After more than a year of internal overhaul of Anthem, EA and BioWare have decided to stop the development of action RPGs for 2019, and move on to other projects.
In an announcement today written by executive producer Christian Dailey, he explains that the decision to end work on Anthem was motivated by a mix of the effects of COVID-19, and a desire to focus on other BioWare projects, such as Dragon Age and Mass Effect.
“2020 was a year like no other, and as we continue to make progress towards all of our gaming projects at BioWare, homework during the pandemic has had an impact on our productivity and not everything we had planned as a studio before COVID-1
“I know this will be disappointing for the community of Anthem players who have been happy to see the improvements we have been working on. It is also disappointing for the team that did a brilliant job. And for me personally, Anthem is what brought me to. BioWare, and the last two years have been some of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my career.
“Game development is difficult. Decisions like these are not easy. Going forward, we must laser-focus our efforts as a studio and strengthen the next Dragon Age and Mass Effect titles while continuing to offer quality updates to Star Wars: The Old Republic.”
Dailey also notes that Anthem’s existing live service will continue to run as it does in the foreseeable future.
Anthem had a rocky launch, plagued by bugs and criticism that while the fights were interesting, the story was a gateway and the playoffs did not have chops to sustain the game in the long run. When the game stumbled through 2019, EA finally chose to revise Anthem in late 2019, taking over a year to completely change the game’s core loop and systems such as looting, missions, and social elements. Earlier this month, EA reportedly assessed the condition of the game and then called to stop the development at that time.
In an exclusive interview with IGN, EA’s chief studio manager Laura Miele offered her thoughts on the closure of the Anthem development, as opposed to decisions EA had made in relation to the game’s revision with those they made on Star Wars: Battlefront 2. Battlefront 2 was successfully revised after launch. based on feedback from the community, if not perhaps as dramatic as Anthem was planned to be.
“The very important thing about Battlefront 2 is that we said we were going to do something,” Miele explained. “We committed to the players and we needed to act on what we said we would do, so our teams are ready, if we publicly say we are going to do something we have to deliver. Creating new content for games can also come to a natural conclusion for various reasons, and when that happens, we try to be as transparent as possible with society and explain why. “
Miele then pointed to Battlefront 2’s community after launch as an example, saying that although the game’s community had asked for more content after the launch beyond what DICE was to deliver, the studios kept that feedback in mind for future Star Wars games. .
In contrast, while Anthem also had a community interested in the overhaul, Miele says that ultimately the best decision based on the resources BioWare has at its disposal was to focus development on the other games instead.
“We have believed in Anthem every step of the way, we have been investing in this game for almost a decade and we are proud of the work the team has done,” said Miele. “Since the launch of the game two years ago, the team at BioWare has listened to feedback from players and brought updates and improvements to the game.
“However, 2020 and 2021 are unique years in terms of game development, so we need to prioritize both the gaming experience and what’s best for those working on these games. We want to make sure BioWare is able to focus on creating the next Dragon Age and Mass Effect games as good as they can be, while continuing to offer quality updates to [Star Wars: The Old Republic]. It is ultimately the best way we can be of service to our players, focusing on these fan favorites and living up to society’s expectations.
“Anthem was a creative risk, and the challenges have taught us a lot about game design and even how we can improve our development process. These are not only benefits for developers, but also players.”
Miele talked for a long time about EA’s relationship with the gaming environments and the goals to adapt based on feedback from fans also in the rest of our interview, which you can read here.
Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.