Anthem: What went wrong?
Bioware had so much riding on the success of Anthem, especially after the luke warm reception Mass Effect Andromeda received. The future of what was once one of the best RPG developers out there was on the line, following some disastrous decisions in the development process of Andromeda. Bioware took away the core staff who helped to create the incredible Mass Effect trilogy, placing them on the development team for Anthem, giving the rookies a chance to shine but that clearly wasn’t the case as unfortunate as that is.
Taking away the experienced developers and designers from MEA then placing them in the Anthem team should have near enough guaranteed an epic game, a thrilling experience that would have you hooked from the beginning, sadly this wasn’t the case. Anthem faced many troubles throughout its production, placing more and more pressure on Bioware to get the job done. Yet they never truly did perfect the game that was being dubbed the Destiny killer. Bungies title still remains king in this department, Anthem failed to deliver on many of its promises particularly the end game content which was actually a main selling point as Destiny 2 also failed in that department.
When making promises to the fans it is crucial that you follow through with them or at least have clear indication of attempting to keep your word, disregarding any promises and claims is a good way of getting the fans to shout, scream and turn their backs on you before the journey truly begins. Anthem had one the worst launch days for several years in the gaming world, not what Bioware or EA was expecting, certainly not the response you want to an online game that heavily relies on a large player base.
As a huge Bioware fangirl I was honestly excited about Anthem, even more so after realising the geniuses who worked on Mass Effect and Dragon Age were going to be the ones handling it, how could this possibly go wrong? The answer is, several ways. I do feel the need to point how incredible the world truly is, the aesthetics of this game are very pleasing, truly a pleasure to look at and explore. The designs of the javelins are great, as are all the customisable elements of the game, from armour to weapons and sub weapons. Anthem was by no means a disaster, it simply fell in the middle of the pack, unable to truly grip a vast amount of players.
I’ve already mentioned the lack of end game content, another element that received negative comments was the heavy need to play this game co-operatively. Not everyone wants to team up for their story missions Bioware, while it’s possible not to do this it makes your life a lot easier if you do. Whereas in Bungies Destiny franchise you are able to complete missions solo without a fire team and no face overwhelming odds or puzzles designed for more than one person. While I can see what Bioware was going for it is never a good idea to almost force your player base into co-op when there is a chance they would rather handle their business alone. There was also a lack of content for anything other story missions, sure there are expeditions but what is new about that, Destiny has strikes which is where Bioware got their idea from. Honestly it was a wasted opportunity, there was so much more that could be done with this game, perhaps future DLC will give more variety in the content available.
DLC is important for games like this, therefore it would be in Biowares best interest to actually produce the DLC they have promised as opposed to pulling another move like they did with Andromeda. So what if your game wasn’t received so well to begin use the DLC as an opportunity to redeem yourself, the cancellation of Andromedas DLC confirmed to the hateful fans that it wasn’t worth the money, as well as disappointing the fans who supported the game ultimately causing them to think that their opinions were invalid and that they were not worth the effort. History should not be repeated, prove yourselves Bioware don’t throw the towel in, Anthem has got the foudnations to be a brilliant game, decent DLC could very well propel it to the next level.
Another issue many people faced at launch was being unable to actually get into the game, not exactly ideal. This undoubtedly hurt Anthem beyond that single day, many gamers were waiting to see how well the game would be received, imagine their reactions to seeing people failing to even enter the world. This prevented more sales of the game, even though that probably was resolved the damage was already done for some players at least. Granted Anthems online issues were nothing in comparison to Bethesdas Fallout 76 which is still being plagued by problems all these months after release! At least the Anthem team have been on top of bugs and server issues resolving them in quick time. This is great, it doesn’t solve the issues people have with the game itself though.
Perhaps my biggest concern isn’t even to do with Anthem, rather it is to do with the future of one of my favourite video game franchises, Dragon Age. We know a new Dragon Age game was in the line up but given how poorly Anthem has done we could be about to lose Bioware all together should EA decide to cut them loose entirely, Bioware Montreal was closed down following Andromeda. I need a new Dragon Age game, the first three were brilliant much like Mass Effect. There is an army of Dragon Age fans out there who would be devastated at having to miss out on a new game thanks to the developer dropping the ball on a different IP, I am one of those people.
Dragon Age 4 could be the saving grace Bioware needs, assuming they learn from their past mistakes. Keep the core team from the previous instalments together, do not change what works. We all thought it was impossible to ruin Mass Effect yet for many fans Andromeda did ruin it (I on the other hand enjoyed Andromeda for what it was), therefore Bioware should realise they can’t ruin yet another IP through handling the new title over to a bunch of newly hired, newly qualified developers and designers, DO NOT REPEAT THIS MISTAKE AGAIN PLEASE! Once can be forgivable, twice is digging your own grave.
What do you think? Has Anthem really ruined Bioware or are they going to bounce back with Dragon Age 4?