Star Wars: Battlefront
Since EA gained the Star Wars license, the results have been a little bit underwhelming to say the least. While the closure of Visceral Games has put a dampener on players excited about a single player Star Wars adventure game, perhaps the biggest disappointment has been the publisher's treatment of the Star Wars: Battlefront series. One of the most well-remembered Star Wars video game properties, the new releases have little in common with the original two games.
The first of the DICE-developed Battlefront games was extremely light on content at launch, with barely anything from a single player perspective and a real scarcity of maps for players wanting a deep Star Wars experience. The sequel certainly had more content, but EA's reliance on a loot box-focused business model effectively ruined the game's progression system, destroying any potential that the game had and damaging EA's stock price in the process.
To make matters worse, EA once had the perfect studio to develop Star Wars: Battlefront games in its lineup. The developer of the original Battlefront titles, Pandemic Studios, was bought out by EA back in 2008 as part of its acquisition of BioWare, but Pandemic itself was closed down late in 2009. Given how poor the new Battlefront games have been, perhaps that initial restructure was misplaced.
Although Need for Speed is the central racing franchise under EA's control (ignoring the mobile Real Racing series), it was not always the case. Back in 2004, the publisher bought out Criterion games, the developer of the acclaimed Burnout series. At this point, Criterion had released the first two Burnout games, gaining itself the status as a top tier racing game developer.
EA would push further Burnout games out of Criterion, with the open world classic Burnout Paradise a particular standout, alongside some other titles such as shooter Black. Criterion was also handed the development of Need for Speed, and the studio had great success with the property. However, this pushed Burnout onto the back burner, and no new Burnout games have been released since 2011.
Criterion itself confirmed it was moving away from racing games in 2013, and since then the developer cut its staff and has instead been assisting with work on the likes of Battlefield: Hardline and Star Wars: Battlefront 2. Meanwhile, the Burnout series remains dormant save for rumors of a Burnout Paradise remaster, but if the franchise ever does return it's unlikely to be created by its old studio.
Maxis is one of the biggest names in simulation gaming, and for good reason. The developer has created some of the most impressive feats in the sim genre, and the SimCity franchise is a great example of this. While the first game was released back in 1989, the series truly cemented its place in gaming lore through SimCity 2000 in 1993, which added a number of features to the property that remain to this day.
EA proceeded to buy out Maxis in 1997, and two further SimCity games were created by Maxis in 1999 and 2003. After that point, however, the main series of SimCity games took a long hiatus, with the focus of Maxis instead shifting into the hugely popular The Sims games and the more experimental 2008 release Spore. SimCity would return, but it was hardly what fans wanted or needed.
The reboot release of SimCity in 2013 was nothing short of a disaster. The game relied upon a constant internet connection, yet also suffered from serious network issues upon release, while its various other bugs and glitches rendered the game unplayable for many. With the Maxis Emeryville studio then closed down in 2015, it doesn't look like SimCity will be returning any time soon.
Although Magic Carpet is a series that flies under the radar a little now, that doesn't take away from the sheer ingenuity on show in the original games. Delivering a phenomenal open 3D world by 1994's standards, the flight-based action game was visually stunning, extremely weird, and a lot of fun. One year after its release, EA would purchase developer Bullfrog Productions.
The friction between Bullfrog and EA is well documented, and the strain between the companies is visible through the other ruined franchises that are on this list. However, Magic Carpet's sequel has been cited as one of the earliest rifts between Peter Molyneux and EA as a whole. Allegedly, EA forced the development of Magic Carpet 2 to be rushed, resulting in the game launching in a buggy state.
This would start turning Peter Molyneux away from EA as a whole, with the developer eventually leaving Bullfrog in 1997 after sending a drunken email to EA's Larry Probst. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a further release in the Magic Carpet series has never appeared, although the original game is available on EA's Origin distribution system.