Anthem Was The Result Of BioWare Completely Breaking Down
In February 2019, BioWare (the studio that gave us Mass Effect and Dragon Age) released their latest sci-fi epic, Anthem, a loot-em-up in which players in powered suits fly around a jungle planet shooting aliens in the face. With its heady blend of Pacific Rim and Uncharted, there was no reason this game couldn't have been a new classic, the yardstick against which all future AAARPGFPSMMOs would be measured, instead of by the length of their initials, as is the current system.
Things did not work out that way. Upon its release, Anthem was panned by both critics and players. According to Metacritic, it's currently the worst game that BioWare has ever made. Yes, even worse than the Lovecraftian nightmare generator Mass Effect: Andromeda.
Electronic ArtsWell this sure puts some spice in the half-hearted sex scenes.
It's not entirely surprising that Anthem turned out this way, though. When Jason Schreier of Kotaku interviewed over a dozen developers who'd worked on the game, it came out that BioWare wasn't so much a studio as it was a tinderbox of bad management, technical misfires, and mental trauma.
Despite first being teased in 2012, Anthem didn't enter actual development until 2017. That's because for the longest time, no one knew what they wanted the game to be. Management meetings about things like the plot or mechanics would often end in a stalemate where nothing got decided. It wasn't until 18 months before Anthem was due to be released that BioWare decided to get its act together, which led to them asking a studio veteran to step in and do whatever it took to get the game out the door.
Electronic ArtsIn their defense, BioWare had no experience whatsoever building a third-person shooter with aliens. Clearly, some trial and error was to be expected.
The technology that the team was using didn't help. As a subsidiary of EA, BioWare was asked to develop Anthem using Frostbite, an engine created by EA. The only problem was that no one at BioWare had any experience with Frostbite. As a result, the team soon found themselves having to cut content, because while they could eventually finagle Frostbite into doing its job, there wasn't enough time to do it with every single feature they'd envisaged.
With a working environment more hostile than anything they'd managed to program, it wasn't long before the team started breaking down. In the two years that Anthem was (properly) in development, BioWare saw dozens of employees -- some of whom had been with the company for decades -- resigning for greener pastures. Or at least pastures where everyone could agree that pastures should probably have some form of grass.