BioWare Ends Anthem NEXT Project

An Anthem Update on the BioWare Blog announces that the efforts to save Anthem revealed a year ago will cease, and they are no longer working on the Anthem NEXT update to resurrect the multiplayer action/RPG. They do say the current version of Anthem will remain available. This means the report Bloomberg from a couple of weeks ago turned out to be accurate in predicting the company was in the process of deciding the game's fate. BioWare's Christian Dailey explains that the stress of working remotely during COVID-19 factored into the decision to give up on the game. He says BioWare's focus going forward will be the next Dragon Age and Mass Effect games while continuing support Star Wars: The Old Republic:
In the spirit of transparency and closure we wanted to share that we’ve made the difficult decision to stop our new development work on Anthem (aka Anthem NEXT). We will, however, continue to keep the Anthem live service running as it exists today.

Since Anthem’s launch, the team has been working hard to continually improve the game, releasing multiple updates that brought with them a variety of improvements and introduced new content to play. Towards the end of 2019 we expanded on that effort and started working on a more fundamental restructure of the game.

During the development we’ve provided updates revealing some of the team’s work through blog posts and conversations with you on social media and it’s been inspiring for us to see the positive reactions and feedback. I’ve been incredibly proud of the work the team has been doing, and excited to see and play each new build of the experience.

2020 was a year unlike any other however and while we continue to make progress against all our game projects at BioWare, working from home during the pandemic has had an impact on our productivity and not everything we had planned as a studio before COVID-19 can be accomplished without putting undue stress on our teams.

I know this will be disappointing to the community of Anthem players who have been excited to see the improvements we’ve been working on. It’s also disappointing for the team who were doing brilliant work. And for me personally, Anthem is what brought me to BioWare, and the last two years have been some of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my career.

Game development is hard. Decisions like these are not easy. Moving forward, we need to laser focus our efforts as a studio and strengthen the next Dragon Age, and Mass Effect titles while continuing to provide quality updates to Star Wars: The Old Republic.

To the Anthem community, thank you for your passion and creativity. Your feedback and suggestions most certainly help shape the team’s direction, and on a personal note, your kindness and encouragement were much needed last year.

Please stay safe and be kind to each other. Strong alone, stronger together.
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13.
 
Re: BioWare Ends Anthem NEXT Project
Feb 25, 2021, 00:34
Kxmode
 
13.
Re: BioWare Ends Anthem NEXT Project Feb 25, 2021, 00:34
Feb 25, 2021, 00:34
 Kxmode
 
I called this a Games as a Service (GAAS).

Source 1, February 16, 2019

With the recent cancellations of various single-player Star Wars games, EA has made it clear that they don't want to invest in long-term projects, and Anthem is a game that needs that. Instead, they want functional products that can become Games-as-a-Service (GAAS). If you think about it makes cents. Why would EA spend a lot of money to have BioWare fully develop the game at the level of BioWare past products?

The fact that Anthem launches with a single biome and the sameness of missions reeks of a game that had its core mechanics lockdown, much polish added, and then shipped to make more money so that BioWare can add more content (and prove the point that GAAS works). Meanwhile, EA touts the game's commercial success to shareholders, while simultaneously validating that they don't need to spend tens of millions to produce proper full games that a company like BioWare can achieve. In effect, Anthem is an experiment.

Source 2, February 21, 2019

Anthem is a financial experiment. With P2W loot crates on the verge of disappearing from backlash and legal challenges, EA is looking for new revenue sources. Anthem is an experiment with Software-as-a-Service.

Traditional SAAS are unfinished cloud apps. The developer can constantly iterate on and make improvements. That's fine with SAAS products for business. The problem with SAAS for games (e.g., Games-as-a-Service) is that EA doesn't have to ship a completed product. They only need to ship a working one. BioWare can constantly iterate on the product over the long term based on subscription money.

Source 3, February 21, 2019

Except on the menu, it states very clearly "$15 ... Steak Dinner." If you paid $15 for a steak dinner, you expect the full experience. Likewise, if you paid full price or subscribed to Origin to play a video game then you expect the full experience. EA is using BioWare's reputation to pitch Anthem as a feature-rich, full BioWare experience when in reality it is not.

Ultimately, the point isn't about the subjective nature of money's worth. It's about EA not being honest and telling people what Anthem is. Of course, they would never do so because once the reality of Anthem settles in the game is going to tank hard. For some, they got it right away. For others, it's going to take a few weeks or months. But eventually, everyone is going to understand Anthem for what it is. A full priced, microtransaction riddled, early access Games-as-a-Service experiment.

And with this announcement, I rest my case.
"What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient... highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it is almost impossible to eradicate."
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