As soon as something becomes a breakout hit in the video game industry everyone tries to get a piece of the success. Recently Nintendo's Wii sold truckloads to soccer moms and casual gamers. Now thanks to that system's success we have Sony's Move and Microsoft's Kinect. Both devices are desperately trying to steal Nintendo's thunder on the motion control front and reel in the casual gamers. It goes for the more hardcore games as well. Every year Activision's Call of Duty series brings in enough cash to swim around in like Uncle Scrooge. With the numbers that CoD titles are pulling in it is no surprise that EA is currently trying to replace them on the top of the shooter mountain. The only problem is that EA seems to be trying to beat the best without making their best.
While EA can brag that last month's Medal of Honor released to decent sales, the critical and customer reviews have not been what EA would have wanted. During an interview with Eurogamer an EA executive was surprisingly candid in describing EA's frustration with how the game has been received.
Patrick Soderlund, Senior Vice President EA, who oversees all of Europe’s EA Games portfolio decribed EA's thoughts on the game:
"What I can say is the game didn't meet our quality expectations. In order to be successful in that space, we're going to have to have a game that is really, really strong. Medal of Honor is to some extent judged harsher than it should be. The game is better than today's reviews are indicating."
Despite the lack of polish and complaints people have with the game, Soderlund appears to be talking about the review scores rathers than the actual game itself. Eurogamer even went so far as to ask him what he thought the game should be scored and he refused to say:
"I'm not going to say a specific number. I'm proud of what the game is and proud of what the team did. I just think the market is obviously telling us they think the game is X. We need to convince the market we can make something they appreciate more, particularly to be able to compete. We're looking at that clearly. We're taking that seriously. I'm not at all saying Medal of Honor is a failure. It is a successful reboot of that franchise. We're going to be strong in the future."
Not to be overly harsh, but if EA is trying to take the number one seat they are not going to get to it by thinking like Soderland. Give a development team enough time and let them create something. Let them make a game that they have control over and not what your marketing team dictates will make a high Metacritic score.
I may not speak for all gamers, but I don't want something off the manufacturing line. Give me something with a personality that is creative, different, and entertaining. Stop trying to make a game successful by adding elements in attempt to influence review scores to in turn raise sales, just make a good game.
So readers, what are your thoughts on these quotes from Soderland? Did Medal of Honor live up to your quality standards?