Anthem 2.0 Reboot Canceled, But Current Servers Will Remain Live
BioWare Austin head Christian Dailey says the pandemic has impacted its development plans, and as a result the Anthem revision plans will not go forward.
Plans to revitalize Anthem with a large update have been scrapped, following an internal review. In a statement explaining the decision, BioWare Austin studio head Christian Dailey its concepts for "Anthem NEXT" were changed at least in part by the coronavirus pandemic, which has had an impact on studio productivity.
"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," Dailey said in the update. "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 goes on to say that going forward BioWare will be focusing its efforts on the Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and updates to Star Wars: The Old Republic. Anthem's live service will continue running for the current player community, without further updates.
Anthem appeared to be Electronic Arts' answer to Destiny 2, a live game with an endless stream of loot to collect as you outfit your Iron Man-like mech suit, called a javelin. While the game was a graphical showpiece EA's Frostbite 3 engine and it was praised for some elements like the feeling of soaring in your javelin, the late-game was criticized for feeling too repetitive and the loot for being unsatisfying. Given that a live game is defined by attracting long-term play, these were significant obstacles for the game to overcome.
Following its release, EA recognized that the game did not meet its 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 it could be overhauled.
We heard earlier this month that EA executives were conducting a review of the revamped Anthem plans. The small team working on outlining its plans was roughly 30 people, but BioWare was said to need around 90 people to work on the project in full. The review was to determine whether to ramp up resources to fulfill that roadmap, and it appears the company decided not to.
It's unclear at this point if this decision will lead to layoffs, or how long server support is expected to continue. GameSpot has contacted BioWare for further comment.
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.
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