The story of EA and BioWare’s beleaguered action-RPG Anthem has apparently ended. According to an official BioWare blog post, the ambitious jetpack-combat game’s “overhaul” project is dead. The staff that had been assigned to rebuild the game into better shape has been reassigned to work on other BioWare projects, particularly Dragon Age 4 and the next Mass Effect game.
From what we saw in the game’s March 2019 launch version, EA and BioWare clearly intended for the game to receive regularly updated content, but negative reviews (including my own) made clear that BioWare needed to go back to the drawing board. Despite some good ideas and fun flight controls, Anthem‘s basic core needed serious touching-up before we’d return to the game.
No more singing of the Anthem
Then-general manager Casey Hudson made a February 2020 statement acknowledging those criticisms. After listing aspects of the game that needed work, he offered a pledge to fans: that BioWare would complete “fundamental work… to bring out the full potential of the experience… specifically working to reinvent the core gameplay loop with clear goals, motivating challenges, and progression with meaningful rewards—while preserving the fun of flying and fighting in a vast science-fantasy setting.”
However, 10 months later, Hudson departed BioWare, as did Dragon Age 4 executive producer Mark Darrah. BioWare announced this news with assurances that projects like Dragon Age 4 would continue apace, but none of that day’s blog posts, including one penned by Hudson, included any formal assurance that “Anthem Next” was in similarly good shape.
Two weeks ago, Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier reported that Anthem‘s “reinvention” development was under serious review by EA executives who would decide whether the project would continue or die. According to Schreier, BioWare’s pitch to EA would be to expand its 30-person staff to a number closer to 90 in order to match the work’s scope. From the sound of BioWare’s Wednesday announcement, that reported meeting didn’t go well for Anthem.
That reassigned team will certainly have its hands full with other projects, particularly the previously announced sequels to Dragon Age and Mass Effect. As of press time, EA only has one announced launch date for an upcoming BioWare game: the remastered Mass Effect Legendary Edition, slated to launch on PCs and consoles May 14.