Mass Effect: Andromeda was something of a disaster at launch, thanks mostly to a veritable cornucopia of bugs and hilariously terrible facial animations. Obviously, it wasn’t as successful as publisher EA and developer BioWare would have liked, eventually leading to Motive Studios swallowing up BioWare Montreal, but BioWare producer Mark Darrah doesn’t think it’s all the game’s fault that it was so poorly received.
Darrah, who’s currently executive producer on Anthem, recently unleashed a Twitter thread supporting a claim that Mass Effect: Andromeda‘s review scores suffered from its crowded release date.
Andromeda launched in the end of March 2017, right around when Nier: Automata, Nioh, Horizon: Zero Dawn, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild all launched. Needless to say, that’s some stiff competition, considering those are four of 2017’s best games.
According to Darrah, it’s possible that these games contributed to Andromeda‘s low Metacritic scores because, well, they did everything that Andromeda did but much, much better. “As a result, even systems that are pretty decent get scrutinized against superiorly implemented ones,” Darrah wrote.
Darrah admits up top that Andromeda is a “deeply flawed game” and that it “got lapped by genuinely better games” but maintains that “the review environment was crowded” and that lower scores by comparison might have affected sales.
“Does launching in a different window turn 72 percent into 90? Certainly not,” Darrah wrote, but “72 into 77 or 78? Maybe.”
Likewise, Darrah stated that Dragon Age: Inquisition, another game that he was executive producer on, “benefited by how tough a year 2014 turned out to be for games.”
Unfortunately, Andromeda‘s lackluster critical and commercial performance led to BioWare abandoning single-player DLC to focus on microtransaction-friendly multiplayer expansions. However, Mass Effect: Andromeda‘s story did live continue, just in paperback form, and BioWare claims to have learned its lessons when it comes to expanding the narrative with Anthem. We’ll find out when Anthem launches for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on February 22nd, 2019.