Nobody was pleased with Mythic’s Dungeon Keeper remake. Old Bullfrog fans didn’t like its social game stylings; Peter Molyneux didn’t like its “ridiculous” demands on player time; and absolutely nobody liked feeling cheated by its in-app purchases.
After a critical pummelling and a few months’ distance, even EA CEO Andrew Wilson isn’t particularly keen.
“For new players, it was kind of a cool game,” he said. “For people who’d grown up playing Dungeon Keeper there was a disconnect there. In that aspect we didn't walk that line as well as we could have. And that’s a shame.”
Wilson admitted EA and Mythic had “misjudged the economy” in designing nu-Dungeon Keeper.
“When you’re thinking about any business model, premium, subscription, free-to-play, value has to exist,” he told Eurogamer. “Whether it's a dollar, $10, $100 or $1000, you have to [be] delivering value, and always err on the side of delivering more value, not less.”
Wilson said that EA had learned a lesson about “reinventing” well-loved games - and pointed to JJ Abrams’ Star Trek as a series which found a new audience but stayed true to its essence.
“You have to be very careful when you reinvent IP for a new audience that has a very particular place in the hearts and minds and memories of an existing audience,” he said - and added that he’d given his own feedback to EA staff after Dungeon Keeper’s release.
Where lies the essence of Dungeon Keeper, do you think? I like how all the old Bullfrog games made fiddly interactions fun. So, probably there.