In context: 2019 brought its fair share of controversies in the video game industry, but chief among them was BioWare’s Anthem. Anthem was billed as a multiplayer, story-driven, cooperative RPG experience with a “looter-shooter” gameplay style; not unlike what you’d see in a game like Destiny. The end result, though, was something else entirely. On release, Anthem was buggy, lacking in content, and had fairly unstable servers.
For those who hoped BioWare could redeem itself after the tragically-undercooked release of Mass Effect: Andromeda, Anthem was especially disappointing. Unfortunately, unlike other “live services” of its ilk, Anthem didn’t get much better with time — while it did receive content drops, they weren’t frequent or satisfying enough to satisfy many players, nor did they resolve core problems.
Now, it seems BioWare is giving up on Anthem in its current state. In a blog post published today, BioWare chief Casey Hudson acknowledged Anthem’s many shortcomings, from the title’s unsatisfying loot mechanics to its dull end game and long-term progression systems.
Resolving these problems on a case-by-case basis simply isn’t practical for BioWare or Anthem, Hudson believes. Instead, the developer will soft reboot the game by performing a full, top-to-bottom rework of its core gameplay loop and mechanics. BioWare will introduce meaningful rewards, more interesting loot, and “reinvent” the game in a way that it couldn’t with a mere expansion or content update. This rework will take place “over the coming months,” but we don’t have a specific date yet (we’ll keep you updated, though).
This news may come as a surprise to some, but for those who have been keeping up with Anthem, this announcement has been a long time coming. Where Anthem is concerned, BioWare has a history of going completely silent, sometimes for months on end. Now, it seems we might know the reason for those communication droughts.
For our part, we look forward to seeing how Anthem looks, feels, and plays when BioWare finishes its gameplay rework. We hope, for the sake of both the game’s players and its developers, that the end result is a much more compelling and complete experience. With plenty of hard work (but hopefully not too much) and a bit of luck, Anthem may just become the product it should have been on release.
To bring things to a close, we’ll leave you with a note from Hudson himself:
Creating new worlds is central to our studio mission, but it’s not easy. Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we miss. What keeps us going is the support from players like you. Your feedback gives us guidance on how we can improve, and your passion inspires us with the courage to create. I look forward to working together with your involvement and feedback towards the best possible future for Anthem.