Today BioWare officially confirmed Anthem is getting a big overhaul, complete with new progression systems, a better end game, and better loot mechanics.
BioWare is planning something huge for Anthem. The studio just announced Anthem is getting a massive reboot that extends far beyond the limitations of a simple expansion or an update. BioWare could be planning a huge A Realm Reborn-style resurrection of their failed live game, and promises to re-tool the game's current weak points like meaningful endgame activities and overall progression.
"We recognize that there's still more fundamental work to be done to bring out the full potential of the experience, and it will require a more substantial reinvention than an update or expansion," BioWare General Manager Casey Hudson said in a recent blog post.
Anthem has the potential to be something great, but BioWare clearly doesn't understand how to handle live games. The game simply isn't fun outside of the flying mechanics, there's no real engagement to inspire users to keep playing. The story is lackluster, the overall loops are boring-ish, and there's no meaning to the experience.
That's the least of the studio's problems, though. Anthem was created in an extremely negative work environment endemic with depression, anxiety, stress, and miscommunication. Under Casey Hudson, BioWare aims to fix all of these things and streamline workflows--all while creating a live game that can be played, and monetized, for years to come.
Curiously, BioWare plans to do this by embracing multiple big projects all at once. The team is currently working on Dragon Age 4, Anthem's big update, a new Mass Effect game, and Star Wars: The Old Republic's continued upkeep.
Isn't this what caused the issues in the first place? Taking on too much, and then having to pull dev teams away from other projects to focus exclusively on the more immediate games, only to leave the future projects directionless and stalled?
I hope BioWare can pull this off. I hope they're prepared for the massive weight of not only revamping a live game, but curating it and occupying the past, present, and future of said game.
In my review, I told BioWare not to give up on its dreams for Anthem, to stay the course and keep trying. But months later, after the studio's morale issues became known, I changed my mind and thought Anthem should be scuttled--at least until after the new Dragon Age and Mass Effect games ship.
BioWare didn't give a timeline on when we can expect the huge reboot. It's possible they could do a re-release of sorts and subsequently give everyone who already owns Anthem free access to the content, similar to No Man's Sky's massive 7-expansion release slate.
Blow you can find Casey Hudson's statement in full:
One year ago, we were preparing to launch Anthem - a game that represented a big leap into new territory for us as a studio. It was an exhilarating and terrifying experience to go out to the world with something new and different, and we are grateful to all the players who have come along with us on the journey.
It has been a thrill for us to see the creativity of our players in designing customized Javelins, and watching them master Anthem's flying and fighting gameplay. I am so proud of the work the team has put into this game, and at the same time there's so much more that we - and you - would have wanted from it.
Over the last year, the team has worked hard to improve stability, performance and general quality of life while delivering three seasons of new content and features.
We have also heard your feedback that Anthem needs a more satisfying loot experience, better long-term progression and a more fulfilling end game. So we recognize that there's still more fundamental work to be done to bring out the full potential of the experience, and it will require a more substantial reinvention than an update or expansion.
Over the coming months we will be focusing on a longer-term redesign 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. And to do that properly we'll be doing something we'd like to have done more of the first time around - giving a focused team the time to test and iterate, focusing on gameplay first.
In the meantime, we will continue to run the current version of Anthem, but move away from full seasons as the team works towards the future of Anthem. We'll keep the game going with events, store refreshes, and revisiting past seasonal and cataclysm content - starting with our anniversary towards the end of the month.
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.