With tons of justified criticism and a rather low Metacritic score, Anthem doesn't appear to be doing too well right now. Could BioWare be next on EA's chopping block? Studio producer tells fans not to worry.
EA has a history of killing game devs. Since 1987, EA has shut down 14 studios, the most recent of which was Visceral Games (EA not only shuttered the studio but scrapped Visceral's ambitious Star Wars game). With two disastrous games back-to-back (Mass Effect: Andromeda and Anthem), fans are worried BioWare could be the 15th head in EA's macabre collection.
BioWare producer Mike Gamble is confident this won't happen (and we are too). Anthem is getting great support from the community and lots of people are playing it, Gamble says. "Don't worry about us. We got lots of work to do, but you aren't the only one who likes Anthem," the dev said told a concerned fan.
"Lots of folks are playing Anthem, and we've announced our live service plans. Don't worry about [us getting shut down], we are getting great support," he said to another.
EA expects Anthem to sell 5-6 million copies in just over a month, but we're curious if this is possible. Negative press and strongly heated criticism could dramatically affect sales on all platforms.
But also remember EA cares less about full game sales and more about live service monetization (hence why Anthem has tons of microtransactions and grind-hooks to soak up your time). The real determining factor to Anthem's success will happen far after launch when the live service roadmap takes over.
If Anthem fails to retain or even grow its userbase and continued microtransaction revenues, we could see paid expansions take place or even more heavy monetization.
I doubt very much BioWare will be shut down even if Anthem does very, very badly.
BioWare now has three major properties at its disposal: Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and Anthem. The first two have massive reach and are hugely established franchises that BioWare not only created, but they know very well. Dissolving BioWare and forcing these projects across multiple fragmented teams would be disastrous for each individual IP.
Last but not least, EA doesn't really have a lot of strong core dev teams at its disposal, especially not ones like BioWare. The publisher relies on a coordinated effort among its game dev branches that sees multiple studios working together in various ways, most principally with its proprietary Frostbite Engine. Everyone has to make games using this engine, and everything any studio does is stored and built into the engine--everyone contributes to the toolset's growth over time.
So killing BioWare and eliminating tons of jobs would not only forestall much-needed growth with Frostbite, it'd also interrupt one of EA's focuses in the RPG genre. The move would interrupt Dragon Age 4, Mass Effect, the future of Anthem, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and whatever else BioWare is working on.
No, if Anthem does poorly it should just mean EA won't want to try again.
The company recently said it has to "make hard choices about investments," and it put lots of cash into Anthem. Basically we should just see EA push BioWare back towards what it knows best: narrative-driven singleplayer RPGs with optional multiplayer modes.