Video game publisher Electronic Arts Inc. has made a major pivot on the next game in the popular Dragon Age series, allowing the developers to remove all planned multiplayer components from the game, according to people familiar with the matter.
Dragon Age is a series of fantasy games from the EA-owned developer BioWare. The next Dragon Age, which doesn’t yet have an official title or release date, had previously been designed with a heavy multiplayer component
The diverging trajectories of two recent games changed the minds of Wilson and other executives at EA, according to the people. One was Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, a single-player game released in November 2019 that won critical acclaim and outperformed EA’s sales expectations, reaching more than 10 million players in its first four months. The second was BioWare’s Anthem, a multiplayer game that was widely panned when it launched. The games showed that single-player games could still be lucrative and that BioWare, traditionally known for its single-player, role-playing games, might be better off returning to its roots. A spokesman for EA declined to comment.
The next Dragon Age first entered development in 2015. But in the fall of 2017, EA and BioWare rebooted the game to push for long-term monetization. The change led to the departure of creative director Mike Laidlaw and caused some employees to dismiss the game as “Anthem with dragons.”
During development, some members of BioWare’s leadership team fought to pivot the next Dragon Age back to a single-player-only game, according to the people familiar with the discussions.