Yet another Electronic Arts executive has now responded to the controversy surrounding the company's recently released mobile game, Dungeon Keeper, a reboot of sorts of the classic strategy game from Peter Molyneux. The game launched in February and was immediately criticized for its in-app purchases, with EA CEO Andrew Wilson recently admitting that the company "misjudged" the game's economy. Now, EA Mobile boss Frank Gibeau has offered his own take on the matter, explaining in an interview with GamesIndustry International why the game came up short, but also why the company is not going to pull the plug on it anytime soon.
"I think we might have innovated too much or tried some different things that people just weren't ready for" -- Frank Gibeau
"Dungeon Keeper suffered from a few things," Gibeau said. "I don't think we did a particularly good job marketing it or talking to fans about their expectations for what Dungeon Keeper was going to be or ultimately should be. Brands ultimately have a certain amount of permission that you can make changes to, and I think we might have innovated too much or tried some different things that people just weren't ready for. Or, frankly, were not in tune with what the brand would have allowed us to do. We like the idea that you can bring back a brand at EA and express it in a new way. We've had some successes on that front, but in the case of Dungeon Keeper, that just didn't connect with an audience for a variety of reasons."
EA closed Dungeon Keeper's original developer, Mythic, in May. Continued development duties for the project were handed off to another studio, Gibeau said. And while the game has been highly criticized, Gibeau said EA is not going to stop supporting it anytime soon. That wouldn't be fair to the people who are playing the game and enjoying it. he said.
"If you watch some of the things we've been doing over the last eight or nine months, we've made a commitment to players," Gibeau said. "We're sincere and committed to that. So when you bring in a group of people to Dungeon Keeper and you serve them, create a live service, a relationship and a connection, you just can't pull the rug out from under them. That's just not fair. We can sustain the Dungeon Keeper business at its level for a very long time. We have a committed group of people who are playing the game and enjoying it. So our view is going to be that we'll keep Dungeon Keeper going as long as there's a committed and connected audience to that game. Are we going to sequel it? Probably not. [Laughs] But we don't want to just shut stuff off and walk away. You can't do that in a live service environment."
Last week, a United Kingdom advertisement regulation agency ruled that EA could no longer advertise Dungeon Keeper as a "free" game.
What's your take on the backlash surrounding Dungeon Keeper? Let us know in the comments below!
|Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch|
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