BioWare had plans to revitalize Anthem with a large update, but it has now been scrapped after an internal review. In a statement explaining the decision, BioWare Austin studio head Christian Dailey says the concepts for “Anthem Next” were changed in part because of the coronavirus pandemic, which impacted studio productivity.
In the update Dailey stated, “I know this will be disappointing to the community of Anthem players who have been excited to see the improvements we’ve been working on. It’s also disappointing for the team who were doing brilliant work. 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.”
He continues saying that going forward BioWare will be focusing its efforts on the Dragon Age, Mass Effect games and update to Star Wars: The Old Republic. Anthem’s live services continue running for the current player community, but without any further updates.
Anthem was supposed to be EA’s answer to Destiny 2. The mech suits, called javelins, gave an amazing feeling of soaring with decent gameplay, but the late-game was rather poor. Loot drops were unsatisfying to say the least, with repetitive activities.
Following the game’s release, it didn’t reach sales expectations of 5–6 million units by the end of March 2019. BioWare continued to support the game with new content and functionality, while a small group explored how to overhaul it.
Earlier this month, EA executives were conducting a review of the revamped Anthem plans. The team working on the update was roughly 30 people, but BioWare was said to need around 90 people to work on this project fully. The review was to determine whether to boost resources to fulfill the roadmap, and, obviously, they decided not to.
You can read Dailey’s full statement below:
In the spirit of transparency and closure we wanted to share that we’ve made the difficult decision to stop our new development work on Anthem (aka Anthem NEXT). We will, however, continue to keep the Anthem live service running as it exists today.
Since Anthem’s launch, the team has been working hard to continually improve the game, releasing multiple updates that brought with them a variety of improvements and introduced new content to play. Towards the end of 2019 we expanded on that effort and started working on a more fundamental restructure of the game.
During the development we’ve provided updates revealing some of the team’s work through blog posts and conversations with you on social media and it’s been inspiring for us to see the positive reactions and feedback. I’ve been incredibly proud of the work the team has been doing, and excited to see and play each new build of the experience.
2020 was a year unlike any other however and while we continue to make progress against all our game projects at BioWare, working from home during the pandemic has had an impact on our productivity and not everything we had planned as a studio before COVID-19 can be accomplished without putting undue stress on our teams.
I know this will be disappointing to the community of Anthem players who have been excited to see the improvements we’ve been working on. It’s also disappointing for the team who were doing brilliant work. 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 hard. Decisions like these are not easy. Moving forward, we need to laser focus our efforts as a studio and strengthen the next Dragon Age, and Mass Effect titles while continuing to provide quality updates to Star Wars: The Old Republic.
To the Anthem community, thank you for your passion and creativity. Your feedback and suggestions most certainly help shape the team’s direction, and on a personal note, your kindness and encouragement were much needed last year.
Please stay safe and be kind to each other. Strong alone, stronger together.