EA CEO acknowledges Dungeon Keeper reboot struggled to “stay true to its essence”

Dungeon Keeper, as designed by Mythic.

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.