After more than a year of internal Anthem review, EA and BioWare have decided to stop development of the 2019 action RPG and move on to other projects.
In an announcement written today by executive producer Christian Dailey, he explains that the decision to stop working at Anthem was motivated by a mix of the impacts of COVID-19 and a desire to focus on other BioWare projects, such as Dragon Age and Mass. Effect. .
However, 2020 was a year unlike any other and while we continue to make progress on all of our gaming projects at BioWare, working from home during the pandemic has had an impact on our productivity and not on everything we had planned as a studio prior to COVID-19. it can be accomplished without putting undue stress on our teams, “he wrote.
“I know this will be disappointing for the Anthem community of gamers who are excited to see the improvements we have been working on. It is also disappointing for the team that was doing 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. Moving forward, we must focus our efforts as a studio and strengthen upcoming Dragon Age and Mass Effect titles while continuing to provide quality updates to Star Wars: The Old Republic. “
Dailey also notes that Anthem’s existing live service will continue to function as it is now for the foreseeable future.
Anthem had a difficult launch, riddled with errors and criticism that, while its match was interesting, its story was a routine and its ending did not have the skills to sustain the game long term. As the game stumbled along during 2019, EA finally opted to review Anthem in late 2019, and it took over a year to completely change the game’s core loop and systems like loot, missions, and social elements. Earlier this month, EA reportedly reviewed the status of the game and subsequently made the call to halt development at that time.
In an exclusive interview with IGN, EA Director of Studies Laura Miele offered her thoughts on the closure of Anthem development, contrasting the decisions EA had made regarding the game overhaul with those it made on Star Wars: Battlefront 2. Battlefront 2 was successful. revised after launch based on community feedback, if not just as dramatically as Anthem was planned to be.
“The really important thing about Battlefront 2 is that we said we were going to do something,” Miele explained. “We engaged with the players and we had to act on what we said we would do, so our teams are clear, if we say publicly that we are going to do something we must comply with. Creating new content for games can also work out. in a natural conclusion for various reasons and when that happens we try to be as transparent as possible with the community and explain why. “
Miele then pointed to the Battlefront 2 community post-launch as an example, saying that while the game’s community had asked for more post-launch content beyond what DICE was going to offer, the studios were considering those comments for future. Star Wars games. .
In contrast, while Anthem also had a community interested in its review, Miele says that ultimately the best decision based on the resources BioWare has at its disposal was to focus development on its other games.
“We have believed in Anthem every step of the way, we have invested in this game for almost a decade, and we are proud of the work the team has done,” Miele said. “Since the game was released two years ago, the BioWare team has listened to player feedback and provided updates and improvements to the game.
“However, 2020 and 2021 are unprecedented years when it comes to game development, so we need to prioritize both the player experience and what is best for the people who work on these games. We want to make sure that BioWare can focus on making the next Dragon Age and Mass Effect games the best they can be, while continuing to provide quality updates for [Star Wars: The Old Republic]. Ultimately, that’s the best way we can be of service to our players, targeting these fan favorites and meeting the expectations of the communities.
“Anthem was a creative venture and its challenges have taught us a lot about game design and even how we can improve our development process. This benefits not only developers, but gamers as well.”
Miele spoke extensively about EA’s relationship with its gaming communities and adaptation goals based on fan feedback as well 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 @Patovalentino.