Anthem (opens in new tab) is probably already gathering dust in your game library, and after it was noticeably absent from EA's E3 2019 (opens in new tab) line-up, most of us assumed it would be allowed to die quietly from neglect. EA's CEO Andrew Wilson wants to prove the haters wrong and is still backing developer Bioware to make magic out of the mess.
"If I think about Anthem on a seven to ten-year cycle, it may not have had the start that many of us wanted, including our players," he told GameDaily.biz (opens in new tab) "I feel like that team is really going to get there with something special and something great because they've demonstrated that they can."
As far as Wilson is concerned, the mix of characters and Javelin suits is still compelling, and that "IP lives for generations, and runs in these seven to ten-year cycles." EA is ready to keep investing in the game, and Bioware, to help it reach its compelling potential. As for what went wrong with the initial release, he thinks it was a case of two different types of players wanting two very different things from the game.
"One was traditional Bioware story-driven content, and the other was this action-adventure type content. About the 30 or 40 hour mark [players] really had to come together and start working in on the elder game," he explained.
"At that point everyone kind of went, ‘Oh, hang a minute.’ Now the calculation is off. It's off because I've got a friend who sits in this other category of player. They want to play the game a certain way. I want to play the game a certain way. The promise was we can play together, and that's not working very well."
The end result? Players who wanted "100 hours of Bioware story" don't get that, and players who want to see the endgame play out like Destiny's don't get that either. Wilson seems to promise that it doesn't mean the end for Bioware, but it sounds like it does mean big changes.
"There are kids today who are 12 years old who weren't around when Bioware started making games… and they have different expectations of what a Bioware game should be in the context of the world they've grown up in. As a result of that, Bioware has to evolve and has to expand and has to test the elasticity of that brand," he says.
"The teams at Bioware will continue to come to work every day and listen to their players old and new and seek to deliver on the promises they've made to those players. That's what you're seeing with Anthem today."
Anthem isn't beyond redemption (opens in new tab), but it is fighting an uphill battle - and it's clearly going to be a long one.