EA’s premier development studio BioWare is in dire straits. Its latest game, Mass Effect: Andromeda, was poorly received, and we recently discovered the studio would have gone under a long time ago had it not been bought by EA. To say the studio’s future is riding on its upcoming RPG Anthem would be an understatement. But, according to BioWare general manager Casey Hudson, the studio has learned its mistakes, especially those regarding Andromeda’s storytelling, and is ready to create the kind of experience gamers want from a BioWare RPG.
For all of Mass Effect: Andromeda’s failings, it was still an ambitious game. The story, while mostly self-contained, left several questions unanswered. According to Hudson’s recent blog post, there was a “significant movement among players” for story DLC that would resolve these dangling plot threads, but because of the game’s negative reception, EA cancelled all future Mass Effect: Andromeda DLC as well as future Mass Effect games. Hudson claims this decision was “as frustrating for us as it was for players,” but it was also the kick in the pants the studio needed.
While Hudson doesn’t go into any explicit details, he claims the cancellation of Mass Effect: Andromeda’s DLC was a “defining moment” for BioWare, especially in regards to the worldbuilding of Anthem:
“We need to delight players with new experiences and innovation, but we must stay focused on the importance of the world, character, and storytelling elements that players expect from our games. And our games must be designed to continue delivering new stories and experiences, in an ongoing relationship with players in the worlds we’re evolving together.”
Even though Anthem was originally slated for this year, it has been pushed back to 2019, which will hopefully give BioWare enough time to deliver a story that “will be unlike anything you’ve ever played” but is still “very distinctly BioWare.” Only time will tell if BioWare can deliver the kind of experience that made gamers fall in love with the studio in the first place, because if Anthem fails like Mass Effect: Andromeda did, BioWare could easily go the way of Visceral Games and Mythic Entertainment.