Former EA Dev Explains How EA Left Nintendo Out To Dry
A former developer working on EA's Need For Speed: Most Wanted U has spilled the beans on the developer/publisher/manufacturer relationship between the team working on the game, Electronic Arts and Nintendo.
Joystiq managed to piece together the tweets from the former Burnout front-man, Alex Ward. He's now in charge of his own studio, Three Fields Entertainment. Fans, however, were asking him about whether or not the games from his new studio would support Nintendo's Wii U. Those turned out to be fighting words.
Fans accused Ward of being part of a cabal to hurt Nintendo's image by delaying the release of the game, offering poor support or, in the case of Crysis 3, outright canceling the game just as the gold master disc was about to be printed. Ward, heated and riled, replied with...
"Totally wrong. I did. Second, I complained when the company didn't even bother to press the discs with our game on." ... "worked our arses off. Neither [Nintendo] or EA gave a shit about it. A group of us did try" [disappointed fans should] "bitch and moan at the publishers not the developers."
Ward brings Nintendo into the fray, but keep in mind that platform holders have no control over a third-party publisher's release window, pricing or marketing. Heck, that's why it's up to a third-party publisher to publish the games for that platform.
Ward continued to vent, however, taking aim at both EA and Nintendo in his textual rage, laying down a law of typed fury the likes of which gamers may have never seen before...
"We just did the coding," .... "Like we had any choice over when it was released? Or the price? Everyone is so quick to blame the developers. Folks worked through New Year to deliver that. We tried to do our best. We even flew to [Nintendo] to personally demo in a bid for [marketing] support. There was none." ..."the game was not even physically released initially in Europe. Members of the team could not even buy their own game."
Smoking bird feathers. Drop me a dime and call me a thief, but that's some righteous fried bullcrap right there.
I know Ward is angry that the platform holder didn't step up to the plate and do for them what Microsoft is doing for Titanfall (even though technically Microsoft paid EA to keep Titanfall off PlayStation platforms), but keep in mind – and this is something a few of Joystiq's more enlightened commenters brought out – it's not Nintendo's job to market and promote third-party games for third-party publishers if the game isn't exclusive, especially when the game releases four months after the old-gen versions.
There's no denying that Need for Speed Most Wanted U was labeled as the best version of the game, but as Ward brought out himself: EA delaying the game and poorly promoting it on the Wii U only hurt the game's sales. It was almost as if EA was setting the game up to fail.
We saw similar tactics from Ubisoft and Sega with Rayman and Aliens. Delaying or canceling a game during a console's thin season is not going to help that console's sales.
Also, imagine had Nintendo put marketing effort into promoting Crysis 3 for the Wii U, where it was expected to launch with the 360 and PS3, only for EA to cancel the disc press at the last minute? Nintendo would have been standing out there like a man at a bus stop with his wang dangling in the wind, waiting for a group to arrive that never will.
This all fits into a continued narrative about Nintendo's and EA's fallout over Origin and the Nintendo Network. The Big 'N' didn't want EA's service and so EA decided to spite the Big 'N' like a lover spurned.
According to Ward, it was one too many political punches in the publisher arena for a man to bear, and he decided to take his ball to another yard...
"Stuff like that pissed me off hence I left EA and have started my own company using my savings. So seeing as our families won't eat if we fuck up, we will choose our platforms carefully,"
Good on you Ward.
This further explains some of the context of the behavior in which EA has been exhibiting toward Nintendo ever since the Wii U launched. The publisher has gone out of their way to deride the Wii U, and has done the system no favors in releasing games timely or appropriately for Nintendo's console. A perfect example is EA Sports UFC not coming to the Wii U for no good reason at all.
I'm curious how long EA will continue to enact these silly political games against Nintendo? I understand Ward's frustration that the Big 'N' didn't pick up EA's slack, but I don't blame them. Promoting a third-party game for a company who wants to see you fail is stupid. And so long as Nintendo makes good on their secret sauce and keep pumping out quality first and second-party titles, real gamers will continue to support them.
(Main image courtesy of D-Pad)
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