EA were an unlicensed dev in the very beginning, but in 1991 they finally agreed to license with Sega, who then allowed them to continue manufacturing their own cartridges (Accolade were the only other dev granted this privilege).
The early EA Mega Drive games from 89-90 like Marble Madness and Populous do not work on later model consoles as they're set up to check cartridges for a Sega copyright notice.
>>2891823 Any of the early stuff they made in 89-90 like Marble Madness won't work on the Genesis 2/3 and I assume some Genesis 1 revisions. I'm guessing the early Genesis 1s that don't display the Sega logo on power-up are compatible with them.
Basically, when the Mega Drive first arrived in North America in 1989, EA inquired with Sega about developing for the new system, but they were unhappy with Sega of America's licensing requirements which were almost as bad as Nintendo's. After back-and-forth negotiations, a Sega exec finally told the EA people "Look, you either accept our licensing terms or you'll be just stuck reverse-engineering the console yourself."
So EA boldly accepted the challenge and their engineers went to work producing homemade Genesis dev kits. Sega were upset about this not only because it cut into a large chunk of their profits, but even worse EA could become a hub for unlicensed Genesis devs by manufacturing cartridges for anyone willing to pay.
In the end, Sega gave in and agreed to EA's original demands that they get to make their own cartridge PCBs and shells.
To understand EA's early history is to understand them today. It's not that big a leap AT ALL to go from "We pirated a console on a dare." to "Spend $110 if you want more than 4 maps." In one form or another, they've always been robbing people.
>>2892035 I didn't know EA were such assholes in the console department. They actually supported a bunch of really cool games on DOS. Guess it explains though how EA turned evil. It didn't, it's always been bad. It was just less coordinated in its teenage days.
>>2891887 Because their strategy, while utterly evil, is sound from a business viewpoint. They buy IPs (and attached studios, if necessary), milk them to death (people buy these _despite_ EA, that's important), and then get rid of the corpse. Some IPs are short-lived, others are still ongoing, through seemingly endless numbers of sequels, but the core concept is the same, regardless.
>>2892917 What hurts me most about this is no matter what they were fucked. You either sell your soul to EA and hope everyone gets to keep their job or get your studio ran into the ground through bogus lawsuits forcing you to go bankrupt paying legal fees.
>>2891812 Did they ever release any unlicensed games?
The impression I've always got is that EA always wanted to be licensed, but they began producing their own cartridges and used the threat of going the unlicensed route as leverage to get a better deal from Sega.
>>2891818 Oh piss off. EA were great back in the day, restrictive licenses were a blight.
>>2892971 its business. Most people on /v/ think people should do the right thing 100% of the time. The thing is EA went to Sega with a deal. Sega told them NO, but feel free to spend the time and money cracking open the system so you can dev on it. It was a shitty bluff since the hardware inside of the Genesis was mostly off the shelf. They came back to sega and showed them and then sega caved. Its fucking business get over it.
>>2893001 that's why you should never be publicly traded as a studio. You give up control and integrity, for the faint hope of riches. Game making, at least good game making, is not a get-rich plan. It's way to have an income, not more.
>>2892981 The problem was most of those companies (esp. Maxis) were at or on the verge of bankruptcy due to mismanagement or something equally unfortunate. It was either an continue making those dream games under EA or close up shop.
>>2896425 So they decided to piss on their legacy, instead of just going for a new job, or maybe even attempt to fundrise among people that aren't unethical vultures. Bad decision. Ask the modern gamer on the street what they think about SimCity, tell them it's a Maxis game. See what that'll do you. When your bruises healed, repeat the same thing with Bullfrog and Dungeon Keeper. Continue with all the dead franchises as you see fit. These studios won nothing by selling to EA. Their games are broken, their job is hell, removed, or outsourced. There's a reason the heads and designers tend to leave the broken studio after they're sold anyway, to open their own shop. The new working conditions don't work, and while it's a painful struggle as new studio, it's infinitely better than being a subject to the hellhole that's EA.
>>2896449 I would compliment your hindsight except yours isn't even 20/20. > These studios won nothing by selling to EA. We got Dungeon Keeper 2, Sim City 3000, The Sims, Populous The Beginning, and others. I'm sure you think those are "nothing", but they aren't. PtB is a strong evolution of Populous concepts, and DK2 is practically a straight upgrade.
The original Sims was made post-EA. Either you like it or you don't. But it was made. The Sims 2 and 3 were both amazing upgrades that also wouldn't have been possible without EA. Like them or not, they aren't "nothing".
Yes, EA started shitting games up with DLC and microtransactions... relatively recently... And that's gross. But the base games are strong on their own merits, and DLC is optional, and in fact subsidized further development on the spending habits of the rich or stupid.
Well, until the mobile shit (Sims and DK). And the Sims 4... And Sim City 5... Those are just worthless travesties. I'll agree that the licenses are run into the ground NOW, but not until the last 5 years or so. IE a decade of decent games we wouldn't have had otherwise.
> So they decided to piss on their legacy, instead of just going for a new job, or maybe even attempt to fundrise among people that aren't unethical vultures. Bad decision. Crowdfunding in 1997??? Wake up. Protip: Good luck "fundrising" when you've been BANKRUPT. IE, took money and failed to pay it back. Investors tend to look at that with skepticism. You can't just dodge it by dissolving and reforming the company!
They were either done making games, or acquired. And they managed to do a lot of good work after being acquired.
Though Molyneux, pic related, went a bit crazy arguably. He did great things until he had resources.
>>2897513 >The original Sims was made post-EA. Either you like it or you don't. But it was made I consider The Sims the nail in the coffin of the Sim series of games. What used to be a variety of diverse subjects, simulated in an entertaining manner, was crushed into one of the first examples of extreme DLC whoring and intentionally "addictive" gameplay. When they stopped making games, and started making digital drugs for EA.
To quote wikipedia: >Over 1998 Maxis was allowed to finish SimCity 3000 on its own time; following this, Wright's efforts were thrown into The Sims In other words, we didn't get SC3k because of EA, but despite EA. Immediately followed by the kill of the series. I suspect it's the same with Bullfrog. When EA bought them, they got the assets to finish a bit of what they had been working on, then were forced to make bullshit.
While I enjoy Populous 3 personally, let's be honest: DK2, P3, Syndicate Wars, we're right on the plaza of sequel-ville. That's EA for you. Milk the franchise. I'm quite sure Dungeon Keeper 1 or Syndicate were successes because they were good games, not because they were sequels of good games. Bit of a difference.
>>2898470 Fair point about the Sims, I wouldn't blame anyone for not liking it - particularly here. It is very addictive and somewhat lacks substance.
You're also right about the sequel-ville... While I wanted "Dungeon Keeper but better", and hoped for a similar re-release of Magic Carpet after 2, Maxis and Bullfrog did stop innovating as much after being acquired.
I just don't see that they had any alternative. And in Bullfrog's case, the studio was dissolved but Molyneux retained and allowed to dream up more innovative, even unrealistic ideas. Black & White and such. The implementations didn't live up to his dreams, and publisher pressure (EA) was probably largely to blame, but it's also the reason we got anything rather than nothing.
>>2898650 Forgot to add, and I only just read this on wikipedia recently, but apparently SC3k was a mess of a project before EA arrived and reigned it in. They were trying true 3D, and it got panned at E3? Dunno how true any of that is, though.
Technically stifling innovation, but it sounds like it was destined to be a failed experiment. Sim City didn't need true 3D. (Except in Sim Copter mode, which was great)
>>2898650 Molyneux is a bit of a difficult person. Brilliant designer, but terrible planner. That gave him a bad reputation as someone that promises and doesn't deliver. You're right in that EA/the publisher reined him in, so he'd eventually deliver something, anything. Seems like they went about it the wrong way though. Basically, Molyneux needs a co-designer, a co-author. Someone willing to step in and say "no, Peter. Great idea, but way out of reach for our current project. How about we stick to what we're currently working with, refine it, and keep the new ideas on this whiteboard for the next project?". Fable was a good approach, I think. Several releases with iterative changes. Probably not very sustainable (people grow tired, and I too, would rather see varied new games, instead of iterations), but still better than the alternative.
>>2898657 Don't know about true 3D, but I do know that SC3k uses 3D acceleration, and actually had quite a bit of difficulty with that, because the whole idea of a dense city relies on lots of buildings/polygons, and the accelerators of the time were not really made for that. I can imagine though Maxis was going after true 3D. After all, SimCopter and Streets of are their babies too, and they are, in hindsight, abysmal. The wishes were way too far ahead of the realities of the engines. The visuals of SimCopter are an insult to SC2k, and Streets is not much better.
Guess the whole thing to take away from this is, good games need not only good designers, but also good project planners, and some of the studios had trouble with that bit, which made them produce brilliant games, on an unsustainable business plan. EA aren't good project planners either though. They accept, and occasionally demand ridiculous damage to a product to ship it "on time" and on budget, and do little up front to make sure it has a chance to be within its limits. The two sides, need to complement each other. Otherwise you end up with scope creep or bugware.
>>2892854 The only thing where I can think such a thing is justifiable are sports games. There's only so much you can do before it becomes unrealistic or unnatural. And I'm talking about real sports games
>>2898672 I agree with everything you just said, except that I really liked Sim Copter. I wish I could get it playing again. The interface and graphics were pretty bad though, yeah... If I did get it working, I might realize it wasn't as good as I remember.
But totally agreed about the project planning and everything else. Especially that EA are not good planners. Just a source of capital, solely interested in making more capital. The games get made, but innovation (and developers themselves) suffer...
>>2898719 Magic Carpet 2, it's one of my favorites. And unlike Sim Copter, it runs well in DosBox and is definitely still fun today. Conquer the Netherworlds!
Like other Bullfrog games it's much more than a shooter. You and other wizards fight over balls of mana which drop from the dangerous creatures of the land. Hot air balloons store the mana in your castle, which can defend itself to some extent... But not forever.
Or sometimes it's just you against a heavily scripted map. I could go on. The first game was decent but buggier and with less plot, no need to play it first.
>>2898709 >I agree with everything you just said, except that I really liked Sim Copter I liked Sim Copter from a gameplay perspective, it was quite entertaining. Without a doubt though, the game was ugly as fuck. It made me downright angry to see it torturing the visuals of the arcologies and practically everything else in SC2k. In SC2k the Arcologies are fantastically huge and detailed buildings, while in SimCopter you got hexagonal blobs with repetitive textures, a real disgrace. And even in your screenshot you can see the extreme texture repetitions. That's not even going into all the things wrong with the people in town, or the visuals of the water/smoke stuff. The game was a good idea too early, really. Nowadays you get that building density and detail without much work, get more sophisticated physics and all that. It's in a way the responsibility of a designer, and possibly engineer, to recognize that the tech is (not yet) there, and it would be a waste of resources at the time.
>>2898804 Magic Carpet (not necessarily 2) is, to me, the Far Cry of its time. That game was miles ahead of everything else in term of visuals and capabilities, and fun to play to boot. As much as I dislike sequels, I'd want to see what a modern dev would do with the concept of Magic Carpet. They'd have to go all out though, giant explosions, the terrain not just deforming, but having a concept of rock layers, and loose rock falling and stuff, full on fluid physics for flames and so on. Basically, a modern take on pushing the boundary because it's there to be pushed.
>The first game was decent but buggier Magic Carpet 2 crashes insanely often, because it's basically written with all safeties off, for maximum performance. Best example is one of the maps where you're attacked by a huge army of undead archers. Their number grows. If you don't kill them fast enough, or keep their numbers down, the game will crash hard with a simple overflow and memory corruption. In my experience Magic Carpet 1 is actually more stable, because it was a bit too afraid to break something. Magic Carpet just went "fuck it all" and threw so much shit at you, it was entertaining as fuck, but more fragile than a house of cards during an earthquake
>less plot Call me odd, but I think Magic Carpet is one of the first games that's openly multiplayer. Several of the later missions are all about competing with other wizards, effectively bot maps. Everything up to that point is tutorials regarding monsters, triggers and effective mana generation and protection. The campaign just teaches you how to wreak havoc against people as powerful as you are. Then the multiplayer shows you that humans are a whole new class of trouble.
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