Anthem Is In For An Overhaul, BioWare's Casey Hudson Confirms
The studio's general manager wrote in a blog post that the development team will be working on a "longer-term redesign" of the game in the coming months.
Standing as BioWare’s take on a loot shooter, Anthem has struggled to stay up on its own two feet.
The game released in a state where it was clear that it was in need of more development time and a better defined sense of direction. There were bugs, crashes, attempts at player protests, delays of post-launch plans, and some major studio departures.
On Monday, nearly 12 months after Anthem’s brutal launch, BioWare general manager Casey Hudson gave an update on what’s next for the game: a long-term redesign.
“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.”
Hudson added that Anthem will remain live in its current state for the time being, but won’t have full seasons of content updates like originally planned so that the development team can focus on the redesign. “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,” Hudson wrote.
Although it served as a more official announcement, Hudson’s blog post confirmed what has been known for months, as Kotaku’s Jason Schreier was first to report that Anthem was in for an overhaul back in November.
Details on what this redesign will entail, however, are still unclear. But Hudson at least acknowledged that the initial development process for Anthem wasn’t what it should have been.
Once a name synonymous with high-quality RPGs, the current console generation hasn’t been kind to the Edmonton-based developer. Although Dragon Age: Inquisition found success early on, Mass Effect: Andromeda — handled by what used to be BioWare Montreal — went through a rough development cycle, and was met with heavy criticism from fans and critics alike upon its 2017 release. Then Anthem followed, falling face first out of the gate.
Design overhauls aren’t unheard of for service-based games like Anthem, with titles like Final Fantasy XIV and No Man’s Sky serving as the biggest success stories. Still, BioWare has a lot of work to do before it can even have Anthem considered among that type of company.