Anthem is the second game in a row from BioWare to disappoint. The title has had a mostly negative reception, with diehard players encouraging a boycott after a well-received bug that increased loot drops was removed. Of course, the game faced many other issues including a level-1 rifle performing better than endgame loot and lack of cosmetics.

Many were wondering how BioWare released such as bare game, until now. Investigator reporter Jason Schreier spoke to 19 employees from BioWare, both former and current, anonymously about the development of Anthem. And it was not pretty.

The article extremely large and we encourage you to read it for yourself. We will touch on a few key points here but the bulk of information is on
Schreier’s article. There’s a lot of details about the development of Anthem, which was once called Beyond, and how mismanagement led to the final product.

First off, the game was plagued with many development issues following Casey Hudson’s temporary departure from BioWare. According to staff members, Hudson provided direction and leadership that gave his employees what Anthem was. The title didn’t start off as a looter shooter but became as a type of multiplayer survival game. The player and their team would venture into a hostile landscape using a required suit and attempt to survive.

The game would go through many different versions but it was clear from Schreier’s article that BioWare management made post-production incoherent mess. There were other issues such as the difficulty and requirement to use Frostbite coupled with a high-stress environment.

It was conveyed that BioWare employees wanted Dragon Age: Inquisition to fail since it was a product of mismanagement and crutch times. However, the title was a success and the following titles from BioWare would repeat the same process.

BioWare management would often fail to provide solid answers to what Anthem should be. This led to a massive decrease in morale to the point that staff members would find a private area to cry. During this period of Anthem’s development, many key members who created the Mass Effect and Dragon Age series would leave the company. BioWare also prevented the use of the term “Destiny” as a way to distinguish Anthem. It was noted that this was another mistake that prevented developers from learning from competitors who led in the concepts that would become Anthem.

What was truly shocking was the E3 2017 demo, it was faked.

“The demo was not actually built properly—a lot of it was fake, like most E3 demos. There was a lot of stuff that was like, ‘Oh are we actually doing this? Do we have the tech for that, do we have the tools for that? To what end can you fly? How big should the world be?’” 

This lack of direction and crutch time would catch up to the developers. The product was delayed in 2018 and then due on February 15th, 2019, and the studio went into overdrive. Missions that were intended to impede the player, such as the Challenges of the Legionnaires, were confirmed as intentional additions to increase the longevity of the game.

BioWare and EA did respond quickly to the article with a strange series of remarks. Stating that they put the “health and well-being” of the team members as a top priority. However, the statement doesn’t address many of the reports made by the anonymous people interviewed by Schreier.

It’s clear that the lack of leadership was Anthem’s downfall. The studio once beloved has fallen from grace and needs direction. Perhaps with Casey Hudson now at the helm order will be restored but clearly everything that could go wrong with Anthem indeed did.