In early 2020, BioWare finally confirmed Anthem is getting rebooted. But now, roughly three months after the announcement, BioWare has only just started prototyping the big update.
Anthem is getting a big overhaul in an attempt to save the ailing live game. EA simply spent too much money on the project, and BioWare enjoyed big sales from the franchise. But the live service aspects utterly failed--BioWare broke Progression, step 3 on the Engagement Cycle--and the game is stagnant. The devs are planning something big, maybe a huge A Realm Reborn-style turnaround for the game, but it'll be a long time before it's ready. A long, long time.
Right now BioWare only has 30 people working on Anthem's new reconstruction. In a recent blog post, BioWare's Christian Dailey confirmed the status of Anthem's reboot.
The project is only in experimentation and prototype phases, aka what most devs call incubation, or the critical pre-production phase before actual principal development starts. Dailey warns it'll be a "longer process."
"The Anthem incubation team has kicked off and we are starting to validate our design hypotheses. 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."
Anthem broke the critical Progression tier of the Engagement Cycle, interrupting the overall loop and leading to player stagnation.
A smaller team might help. BioWare has a tremendous problem with taking on too much at one time, and pushing too many devs in one spot. It's a case of too many cooks where focus creep runs rampant, forcing major cancellations, reboots, and erasing months of work. Both Mass Effect Andromeda and Anthem's launches are proof of this--both games had large chunks of content cut out right before shipping.
Right now BioWare is working on a number of titles, including:
- Mass Effect Trilogy Remaster
- Dragon Age 4
- Anthem 2.0
- Early planning of new Mass Effect game
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