Two pieces of news have come out in a short amount of time that seems to spell inauspicious news for BioWare. First of all, there’s an article over on Kotaku that hints at some of the BioWare developers feeling less than confident about the potential success of the Destiny 2-clone, Anthem; and there’s also confirmation that BioWare Edmonton had a talking to from controversial and stirring culture critic, Anita Sarkeesian.
In the Kotaku piece, it states that Anthem could be delayed all the way from the fall of 2018 to March, 2019 for PC and home consoles. The exact same delay that Mass Effect: Andromeda received, moving from fall of 2016 into March of 2017. We all know how that turned out.
But that’s not even the worst part about BioWare’s position: the developers who spoke to Kotaku fear that Anthem could be their last shot at redemption.
Electronic Arts cryo’d the Mass Effect brand, locking it in the vault of shame until they likely cook up a plan to reboot the series a decade from now. EA also shuttered BioWare Montreal and shuffled them off to the EA Motive studios.
BioWare is described in the piece as being both “optimistic” and “anxious” because they know if they screw up with Anthem, they may as well unscrew the bulbs and shut off the lights before the Metacritic scores roll in. Everyone sees the writing on the wall, even if there’s no writing in ink.
BioWare, in fact, is so desperate to make Anthem work, they’ve pulled anyone and almost everyone from each of their other projects to focus on the third-person, persistent online shooter. It’s an all or nothing drive toward the finish line at this point.
Now if in some way you’re convinced that this may save the game, think again. BioWare Edmonton also received a pep talk from Anita Sarkeesian on January 25th, 2018… yes, the same Sarkeesian who fabricated information about video games in the Tropes Vs Women series in order to demonize them, and the same Sarkeesian who harassed her arch rival at VidCon only for the VidCon organizers to apologize to her after she harassed Sargon of Akkad.
Yes, in today’s bizarro world, you can harass someone and others will apologize to you for harassing that person so long as you’re punching up on the “Progressive Stack”.
Around the same time as Kotaku’s article being published, Sarkeesian posted up the following tweet about her visit to the studio.
— Anita Sarkeesian (@anitasarkeesian) January 25, 2018
The collaboration between Sarkeesian and BioWare led many gamers down a path of deva ju, in which they were reminded of how the studio focused on Social Justice Warrior propaganda in Mass Effect: Andromeda, which helped contribute to the game tanking in sales.
The typical response to the tweet from the average gamer is that they’re afraid that this could be a death knell for BioWare.
The sentiment is that they fear BioWare will repeat with Anthem what happened with Mass Effect: Andromeda, where they focused more on hitting SJW talking points than making a compelling and fun game with a mature and complex story.
RIP Bioware. pic.twitter.com/gRE7k6vddR
— Rιℓєу Fσχнαят 🍥 (@n3koboyy) January 25, 2018
EA has been on a downward spiral since adopting a focus on sociopolitical propaganda in their games over making good games. Not only that, but even beyond attempting to appeal to Social Justice Warrior communities, the company has been ratcheting up their anti-consumer monetization practices, which netted them scorn from consumers and investigations from lawmakers.
The company is now in dire straits to deliver big on Anthem, or see yet another major AAA outing fall victim to its undoing at the hands of EA’s own poor decision making. The situation was outlined perfectly by YouTuber ClearPrinceGaming.
Of course, BioWare is now in a position where they must avoid putting the minority demographic of political activists above actual gamers, and must focus on delivering a game that isn’t heavy laden with anti-consumer microtransactions and loot boxes themed around turning hardcore gamers into gambling addicts.
It seems like this should be a common sense direction for any developer, but in today’s age too many studios are intent on losing money in favor of pushing their ideological messages front and center, all while the publishing heads are intent on milking gamers out of every dime and dollar they have.
We’ll likely get a better gauge of what sort of quality we can expect from Anthem when E3 rolls around.