If it wasn’t for all the Flappy Bird drama this week, the biggest story in mobile games would definitely have been the anger surrounding EA’s revival of the well-liked Dungeon Keeper license. With all the noise, the BBC managed to catch up with series creator Peter Molyneux for his opinion.
Before Godus or Fable, before Molyneux was allowed to tell the press about every unfinished feature of his alpha-stage game, he made Dungeon Keeper. It was awesome. It was one of the first games I remember being able to play as the villain in. It had satisfying strategic gameplay and you could even go into first person to possess one of your minions.
So basically, it’s nothing like the version on mobile devices.
“I felt myself turning round saying, ‘What? This is ridiculous. I just want to make a dungeon. I don’t want to schedule it on my alarm clock for six days to come back for a block to be chipped,” Molyneux said.
EA states they “built Dungeon Keeper around typical mobile play patterns.” In the abstract, the structure of the game might work well for those patterns, but if nothing else, it seems like they picked the wrong game to build that way.
“I don’t think they got it quite right, the balance between keeping it familiar to the fans that were out there but fresh enough and understandable enough for this much bigger mobile audience,” Molyneux said.
And that’s precisely the problem. The license attracts fans of the old PC game, but instantly repels them mechanically. EA told TabTimes Games that players were consistently rating Dungeon Keeper with five stars, but then it became apparent the company was going out of their way to help five star reviews along; the app would be happy to rate the game five stars for you, but if you want to rate it something else, you have to find it in the online marketplace you bought it from and do it yourself.
EA’s reputation is taking a lot of hits in the core gaming community in the last year, and there’s going to be a point where EA’s rep is rated as totaled instead of just dented. Dungeon Keeper isn’t helping things.