Earlier today a detailed report by Kotaku’s Jason Schreier revealed that Anthem’s seven-year development had been turbulent, lacking focus from its leadership, and took a heavy toll on the BioWare staff working on it. The studio has now responded with its own statement.
In an anonymous blog post, BioWare made special mention that the studio “wholeheartedly stand behind every current and former member of our team that worked on the game, including leadership,” and chose not to participate in Schreier’s report on the basis that it had an “unfair focus on specific team members and leaders.”
BioWare did not, as the statement reads, “want to be part of something that was attempting to bring them down as individuals.”
The statement goes on to effectively condemn Schreier’s findings as undermining the “passion and energy” BioWare’s team put into the development of Anthem.
“The creative process is often difficult. The struggles and challenges of making video games are very real. But the reward of putting something we created into the hands of our players is amazing. People in this industry put so much passion and energy into making something fun. We don’t see the value in tearing down one another, or one another’s work. We don’t believe articles that do that are making our industry and craft better.”
Some of the rhetoric there is certainly at odds with Schreier’s report, which suggests BioWare’s staff were overworked and exhausted from hours of overtime.
According to his findings, the studio’s reliance on crunch during the final year of a game’s development, dubbed “BioWare magic,” had become a theme over the past two or three projects. Many of the staff apparently felt this was an unsustainable and unreasonable model for making games.
The fallout from Anthem’s poor critical reception has further dented BioWare’s reputation following the lukewarm success of its previous game, Mass Effect Andromeda. The studio was hoping to quickly put Anthem back on track after commencing its live service, but recent updates haven’t steadied the ship. In some cases, they’ve even made it worse.
The pressure now continues to mount on BioWare to turn Anthem around before this high-profile failure damages the studio’s reputation beyond repair.