EA responds to Dungeon Keeper free-to-play criticisms

"People are going to be very protective" of remakes, EA Mythic producer says.

Electronic Arts has responded to criticisms surrounding the publisher's free-to-play remake of the Dungeon Keeper franchise, released this week for iOS and Android tablet devices. EA Mythic senior producer Jeff Skalski told Tab Times that the negative response from some fans is not entirely unexpected.

"I think any time you re-make anything that is much beloved and has a great sense of nostalgia for people--be it a game, a movie, or whatever--people are going to be very protective of it. They have fond memories of it. We, as gamers, have our own fond memories of it."

"Our intention with the mobile version was to give as many people as possible a taste of that original Dungeon Keeper experience, and for some people, that’s not the way they want to re-visit the franchise," he added.

Many of the criticisms about Dungeon Keeper have to do with its free-to-play practices, described as "aggressive" by some. However, Skalski pointed out that the game was not designed as a "pay-to-win" game, and said you can actually get every piece of content in the game without paying a penny.

Skalski emphasized that Dungeon Keeper was designed to be played while you're on the train or in the car, multiple times per day with play sessions not lasting more than a few minutes.

"We’re also seeing a lot of game downloads and in-game engagement so that tells us there is a large group of people who are playing and enjoying the game," Skalski said. "Obviously, this is counter to some of the angry reactions we’ve seen around the Internet, so we’re still trying to look at all of these data points."

Also drawing debate and controversy is Dungeon Keeper's ratings system. We have confirmed that on Android, you're not allowed to give the game less than a 5-star rating. Instead, it asks you to send a message to EA with feedback.

Dungeon Keeper doesn't block you entirely from rating the game below five stars, however, as you can rate the game whatever you want if you do so via the Google Play store.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Did you enjoy this article?

Sign In to Upvote

eddienoteddy

Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
Dungeon Keeper

Dungeon Keeper

Follow
201 comments
Princemon
Princemon

I can forgive bad games that had real effort put into it. Freemium games I can also forgive if it is really fun and enjoyable and you don't have to pay to have a good time. This game I refuse to forgive because as a 3D modeler, graphic designer and computer programmer I can see not a large amount of effort was put into this at a company level AND the fact you have to pay to play for more that 5 minutes at a time is disgusting. What is next. a game where you have to pay for every command you give to any of your 20 minions "you are out of commands today. Get 10 more commands for 3 bucks, 100 more for 20 bucks, or 1000 more for 100 bucks"

matticles
matticles

Take a pass on this garbage and go get the original and #2 on gog.com for $11, DRM free and no microtrans.

AwkwardTurtle42
AwkwardTurtle42

Fans being protective? More like people being unhappy that the game is loaded with microtransactions and timers. If I don't want to pay a penny I can just...grind my way through the game. Slowly. Doesn't sound like a good experience to me. Why not have it as a non-free to play game for a low price and no microtransactions? Give fans the remake they would have wanted.

killjoi
killjoi

As if the company name couldn't be further tainted. Getting really tired of your crap, EA.

musalala
musalala

How is this even shocking, Its EA People

Vinnvn
Vinnvn

"You can actually get every piece of content in the game without paying a penny."


But not recommended by EA.

cpykokotivyjeb
cpykokotivyjeb

EA lies! Take a look at Simcity, or any other crappy game with full of promises or bugs or just pure cash drain. They no longer make games, they lie to people and steal as much money from you as possible, they do every dirty trick in the book to rip you off.

 

Vyjebana skurvena stranka gamespotu, fakt sam kokot jebnuty musel tuto stranku robit, recovery mail nesiel lebo taky mail neexistuje a ked som chcel registrovat na neho tak bol obsadeny, spiceny system toto.

warriors30
warriors30

The sad thing here (for me) is that I really like EA's games. They have made some amazing high quality games in the past. It's just sad to watch (as a fan) how they treat more and more games like pure money grabbing machines and not much else. 

Dungeon Keeper is another prime example of that (and I thought PvZ 2 was rotten). I cannot understand how anyone can have fun with this game without spending a ridiculous amount of money, because if you choose to not pay there's really not that much "game" left. 

EA, do you really want to go on like this? Do you really want to win "America's Worst Company" again? 

noandno
noandno

This game is just..... terrible

jigar7
jigar7

EA has become a joke! Said it a number of times before... EA has f**ked up way way WAY too many games! Not getting any of your 'free to play' crap... and pirating every game involving "micro" transactions... (wonder who the f**k named it as micro... lol)

TERMINATOR-SSD
TERMINATOR-SSD

SUPPORT the game, War for the Overworld, for a REAL Dungeon Keeper successor. Not this crappy EA fail

TenraiSenshi
TenraiSenshi

I tried it and was sorely disappointed. It truly is far removed from the original dungeon keeper experience and unless you pay lots of money, it takes ages to build or do anything in that game. 1 day to dig through one block of earth? Peh! Ridiculous doesn't even describe it.

Suffice to say, it didn't take me long to delete the game and begin the process of purging the memory of it from my thoughts.

Lhomity
Lhomity

*shrug*


If you don't want to play it, don't play it. There are a lot of other games on the market, that you can play. You don't need to waste your time crying over one particular game that doesn't suit you.


Some people look at this, and feel compelled to whine and moan all day long. I look at this game and think "I'll go play something else."


What's your problem?

meatz666
meatz666

Playing this game without paying is like cleaning a car with cotton buds... So fun...

rawkstar007
rawkstar007

He said so much without saying anything at all. That man should be a politician. 

Mickeyminime
Mickeyminime

I've seen videos of this game and EA have screwed it up big time, anyone can make a Dungeon Keeper game like the original, but EA and those greedy criminals seem to think its normal to charge people $70 for 14.000 gems. Also, why should it take 24 real time hours to take down a wall or make a room when in the origianl game, it takes 5 seconds. When i heard about this game, i was like, wow, i hope it will be as good as the original, but when i saw it, the videos, reviews and images, i was shocked to see how bad games have become when it comes to charging millions from the gamer

Zloth2
Zloth2

"...you can actually get every piece of content in the game without paying a penny."  Sure - possibly even before your phone wears out - if it's a really good phone.  And, as an added bonus, you'll get to see every trick modern psychology has been able to devise to get you to pay out cash.  Tricks that tend to work extremely well on the more susceptible folks in society to the point where they rack up enough charges to pay for the freeloaders.

nbf4548
nbf4548

The whole point of a video game is to be immersed in a well-crafted fictional world.  With most free-to-play, as a player, you're constantly being pulled out of the immersion to have to think about money, and if you're getting a good deal as a consumer.  I don't understand how they don't get that.


Free-to-play and the remake of a classic franchise are two separate issues.  

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

EA and microtransactions together? What can possibly go wrong!?!?!


Also, why do I get the feeling there was an "*" after "Skalski pointed out that the game was not designed as a "pay-to-win" game, and said you can actually get every piece of content in the game without paying a penny."

hystavito
hystavito

Of this large group of people playing and enjoying the game, how many are old fans of the franchise?


So often when a game goes this route, it's not the game itself that angers the fans, it's the fact that it usually hurts or completely destroys the chance of a sequel that could be the game the fans wanted.  This is especially the case here because it's a mobile platform.  Sure the control scheme might actually work OK for a Dungeon Keeper game, but the overall style of the game and intended audience is totally different.  They said it best themselves:

"Skalski emphasized that Dungeon Keeper was designed to be played while you're on the train or in the car, multiple times per day with play sessions not lasting more than a few minutes."

WereCatf
WereCatf

"have to do with its free-to-play practices, described as "aggressive" by some" -- by all accounts it *IS* too aggressive on the whole pay-for-stuff-to-happen scheme. Not surprising, coming from EA, the Masters of Greed, but still.

PinchySkree
PinchySkree

Remove the rating system and use only written reviews, let's see the cattle have the brain power for that.


Also ban rewards for ratings.

"Skalski emphasized that Dungeon Keeper was designed to be played while you're on the train or in the car, multiple times per day with play sessions not lasting more than a few minutes."

So nothing like the previous games?

jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

@warriors30  EA as far as I know has not made any game for more then a decade, they simply have published games on a massive scale with agressive tactics. Tons of developers want to have EA publisher their games because they can move product. But also for the last ten years they have aggressively stuck their hands in the soup pot feeling executives can make better games from an accountants desk. 


EA sports, Bioware, most all Sims, and PC titles are developer who just use EA to publish. 

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@Lhomity Garbage like this is a disgrace to gaming.  Its existence is actually destroying gaming, and it makes the world a worse place than before.

001011000101101
001011000101101

@Lhomity  Yea how dare speak up against shitty business practices. Consumers should just spread their legs and enjoy whatever the businesses decide to squeeze up there

cirugo
cirugo

@Lhomity yeah as big publishers continue to swallow up IPs and churn out this kind of crap in their place...

good luck with that!

noandno
noandno

@Heshertonfist  No. Stop getting any EA games whether it's free to play or not!

In case for pirating... well....

Kisalon
Kisalon

@Mickeyminime Well should we then point to the "Dungeon Keeper Wannabie" games? like Dungeons and The War for Overworld which also screwed up even though they wanted to make a Dungeon Keeper game... Clearly no one knows how to make it as good as Bullfrog did.

cirugo
cirugo

@nbf4548

the problem is that you assume they actually care about immersion or a good game.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@hystavito When Bullfrog was run into the goddamn ground by EA was when I gave up all chance of a sequel.  This is like EA using the corpse in a macabre puppet show.  It's a mockery to everything I once cared about.

Mickeyminime
Mickeyminime

@hystavito those who rated the game very good are most likely EA workers, if you have seen video footage of the game like i have, then you would agree with me that this game is broken. I played the origianl, i loved it, its a classic, but this game, although i have never played it, i've seen it. The old game takes 5 seconds to take down a wall or to make a 5x5 room, but the mobile verson takes 24hours just to take down a wall. The guy who made this game has never ever played the original game, if he did, it would not be like this at all.

eelektrik
eelektrik

@PinchySkree  Also nothing like a game at all. Putting in means of restricting players to such limited options that the game is designed to be played for a few minutes at a time unless you pay is more of a scam than a game. This is the antithesis of game development and I feel sorry for all the developers that had to work on it and hate every day at their job doing so, likely in fear of being fired if they said anything bad about the game they know is bad. This has publisher demands written all over it.

nl_skipper
nl_skipper

@PinchySkree  How does that even work though?!  Everything in the game requires a huge amount of time if it's actually free to play... nothing can be achieved in minutes!  NOTHING!!!

Lhomity
Lhomity

@Thanatos2k @Lhomity So go do things that make the world a better place. Because bitching at other people for not doing what you want them to do is not making the world a better place. 


Think of all the good games that aren't being bought and played right now because too many people are busy whining about the bad games they don't want to play.

Lhomity
Lhomity

@001011000101101 @Lhomity This is only "shitty" because it doesn't suit you. It's only shitty because it doesn't do what you want it to. There are a lot of people who play games like these, and contrary to what you're probably thinking right now, they aren't a bunch of morons because they play what they choose to play and enjoy.


If this practice is so shitty, as you say it is, then sit back and watch it fail. It if does, then you can have your little song and dance. If it doesn't, then you need to start accepting that other people have different tastes and expectations than you do.

Or just do what I do and play something else. It's so much more productive than whining at companies like EA for doing pretty much what they're supposed to be doing: creating and delivering products and services to generate large amounts of money for their workforce and their shareholders. EA is not run by a flock of hellish gargoyles, cast from some fiery pit by old Lucy himself.

PinchySkree
PinchySkree

@nl_skipper @PinchySkreeIt like any game made by Kixeye, pay to not wait garbage. Even instantly buying the time to 0 still means you have to keep doing it.

Lhomity
Lhomity

@JachAnen @Lhomity I want governments and militant groups to stop fighting wars for oil, land, wealth, and religious reasons,  but they are not going to stop because I tell them to. They want to fight over oil and land and stuff, then they can. It's what they like/love. Sure, let chaos and madness reign.

JachAnen
JachAnen

@Lhomity "Because bitching at other people for not doing what you want them to do is not making the world a better place." imo, thats what YOU are doing. You want people to stop complaining about bad entries in game series they like/love, but they are not going to stop just because you are asking/telling them to. Meanwhile there are games you could be playing.

Dunan
Dunan

@Lhomity @Thanatos2k"Think of all the good games that aren't being bought and played right now because too many people are busy whining about the bad games they don't want to play."

The irony.

AwkwardTurtle42
AwkwardTurtle42

@Lhomity @001011000101101What if people don't want to see what used to be their favourite series fail? How can it improve if there is no criticism? I don't want to see this happen to games like Mass Effect, Dragon Age and others in the future.

killjoi
killjoi

@Lhomity @001011000101101  nnnnnnno it's shitty because it's less about good game design and more about making money, in this case off a beloved property.  Also, you're whining about people whining, that's so meta.

warriorbat
warriorbat

@Lhomity @JachAnenyeah, their product, their money and lots of which went to marketing to advertise something that turns up to be false. Is that good? Is that normal? Is that what you want? I hope you won't say that it's wrong to raise your voice against that kind of a behavior. And I'm not talking to this game alone, cause EA has shown us that it's capable of delivering totally unplayable game and pretending that it's OK (BF4). So if we don't raise our voice now, and tell EA that we do not like to be treated like idiots, that we don't like to be lied. Look at this EA response... Dungeon Keeper is not Pay-to-win... sure it's not, but if you don't want to die of old age, before you can do anything in the game guess what, you need to pay! And if I play the game I have every single right to be angry about that! I enjoy playing games and I don't find them "just games" I find them also as business. And if someone is supporting their sport team, they also get angry if they lose, so why shouldn't I be angry if the game I like is being treated like a piece of junk?

Lhomity
Lhomity

@JachAnen @Lhomity I care about Mass Effect, Plants Vs Zombies, American McGee's Alice, Mirror's Edge, and Bejeweled. And I look forward to each installment from any of those franchises. And if EA are indeed reviving Desert Strike, like I heard recently, then that too.

The ending to Mass Effect 3 was disappointing, but it wasn't a violation of my rights, or some kind of assault to gamers, like some nutters made it out to be. 

I didn't like the ending to the Matrix trilogy, and I can write reviews and comment on what I didn't like about the ending, or about that overlong scene with the architect in Reloaded - but I'm not going to mail cupcakes to the Wachowski brothers and create petitions demanding they change their creative vision and have their lives and their work dictated by an angry and fickle mob.


If Mirror's Edge 2 turns out to be disappointing, my life isn't over. I haven't been violated. I'll probably criticize it online and hope the devs take my feedback on board (knowing that my feedback is not more important than anyone else's, and that they aren't a bunch of greedy so-and-so's if they don't take my precious advice on board). 

But at the end of the day, it's their baby. It's their work. If I don't enjoy Mirror's Edge 2, I probably just won't buy and play Mirror's Edge 3 (hypothetically speaking), and I'll buy and play something else instead - unless the 3rd one looks like an improvement and is more appealing to me.


Constructive criticism is a good thing. It's healthy. Whining, making demands, and throwing accusations of greed and corruption at everything we don't like, isn't. 

Games are art. Video game design and development are forms of expression. They are also expensive to produce. Hence why we have large publishers investing large amounts of money to produce some of them; who in turn, need to make large amounts of money. Rinse. Repeat.


The problem I have is in the sense of entitlement that some people choose to carry around, foolishly believing that they have a right, not to offer input but rather, to dictate terms to developers. I have a problem with gamers who do it, and I have a problem with publishers who do it. If anything, the latter is not the worst of the two, because most of the time, it's their product, their money.

JachAnen
JachAnen

@Lhomity "EA is not run by a flock of hellish gargoyles, cast from some fiery pit by old Lucy himself." Except from that part, I agree with you :)
But sadly, I care about some series of games that a have seen tortured or slaughtered by EA (imo). And if you felt just a little bit for some game, you would like to see any sequel become better than the predecessor or at least have a good story that fits well with what ever universe it is set in.

And if you feel a little bit for some game, you would also whine and moan. You might not do it over the internet, but imo you have the right to, so the developer can see your and others unhappiness, which they might try to make up for and might succeed in that attempt.

So therefore it's a good idea to show your unhappiness with a game in review comments, developer forums or discussions like these. As long as you're not too angry about it. Be clean in language and give it time so you are sure what you are unhappy about and can support it.

These people that whine also have a different taste than you, and everyone has the right to "whine" (or rather complain) about these kind of products, especially since there are developers that listen to criticism. If you don't like reading it, scroll away or go away, you don't have to comment on it, that won't stop it anyway.

PinchySkree
PinchySkree

@nl_skipper @PinchySkreeThe latest one before this was Anno Online, it's basically the contents of Anno 1404 stripped out and put together into a browser based pay to not wait scam,


The owners of the original Anno 1404 blocked the purchase of it on Steam so that anyone wanting a game of the same style would look up the scam they made using it's IP.

nl_skipper
nl_skipper

@PinchySkree @nl_skipper  How has this even become a thing though..?  Like who the heck is playing this stuff, and actually paying for it?  And on mobile of all things.. why would you ever give a game the time of day if it has timers that actually prevent you from playing..!?  Then you can just pay to remove them... like anyone who falls for this nonsense *almost* deserves to get ripped off, except for the fact their making it so much worse for the rest of us  :(