It’s no secret that Anthem had to overcome quite a few obstacles to make it to launch and, since going live, the team at BioWare has continued to struggle with in-game hardships. A recent report highlighting the game’s past, present and potential future, warts and all, has drawn ire from the developer in question. Unfortunately, it seems like BioWare has completely missed the point.
Over on Kotaku this morning, an article from Jason Schreier broke down what “went wrong” with Anthem. It’s a rather lengthy report that clearly required a lot of digging and sourced nearly 20 employees who worked on or closely with the Anthem team.
Schreier highlights a studio struggling to keep several plates spinning at once with the end goal being to make all of those disjointed balancing acts somehow rotate in unison. He begins by pointing out how even the name of the game was an odd issue, beginning life as “Beyond” and, mere days before the game’s announcement, the team had to switch the name to Anthem. That may seem like a small detail, but it serves as a sort of microcosm for the bigger issues at play, which Schreier’s report breaks down.
Along the way, you’ll read about how Anthem was developed as several moving parts that the team was expected to somehow pull together and make seamless right as launch approached. You’ll hear about how the team had to work with the Frostbite Engine despite difficulties they were having with it, as well as the numerous issues employees had with crunch.
In the end, we got a game that was not too well received by critics or the community, despite BioWare’s pedigree. And if you haven’t been following the game post-launch, you’ll also learn about the many continued issues Anthem is having that, again, continue to disappoint its players.
In response to this, BioWare offered its own blog post referencing the article and taking a shot at its content. There’s the usual dose of “we love our team, game and community” coupled with “designing a game is very hard,” followed by a conclusion that is nothing short of tone-deaf.
We don’t see the value in tearing down one another, or one another’s work. We don’t believe articles that do that are making our industry and craft better.
Give the article a read and make up your own conclusions, but what BioWare is basically saying here is that it is wrong to write a story that, with the help of multiple sources, tries to understand how a game coming from such a well-respected team could crumble under its own weight. The article highlights questionable development practices and topics like employee burnout. It shines a light on elements of the industry that should probably be avoided and, since BioWare is the topic, they think these points are harmful to the industry. The article held up a mirror and, not only did BioWare not like what it saw, the studio actually argues that questioning certain practices, rather than being guilty of them, is what’s bad for the games industry.