EA Mobile’s Frank Gibeau: “Dungeon Keeper suffered from a few things.”
Following on the heels of comments from EA’s CEO, EA Mobile head Frank Gibeau shared his thoughts on the failure of Mythic’s Dungeon Keeper reboot for mobile, and acknowledged that the game suffered from, among other things, a disconnect with the player base and fan expectations:
“Dungeon Keeper suffered from a few things,” Gibeau said. “I don’t think we did a particularly good job marketing it or talking to fans about their expectations for what Dungeon Keeper was going to be or ultimately should be. Brands ultimately have a certain amount of permission that you can make changes to, and I think we might have innovated too much or tried some different things that people just weren’t ready for. Or, frankly, were not in tune with what the brand would have allowed us to do. We like the idea that you can bring back a brand at EA and express it in a new way. We’ve had some successes on that front, but in the case of Dungeon Keeper, that just didn’t connect with an audience for a variety of reasons.”
The Dungeon Keeper reboot wasn’t successful, but EA continues to keep the game up and running, having passed the live service responsibilities to another studio. It’s not because the company is hoping for a turnaround story so much as it’s just one more adaptation to running games with a live service model.
“If you watch some of the things we’ve been doing over the last eight or nine months, we’ve made a commitment to players,” Gibeau said. “We’re sincere and committed to that. So when you bring in a group of people to Dungeon Keeper and you serve them, create a live service, a relationship and a connection, you just can’t pull the rug out from under them. That’s just not fair. We can sustain the Dungeon Keeper business at its level for a very long time. We have a committed group of people who are playing the game and enjoying it. So our view is going to be that we’ll keep Dungeon Keeper going as long as there’s a committed and connected audience to that game. Are we going to sequel it? Probably not. [Laughs] But we don’t want to just shut stuff off and walk away. You can’t do that in a live service environment.”
Ultima Forever, Mythic’s other mobile-facing reboot of a classic EA-owned IP, doesn’t come up for mention in the article, but I suppose there’s a small amount of room for hope in Gibeau’s comment that EA will “keep [a game] going as long as there’s a committed and connected audience to that game”. Granted, Ultima Forever probably didn’t even do as well — financially — as Dungeon Keeper did, and the above text states rather plainly that Dungeon Keeper was no success in and of itself (a judgement I assume applies to its financials, as much as to its being panned by critics).
And people are still logging in to Ultima Forever, still playing it.
But it’s safe to say that a sequel is out of the question.