Ever since BioWare’s Anthem launched – and even in the months preceding it as players heard troubling rumours about the project – there has been one consistent question: What happened? Since launch, there have been performance issues, bugs, loot drop problems, and so much more that continue to hound the game. Many still look back at the E3 2017 demo and wonder how and why the game played so differently.
According to a report by Kotaku’s Jason Schreier titled “How BioWare’s Anthem Went Wrong,” it’s because the game was still in pre-production at the time. Schreier spoke to 19 people who either worked on the game or adjacent to it, and the demo was described as “mostly guesswork” due to progressing being so slow. One developer said, “After E3, that’s when it really felt like, ‘Okay, this is the game we’re making.’
“But it still felt like it took a while to get the entire team up to speed. It was also kind of tricky because there were still a lot of question marks. The demo was not actually built properly—a lot of it was fake, like most E3 demos. There was a lot of stuff that was like, ‘Oh are we actually doing this? Do we have the tech for that, do we have the tools for that? To what end can you fly? How big should the world be?’”
At that point, another developer noted, the abilities and such was still being decided. “Nothing was set in stone at that point at all.” A third developer noted, “Going out of pre-production is never really a crisp thing. You have to just look at the attitude of the team and what they’re doing. The fact of the matter is, fundamental things were not figured out yet.” Even more concerning is the fact that when Anthem was slated at the time to launch in Fall 2018, BioWare hadn’t even created one mission for the game. Of course, Anthem would be subsequently delayed to 2019.
Schreier’s piece is well worth the read. It talks about Anthem’s original setting and story, the survival-oriented gameplay that it was originally going for, how flying was removed and re-added several times, and so on. In the midst of current problems with the game, stay tuned on more information regarding fixes from BioWare.