Both of Bioware’s last two game releases, Dragon Age II and Mass Effect III have run straight into major fan backlashes. DA2 underperformed in sales. ME3 probably didn’t. The expansion for DA2 has been cancelled and Bioware has tried to backpedal. It’s also backpedaling from the ME3 ending which was just as lazy and dumb as the DA2 ending, except that to add insult to injury the ME3 ending was just set up to sell more DLC.
Then there’s Knights of the Old Republic which has a mixed record and is about to head straight for the tornado of Guild Wars II and some other next generation MMORPG’s, something which KOTOR isn’t. It’s not clear if KOTOR hit its numbers, if the anecdotal stories about falling server populations are true or if the leaks about the project costing 200 million are, but Bioware can’t afford failure on that front.
Bioware hasn’t lost the 1 percent, the reviewers and Penny Arcade, but it has alienated a lot of its fans, the flip side of passion is anger and there’s a lot of resentment over the company quickly cranking out consolized dumbed down games on an EA schedule. Its output has become low quality, heavy on marketing, self-indulgent cut scene oriented crap. And it only takes one major failure for EA to decide that maybe the studio isn’t worth it anymore.