Majestic to End

EA's ambitious Majestic game, which embroiled players in a mystery that involved real-world interactions with instant messages, email, faxes, and more, will be shut down sometime in the middle of next year, but not before costing the company between five and seven million dollars. This revelation is found in Can PC gamers handle innovation on CNN Money, a column that examines the idea that while PC gamer's demand innovation they don't necessarily reward it. The article quotes an unrepentant Jeff Brown, vice president of corporate communications for EA, as saying: "Maybe the consumer didn't get it, but in five years, everyone's going to be making games based on this engine. I'm not apologizing for anything!"
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Re: writing mr. morris
Dec 24, 2001, 18:23
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Re: writing mr. morris Dec 24, 2001, 18:23
Dec 24, 2001, 18:23
 
My email to him:

Chris,

Majestic didn't fail because it was "innovative". It failed because it sucked, period.

Majestic was panned by many online and magazine reviews of the product.

It just seems like you are too accepting of Electronic Arts' explaination of why it failed. The VP who you interviewed is blaming the market (or PC gamers in general) because he's trying to cover up the fact that the game that he funded (Majestic) was an extremely poor game. This is typical of Electronic Arts executives: They always blame the market or the gamers because of the fact they are extremely poor managers who shove out extremely poor games.

Most of Electronic Art's PC games are shovelware titles, such as Harry Potter. Yeah, it sold well, but only because of parents buying the games for their kids, who are not exactly finicky about the quality of their games. Controlling Harry Potter and using magic spells against monsters equal a good game to them. Try to do that with an adult gamer, and they'll call it shovelware movie tie-in, because it is. The Sims are the same way. It's a crap game, but people buy it because they are the type of people who will buy crap in a box because the packaging is pretty.

Also, Electronic Arts has a history of screwing over developers that they contract with. Rogue Entertainment made a game called "American McGee's Alice". The game got good reviews, and the art design was top rate, and it even sold extremely well. The developer was working on the PS2 port when the port got canned (because of the PS2 shortage). They lied to Rogue about being partners in the furthering of the Alice franchise, and they didn't even give them the job to port the game over to the XBOX or the Gamecube. Now, Rogue is defunct, all because EA gave them lip service and made promises that they knew was lies.

If anyone deserves the accolades for being innovative, it's Rogue Entertainment for making Alice, not EA's Majestic.

Just because Electronic Arts says the game is "innovative", doesn't mean it really is. You should know better, as a writer, than to blindly trust EA's PR smoke.

His response:

Actually, there were several very positive reviews of Majestic. Like most games, some folks liked it, some didn't.

EA has always had an antagonistic relationship with the hard-core gamer, but that's often the result of being at the top of the industry. I know all about the Rogue Entertainment debacle - and I don't know that I agree with their actions, but the fact of the matter is that Alice (while I enjoyed the game thoroughly) did not sell very well, despite your beliefs. I know American and think he did a great job and can't wait to see his next project (which appears to be based on The Wizard of Oz, judging by early sketches).

Believe me, there was no PR "smoke" involved in this column. I played Majestic to the end (what 'end' there was). I've talked with Neil Young several times. The fact remains they had a strong game (albeit a far from perfect one), that gamers rejected.

Best,
Chris

------------

FYI: Alice did sell well. The folks at Rogue Entertainment confirmed this in their farewell message when they shut down after EA fucked them by shutting down the PS2 Alice project without an alternate project.

This comment was edited on Dec 24, 18:30.
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