Wilson acknowledged Anthem suffered due to being aimed at two very different types of gamers: “We brought together these two groups of players who were making this emotional value calculation on two different vectors. One was traditional BioWare story-driven content, and the other was this action-adventure type content. About the 30 or 40-hour mark they really had to come together and start working in on the elder game.
“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. Oh, by the way I’m used to 100 hours of BioWare story, and that’s not what I got.’ Or: ‘I expected that this game would have meaningfully advanced the action component that we’d seen in games like Destiny before, and I don’t feel like it has.’”
Wilson was adamant that EA remains committed to Anthem and is confident BioWare will turn it into something more compelling: “If we believed that at the very core the world wasn’t compelling for people, if we believed at the very core that the characters weren’t compelling for people, or the Javelin suits weren’t compelling, or traversing the world and participating in the world wasn’t compelling then, provided we hadn’t made promises to our players, we might not invest further. IP lives for generations and runs in these seven to ten-year cycles. So, 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. I feel like that team is really going to get there with something special and something great because they’ve demonstrated that they can.”
After Anthem launched to a conspicuous lack of critical acclaim, Kotaku ran an article shedding light on the woes BioWare faced when making it. That prompted BioWare to write a response, saying: “First and foremost, we wholeheartedly stand behind every current and former member of our team that worked on the game, including leadership. It takes a massive amount of effort, energy, and dedication to make any game, and making Anthem would not have been possible without every single one of their efforts. We chose not to comment or participate in this story because we felt there was an unfair focus on specific team members and leaders, who did their absolute best to bring this totally new idea to fans.”
The statement concluded: “Our full focus is on our players and continuing to make Anthem everything it can be for our community.” Given Anthem’s nature as a game-as-a-service which can be remodeled via updates, BioWare has a chance to improve it, as long as it has a clear vision of what needs to be done to it. In March, BioWare General Manager Casey Hudson wrote a blog post setting out immediate post-launch plans for the game, but the studio has remained quiet regarding progress made since.
The best source of Anthem-related news is BioWare’s blog.