Following a substantial amount of pre-release hype and excitement, Anthem has ultimately not been the game most fans were expecting due to various issues, studio hardships, and gameplay problems. While BioWare continues to work on fixing the game and making general improvements, much of the promised post-launch DLC has been delayed indefinitely. Naturally, this news, along with critical and commercial disappointment, has caused concern among players regarding the overall life span of Anthem, whose future has become even murkier following the latest news out of BioWare.
Over the past couple of weeks, key members of the Anthem development team have been moved off of the game and put back on Dragon Age 4. This exodus includes lead director Jonathan Warner, lead producer Michael Gamble, and executive producer Mark Darrah, who revealed as much over his personal Twitter account earlier this week. Warner has since taken a sabbatical to take care of a family emergency while Gamble confirmed he's no longer a contact for Anthem.
The optics on this sort of change where many of the development leads have departed isn't good for fans on the outside looking in, especially for a game that essentially needs all hands on deck. It could be argued that Darrah and Gamble were always intended to be temporary help on Anthem, as they were originally added to the team on an emergency basis to help get Anthem to its release date in February.
We aren't working on Dragon Age 3— Mark Darrah (@BioMarkDarrah) May 1, 2019
We aren't working on Dragon Age 5
I guess that's that.
Even with a good chunk of senior leadership departing, Mike Gamble later confirmed that lead producer Ben Irving and the head of live services Chad Robertson from BioWare Austin are the main points of contact going forward. Regardless, the news essentially confirms that Dragon Age 4 is now the main focus and priority for BioWare, potentially casting doubt on the long-term future and viability of Anthem.
The issues surrounding Anthem have been amplified in the past few weeks as journalists like Jason Schreier have shed light on Anthem's struggles in development as well as the troubled culture at BioWare in general. Anthem languished in development for seven years, crippled by leadership indecision, a lack of cohesion, and Frostbite engine struggles. The studio issues apparently go back as far as Dragon Age: Inquisition and then worsened considerably for Mass Effect Andromeda and beyond, where the games ultimately had to be rushed in the final 6-9 months in order to make the launch date.
As fans eventually discovered, the quality levels in these games dipped, leading many to hope that the work environment can change sooner than later to prevent Dragon Age 4 from following a similar path.
Anthem is available now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.