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The past few years have not been kind to Bioware and their games. Mass Effect Andromeda and Anthem, the most recent releases by the studio were met with almost universal disdain. Mass Effect Andromeda performed so poorly that it received no DLC despite the ending of the game setting up for a story-line to discover the missing Quarian Arc.
Anthem was Bioware’s attempt at a loot-based third person shooter in which players piloted Iron Man-like mechs which were fully customizable. The game reportedly had a very troubled development cycle and upon release was met with as much criticism as Mass Effect Andromeda was. The biggest difference between the two games was that Andromeda was a full game on release, it had it’s issues and it’s bugs, of course but fans still had something to attempt to play. Anthem was suppose to be EA and Bioware’s next big hit with the games as a service strategy. The problem Anthem had was reminiscent of early Destiny 2, there wasn’t a whole lot to do. EA and Bioware were slow to roll out updates, slow to fix the problems the players had with the game and with increasingly mounting criticisms against the game it seemed as though all development just stopped. Anthem’s development team went silent and most assumed the game had been abandoned.
Or so we thought…rumors are starting to circulate that EA and Bioware want to try again and relaunch Anthem. A lot of the details are still a bit murky and nothing official has been announced but some sources are saying the project is being referred to as Anthem 2.0 and Anthem Next. Sources claim that it could be anywhere from a free update to the game that comes out all at once or over-time. It could also be released as an expansion or as an entirely new game.
It’s a risky proposition, but honestly it might be the only card Anthem has left to play. They can’t do much more than tank the game which is the direction it’s going anyhow. This play isn’t entirely unheard of either as Square Enix did the exact same thing with their hit MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV. It launched to mediocre reviews and after about a year online they ‘ended the world’ and brought the game back the next year as “Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn” and it’s been clear sailing since then.
There is a difference though in my eyes, Square Enix at the time had a much better track record with their fans than EA does and Bioware is EA at this point in most fans eyes, they retain only the shallow husk of the name. I don’t believe that there’s enough faith in EA or Bioware that if they were to re-boot and re-release the game that people would buy into it again. They especially couldn’t ask of their fans that already bought into Anthem to shell over more money, they’d have to get it for free. Speaking as a longtime Mass Effect fan and someone who was pumped on the idea behind Anthem, I certainly wouldn’t fork over any money to test out a failed game design version 2.0. But, at this point what does EA have to lose? Their recent strategy of putting out terrible or broken games that people desperately want until something sticks doesn’t seem to be slowing them down. In the end if Anthem 2.0 or Anthem Next does fail the juggernaut that is Electronic Arts will keep on going and it’ll likely be Bioware that ends up finally being laid to rest.
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