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.
BioWare’s Anthem was developed with big ambitions to become a game like Bungie’s Destiny or Digital Extremes’ Warframe. However, the game was released with an unacceptable amount of bugs and login issues that prevented users to enjoy the game.
The users moved on from the game, and BioWare affirmed that it was needed a “substantial reinvention” for maintaining the user base and attract new ones. Unfortunately for Electronic Arts and BioWare, the redesign was scheduled during the worst months of the COVID-19 outbreak, this meant that developers would have to work from home and the allocation of resources was probably even more limited.
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.
Anthem was a very ambitious project from BioWare, the development of the game started in 2012 following Mass Effect 3‘s launch with the supervision of Casey Hudson, the executive producer of the original Mass Effect Trilogy. Developers wanted to deliver an action game that players could play cooperatively, an idea vastly different from what the studio is known for.
Anthem was built using the Frostbite engine, one of the main culprits of the disappointing release of the game. Electronic Art’s CEO, Patrick Söderlund, wanted all its studios to use the same engine. The problem is that Frostbite was not originally designed for a game like Anthem.
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.