James Ohlen says that shortcomings will be a chance for Bioware “to learn some lessons”.
A lot has been riding on BioWare’s Anthem, a shared world shooter that combines loot-grinding and games-as-a-service elements into one giant package. We’ve heard stories about the developer doubling down on it, which were exacerbated by its delay, but production has seemingly been going smoothly.
Nonetheless, given the amount of pressure on the developer, one has to wonder if Anthem’s failure or missing sales targets in a hypothetical scenario could cause trouble for the studio. According to former BioWare designer James Ohlen, who worked at the company for 22 years before retiring, that’s not quite the case.
Ohlen has worked on numerous projects for the developer, like Baldur’s Gate, Star Wars: The Old Republic and so on. Speaking to Game Informer, he shared his views on whether Anthem’s failure could spell the end for BioWare.
“I think EA is looking for BioWare to be a long-term part of the company,” he said. “I think EA really respects what BioWare brings to it. BioWare is a lot different than all the other aspects of its business, so even if Anthem doesn’t do as well – and I think it’s going to be great – but if it doesn’t do gangbusters I don’t think that’s the end of BioWare. I think it will simply be a chance for BioWare to learn some lessons and apply it to the next game that comes out.”
EA has a rather damning reputation for shuttering studios if things aren’t going as planned. BioWare Montreal was effectively gutted when Mass Effect: Andromeda underperformed last year, while Visceral Studios was closed and its upcoming Star Wars project cancelled. Anthem is a much bigger deal in terms of scope and maintenance, so we’ll have to wait and see how far it goes.
Anthem is out on February 22nd 2019 for Xbox One, PS4 and PC.