It's no secret that Mass Effect: Andromeda failed to satisfy the series' fanbase, but was it that bad? Mark Darrah, executive producer of Anthem and Dragon Age at BioWare, shared some thoughts on Twitter yesterday, suggesting that part of Andromeda's reputation can be attributed to the high quality of games released in the same period last year.
Wondering whether Andromeda got "a fair shake", Darrah admitted first that "[it's] a deeply flawed game. Especially at launch."
"But the review environment was crowded," he added. "Nier, Nioh, Horizon, and Zelda all launched in MEA's window. Each does something better than MEA (again, a flawed game). As a result, even systems that are pretty decent get scrutinized against superiorly implemented ones."
Still, he admits that while launching into a less busy release period would not "turn 72% into 90", it might very well have turned "72 into 77/78". While this score difference may seem insignificant, it's enough to affect sales, though Darrah admits that word of mouth "matters so much these days".
Interestingly, Darrah claims that Dragon Age: Inquisition benefitted by how otherwise quiet 2014 was for new blockbuster games. It's true that things might have panned out differently for the game, had The Witcher 3 not been delayed into 2015.
And while there's plenty who don't like Andromeda, it's far from a universally reviled title: our Chris gave the game 80 when he reviewed it early last year.