EA vows to consider "the player perspective" when delisting games in the future
After Syndicate and Ultima Underworld backlash.
EA has vowed to consider "the player perspective" when delisting games in the future.
In June, GOG announced it planned to delist classic quartet Ultima Underworld 1+2, Syndicate Plus and Syndicate Wars from its digital store at the "publisher's request" (Electronic Arts).
Then, early August, all four games returned to GOG, where they were made free to download until 3rd September.
Their return came alongside a message from EA:
"Syndicate and Ultima Underworld are back! It seems that 20 years on there's still plenty of love for these titles so we're pleased to confirm that effective immediately they'll be available again on GOG, and we'll be keeping them in the store for the foreseeable future. To celebrate this we're offering these games as a free download for four weeks."
Now, speaking to GamesIndustry.biz,, EA said this delisting was the result of a breakdown in its process for managing digital games on sale - and promised to prevent the same thing happening again in the future.
"When making decisions that affect players we take the time to review exactly what the potential impacts are and whether they serve the players best interests," Chris Bruzzo, EA's executive vice president for marketing, commercial and positive play, said.
"When we delisted Syndicate and Ultima Underworld we missed that step and so didn't fully consider the players perspective.
"From the level of interest players showed in delisting these games, it was clear that people still wanted them to be available, so we did two things.
"The first was to ensure that going forward we have a process in place that considers the player perspective in listing decisions. The second was to relist the titles and make them available to as many people as possible with a month-long promotion.
"We saw so much love for these titles, more than 20 years after they originally launched we realised that we had to make them available again."
EA's reversal is a good thing, too. Blue Sky Productions' Ultima Underworld is one of the most influential RPGs of all time. The 1992 first-person adventure, created by developer legends including Richard Garriott, Warren Spector and Paul Neurath, was set in a fully 3D simulated world that predated even Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls. Ultima Underworld 2: Labyrinth of Worlds, developed by LookingGlass Technologies, followed in 1993.
And Syndicate Plus is the 1996 re-release of the original Syndicate and its expansion pack. Syndicate is of course the isometric real-time tactical strategy game from Peter Molyneux's Bullfrog that came out in 1993. Syndicate Wars is the 1996 follow-up.