EA’s CEO, Andrew Wilson, has acknowledged that Anthem has been rather disappointing since launch during a recent interview with GameDaily.biz, but also feels that the IP is “compelling enough” to stick with it (for now), stating that it still has the potential to be transformed into “something special”.
Since before launch Anthem has been riddled with issues, both technical and commercial. From promising a multitude of mechanics and gameplay that simply never made it into the actual game, to the recent exposure of the studio’s intense “Bioware magic” belief that saw the developer “going with the flow” until the last possible minute only to transition into a crazy crunch-session in hopes that everything would just “fall into place”. Put simply Anthem has been a train wreck from the start, so I guess it’s cool that EA’s CEO is finally admitting that?
According to Andrew Wilson, a major issue Anthem has run into is the challenge of bringing together two very different player-bases; the hardcore single player community and those that live for the online, multiplayer looter-shooter. Among other things, Anthem has suffered from an identity issue. Not knowing which direction to take your IP while trying to appease two different groups of gamers is not a position anyone would want to put themselves in, and yet here you are Andrew.
“The promise was we can play together, and that’s not working very well.”
“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,” Wilson said during the interview.
Wilson confirmed that even though Bioware has suffered some hard times, between Mass Effect: Andromeda and Anthem, their future is safe. Andrew even went so far as to compare Bioware to acclaimed film director, Steven Spielberg, stating that “not every Spielberg flick is a hit, but the man puts asses in seats.” While true, Spielberg also probably never promised a bunch of content that never made it into his films, so he’s got you there ‘Drew.
Wilson went on to highlight something that might be overlooked by the community; the audience has changed since the time of games like Baldur’s Gate, meaning EA and Bioware need to change with it. To an extent, he isn’t wrong. As video games, social climates, and gamers change over time, game studios need to as well if they hope to keep up with the times. That being said, it isn’t the change in audience that hurt Anthem, it’s the insane number of issues and false promises both Bioware and EA assured players wouldn’t be an problem or that said content would be included in the game.
“We’re going to have our core BioWare audience that’s been with us for a really long time. 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,” the CEO explained. “As a result of that, BioWare has to evolve and has to expand and has to test the elasticity of that brand. 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.”
Wilson truly believes the game has a strong enough foundation and the universe to be “compelling” enough to carry the new IP forward, defending the game by saying that Anthem is a game that “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.
Sure, that could absolutely be true. Look at Destiny. That game released to some very mixed reception and is now thriving with its own dedicated community. It’s possible Anthem could do the same thing, but it feels like this game has done more harm than they could come back from. Only time will tell, however, so for now, we’ll just have to take ‘Drew’s word for it.