I am taking a disappointed stance with this one.
As a gamer for 35 years, I have enjoyed, praised, discussed, complained, and overall accepted all kinds of games in various genres. Even though I’ve played so many games in my life, I’ve still missed out on some highly acclaimed games, such as Phantasy Star and Snatcher. Those who know me can attest to all the physical and digital games I have for Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft. That’s me and my passion for gaming. I will say, though, I can’t believe I am writing this.
It’s time for Electronic Arts and Nintendo to part ways as a business.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition was announced for Xbox, PS4,and PC, but Nintendo Switch was left out of the announcement. We knew something was going to happen in the Mass Effect franchise, but we couldn’t pinpoint what it would be. I know we have seven games in total coming to Switch, but they’re ports. That’s fine and exciting, but they feel like an afterthought.
It may seem unfair, but I believe ever since EA moved more of their business onto Microsoft’s and Sony’s platforms, Nintendo seems less and less needed for them to keep running. Even after a lot of problems EA has endured over a decade, Nintendo still doesn’t play a part in building a portfolio for them. Most will say this is because of Nintendo’s systems’ online functionality, underpowered tech, and system numbers. EA believes it can thrive better without Nintendo.
With an outside look, I don’t believe EA would ever take them seriously, even with the success of Switch and (possibly) future consoles. Nintendo can bring the heat with power, and EA would still give them the cold shoulder. If Activision can do it, why not EA? Well, both of those don’t feel the need to create new IPs or support Nintendo like other third-party developers have. It has nothing to do with exclusivity. They’ll release a game for Switch six months or so after the other platforms’ versions have been out, and by that time, we are enjoying and proclaiming other titles as Game of the Year, making our way through one of the titles we decided to buy, or playing through our backlog.
Now it may seem foolish to cut ties with EA, but let’s look at what happened between Nintendo and EA after the Super NES era. The only game that was a surprise hit was Boom Blox for Nintendo Wii; it was a game developed in conjunction with Steven Spielberg. The game presents a series of physics-based puzzles, the objective being either to keep structures made of blocks from being knocked down or to knock them over by various means by using the Wii Remote to throw, shoot, and grab at the blocks. After that and its follow up, Boom Blox Bash Party, EA moved their focus to Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Now, EA did have different management at that time, so their business decisions were different. When Wii U came out, Madden and Mass Effect 3 were released for this system at launch, but after that, neither received updates or add-ons and were ignored. For Nintendo players, it wasn’t a lost cause because EA wasn’t in a good place; they were in an alley full of trash and dumpsters with only a couple of hits. They just kept receiving “Worst Company” spots for years.
As of now, we have only lazy ports of FIFA, a decent port of Burnout Paradise, and whenever they feel we should play Apex Legends, maybe that and other titles will come to the Switch. EA is living it up with its inclusion of Xbox Gamepass with EA Play and with next-gen consoles out. Nintendo, on the other hand, is releasing hits and DLC while having indies and collector versions of those games on Switch. For a lot of us, it’s too late for EA to be spoken about in a positive way. Bethesda, Square Enix, 2K (for some things), XSeed/Marvelous, a ton of indie developers and publishers (like Limited Run Games), and even Microsoft are dancing to a drum that beats praise from Nintendo owners (go ahead and make the Wii Music joke; it’s fine). I just don’t see EA allowing the vast and talented teams at that company to create and develop something that will stand out on Switch.
Who knows, though? Will I change my feelings and opinions if Mass Effect is released for Switch? Probably not. I would be at peace knowing that they went their separate ways and both can thrive in their own way. Nintendo can bring us the unexpected fun and quality, and EA can bring, well, whatever they deem as a success. After the rest of the games they have planned for Switch are out, we’ll see EA move along from them and hear them speak less about Nintendo and more about the other consoles and future plans. What do we lose if we never received a gain? All I know is it’ll never be the same.