard is that to believe? THat people work on a game with a corporation and leave to do their own thing and not because the man presses them down but because they have the resources and the environment to allow them to. When you work for corporation you are working for a company who is paying your salary and dictating where the money is to be going with development when it is more fun and interesting to be your own boss and work with a small team of people that are focused as you are.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. shogoz

    wulf stop acting like you know so much about games. if you did you would be being paid for your god-like knowledge about how you think things work best in your deluded mind! the reality is that you are a normal person (probably fat with a beard) sitting behind a computer talking about things that nobody cares about. not only this but you aren’t even IN the industry otherwise you would be doing something real to earn your money. i bet your parents bought your computer. you made this article boring and im going to find another one to look at, good day. don’t get me wrong though….i by no means meant to offend you. i love you you fat bearded woman!

    #14 3 years ago
  15. Sadismek

    @8 For the sake of my eyes (and your frail image on this site), please don’t try to anticipate the questions that might arise, ok? The outcome is a comment of the size of a novel, with little to no heart which makes you sound like a bigger arse than you already are. You will thank me later, when you’ll realise that everyone is avoiding you and you have no friends, just your ego.

    “People have short memories, I don’t”

    “It’s oddly satisfying that I’m right all the time about this. It must be frustrating for people in a position of opposition to my viewpoints to see that almost every day there’s news on VG24/7 that completely supports my views and opinions.”

    No. I’m glad I’m not you.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. NeoSquall

    Fact is, that game kinda sucked for being a Facebook game: not enough “social” to lure people in it, not enough “single-player” to allow gamers to go on without adding 100+ friends.
    Also it got repetitive pretty fast and, in the end, was inferior to Dragon Age: Journeys (the first flash game).
    I’m surprised it was still running now.

    Everything else in this discussion is just unrelated blabbering.

    #16 3 years ago

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