Gaming News: Electronic Arts Answers Dungeon Keeper Criticisms

Written by Callum Shephard Friday, 07 February 2014

Gaming News

Dungeon Keeper News

As a publisher often seen as having an extremely negative influence on its beloved franchises, the negative reception to the attempted revival of Dungeon Keeper was not entirely unexpected. The iOS title of the ’90s villainous strategy series has been heavily criticised for both departing from the original aesthetic and for its many free-to-play problems. The more prominent among these are 24 hour paywalls to mine out certain blocks and that the game itself encourages players to give five star ratings.

EA have opted to respond to these criticisms. In an interview on Tab Times the game’s Senior Producer, Jeff Skalski, spoke at length about the micro-transactions system and some of the more frequently lambasted elements. Unfortunately, many of these responses avoided giving distinct answers or directly dealing with the core criticisms. When confronted about accusations of the iOS title lacking the original’s humour, Skalski said he disagreed and argued: “I disagree with that. We have a lot of funny content within Dungeon Keeper. […] we also understand what’s funny to one person may not be funny to the next.” The closest his answer came to defending the title directly was the statement that the narrator, voiced by Richard Ridings, would soon be added to the game.

Dungeon Keeper Micro-Transactions

Many responses proved to be similar, either disagreeing but failing to draw up a true counterpoint from elements which existed within the game or stating things would improve. Skalski’s counter argument for the gems system cited one in-game weekly method of attaining them, and then concluded with “we will be introducing even more ways for players to acquire gems.” Despite the subject of micro-transactions repeatedly being brought up, at no point was the “best value” £69.99 option mentioned nor that speeding up costs came down to approximately £1.50 per block.

The one point Skalski cited statistics was when he was required to argue against Dungeon Keeper’s onslaught of bad reviews from critics. This naturally originated from the Google Play ratings which, as was previously mentioned, the game attempts to make players give only perfect scores. Along with a small note in the interview itself citing this fact and that the score had since fallen considerably, his answer also ignores the similarly compiled results on other major websites. Metacritic, which is often brought up by developers in their game’s defence, oddly enough has the game negatively scored in both critic and user reviews.

Perhaps Dungeon Keeper will improve as promised and perhaps even re-introduce aspects players want. However, unless many basic elements are radically changed it’s unlikely player opinions will improve with it.

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