Anthem as a series may not be dead, but Anthem as a game definitely is. Unless you ask Kotaku, who has put out a piece in response to YouTube’s pronouncing the game is dead during the long period of silence following the abandonment of the road-map. Plus the departure of numerous top staff and Electronic Arts themselves remaining mum during investor calls about the games performance and even continued viability.
Why do we suspect this piece is a direct rebuttal to what YouTube channels have been saying about the game? Simply because Kotaku themselves cannot hide their bitterness and hatred towards them as they both name drop and offhandedly mention them twice.
Bioware, according to Kotaku, has a lot of plans. They plan to overhaul the entire game from the social systems to the quests and difficulty. It’ll have a new world map, overhauled lot system, and a structure so different it will practically be a new game.
“in Austin, Texas and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada—are quietly working on plans to overhaul the game.”
“ the game’s developers plan to overhaul the loot, the quests, the social aspects of the game, the difficulty, the progression system, and the world map. One person on the project said they’re planning to change the game’s entire structure.”
Plans don’t count for squat, especially when those plans lack a unifying vision.
It’s nice to say we’re going to have a new loot system, another entirely to sit down and plan out the intricate nature of it and how it will work together with the game’s progression system to retain player engagement. Overhauling difficulty is a fantastic idea, but how you’re going to balance that in squads with various levels, builds, and experience is another matter entirely.
Any industry veteran will likely say “plans are like dreams, they’re nice to have.” Every one of them has the story of the feature they wanted, but had to be cut because it didn’t mesh with the design, or there wasn’t enough time to make the code stop hating their soul for trying to implement it.
Planning is literally the first stage of game design unless you’re using the California Time model of design, which concludes typically with a severe crunch that Bioware execs have called “Bioware Magic”. The sentiment this means anything for the future of the game is later undermined when it’s revealed nothing is concrete.
Schreier goes on to write…
“A second person on the project told me yesterday they were still doing ‘lots of testing things out and experimentation but still nothing concrete.’”
The ultimate nail in Kotaku’s argument the game is still under development is the announcement that all these plans might unfold not in updates or a massive DLC pack, but as a future game. That in Bioware’s defense will launch at a discount for adopters of the original game. As that decision has to be made by Electronic Arts, its mere issuance suggests corporate direction forward will be a new title.
“[…] but the developers have not yet figured out exactly what that will look like. They’re even considering releasing Anthem Next as a brand new game, although those who work on the project said that could take a lot of forms.”
If Kotaku were to act like real journalists they could have spun this piece in a different light. Claiming while the fate of Anthem as a game is up in the air the future of the series is still strong and fans who have stuck around have a lot to look forward to.
Instead the article drips with bitterness towards their competition at YouTube. The entire piece reads as nothing more than a childish rebuttal to the kid they don’t like. Complete with facts and statements that contradict the very story they’re trying to weave to the adults (audience).
Finally the article finishes its contradictory nature hyping the “much anticipated Dragon Age 4.” A game with no hype, but plenty of concern after the departure of its lead producer Fernando Melo departed the studio and Bioware confirmed politics will be ham-fisted into the narrative structure of the game, as detailed by LegacyKillaHD.
Many games have a huge comeback story and it would be wonderful to see the studio in crisis be able to pull one off. To pretend though that development on Anthem is anything but in a state of absolute chaos at best and dead at worse, to drag out talks of plans as if it were somehow concrete proof the game is still chugging along, is disingenuous.
With developers themselves admitting there is a chance that their upcoming undertaking could potentially be released as a new game that means Anthem as a franchise isn’t dead, but Anthem as a title very likely is.