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Currently reading: Anthem Pushed Back to 2019 – Goodbye BioWare?

Anthem Pushed Back to 2019 – Goodbye BioWare?

An Exciting Project…

Anthem was first announced at E3 2017, and don’t get me wrong – at that time it seemed very hype worthy. The gameplay reveal looked pretty great and what Anthem‘s game director (Jonathan Warner) told us, made Anthem seem like a huge step in the right direction for BioWare.

Anthem Banner

Anthem is a brand new IP, (BioWare‘s first since 2009, Dragon Age: Origins) an action-RPG and is developed by BioWare. It’s a very ambitious project, as it offers players a huge world with plenty of customisation available. The player takes on the role of a Freelancer and explores this huge world via means of their personal ‘Javelins‘, which are heavily customisable exosuits.

But for me, the best news I’ve heard regarding this new title, is that Drew Karpyshyn is writing the story. He did a remarkable job of writing the Mass Effect stories. But, if we take look at everything that’s happened lately, it’s a lot less exciting.

In fact, it’s more worrying than anything else. From a recent report from Kotaku, their sources indicate that the original 2018 release date was hugely unrealistic, and that given BioWare‘s track record, a 2019 release is much more likely.

You also have to consider EA‘s position on this.

They’ve set so many unrealistic deadlines for many game releases. This always results in the release of broken games that are months away from being finished. Games that require heavy patches, and lots of them. The most recent example of that is Mass Effect: Andromeda.

 

A “Make or Break” Situation

In recent years, the quality delivered in BioWare‘s games has undeniably declined. Most recently, Mass Effect: Andromeda has shown us what rushing a game can do. That, along with leaving a game that should be purely story based, in the hands of an unfamiliar, multiplayer focused development team. What were they thinking?!

But, I suppose all hope isn’t lost just yet. They still have one chance to make things right, with Anthem. But considering EA are pushing so hard for micro-transactions every chance they get, Anthem will probably be a huge mess on the release date.

At the minute, I think EA are the most hated company in the gaming industry, and rightly so.

 

The Death of Visceral Games

Failure to release games in line with those unrealistic deadlines, doesn’t help at all. Just look at Visceral Games for proof of that. They were responsible for the brilliant Dead Space franchise. It’s worth mentioning that Dead Space and Dead Space 2 were incredible, and the only reason Dead Space 3 failed, was because EA got too involved.

Visceral Games

They messed around with the structure of the development team and pushed for a more multiplayer focused experience. Multiplayer has no place in the Dead Space universe, but for some reason; the not-so-clever folks at EA can’t get their ignorant heads around that. I wonder how they think these things up…

“Hmm, Dead Space and Dead Space 2 did really well and the fans love them. Let’s force the dev team down a road they don’t want to follow. We’ll also take everything that makes these horror games great, and replace it all with multiplayer. Everyone likes multiplayer and we want more money!”

Honestly, the only way to make these money-grabbing idiots change, is to stop helping them profit so easily. It’s so clear that multiplayer is not the only way for them to make money. I for one love story driven games. But as a result of EA‘s ignorance, Visceral Games are no more, and the Mass Effect franchise has been shelved indefinitely… Such a waste.

 

Bye Bye BioWare

I have to say, I like BioWare a lot. Excluding Mass Effect: Andromeda and the down right awful ending to Mass Effect 3, they’ve done some amazing work. But with everything that’s gone on lately, and now we see the slippery slope that Anthem is trying to climb, I have to ask; is BioWare about to die?

To answer that, we need to take a look at the studio and identify the problems.

BioWare Banner

As we all know, the gaming industry has evolved greatly over the last ten years or so. Now our games are laced with more micro-transactions than ever, and more content locked away behind paywalls.

All of this is – in large part – due to the greed of selfish publishers like EA, who’s only focus is profit. Because of this ‘lack of love’ from these publishers, talented development teams that we know can do great work, are finding their creative freedoms too heavily restricted. These heavy restrictions, coupled with the unrealistic deadlines given to our devs, are what is killing these otherwise astonishing games.

As a result, these would-be-amazing games are being reduced to and released as unfinished, glitch-filled disasters, who’s content is often locked away behind pay walls or released separately as DLC; which can often set you back another £40.00 if you’d like the ‘season pass’.

Electronic Arts Disaster

I don’t mean to sound like a grandpa here, but I remember when buying a game for £44.99 would get you the full game. This is hardly ever the case any more, and it’s such a shame. There are of course, a few examples of developers doing the right thing; showing a great appreciation for our hard earned money – money that keeps them in business and doing what they love.

 

A Selfless Act From Developers

One of those fine examples, is CD Projekt Red and their approach at the release of The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. I went into the town centre with my brother on the day of The Wicher III‘s release, and bought the Day One edition, along with the Season Pass. Now I rarely buy a season pass unless I have faith in the developer and the publisher; which is rare.

However, when I got home and opened the game, I was pleasantly surprised with a lovely note from the devs. This note reads:

“Dear Gamer,

 

First of all, we would like to thank you for your support. We really appreciate that you have decided to spend your hard-earned money on our game and hope that you will have fun playing it.

 

Over 200 of us have spent the last three years working on The Witcher III: Wild Hunt and it is with great pleasure and humility that we present our game to you.”

Now how many companies do you know that have done something like that? I know of none. When I read that note, I felt as though CD Projekt Red were a truly decent and honourable group of people that have a genuine passion for what they do.

 

A Welcomed Passion

As someone that has a real passion for gaming, in an industry that’s becoming more and more cold and heartless, reading that note was really quite heart warming. But wait, there’s more.

The note goes on to say:

“At CD Projekt Red, we believe that when you buy our games, you’re entitled to continuous, free support – updates, patches, and bits of new and amazing content. We owe you that for believing in us and purchasing our game.

 

To thank you, we have prepared something really special – 16 DLCs for you to download, totally free of charge, regardless of the platform or edition of the game you own.

 

We salute you for your support and wish you a fantastic next-generation of RPG gaming. CD Projekt Red.”

 

What a simple, yet wonderful thing for them to do. We need more of this in the gaming industry. If publishers would stop throwing so much red tape at the developers, everyone would benefit. The devs would be free to build the games the fans want, and the publishers would still make profit in the millions.

In fact, the irony of it is that they would likely end up making much more money! The devs would be happy and free to do what they love, the fans would then feel appreciated and be more eager to buy the games. Another plus for the publishers, is that they wouldn’t get all this bad press that’s flown around over the ridiculousness of Star Wars Battlefront II.

That brings us back to the theme of this article; GREED.

 

A Downward Trajectory

You’d have to be pretty oblivious to not realise that BioWare is on it’s last legs. In fact, they’ve been on a downward trajectory ever since they delivered the disappointing and hugely insulting ending to Mass Effect 3.

Mass Effect 3 Banner

The Mass Effect franchise was hugely successful and has one hell of a massive fan base. I myself have invested many hours into ME and ME2; only to have all of those hours, all of my hard work, and all of my choices rendered meaningless; as we were presented an ending that not only insulted the fans, but also betrayed everything the Mass Effect games stood for – choice and consequence.

What a kick in the balls! So many hours invested in those games, building up to what should have been an incredible, heart-wrenching ending. Instead, what they delivered was disgraceful. If you haven’t played it, I’ll tell you what all those hours of hard work ultimately came down to…

Red, Green or Blue. That’s literally it, just pick your favourite colour and that’s your ending.

So much for the promised “Wildly different endings”. Anything that would reflect the choices of the player over the course of these three games, simply didn’t exist. From then on, I’ve had no expectations of BioWare. Which is why I’ve given up playing Mass Effect: Andromeda, as it’s a pathetic excuse of a game.

I’ve played for over 16 hours and all I’ve encountered are “fetch quests” that do nothing major and just waste time. That, along with the occasional story driven moment, but those are short lived and undermined by all the rubbish in between.

 

Last Chance

With Anthem being pushed back to 2019, let’s hope they have the time and resources to knock this one out of the park. Because that’s what’s needed for them to stay in business. There’s only so many times you get to deliver a disaster before people give up on you.

With that, let’s hope that Electronic Arts takes a back seat every now and then, and lets the developers make the games they want.

 

What do you think about Anthem? Are you as disgusted with EA as I am? Let us know in the comments below, and as always, stick with GoneFullGeek for all your gaming news, and more.