EA has admitted that even though its free-to-play mobile version of Dungeon Keeper wasn’t ‘pay to play’ or ‘pay to win’, the remake caused some disconnect among longtime fans of the original.
Speaking with Eurogamer, EA CEO Andrew Wilson said the game being panned was “a shame” and blamed part of the reason on EA “misjudging the economy.”
“For new players, it was kind of a cool game,” he said. “For people who’d grown up playing Dungeon Keeper there was a disconnect there. We misjudged the economy. In that aspect, we didn’t walk that line as well as we could have. And that’s a shame.
“As we look forward, the two lessons we get are, one, where you are dealing with IP that has existed in the past, even though you’re reinventing it for a new audience, you have to do your best to stay true to its essence.
“The second is, when you’re thinking about any business model, premium, subscription, free-to-play, value has to exist. Whether it’s a dollar, $10, $100 or $1000, you have to delivering value, and always err on the side of delivering more value, not less.”
The game’s original designer in 1997, Peter Molyneux, said not to blame the developers for mucking the game up as they were just doing their job. Instead, he said “analytics people” are to blame for forcing “tried and true” monetization tactics.
“It seems to me like, why would a designer ever want that from one of their games?” Molyneux said. “It seems as if there’s some argument under the surface. This is what I thought: they forgot the spirit of what Dungeon Keeper was. It was good to be bad. Getting people to giggle with the pleasure of being bad. It was a mixture of an RTS and a tower defense turned on its head. And rather than taking that further they stuck it there.
“Part of me thinks, god, if I’d just been involved a little bit… And to be fair to those guys by the way, they did say to me before they released it, have you had a look at it? But I was too busy to look at it. I felt bad about that.”
EA Mythic’s with Jeff Skalski defended the title earlier this year, stating the game was “built around the typical mobile play patterns.”
Dungeon Keeper saw a full release in December 2013. Last month, EA announced it was closing the EA Mythic location in Fairfax, Virginia in order to “concentrate mobile development in our other studio locations.”