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Default Anthem - How it went wrong @ Kotaku

April 2nd, 2019, 21:34
Jason Schreier says Bioware is a studio in a crisis:

How BioWare's Anthem Went Wrong

It wasn't even supposed to be called Anthem. Just days before the annual E3 convention in June of 2017, when the storied studio BioWare would reveal its newest game, the plan had been to go with a different title: Beyond. They'd even printed out Beyond T-shirts for the staff.

Then, less than a week before the Los Angeles press conference held by BioWare's parent company, Electronic Arts, word came down that securing the rights to the trademark would be too difficult. Beyond was ruled out. The leadership team quickly switched to one of their backup options, Anthem. But whereas Beyond had been indicative of what BioWare hoped the game would be--you'd go out beyond the walls of your fort and into the dangerous wilds around you--Anthem didn't really mean much.
[…]
This account of Anthem's development, based on interviews with 19 people who either worked on the game or adjacent to it (all of whom were granted anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about Anthem's development), is a story of indecision and mismanagement. It's a story of technical failings, as EA's Frostbite engine continued to make life miserable for many of BioWare's developers, and understaffed departments struggled to serve their team's needs. It's a story of two studios, one in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and another in Austin, Texas, that grew resentful toward one another thanks to a tense, lopsided relationship. It's a story of a video game that was in development for nearly seven years but didn't enter production until the final 18 months, thanks to big narrative reboots, major design overhauls, and a leadership team said to be unable to provide a consistent vision and unwilling to listen to feedback.

Perhaps most alarming, it's a story about a studio in crisis. Dozens of developers, many of them decade-long veterans, have left BioWare over the past two years. Some who have worked at BioWare's longest-running office in Edmonton talk about depression and anxiety. Many say they or their co-workers had to take "stress leave"--a doctor-mandated period of weeks or even months worth of vacation for their mental health. One former BioWare developer told me they would frequently find a private room in the office, shut the door, and just cry. "People were so angry and sad all the time," they said. Said another: "Depression and anxiety are an epidemic within Bioware."
[…]
-> Bioware's answer.

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April 2nd, 2019, 21:39
As I have said many times, bioware should be put out of its misery. And in my opinion, it should have been done ages ago. When the co-founders left, the bioware studio games went to hell, funny how that works. It wasn't a coincidence.

The Anthem disaster may finally do it, which, ironically, would be the best thing to come out of Anthem.
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April 2nd, 2019, 22:03
Despite BioWare developers claiming EA had nothing to do with the games development I wonder? It was launched to early in bad state and a month later it's still broke.

Don t get me started on the prices of the cosmetic crap. It's also a safe bet to say it did not sell over 4 million either as foretasted by EA. Do I smell more layoff's in the future?
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Last edited by Couchpotato; April 2nd, 2019 at 22:16.
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April 2nd, 2019, 22:09
Who decides that the studio is in crisis? The masses (Twitter)? I don't think any studio official commented on the sales numbers yet, or did they?
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April 2nd, 2019, 22:14
Originally Posted by ilm View Post
Who decides that the studio is in crisis? The masses (Twitter)? I don't think any studio official commented on the sales numbers yet, or did they?
The game is basically a Bargain Bin offer at most stores. It's practicality being given away just like Fallout 76. The stock isn't selling either. I can't comment on digital sales.

Fact is Anthem is BioWare's worst rated game. Not even close to Andromeda which I enjoyed. Maybe it's time for BioWare to go back to SP RPG's with multiplayer optional.

Link - https://www.reddit.com/r/AnthemTheGa…relaunch_of_a/
It's pretty scary how hard these points hit BioWare. Every single one of them can directly relate to Anthem.
  • An unhealthy obsession with graphical quality.
It should be obvious that's where most of the time and money went when it comes to Anthem. Not to mention performance is still very shaky because of it. They threw everything at how the game looked (and then had to strip most of it away). Instead of focusing on the core, fundamentals of the game.
  • A lack of 'genre' knowledge by the developers.
BioWare have never really done anything like this and it shows. They get even the very basic fundamentals of a looter rpg wrong, or are completely missing the basest of systems necessary for the genre (stats screen). Not to mention the emaciated end-game and loot situation. Heck, they somehow didn't even get the RPG aspects down, despite experience with Mass Effect, SWTOR, and Dragon Age. How?!?
  • The belief that everything can be fixed in future patches.
BioWare have said repeatedly that they are taking 'small steps' (patches) in order to reach an end-goal for a system or issue, in order to monitor how each change affects the game. That approach is simply not working and before the game gets to any 'okay' state through these small patches, the game will be dead. Anthem needs some major reconstructive surgeries, not a thousand band-aids that cause another thousand cuts.
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April 2nd, 2019, 22:21
It's getting to be a familiar story now: EA executives are ignoring their development teams; chaos ensues. At some point they'll hopefully spin off their RPG division, and perhaps then, with the right leadership, it can recover. If not, they are headed for the corporate dustbin.
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April 2nd, 2019, 22:26
It's actually a very good, if lengthy, article. I read the whole thing. If people want to know why Bioware seems to be messing up a lot lately, it will illuminate you (mismanagement, poor communication, rivalries between different branches of the studio, no vision = all of these factors led to many of the top developers in different expertise fields to leave the company, which then just feeds upon itself in a negative loop)
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April 2nd, 2019, 22:29
Yes, they do not paint a pretty picture. I know technically the studios are not the same, but I loved Andromea and it is ranked pretty high up for me.

Even more so because of:
Mass Effect: Andromeda was in development for five years, but by most accounts, BioWare built the bulk of the game in less than 18 months. This is the story of what happened.
I must say it is pretty impressive what they achieved in only 1.5 years :-)

From another (old) Kotaku article on MEA:
https://kotaku.com/the-story-behind-…ive-1795886428
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April 2nd, 2019, 23:45
Let me preface this by saying that Anthem is by no means a perfect game, I'd rate it around 7.5/10, give or take. But its biggest problem was being made by a company called EA, which is widely hated and boycotted and will always be even if they one day come up with the cure to cancer and the phial of immortality.

Anthem made by any other company, especially the mediocre ones that keep being praised beyond their merits only because their games are flooded with unsmokeable walls of text (insert inXile, Obsidian, and a long etc) would be treated as a treasure to mankind.

We all understand. EA uses hard DRM, microtransactions, and a whole array of things we hate as gamers, and so we're all waiting around the corner with a club to bash them in the head at each opportunity.

Let's all take advantage of it now, then, since criticising these people who by the way, the vast majority are normal workers with an actual career that wanna feed their families, is completely fine.
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April 3rd, 2019, 00:20
Bioware's (bEAware) response to this article:

https://www.pcgamesn.com/anthem/anthem-bioware

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April 3rd, 2019, 00:29
Sad statement of affairs… People with higher pay or those who are desperately in need of the job/pay will probably defend EA/Bioware to death (until they lose job themselves).

In every company, no matter how terrible, there are some passionate, hard working people - all the best to these employees.

I wonder if DA4 will be released at all now. I know there are people who enjoyed ME:A (and maybe even Anthem) but with all these controversies and pretty horrific ratings, I'm not sure if Bioware will survive for long.
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April 3rd, 2019, 01:04
Originally Posted by Nereida View Post
Let me preface this by saying that Anthem is by no means a perfect game, I'd rate it around 7.5/10, give or take. But its biggest problem was being made by a company called EA, which is widely hated and boycotted and will always be even if they one day come up with the cure to cancer and the phial of immortality.

Anthem made by any other company, especially the mediocre ones that keep being praised beyond their merits only because their games are flooded with unsmokeable walls of text (insert inXile, Obsidian, and a long etc) would be treated as a treasure to mankind.

We all understand. EA uses hard DRM, microtransactions, and a whole array of things we hate as gamers, and so we're all waiting around the corner with a club to bash them in the head at each opportunity.

Let's all take advantage of it now, then, since criticising these people who by the way, the vast majority are normal workers with an actual career that wanna feed their families, is completely fine.
Complete and utter horseshit.

First, yes people don't like microtransactions but Anthem would suck hard and long, even if it had zero microtransactions. But saying people don't like EA because of "DRM" is utterly ridiculous, there are plenty of insanely-highly-praised AAA games out there that have DRM.

Second, EA makes plenty of games that are praised, not just on this site but on the internet at large, including DA:I just over 4 years ago.

Third, saying companies like inXile and Obsidian are over-praised is also pretty nutty. inXile's last game has a Metacritic score of 71 and in fact got a pretty bad review on this very site you're writing on. Obsidian's last game got a good Metacritic score, but by most accounts, that's because it was actually pretty good. Despite that, plenty of people here on this site don't like it and don't hesitate to say it.

No, the reason people say Anthem sucks is because Anthem really does suck. And your EA apologist narrative isn't gonna change that.
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April 3rd, 2019, 01:49
As a former Bioware fanboi who greatly enjoyed every single game they made from Baldur's Gate I through Andromeda (with the exception of the Old Republic MMO which I didn't like), hopefully this will get them to "circle the wagons" to pull back from lofty ambitions of multi-player and take their time to make another good fully-single-player game.
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April 3rd, 2019, 02:04
Originally Posted by Nereida View Post
Let me preface this by saying that Anthem is by no means a perfect game, I'd rate it around 7.5/10, give or take. But its biggest problem was being made by a company called EA, which is widely hated and boycotted and will always be even if they one day come up with the cure to cancer and the phial of immortality.

Anthem made by any other company, especially the mediocre ones that keep being praised beyond their merits only because their games are flooded with unsmokeable walls of text (insert inXile, Obsidian, and a long etc) would be treated as a treasure to mankind.

We all understand. EA uses hard DRM, microtransactions, and a whole array of things we hate as gamers, and so we're all waiting around the corner with a club to bash them in the head at each opportunity.

Let's all take advantage of it now, then, since criticising these people who by the way, the vast majority are normal workers with an actual career that wanna feed their families, is completely fine.
Not buying this attitude at all. Apex Legends was EA and Respawn, a very similar type game released around the same time, and it has great gamer reviews. Anthem is just bad and it shows.
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April 3rd, 2019, 02:12
It's a Bioware/Electronic Art's property, the better question would be how could have it ever gone well? I quite enjoyed some of their past titles, but that was over a decade ago, and I'm ok with that.
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April 3rd, 2019, 04:12
Anthem is an unfinished game. Full stop.

It's obvious by playing. The combat, flying and graphics are great. The rest is an unfinished mess.
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April 3rd, 2019, 05:10
LOL, folks blaming this one on EA didn't read the article. Sure, it is kinda EA's fault for making them use the Frostbite engine and focusing so much on graphics but goddammit, man, Bioware sucked hard here. Their management is full of complete imbeciles. Bioware's management is 80% do blame for the whole situation.
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April 3rd, 2019, 05:26
Sounds like their whole Edmonton studio is just showing up for paychecks at this point, and there's no real inspiration or vision behind anything at all. (The article makes it sound like the Austin studio may actually know what they're doing, though)

According to the article it took them 5 years of jerking around to even figure out how this game was going to play: from the release of ME3 (March 2012) up until Patrick Soderland flew in from Sweden around April/May of 2017 and approved the new, flying-based demo they'd hastily put together over the previous 6 weeks.
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April 3rd, 2019, 05:26
Wrong?

Seems to me it went just right.
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April 3rd, 2019, 05:44
Damn, I sort of wish Dart was here for this. The butthurt would be palpable.

In all seriousness though, I played the demo and didn't think it was bad. I'm not a big fan of looter-shooters though, so it's not for me.
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