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Author Topic: EA To Purchase Bioware/Pandemic!  (Read 5321 times)
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Andrew Mallon
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« on: October 11, 2007, 08:23:42 PM »

READ IT AND WEEP!

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EA To Acquire BioWare Corp. and Pandemic Studios

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Electronic Arts Inc. today announced an agreement with Elevation Partners to acquire VG Holding Corp. -- the owner of both BioWare Corp. and Pandemic Studios. This acquisition gives EA a strong competitive position in key genres in interactive entertainment: action, adventure and role-playing games. The two studios have been recognized for creating some of the highest-quality games in the industry.

BioWare Corp. and Pandemic Studios have ten franchises under development, including six wholly owned games. BioWare Corp. is currently developing the highly anticipated Mass Effect, which will be published by Microsoft in November, and is in the early development stages of a massively multiplayer online game. Pandemic Studios is redefining open-world games with its upcoming Mercenaries 2: World in Flames(TM) and Saboteur(TM), in addition to several unannounced projects.

Pandemic Studios and BioWare Corp. employ roughly 800 people across four studios located in Edmonton, Canada; Los Angeles; Austin; and Brisbane, Australia.

"These are two of the most respected studios in the industry and I'm glad to be working with them again. They'll make a strong contribution to our strategic growth initiatives on quality, online gaming and developing new intellectual properties," said John Riccitiello, EA's Chief Executive Officer. "We also expect this will drive long-term value for our shareholders."

Pandemic Studios is led by Andrew Goldman, Josh Resnick and Greg Borrud. BioWare Corp. is jointly led by Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka. These teams will join the EA(TM) Games Label run by Frank Gibeau, President of EA Games.

"Pandemic Studios remains focused on attracting the best talent and creating blockbuster action games," said Josh Resnick, President and Co-founder of Pandemic Studios. "As a worldwide publishing leader, EA represents the ideal partner to bring our titles to market as global entertainment events."

"We are truly excited by John Riccitiello's new vision for EA," said Ray Muzyka, Co-founder and CEO of BioWare Corp. "This vision is consistent with BioWare's focus on crafting the highest quality story-driven games in the world. It will enable us to further the careers of the passionate, creative and hard working teams at BioWare Edmonton and BioWare Austin."

EA will pay up to $620 million in cash to the stockholders of VG Holding Corp. and will issue up to an additional $155 million in equity to certain employees of VG Holding Corp., which will be subject to time-based or performance-based vesting criteria. EA will also assume outstanding VG Holding Corp. stock options. In addition, EA has agreed to lend VG Holding Corp. up to $35 million through the closing of the acquisition.

Transaction and Financial Information

* The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.
* The transaction is expected to close in January 2008.
* On a GAAP basis, the acquisition is expected to be dilutive to EA's fiscal 2008 results by approximately $0.30 to $0.40 due to non-recurring acquisition-related charges, stock-based compensation and amortization of intangible assets. This amount is a preliminary estimate based on currently-available information and is subject to change.
* On a non-GAAP basis, the acquisition is expected to be dilutive to EA's fiscal 2008 fourth quarter results by approximately $0.05. This amount is a preliminary estimate based on currently-available information and is subject to change.
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Kevin Grey
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« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2007, 08:32:06 PM »

I don't hate EA like some do but I can't say that this  news fills me with warm fuzzies. 

Does anyone know who owns the Mass Effect IP?  I'm guessing Bioware. 
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kathode
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« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2007, 08:36:30 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on October 11, 2007, 08:32:06 PM

Does anyone know who owns the Mass Effect IP?  I'm guessing Bioware. 

Yup, although when you get bought out, what's mine is yours and what's yours is mine, so it's an official EA property now.  I can't imagine they won't let Bioware continue to be pretty independent though.

That said, holy hell.  That is a massive deal. 

Quote
"We are truly excited by John Riccitiello's new vision for EA," said Ray Muzyka, Co-founder and CEO of BioWare Corp. "This vision is consistent with BioWare's focus on crafting the highest quality story-driven games in the world. It will enable us to further the careers of the passionate, creative and hard working teams at BioWare Edmonton and BioWare Austin."

"Brave words. I've heard them before, from thousands of species across thousands of worlds, since long before you were created. But, now they are all Borg."
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Kevin Grey
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« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2007, 08:39:27 PM »

I wonder if EA will be willing to keep the ME franchise 360 exclusive.  I also think the odds of Dragon Age ever seeing the light of day just took a huge hit- at least in it's current incarnation.  I think a simultaneous release on consoles is now almost a certainty. 
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« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2007, 08:41:16 PM »

This stinks.  Nothing good ever came from being purchased by EA, only heartbreak and sorrow.
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Pyperkub
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« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2007, 08:47:11 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on October 11, 2007, 08:39:27 PM

I wonder if EA will be willing to keep the ME franchise 360 exclusive.  I also think the odds of Dragon Age ever seeing the light of day just took a huge hit- at least in it's current incarnation.  I think a simultaneous release on consoles is now almost a certainty. 

It could be written into a contract somewhere, in which case EA might not have a choice on the 3 installments of ME, but could do other ME games in the universe kind of thing.  I'd be very surprised if MS had a contract with Bioware that could be abrograted if Bioware were bought.
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« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2007, 08:53:13 PM »

Horseshit!
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Kevin Grey
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« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2007, 08:53:32 PM »

Quote from: Pyperkub on October 11, 2007, 08:47:11 PM

Quote from: Kevin Grey on October 11, 2007, 08:39:27 PM

I wonder if EA will be willing to keep the ME franchise 360 exclusive.  I also think the odds of Dragon Age ever seeing the light of day just took a huge hit- at least in it's current incarnation.  I think a simultaneous release on consoles is now almost a certainty. 

It could be written into a contract somewhere, in which case EA might not have a choice on the 3 installments of ME, but could do other ME games in the universe kind of thing.  I'd be very surprised if MS had a contract with Bioware that could be abrograted if Bioware were bought.

The flip side is does their contract force Bioware to make ME sequels?  Considering they own the IP I doubt it.

So if you're EA and you own Bioware but MS is contracted to publish any ME sequels if they are made, do you let one of your developers devote a huge chunk of their resources for the next half decade working on a game published by a rival, or do you just not let them do the sequels in the first place? 
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« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2007, 08:55:58 PM »

Quote from: kathode on October 11, 2007, 08:36:30 PM

Quote
"We are truly excited by John Riccitiello's new vision for EA," said Ray Muzyka, Co-founder and CEO of BioWare Corp. "This vision is consistent with BioWare's focus on crafting the highest quality story-driven games in the world. It will enable us to further the careers of the passionate, creative and hard working teams at BioWare Edmonton and BioWare Austin."
"Brave words. I've heard them before, from thousands of species across thousands of worlds, since long before you were created. But, now they are all Borg."

My thoughts exactly.  crybaby crybaby crybaby

First Origin, then Bullfrog, and Westwood, and now Bioware? All the greats are vanishing off the face of the planet. All absorbed into the 'collective' that is EA, then becoming no more.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2007, 09:04:35 PM by Destructor » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2007, 09:01:05 PM »

The strong eat the weak.

gellar
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Doopri
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« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2007, 09:02:51 PM »

frown
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« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2007, 09:02:52 PM »

And since I'm in a Star Trek mood thanks to kathode back there, I give you this:



I mean...was Bioware seriously in need of a cash injection or something? WTF were they thinking?
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« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2007, 09:03:04 PM »

I don't worship at the throne of Bioware as much as some do (though I have certainly enjoyed a lot of their games) but this is terrible news. Nothing at all good can come of this for gamers.
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Doopri
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« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2007, 09:04:44 PM »

Quote
The strong eat the weak

... no - the rich eat everything, because theyre greedy, bloated, corrupt and decadent
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Jumangi
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« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2007, 09:05:39 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on October 11, 2007, 08:53:32 PM

Quote from: Pyperkub on October 11, 2007, 08:47:11 PM

Quote from: Kevin Grey on October 11, 2007, 08:39:27 PM

I wonder if EA will be willing to keep the ME franchise 360 exclusive.  I also think the odds of Dragon Age ever seeing the light of day just took a huge hit- at least in it's current incarnation.  I think a simultaneous release on consoles is now almost a certainty. 

It could be written into a contract somewhere, in which case EA might not have a choice on the 3 installments of ME, but could do other ME games in the universe kind of thing.  I'd be very surprised if MS had a contract with Bioware that could be abrograted if Bioware were bought.

The flip side is does their contract force Bioware to make ME sequels?  Considering they own the IP I doubt it. 

They could have a deal like Microsoft does with Epic for Gear of War. Epic owns the IP but MS had exclusive publish rights for the game and does for one sequel.
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« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2007, 09:07:48 PM »

Quote from: Destructor on October 11, 2007, 09:02:52 PM

I mean...was Bioware seriously in need of a cash injection or something? WTF were they thinking?

It's actually quite slimy how this deal goes down:

John Riccitiello leaves EA to form Elevation Partners
Elevation Partners buys Bioware Pandemic
Riccitiello rejoins EA
EA buys Bioware Pandemic from Elevation Partners

Quote
The deal was more complicated than others for EA to negotiate. In April, one of the founding partners of Elevation, John Riccitiello, became the new CEO of EA. While at Elevation, Mr. Riccitiello oversaw the company's acquisition of Bioware and Pandemic for undisclosed terms and merger of the two entities into a new holding company, VG Holdings, into which Elevation invested more than $300 million.

To avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, EA executives said Mr. Riccitiello recused himself from negotiating financial terms of EA's acquisition of VG Holdings and abstained from the EA board's vote on the deal, though they said Mr. Riccitiello endorsed the deal. Mr. Riccitiello could also personally benefit from the deal depending on how Elevation's fund performs over time, said Warren Jenson, EA's chief financial officer.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119213265032356342.html?mod=yahoo_hs&ru=yahoo
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« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2007, 09:09:01 PM »


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« Reply #17 on: October 11, 2007, 09:11:31 PM »

Quote from: Doopri on October 11, 2007, 09:04:44 PM

Quote
The strong eat the weak

... no - the rich eat everything, because theyre greedy, bloated, corrupt and decadent

Or because they can.

gellar
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« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2007, 09:12:57 PM »

Quote from: Destructor on October 11, 2007, 09:02:52 PM

I mean...was Bioware seriously in need of a cash injection or something? WTF were they thinking?

everybody likes more money, don't you know that?
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« Reply #19 on: October 11, 2007, 09:19:12 PM »

Quote from: Andrew Mallon on October 11, 2007, 09:07:48 PM

It's actually quite slimy how this deal goes down:

John Riccitiello leaves EA to form Elevation Partners
Elevation Partners buys Bioware Pandemic
Riccitiello rejoins EA
EA buys Bioware Pandemic from Elevation Partners

Holy crap.



I think that fits nicely.

EDIT: And Gamespot puts it a bit better about the up the ass buyout:

Quote
VG Holding Corp. was formed in late 2005 when esteemed Canadian role-playing game studio BioWare formed the aforementioned "superdeveloper" with Californian shop Pandemic Studios. The union was funded by Elevation Partners, a venture capital firm with rock star Bono on its board, and brokered by then-Elevation board member John Riccitiello, who became BioWare/Pandemic's CEO.

At the time, the deal was seen as a break from the traditional developer-publisher relationship, which sees the former beholden to the latter for funding. However, when Riccitiello returned to his old job as EA CEO, many wondered if the move might presage a takeover bid of BioWare/Pandemic. These suspicions were further raised when EA agree to distribute the Pandemic shooter Mercenaries 2: World in Flames under its EA Partners program.

When the BioWare/Pandemic deal was announced, Elevation made much of the fact the union represented a "combined investment" of more than $300 million, including future funding. Today, the company got a massive return on said investment, with EA paying $620 million in cash to the stockholders of VG Holding Corp. In addition, the publisher will issue an additional $155 million in equity to unidentified VG Holding employees, and will lend VG Holding up to $35 million to fund the transition.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2007, 09:25:37 PM by Destructor » Logged

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« Reply #20 on: October 11, 2007, 09:28:22 PM »

Ruh-roh.
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« Reply #21 on: October 11, 2007, 09:29:27 PM »

i have nothing to say......i will be in my dark corner,weeping about this...this Panda will tell all that i am thinking


EDIT:now that Mass effect is now EA property,does that mean mass effect 2 and 3 will be exaclty the same as the first

mass effect 2008...followed by mass effect 2009 icon_biggrin.....i'm laughing on the outside...but crying on the inside crybaby
« Last Edit: October 11, 2007, 09:33:18 PM by metallicorphan » Logged

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Kevin Grey
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« Reply #22 on: October 11, 2007, 09:35:51 PM »

Quote from: Jumangi on October 11, 2007, 09:05:39 PM

They could have a deal like Microsoft does with Epic for Gear of War. Epic owns the IP but MS had exclusive publish rights for the game and does for one sequel.

Right but Epic doesn't publish their own games.  Would EA let Bioware spend 2-3 years on something that MS would publish?
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« Reply #23 on: October 11, 2007, 09:36:39 PM »

So, anyone know if Mass Effect will be a satisfying game on its own or if it is truly just setting up additional sequels in the planned trilogy? If it has a satisfying ending I'll still buy it, but if the game is mainly a setup for more sequels, I'll seriously consider passing on it. I doubt any any additional titles in the franchise will be given adequate development time and will be disappointing compared to the first one.
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« Reply #24 on: October 11, 2007, 09:43:12 PM »

Well since everyone is doing real commentary I will just say that I think this sucks fucking ass shit. Bioware was like a last bastion of some kind of independence. The little developer that could, that did make some of my favorite games ever, anywhere. I cannot imagine that the EA umbrella is going to help them, nor do I think taking away their independence to any degree could be anything but bad. I am actually a bit bummed.
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« Reply #25 on: October 11, 2007, 09:45:58 PM »

Quote from: Calvin on October 11, 2007, 09:43:12 PM

Bioware was like a last bastion of some kind of independence.

Hey, screw you buddy!  icon_wink
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« Reply #26 on: October 11, 2007, 09:46:04 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on October 11, 2007, 09:35:51 PM

Quote from: Jumangi on October 11, 2007, 09:05:39 PM

They could have a deal like Microsoft does with Epic for Gear of War. Epic owns the IP but MS had exclusive publish rights for the game and does for one sequel.

Right but Epic doesn't publish their own games.  Would EA let Bioware spend 2-3 years on something that MS would publish?
I think our best hope here in terms of sequels is a deal, plain and simple. I have no idea what terms are in the MS/Bioware agreements as they relate to Mass Effect, but I would think some sort of co-publishing, or "presented by" or profit sharing would be the only way to make this work.
 
It would be a shame if it didn't though, since Bioware always said this was a planned trilogy.
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« Reply #27 on: October 11, 2007, 09:46:43 PM »

Quote from: kathode on October 11, 2007, 09:45:58 PM

Quote from: Calvin on October 11, 2007, 09:43:12 PM

Bioware was like a last bastion of some kind of independence.

Hey, screw you buddy!  icon_wink

Oh shush, you don't count cause you are rolling in the Oblivion money biggrin
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« Reply #28 on: October 11, 2007, 09:56:45 PM »

Hmm, something someone just pointed out that might be considered good by some folks is that this opens the door for a Bioware-developed Ultima game, since EA owns the rights.  I'd be down for that!  I know a single-player Ultima game was started at another company a few years ago (no, not here) but got canned.  Could be interesting if they decide to revive it.  Of course I think Bioware is pretty full on projects between the ME trilogy, Dragon Age, and the, ugh, Sonic DS game.  Could we see Dragon Age repositioned as an Ultima title?  I doubt it, but wouldn't be totally surprised.
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« Reply #29 on: October 11, 2007, 10:00:14 PM »

Well, I guess Bioware will eventually be beaten down into an internal EA developer that does RPG movie licenses.

Thank God we still have Bethesda.
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« Reply #30 on: October 11, 2007, 10:12:54 PM »

Dragon Age was the pc game I was waiting for next after Hellgate: London, and if EA fucks up what Bioware's been working on for Dragon Age, I'm going to be mighty pissed.

This deal is a bad thingtm
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« Reply #31 on: October 11, 2007, 10:14:29 PM »

Quote from: ATB on October 11, 2007, 09:09:01 PM




+1
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« Reply #32 on: October 11, 2007, 10:30:58 PM »

Quote from: Dante Rising on October 11, 2007, 10:00:14 PM

Well, I guess Bioware will eventually be beaten down into an internal EA developer that does RPG movie licenses.

Thank God we still have Bethesda.

Even if they only put out a game every 2 to 3 years. biggrin

Thankfully, that game is worth a few hundred hours of gameplay every time.
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« Reply #33 on: October 11, 2007, 10:33:15 PM »

This was Peter Moore's doing  ninja

Not sure what to think about this. I mean, it's not like once EA buys out an independent developer their games get crappy. The Burnout games are still excellent, same with the Command & Conquer games.
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« Reply #34 on: October 11, 2007, 10:45:50 PM »

Quote from: Ridah on October 11, 2007, 10:33:15 PM

This was Peter Moore's doing  ninja

Not sure what to think about this. I mean, it's not like once EA buys out an independent developer their games get crappy. The Burnout games are still excellent, same with the Command & Conquer games.

Huh? EA drove the Command & Conquer franchise into the freakin ground. EA has made it their company mission to put a stake through the heart of the studios they buy. Origin, Dreamworks, Bullfrog, Westwood, Mythic, Maxis, DICE. Take a franchise, churn out endless, low-quality sequels and spinoffs, rinse, repeat.

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« Reply #35 on: October 11, 2007, 10:49:33 PM »

Quote from: Andrew Mallon on October 11, 2007, 10:45:50 PM

Quote from: Ridah on October 11, 2007, 10:33:15 PM

This was Peter Moore's doing  ninja

Not sure what to think about this. I mean, it's not like once EA buys out an independent developer their games get crappy. The Burnout games are still excellent, same with the Command & Conquer games.
Huh? EA drove the Command & Conquer franchise into the freakin ground. EA has made it their company mission to put a stake through the heart of the studios they buy. Origin, Dreamworks, Bullfrog, Westwood, Mythic, Maxis, DICE. Take a franchise, churn out endless, low-quality sequels and spinoffs, rinse, repeat.

Heck - I thought that one of the head devs or somebody basically apologized for how EA went about C&C 3. I'm trying to remember what exactly went down with that...

And Mythic hasn't gone into the crapper. Yet.
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« Reply #36 on: October 11, 2007, 10:57:12 PM »

Quote from: kathode on October 11, 2007, 09:45:58 PM

Quote from: Calvin on October 11, 2007, 09:43:12 PM

Bioware was like a last bastion of some kind of independence.

Hey, screw you buddy!  icon_wink

As if you guys aren't next or something.  icon_frown
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« Reply #37 on: October 11, 2007, 11:20:49 PM »

Quote from: gellar on October 11, 2007, 09:11:31 PM

Quote from: Doopri on October 11, 2007, 09:04:44 PM

Quote
The strong eat the weak

... no - the rich eat everything, because theyre greedy, bloated, corrupt and decadent

Or because they can.

gellar

and that's why I wouldn't stop to piss on a rich person to put them out if they were on fire.

unless they were going to smell the place up.

then I'd put them out, take them outside and set them back on fire.

after going through their pockets of course.

I mean you have to have some principles.
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« Reply #38 on: October 11, 2007, 11:28:24 PM »

it also means the pc version of mercs 2 is likely dead.  ea only seems to bring sports games to the pc any more. 

hooray for corporate ownership.  in a year, the honeymoon will be over when ea learns it can take anything it wants from it's new acquisition.  bioware will get pressed to make a sims rpg and endless sims rpg expansion packs.  pandemic will just cease to be someday.
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« Reply #39 on: October 11, 2007, 11:43:14 PM »

Quote from: Andrew Mallon on October 11, 2007, 10:45:50 PM

Quote from: Ridah on October 11, 2007, 10:33:15 PM

This was Peter Moore's doing  ninja

Not sure what to think about this. I mean, it's not like once EA buys out an independent developer their games get crappy. The Burnout games are still excellent, same with the Command & Conquer games.

Huh? EA drove the Command & Conquer franchise into the freakin ground. EA has made it their company mission to put a stake through the heart of the studios they buy. Origin, Dreamworks, Bullfrog, Westwood, Mythic, Maxis, DICE. Take a franchise, churn out endless, low-quality sequels and spinoffs, rinse, repeat.


How did they drive it into the ground? The games have been good, especially the last C&C game that came out.
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