Shortly after the official release of the Cataclysm event, Anthem lead producer Ben Irving announces his intent to leave BioWare and work for another gaming company. Irving stops short of providing an actual explanation as to why he made this decision, but he feels certain that the online multiplayer action RPG's community is in good hands with EA global lead for its community Jesse Anderson and the Anthem global community lead Andrew Johnson.
Irving has worked at BioWare for over 8 years, having been the lead producer on Star Wars: The Old Republic as well as having his hands in every expansion that launched for the game from 2013's Rise of the Hutt Cartel to 2015's Knights of the Eternal Throne. His primary responsibilities on Anthem included the game's combat, enemies, gameplay, progression, and UI.
At the time of this writing, it's uncertain as to whom will assume Irving's responsibilities on Anthem, especially considering that Mark Darrah and Mike Gamble are both currently working on Dragon Age 4. Many may see Irving's departure as a death knell for the game, because while the Cataclysm event is a step in the right direction, leaps and bounds are required to get it where the community, and likely BioWare, want it to be.
(1/3) After 8 amazing years at BioWare I have made the decision to move on and have accepted an exciting opportunity at another gaming company. Since the first time I played Baldurs Gate many many years ago, BioWare was the dream place I always wanted to work.— Ben Irving (@BenIrvo) August 15, 2019
(2/3) I will forever be grateful to all the people who gave me the chance to work on great products with amazing people. I believe Anthem has a bright future - there is a great team working on it and I look forward to following its progress (and playing it!) from the sidelines.— Ben Irving (@BenIrvo) August 15, 2019
(3/3) I have really enjoyed interacting with the Anthem community - Streams, Twitter and Reddit. Through the good times and the tough times. You all are in great hands with @Darokaz and @UNTDrew (and have been for some time now). I wish nothing but the best for all of you. Ben.— Ben Irving (@BenIrvo) August 15, 2019
The next uncertainty aside from Anthem is where Irving is going. That'll likely be announced in the coming days or weeks, but one remote possibility is The Initiative. Microsoft's secret development team recently hired a former Anthem dev, Ryan Duffin, which has acquired a number of developers with a diverse set of skills. Of course, very few outside Irving himself are likely in the know as to where he is going.
Ultimately, it remains to be seen how Irving's departure will affect Anthem. Both BioWare and publisher Electronic Arts have both echoed a devotion to the game in the pasts months, with BioWare still devoted to Anthem, and EA saying that it'll be something great. So, it'll be interesting to see how these commitments hold up in light of the game's most recent shake-up.
Anthem is out now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.