When I flew in January 2019, I was optimistic BioWareis headquartered in Austin, Texas. I was invited to test Anthem, the studio took on the looter-shooter in the live service before it got into players’ hands. I was immediately impressed with the polish of the demon, running through the levels as Iron Man in my Javelin suit and blasting bugs with elemental weapons. I was sure of it at the time Anthem it would be a generation-defining title that countless future AAA games would have to emulate. It turns out that most of them did. Even if it shouldn’t be.

At the time, BioWare’s pedigree as one of the best RPG artists in the business thanks to their masterpieces. Mass effect trilogy, Knights of the Old Republic, and Dragon Age Origins –probably changed my mind a bit. Of course, 2017 Mass Effect Andromeda it was not said fully loved on release and he lived a troubled five years development cycle, but I hoped that BioWare had learned its lesson by this point.

But when the demo was released to the public a few weeks later, five minute loading screens and the cart flies dashed my hopes. When you can enter the game, Anthem players had to control Freelancers who controlled one of four Javelins, participating in missions that involved either killing bugs and aliens or building towers. This gameplay loop got boring quickly, and the loot needed to farm forced you to power up, making the chore even more boring. There was no serious reason to play outside the flight.

The game’s technical limitations and poor gameplay were symptoms of a troubled five-year run development period saw the creative team change directions, lose dozens of employees, and rebuild the concept from scratch multiple times. EA and BioWare a several patches adding seasonal content over the next year and fixing some game-breaking bugs and audio issues. But that wasn’t enough to get the game going.

March launch trailer

General Manager of BioWare Casey Hudson He wrote in a February 2020 blog post Anthem He intended to achieve a “fundamental reinvention”. But the hopes raised by this announcement were dashed in February 2021, when BioWare studio director Christian Dailey revealed it. another blog that development Anthem ended well.

Five years later, Anthem’etc more forgotten, fallen into line cleaning dishes and memories of the one-time hopes it could have hadFate killer.” The servers are still online, but since EA controls them, there’s no telling how many Freelancers are still hunting Urgoths in the never-ending chaos of Cataclysm.

Over the past decade, we’ve seen a massive rise in live-action games with huge AAA budgets shutting down after failing to find an audience. For each multi-million dollar claimant Fortnite or League of LegendsThere are countless flops like Space Punks, Crossfire Xor Paragon. These titles require studios to ramp up staff, spend eye-watering amounts of money, and hope that the trend will still be profitable and popular two to three years from now. according to recent industry survey, currently has over 500 live service games in development or maintenance.

Some studios are finally learning that live service isn’t always guaranteed money, and in retrospect Anthem it feels like an early symptom of the carnage we are seeing now. Bandai Namco recently bought it a major financial blow after that Genshin-whom Blue protocol could not gather interest. Warner Bros. said their recently released marauder shooter Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League “It fell short of our expectations.” Last year, Sony Naughty Dog has announced that it has postponed six of its planned 12 live service titles, including Our last multiplayer gameit was later officially canceled at the end of 2023. on February 27, Game station England laid off about 1,000 people, including a team working on an unannounced program at Studio Firesprite. Twisted Metal live service project.

We’ve reached a point in the gaming industry where trends move faster than development cycles and the results are disastrous. Often, as we can see from the staggering number of layoffs in 2024, it’s ordinary people, rank-and-file developers, who pay the price. Anthem could have been a warning, but unfortunately it was ignored.