EA Thought Medal of Honor: Warfighter Was 'Better'

That’s EA Labels boss Frank Gibeau, speaking earlier today during Electronic Arts’ latest earnings presentation. Now, I’m not here to kick a game while it’s down. Whether you like Warfighter or not is up to you.

But what I find interesting is the complete disconnect EA has seen - or is at least saying they saw - between its testing and the final reviews. This game didn’t occupy some weird grey area on the critical scale, it was almost universally panned, at least amongst major outlets.

Which is a problem for EA, sure, but it’s also a problem for gamers. More varied and perhaps dare I say honest testing could have made this a better game. Unless…unless it was railroaded into a schedule that demanded it be released this holiday season, regardless of its quality at the time, or what internal testers really thought of it.

And a major publisher like EA would never do that, would they?


Comments

    What exactly is a mock review, and who conducts them?

      It's literally a fake review. Someone reviews pre-release code and writes a review. It helps publishers get an idea on any last-minute kinks they can iron out, things that can be changed, and most importantly gauges what scores they can expect.

      They're often done by freelance games writers. Who are paid VERY well for their efforts. So, yeah, it's mildly shady.

    If they're this surprised, they can't possibly have tested it based on the final assembly of missions they tried to pass off as a narrative.

    I'm sure they'll find a way to blame the developer though.

      No, I'm sure they'll find a way to spin this and pin the poor reception on the gaming community and alienate their target audience just that little bit more!

    The reason it scored so bad is because its name isn't Call of Duty: Warfighter. Honestly both franchises are stale, but reviewers seem today endlessly praise CoD while hammering MoH

      This 100%! MoH was doomed before it was released, such negativity amongst the critics. It's unfair because it really isn't much worse than CoD.

      Truth. And the only reason people think MoH isn't as good is because there's not already several million people ready to buy/play it for the simple reason that it's what everybody else is buying/playing.

      Last edited 31/10/12 4:54 pm

      I disagree. I loved the first MOH - 1 of the only ones it seems and i was really hyped for this game. Unfortunately, this game just isn't finished. The multilayer levels are flat,the textures are horrible, the story is shocking and the animations are ordinary. Call of Duty is at least a finished game. There is plenty of clutter in the levels instead of a horrible shade of green pretending to be grass. This game should have looked incredible, but it doesnt. I still play it, but i wish i didnt buy it now :(

      I think the reason the game was reviewed so harsh is that we only really need one CoD a year, and this was the lesser of the options. The whole thing reminds me of SUPER league.

      I wouldn't necessarily say that. From what I've seen so far (I'm mid way through watching a walkthrough), the story and gameplay aren't too crash hot. I mean, I really disliked some aspects of the reboot, but it was an attempt at telling a soldiers story. This was just stringing some random missions together (there's even one mission which so far has no relevance to the story whatsoever), trying to add some characterisation on top of it and copying CoD/BF3. BlOps had a better storyline and more characterisation. Hell, Rabbit from MoH 2010 was characterised more during the story than Preacher was in the new game.

      EA should be getting more realistic and try to innovate. There are plenty of ways they can make a modern day shooter fresh, get away from the giant set pieces which are used instead of plot and actually tell the story of a fictionalised soldier. They're just not willing to take the risk.

      I completely agree with you. From what I've ready this game isn't anything special. It's a game that tried to do something different with narrative but the gameplay as as deadpan as every other shooter on the market. The fact that it gets hammered so intensely grates on me a bit, just because all the other shooters are so similar.

      What really got me though was IGN's 4. Everything I've read has pointed it to be 'average', but a 4 for a supposed AAA game, is pretty much a massive condemning slap in the face. It's like the writer punished this review because he finally got sick and tired of fps's, and decided to go after this one.

      It also grates on me that every COD on IGN has had remarkable reviews, for a game that has almost generally been unremarkable. I'm not hating on COD, I loved COD4 and I played black ops for a fair few hours too, but it's very obvious it's the same re-hashed formula, repackaged with new gimmicks, repackaged with practically the same textures and animations. It consistently brings very little to the table, but just enough to make it 'seem' new.

      I'm just saying, there 'seems' to be a double standard with reviewing fps's these days.

        It's funny that you mentioned IGN's reviews for COD because most the points the IGN reviewer said they hated about Warfighter were very similar to the the things they loved about MW3 and that was given a rating around 9.5

          Because it was an innovative enough shooter for 2011. This game not only lacks content of MW3 but its gameplay for the most part is just fundamentally worse. And it's 2012.

        I think you've hit the nail on the head. Although I'll admit I was unmoved by the "beta" I've been underwhelmed with every CoD since 4.

        It does feel as if game critics have collectively take out their FPS frustrations on this title, whatever it's flaws.

        It's this year's Duke Nukem

      Although I agree with the people who say it tried to be CoD, I don't agree that it's not very different from CoD. Compared to this, I personally feel that CoD's campaigns do a pretty decent job and don't feel like they were rushed out the door. But I have no doubt that that wont be a popular opinion.

      Warfighter MP is a different story though. I love both CoD and Battlefield MP, but this feels different and I strangely like it....... :/

      As much as I dislike it, Call of Duty has a level of 'polish' Medal of HONOUR couldn't even come close to.

      Personally I think the CoD series deserves the respect it gets.

      I played MW2 single player campaign last week for the 2nd time (I played it iniitially upon release). And it holds up really well. Then I've been playing Spec Ops with my wife, which has been a blast. I've still not ventured onto multiplayer again but I'm getting tempted.

      Then I played F3AR again, split screen with my wife. And we both hated it - which was quite bizarre because I really enjoyed it when I played it initially upon release. I had a go at multiplayer and perhaps I got unlucky with the game but it was woeful - on par with Duke Nukem multiplayer.

      For me, the Call of Duty games play really well, and they're just better put together than a lot of games out there. Ive not played Medal of Honour Warfighter and my take on the reviews is that it's a good enough game, depending on your expectations - it's ok, but there are better options out there - so if you have plenty of games, then what's the point in buying it.

    I wonder what will happen to Danger Close?

      I wonder if they're in danger of closing? Cha cha cha

    Well, it seems like EA were determined to make a solid competitor to Modern Warefare, so it could be that it actually was a disconnect between their testing and the final players, rather than it just being railroaded. It could also be that while the game could be technically tight and well made, it's always going to have a hard time because it's so simillar to Modern Warefare (even in its branding) and it'll be scrutinized even harder against its rival because of it.

    Well, I fucking love the game. Campaign is a case of kill terroists 'cus there bad, but who would expect anything else it's a modern shooter. I found a tight experience and personally better then the BF3 campaign that time and time again i can't get into. Drving sections were quite exciting and a good change of pace. Multiplayer is a unique experience with the fire team system and no generic classes and cool abilities. Not saying the game is without flaws though, spawning in a part of map that isn't accessable and you can't get out is an unnaceptable state to release a game in ($10 says that it was EA pushing it out the door before it was finished). Not to mention that Multiplayer is practically un-playable through Battle Log (Which IMO is a stupid system anyway). But I would seriously suggest giving it a shot I find refreshing take on modern shooters and bugs can be fixed.

    Last edited 31/10/12 4:48 pm

      I take it you are one of the internal testers who works at EA then.

      Having played Spec Ops: The Line recently I can't say I'd be satisfied with a generic modern shooter story anymore. We should be demanding more experiences like that, rather than happily accepting the status quo.

    I'd love to see their internal mock reviews, if only to get a sense of how a publisher tries to critically assess their own games.

    If there *was* a genuine sense within EA that the game would be better, and would sell better, that might partly explain why it seemed to be rushed out to flop - they might not have thought it was that bad.

    Did anyone else see the day one patch notes? Surely a game with that many issues can't have been scoring too well with internal testers and reviewers.

    What actually amazes me is that on Metacritic the critics and user review scores are so incredibly close. 58% and 5.6 average, last I checked. Maybe it's just a case that the critics are becoming as cynical about the Modern FPS as the everyday gamer is.

      I agree with this. Someone should coin the term "Modern Shooter Fatigue", or MSF.
      *please feel free to send cash or money order*

      Yeah it seems that it's a case of CoD is allowed to be like CoD but games LIKE CoD can't. That was probably why the original MOH reboot was panned as well if i remember correctly didn't care much for that game. I swear there were others but my memory escapes me. EDIT: From a Critic's point of view.

      Last edited 31/10/12 5:11 pm

        Well, interestingly, it actually looks like CoD will be the one that is innovating this year. Time will tell just how innovative, but there do actually seem to be some new gameplay elements, some non-linear sections and new progression/loadout design in the multiplayer.

          Yeah I am actually kinda excited for it, but cautiously they could get away with saying non-linear and having 3 occasions on either the left or right hallway. Zombies campaign looks interesting never really cared for that game mode. Pick 10 create-a-class looks good in theory hopefully isn't easily exploitable.

            Cautiously optimistic here. People may like to hate on CoD but Black Ops was one pretty darn good online game.

    But it was a brilliant racing game!

    The game put a lot of faith in the multiplayer portion and ultimately was a let down. The market is cluttered with modern military shooters and even though there was some interesting ideas such as squads etc it's essentially a dressed up Battlefield 3 game with no vehicles. I'm a big Singleplayer man so the multiplayer never interests me (unless it has bots!) but the story for this one was confusing and not well thought out. I couldn't care less when ***** died. Whereas with the first MOH at least the story as half decent. You could empathise with Rabbit's death and the ambush of the 75th Rangers was fantastic. Even though the graphics weren't great, at least it wasn't hop scotching for the sake of glorifying Special Forces operators. I mean the mission with the Somali pirates was totally useless distraction.
    Apologies for the rant, but it had such high potential which never materialised. It was simply a beautifully made game with no soul. How internal 'testers' failed to pick up the train wrecks in this game is beyond me... It's like it was tested by U.S. Army recruiters!
    Hoping Far Cry 3 will be more inspiring.

    I don't buy it, EA knew this game was a dud, that's why PR didn't distribute review copies to the media until late. That way they could get the most from day-one sales before word of mouth got around that the game was a train-wreck.

      Yep, the story doesn't quite add up does it.

      Is there really that many people that rush out to buy a game on Day 1? I really don't get that phenomenon. Especially for a game that people know might be a dud.

        Day 1 sales booms will always exist. It's inevitable. And Publishers know how to use the media to their advantage in getting them. If they know a game will be awesome, they release to early to critics and get 9 and 10 reviews circulating half a week before release. It's a strategy that can pretty much double your day one game sales if done right.

          Yeah I know, and I agree - the gaming media are incredibly good at what they do - stoking interest in their wares. Personally I do get excited, but not enough to splash $80 on a game that will be $20 within 9 months. It simply doesn't make financial sense to me.

          If there was a real benefit to owning a game on Day 1 then perhaps I'd understand, but their isn't. In fact, many games are flawed on Day 1. So Day 1ers get to pay the most for the least rewarding experience. Not a great deal if you ask me.

    EA out of touch of its consumers? what parallel universe is this?

    Its not that the game is like cod its the fact that it does it badly. I doubt ea had anyone else apart from the devs look at the game before it was realeased. The PC is a terrible console port, they stuffed up the ads sensitivity, its one of the fundamentals get your controls and movement down pat before you do anything else. On top of that the UI is terrible.

    Of course EA knew it would bomb, badly. Exactly why review copies weren't sent out early, but naturally they would have another official reason. If only EA was blind and couldn't see the amount of money that Activision is making from CoD, then the FPS genre would be able to be innovative for a change instead of the mass of copy pasta on the market.

    I liked Medal of Honor and Call of Duty when they were respectable WW2 shooters. That was over 7 years ago...

    At least Battlefield still has squads, vehicles and decent sized maps. Instead of being a complete meat-grinder.

      But gone are the days in Battlefield where fights take place at any range other than point blank, you can thank CoD and all its (multiplayer) gameplay clones for that

        Except COD developers aren't the ones responsible for making the clones you speak of. Try holding the actual developers of those games responsible for their own actions and creativity.

        Last edited 31/10/12 9:22 pm

    I actually rather enjoyed the previous "modern" Medal of Honor.

    But after hearing all the hate for the new one makes me feel like even renting it would give me a horrible experience.

    The original MoH will always be the best.

    They had the opportunity to do something different.... Make a realistic military shooter, but! They just made another call of duty ^.^ thanks CoD for destroying an entire genre!

    MoH: Warfighter is really good, and in my opinion "new" compared to what shooters have been bringing out. I guess it's safe to say Call of Duty is more "polished up", but this game definitely looks sexier in graphics and animations. The multiplayer is really fun, and when playing a good fireteam partner it gets better. This game is the perfect mix between Battlefield and Call of Duty. I'm personally a BF player, but I loved the old CoD's, CoD4, World At War, and Black Ops. I hated Modern Warfare 2 and 3 because it's the same game every year, with what? A new story? Different guns? Sure Modern Warfare 3 finally switched up their animations, barely improved graphics, but Black Ops 2 came out using those SAME animations, and those SAME graphics. Black Ops 1 felt different, a part from the series, but Black Ops II came back feeling like it actually is a CoD, another copy and paste game. The formula isn't working and if you give MoH a chance you'll realize how much different both games are, and MoH has an experience of it's own.

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