Why Anthem Struggled At Launch, According To EA CEO

Anthem didn't start strong on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, but the game could grow to become something special, Andrew Wilson says.

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Now Playing: Anthem Video Review

BioWare's Anthem released in February this year, and it wasn't a huge critical success. Part of the reason why the game struggled, according to EA CEO Andrew Wilson, is because it attempts to appeal to two different audiences. He talks about the game's struggles and opportunities for future growth and success in a new interview.

"We brought together these two groups of players who were making this emotional value calculation on two different vectors," Wilson told GameDaily. "One was traditional BioWare story-driven content, and the other was this action-adventure type content. About the 30 or 40 hour mark they really had to come together and start working in on the elder game. At that point everyone kind of went, 'Oh, hang a minute.' Now the calculation is off.

"It's off because I've got a friend who sits in this other category of player. They want to play the game a certain way. I want to play the game a certain way. The promise was we can play together, and that's not working very well. Oh, by the way I'm used to 100 hours of BioWare story, and that's not what I got,'" Wilson explained. "Or, 'I expected that this game would have meaningfully advanced the action component that we'd seen in games like Destiny before, and I don't feel like it has.'"

While Anthem might have struggled out of the gate, Wilson said EA is committed to supporting the game in the long-run. In fact, he mentioned that Anthem could have a "7-10 year cycle." Wilson said EA feels good about investing in Anthem in the long-run because the game has a strong foundation to build on.

"If we believed that at the very core the world wasn't compelling people, if we believed at the very core that the characters weren't compelling for people, or the Javelin suits weren't compelling, or traversing the world and participating in the world wasn't compelling then provided we hadn't made promises to our players... we might not invest further," Wilson said. "IP lives for generations, and runs in these seven to ten year cycles. So, if I think about Anthem on a seven to ten year cycle, it may not have had the start that many of us wanted, including our players. I feel like that team is really going to get there with something special and something great, because they've demonstrated that they can."

The full interview at GameDaily is in-depth and wide-ranging, touching on a number of other subjects including loot boxes, layoffs, and a wider look at the future of EA. Go read it.

At E3 this year, Anthem lead producer Ben Irving said he believes Anthem has a "very bright future."

"We've learned a lot these last few months, we really want to make the game better, we believe Anthem can be a really amazing game," he explained. "We know we have some work to do, we just want to work with the community and build it together and make it the game that everyone wants it to be."

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Avatar image for zeppelin712

Lmao yeah this is totally why. Not because the game was hollow boring trash.

Avatar image for bigbluebustn

i know i know, because it wasnt the game you promised.....am i right?

Avatar image for Fursnake

Anthem is already singing it's dirge.

Avatar image for slefo29

I just want it to fail and be a massive financial loss so we can get more quality single player games.

Avatar image for skippert

The "we took the middle road" excuse. I was waiting for this one to appear. Even if they didnt do a 'Molyneux' at just about every presentation of this game it still would have dissapointed everyone.

Avatar image for charlief0xxtrot

"If we believed that at the very core the world wasn't compelling people, if we believed at the very core that the characters weren't compelling for people, or the Javelin suits weren't compelling, or traversing the world and participating in the world wasn't compelling then provided we hadn't made promises to our players... we might not invest further,"

Okay, you can stop now. Don't get too hung up on promises to gamers cause you already screwed the pooch on this one buddy.

Avatar image for dynamotnt

android wilson = the shill that killed ea.

Avatar image for mufcbarlow1


So basically...

EA 6 months ago - “Anthem will be a success”

EA today - “Anthem may be a success”

Avatar image for Peter_Eater

Are devs at EA and Bioware retarded?
People have been explicit about what they don't like about Anthem, and these guys are still posting stupid, delusional cr*p like this.
It's simple... Either give people what they want or just give up on the IP... Hell, sell it to someone who will wanna fix this game the right way...

Avatar image for VampireLord123

The game was generic, there is just so many games of these type going around with bigger palyer base and more stuff to do, that it was obvious this was going to happen. A lot of these games have struggle, look at the The Division, at the start receive pretty harsh reviews from the player base, and later got so much better. The same thing happen with Warframe, and now still going strong. Destiny 2 was the same way and it is starting to get better. But to be honest, who has time to play all these games, and if you are going to play, obviously you are going for the far superior choices in the market.

These games require a lot of hours to play that sometimes they feel like a drag because they rely on rinse and repeat mechanics for loot. I already put hundreds of hours in Warframe and doing the same in other game feels like a drag to me.

Avatar image for morg444

You made a bad game. Be an adult. The stupid Town RP crap is soooo painful. The action fighting stupid animals instead of mechs or interesting enemies is sooooo dull and boring. The mechs abilities are generic and lame. blah blah blah. It sux!

Avatar image for carlos82

Can anyone at EA tell the truth? You made a terrible game that's it. Nothing to do with trying to appeal to people who like stories and those who like action as if it's two completely different sets of gamers and no games have ever married the 2 together. If anything they are even more incompetent for making a rubbish story and a bad action game, then again it doesn't help when the developers don't even know what they are making until about a year before launch.

Funny how in the interview he didn't call loot boxes "surprise mechanics" because that's what EA calls them or was that just another EA rep talking out of their a**e

Avatar image for PETERAKO

Insert Goldblum "pile of shit" gif here

Avatar image for creepshow2

I have never seen a game rebound from a terrible launch ever! Some launch issues are always expected, but when you release an unfinished product and do not deliver on the hype gamers rarely return. They expect to get a quality game when they shell out $60 for a game. Take Red Dead 2 for instance. The game had a few bugs, but all in all it was a refined quality experience worth every penny paid and gamers always reward Rock Star Games for the quality they produce. Blizzard used to be such a company as well, but since has fallen from grace. Anthem will never recover he is full of BS:P

Avatar image for VampireLord123

@creepshow2: There is a lot of cases that this has actually happen, including Diablo 3, Destiny, Warframe, No mans Sky and so on. Specially in online games thing can turn for the better if the developers actually care about their game and start to listen to the player base in how to make things better.

Avatar image for txuzai

@creepshow2: Final Fantasy XIV was so bad it shut down and then reinvented itself....now it has one of the biggest playerbases in gaming.

Avatar image for deactivated-5d495083aed2b

@creepshow2: Final Fantasy XIV had a terrible launch and reinvented itself to become a great MMO. No Man's Sky did it. That game is incredible now. Didn't touch it at launch but last year I spent over 300 hours in it. But they released multiple DLC for free to repair the damage to their reputation, can't see EA doing this but you never know.

Avatar image for wowgrandpa

when this guy signals that he wants to give the game a 7-10 year cycle.. you walk away from it. period.

this guy is a parasite.

Avatar image for 02050muh

Everybody wanted to be Capcom nowadays, but doesn't really know what exactly Capcom did right this past 2 years

Avatar image for Pupchu

OH PLEASE, ANDREW! This whole live-service mumbo-jumbo needs to die!

Avatar image for foozlefop

Who cares. Just die already! A game that offers nothing but a style and look that is far past it's prime.

Avatar image for SaurabhAV

They launched a game that was very different from the hype trailers. The streamers tore the beta apart and trashed the game so hard that no one wanted to buy it.

In an era where Indy games are selling millions of copies, it's clear that the TripleA developers need to take a hard look at their new IPs. Next thing you know, Apex Legends get's launched free to play without any hype and becomes an overnight hit.

I was actually really excited for this IP but it's just a shallow game with no substance. Flying mechs + Crazy Alien Planet + RPG Leveling system + open world MultiPlayer. How the **** did they mess this up?

Avatar image for lorddaggeroff

No the games struggling because it didn't live up to the expectations of the previous 2018 E3 event, infact alot of games made by EA are ending up this way.

Yet that's what happens when games are for profit compared to non for profit, don't let that meaning confuse with the term free game, most certainly not it's more towards dividends and investors that can really have a catastrophic sensation on the games development, (same could be said for destiny 1 and 2, yes Microsoft does also have investors but the Xbox division has its own pool of resources with out the opinion of investors to worry about)

where the sole primary goal is to make money and their main focal point is on games associated with investor returns.

Concluding that can lead to poor development especially if the subsidiary company inherits those bad business practices, (like bioware did who worked on the title of knights or the old Republic that inspired mass effect, under the Lucas arts umbrella that eventually stood to it's original roots and with the permission later with EA franchised logo and support eventually buying the IP) and that's when the team who worked on mass effect had to abandon the old formula they were so use to, only to end up abandoning mass effect 4, with the sake of mass effect Andromeda, utilising the frostbite engine, simply because dragon age 3 was built of frost byte engine and the sheer limitations that dragon age 2 was running under didn't leave much room for improvement, but thats what made mass effect so great, it's narrative driven story.

Avatar image for vl4d_l3nin

The game is going to be dead in less than a year.

Good riddance. No pressing F for you

Avatar image for btotheotothejtothef

Why Anthem IS STRUGGLING. You don't get to imply the game is in good shape

Avatar image for slakor

It was the intense sucking

Avatar image for LVT_PTA_PB

Thing is, players don't forget easily. Destiny 2 sold less than expected and Anthem's sequel will most probably fail to meet as much sales as the original that was released (was fastest selling game for Bioware, but now there's like 100 people playing it just a couple of months after its release)

Unless they pull off a surprising marketing stunt, I consider Anthem dead in the water. Even though I bought it and I have yet to try it. I'm waiting since I know it'll get better, as they say

Avatar image for frostblind

Installed on Day 1 and Uninstalled on day 1. The damn game crashed my system.. I’ve had no issues since taking off the game from my PS4. Since then I still haven’t installed the game with no plans on it. Waste of money.

Avatar image for Schizycho

Hi Andrew Wilson.

I know how to fix Anthem. Go back in time, back to the point where EA got involved, and shove your own head right up your ass.


Avatar image for rolento25

@Schizycho: Yet it wasn't fully EA to blame this time. Bioware sat on the game for years and did nothing till the year before release.

Avatar image for 02050muh

@rolento25: EA forced them to use Frostbite engine which is a nightmare to work with. If they use more open and user-friendly engine like Unreal, probably the result will be much better

Avatar image for Schizycho

@rolento25: True enough, there's blame to spread around :).

I was just going for the greater evil, and these days that usually means EA ;).

Avatar image for kellqj

We just need more "surprise mechanisms" in the game.....

Avatar image for natai

That all sounds good, and I don't dispute that there is a challenging balancing act that needs to happen. But the reality is that Anthem is failing because it is not being supported. Issues are not being addressed, there is little to no response to community feedback, scheduled content has not been released, etc. This is not the first game to fall flat when the devs pull support shortly after launch, but unfortunately this looks to be becoming a pattern with BioWare's games.

Avatar image for redmachine1972

Anthem has struggled simply because EA shoved it out the door instead of letting Bioware do their thing and make the game right.

Avatar image for rolento25

@redmachine1972: Bioware had 6-7 years to work on the game.... yet they decided to do nothing till the year before release. This isn't 10+ years ago when Bioware was actually a good game dev.

Avatar image for redmachine1972

@rolento25: Bioware was a great developer once, then EA bought them out as an in house developer. Seems that every developer that sells out goes downhill from that point forward as the publishers demand more of them while giving them less.

Avatar image for Mogan

@redmachine1972: If the reporting around Anthem's development is to be believed, then the game's situation is actually on BioWare for the most part. They had this game in development for 6 or 7 years, and couldn't figure out what they wanted to do with it. The project had no strong leadership until about 12-18 months before the release deadline, when they had to almost start from scratch and figure out what kind of game Anthem was actually going to be and then make that game out the experimental bits and pieces they'd been tinkering with for so long.

The Frostbyte Engine not being easy to work with was also an issue, but the main problem was that BioWare spent years in largely directionless experimentation without deciding on a direction and product to focus on.

Avatar image for Schizycho

@husad1986: Hi husad1986, why don't you **** off knobend? We don't want or need your poorly implemented scams.

Avatar image for Mogan

@Schizycho: Unfortunately, responding to spam bots just makes them spam more. Flag and ignore.

Avatar image for cherub1000

Hahaha 7-10yr life cycle?! Please EA, you couldn't squeeze 5 months out of this dead and rotting fish. All your current releases are doing is convincing us more and more that you are utterly incompetent at listening to the market you provide for, and instead are so hell-bent on rinsing every penny you can that's it's now widly known as your principal failiure. Haha you choose this path and you deserve to fail for it.

Avatar image for Cikatriz_ESP

“We brought together these two groups of players who were making this emotional value calculation on two different vectors...”

This quote was deemed fit for humans by Profit Bot 9000.

Avatar image for itchyflop

ha they're still pushing this garbage.

Its been 5 months now, i see nothing special coming!!

wow, you let us down EA, simple, admit it and move on.

Avatar image for listerofsmeg

People who supported EA after Anthem deserve to get ripped off. If you were fucking stupid enough to trust that company with anything more complicated than opening a tin of beans then you deserve your fate.

Avatar image for ganondorf77

Nothing to explain. You keep trying to sell us minigames as full AAA games by injecting stupid amounts of production values. But behind the showcase there is just a minigame. Keep trying to trick people into thinking how good your products are. Well deserved Anthem's failure.

Avatar image for dancingcactus

EA wanted money. EA wanted ALL the money. So, they tried to make a game that would appeal to everybody. Naturally, that failed, and they made a game that didn't appeal to anybody.

It was a bold ambition, but in trying to make something appeal to as many people as possible while simultaneously doing everything they could to reduce costs in order to increase profit margins, they failed to create anything of substantial value.