Remember Anthem? For those of you who do, you probably don’t and you’re really wishing that you didn’t drop a fair amount of coin on this generation’s equivalent of Duke Nukem Forever. For those of you who don’t remember the infamous February of 2019, here’s the lowdown for you and please don’t go running off to the Men in Black in an attempt to get these memories erased.
An alien world. Bioware. Iron Man suits with various flavours. What could possibly go wrong? A lot it turns out, as Bioware’s massive project failed to stick its landing and turned in a game that was busted, boring and bloated with bugs. To be fair, things have gotten better for Anthem, but that’s the equivalent of saying that you’re really glad that the spikes in an iron maiden have had their rust cleaned off of them so that you don’t have to worry about getting tetanous when you’re being slowly tortured inside of one.
Anthem in its current state, exists as a dream that’s beautifully to look at painfully dull to experience. With few updates since launch, a back to basics approach that has left the most hardcore fans aggravated with the lack of communication from Bioware or EA and a world that has since been eclipsed by newer and older live service titles, you’d think that EA would pull the plug on Anthem and move on.
That’s not happening.
After three months of silence, Bioware finally provided an update as to what its future plans are for Anthem, detailing how the grand redesign will kick off with a dedicated team comprised of around 30 people who’ll be tasked with the unenviable task of resurrecting Anthem. “The Anthem incubation team has kicked off and we are starting to validate our design hypotheses,” wrote BioWare Austin studio director, Christian Dailey.
Incubation is a term we use internally—it essentially means we are going back and experimenting/prototyping to improve on the areas where we believe we fell short and to leverage everything that you love currently about Anthem.
We are a small team – about 30-ish, earning our way forward as we set out to hit our first major milestone goals. Spoiler – this is going to be a longer process. And yes, the team is small but the whole point of this is to take our time and go back to the drawing board. And a small team gives us the agility a larger one can’t afford.
We really want this experience to be different for the team and our players, but we know we have some tough challenges to tackle. We want to include you as we go and be open and honest with where we are at and what the expectations are with where we are going. The reality is you will see things that look awesome but end up on the cutting room floor or things that you might think suck that you feel we are spending too much time on – but in the spirit of experimentation this is all OK. We really want to provide you all the transparency we can because of your passion and interest in Anthem.
But, with that comes seeing how the sausage is made – which is not always pretty by the way.
I don’t think anyone wants to see a video game fail. There are countless hours upon hours poured into any project, passionate creations whose developers dreamed would be the next big thing in the industry. If Bioware can fix Anthem and make it the adventure that it already promised their fans that they would play, then all the power to them.
At the same time, it’s hard not to feel burned out by Anthem and live service gaming in general. There are only so many hours in the day to dedicate to any single game, let alone several. Having such a hobby game thrown into the mix whose primary features consist of horribly long loading screens, legacy bugs and a story more forgettable than discarded toilet paper, was never going to win any fans.
We’ve seen redemption stories in video games before, and a part of me genuinely wants to see Anthem step back into the light as an example of a game bouncing back. There’s hope that Bioware’s task team can do just that, that they can find the magic that has been missing from that studio for far too many years and games now.
Last Updated: May 18, 2020