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:

Friends,

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.

Chris­t­ian