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BioWare 'not in world's 100 best studios'

"The numbers hurt, but they don't lie," says Develop

Well that's a bit of a shock. A globally respected annual list of the world's 100 best developers has snubbed BioWare.

According to industry publication Develop's yearly 'Develop 100' list, the Mass Effect studio didn't even do enough to earn a place in the top 300 game-making companies on Planet Earth in 2010. We know. Eyebrows are raised.


No.1 in the rankings was Nintendo's EAD in Tokyo, whilst the Top Ten was populated by the likes of God Of War dev Sony Santa Monica, Blizzard and Bungie.

iOs developers had a surprisingly strong showing in the rankings, which judged studios solely by their total average Metacritic scores in 2010. MediaVision (Chaos Rings), ZepTo Lab (Cut The Rope) and 1337 Game Design (Dark Nebula: Episode 2) all made games for Apple products in the year, and also all made the Top Ten.

"Under this framework, BioWare didn't even average high enough to make it into the list of top 200 developers," explained Develop. "Top 300? Sadly not. Look lower.

"It seems impossible. On face value, this one of those rare occasions when the statistics aren't telling the entire truth, surely? After all, the Canadian development powerhouse last year shot to the Metacritic heavens with Mass Effect 2 - a game that perfected the western RPG model as it exists today, a game that embodies the EA 'quality first' credo, a game with outstanding writing standards and, often, galaxy-sized scope.

"It is a long-debated principle that a civilisation shouldn't be measured solely by its most prosperous. Even in the often asinine culture of game development, we think the same attitude should be applied to game studios.

"The truth: BioWare made poor content in 2010. Its Dragon Age Origins DLC policy was an unequivocal mess. A disaster. A monetisation strategy built on boredom. A year-long scattering of digital content that, much to the relief of EA, doesn't come attached with a refund policy.

"The nine Dragon Age Origins DLC packs carry the same creator's name as Mass Effect 2 - a brand which people understandably trust. As such, all releases under that name have been included in BioWare's Metacritic average. It's the same policy for all studios.

"The numbers hurt, but they don't lie. They refuse to romanticise a studio that, clearly in some respects, is on top of its game.

"Ultimately, BioWare itself doesn't want to be the company that produced only one good product in 2010. No group of astoundingly creative people want that. Studios desire perfection across the board, not fifteen minutes of fame from a single stand-out game.

"Ultimately, when the scores are settled, that's what Develop 100 represents today."

Ouch. What do you reckon, mates? Overly harsh - or spot on?