The Mass Effect series was once held up as one of the great examples of video game storytelling, with developer BioWare building a lore-rich space opera universe full of nuanced characters and a deep plot. Although the game's shift in focus from the RPG elements of the original game into more action-heavy gameplay for its sequel, the pay-off was seen as worth it for many, with the narrative quality remaining a strong selling point.
However, it wasn't long before EA was aiming to make changes to BioWare's development priorities. Mass Effect 3 saw the implementation of multiplayer in the series, and at launch playing multiplayer matches was effectively required in order to reach the 'best' ending at the end of the campaign. The finale itself was roundly criticized, and did not feel like a suitable conclusion to the story of Shepard.
Although the end of Mass Effect 3 was changed via a substantial patch, a lot was expected of Mass Effect: Andromeda, but the game failed to live up to expectations. Technical issues plagued the game's launch, and further investigation showed a chaotic development cycle where BioWare Montreal were perhaps not given the support required to bring such an anticipated game to release. With Mass Effect now on indefinite hiatus, it could be some time before EA can undo the damage done to the franchise.
Why Fight Night no longer seems to exist is a mystery. The EA Sports boxing series was well received when it was a regular part of EA's lineup, with the original four games providing fun fighting action. Even better was 2011's Fight Night Champion, which completely shifted the focus of the series and looked to provide a framework for future releases in the franchise.
Surprisingly, no more Fight Night games would appear, and since 2011 EA has remained quiet on the future of Fight Night as a whole. Although rumors did the rounds in 2017 about a new Fight Night name, none appeared, and it seems as though EA is not going to talk about the series any time soon.
Exactly what happened to Fight Night is still a matter of debate among fans, but it seems likely that the rise in popularity in MMA saw EA cool on the boxing market. It's long suspected that the rights for the UFC series costs substantially less than gaining the rights for the boxers required for another Fight Night, which could explain why EA seems hesitant to jump back into the property any time soon.
Command & Conquer
The decline of Command & Conquer is one of the most upsetting in the history of video games. One of the key franchises that popularised the real-time strategy genre, Command & Conquer's unique world and exciting tactical gameplay made it an immediate favorite among video game strategists, and developer Westwood Studios was able to build upon the original game to great effect over the years.
After the release of Command & Conquer and Command & Conquer: Red Alert, EA purchased Westwood in a huge takeover. However, the company would not last long under EA's ownership. Although Westwood continued to release some great Command & Conquer games, the double disappointment of Command & Conquer: Renegade and MMO Earth & Beyond saw the developer being closed down.
Command & Conquer would continue for some time after this, with steadily diminishing returns. The later games in the franchise did not keep the interest of fans, feeling very far from the Command & Conquer games of old. With a 2013 reboot left dead in the water, it may well be the end of the franchise altogether.
Medal of Honor
It's baffling to see how far Medal of Honor has fallen, with the once-supreme first-person shooter series now seemingly stuck in limbo. After the release of the first game in 1999, Dreamworks Interactive was bought out by EA and from there the franchise grew into a powerhouse, changing the face of gaming through such cinematic marvels as Medal of Honor: Allied Assault and Medal of Honor: Frontline.
Slowly but surely Medal of Honor saw some major competition in the world of WW2 shooters, with Call of Duty growing in popularity as the Medal of Honor series started to grow a little stale with players. To help combat this, Medal of Honor was rebranded to align with shooter trends and brought to a modern day setting, although that game came with some unnecessary controversies. Unfortunately, between 2010's Medal of Honor and 2012's Medal of Honor: Warfighter the franchise reached a terminal decline, and it took Dreamworks (then rebranded as Danger Close) with it.
After Warfighter failed, EA turned its attention to the Battlefield series, switching what was once Danger Close into DICE Los Angeles and tasking the studio with supporting DICE with post-launch content for the franchise. Just a few years after Medal of Honor was cast aside, the shooter scene has returned to historical settings, but it seems unlikely that the once impressive property will be given another chance.
That brings us to the end of our rundown of the franchises ruined by EA. Over all those years, it's understandable for some franchises to come to an end, but given the way in which so many of these properties have struggled it's understandable that questions have been asked about how EA has managed these franchises and their developers.
Are there any big names that we have missed? What franchises do you think EA could have handled better over the years? Let us know in the comments.