Anthem Next has been canceled by BioWare

The Anthem dream is over, as BioWare has pulled the plug on Anthem Next.

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Over the last few weeks, there was word that Electronic Arts would decide on the fate of Anthem's revamp, Anthem Next. Some people were surprised to hear that, not so much because they were curious about Anthem's fate, but because they were more surprised that Anthem's continuing existence was still being debated. Well, if Anthem wasn't dead before, it appears to be dead now, because Anthem Next looks to be no more.

The following was posted to the BioWare website on Wednesday:

Friends,

In the spirit of transparency and closure we wanted to share that we’ve made the difficult decision to stop our new development work on Anthem (aka Anthem NEXT). We will, however, continue to keep the Anthem live service running as it exists today.

Since Anthem’s launch, the team has been working hard to continually improve the game, releasing multiple updates that brought with them a variety of improvements and introduced new content to play. Towards the end of 2019 we expanded on that effort and started working on a more fundamental restructure of the game.

During the development we’ve provided updates revealing some of the team’s work through blog posts and conversations with you on social media and it’s been inspiring for us to see the positive reactions and feedback. I’ve been incredibly proud of the work the team has been doing, and excited to see and play each new build of the experience.

2020 was a year unlike any other however and while we continue to make progress against all our game projects at BioWare, working from home during the pandemic has had an impact on our productivity and not everything we had planned as a studio before COVID-19 can be accomplished without putting undue stress on our teams.

I know this will be disappointing to the community of Anthem players who have been excited to see the improvements we’ve been working on. It’s also disappointing for the team who were doing brilliant work. And for me personally, Anthem is what brought me to BioWare, and the last two years have been some of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my career.

Game development is hard. Decisions like these are not easy. Moving forward, we need to laser focus our efforts as a studio and strengthen the next Dragon Age, and Mass Effect titles while continuing to provide quality updates to Star Wars: The Old Republic.

To the Anthem community, thank you for your passion and creativity. Your feedback and suggestions most certainly help shape the team’s direction, and on a personal note, your kindness and encouragement were much needed last year.

Please stay safe and be kind to each other. Strong alone, stronger together.

Bloomberg's Jason Schreier also confirmed the cancellation on Wednesday. This comes following a February 9 report that EA executives would meet that week to ultimately decide Anthem's fate. When that week came and went with no indication of the game's future, things didn't look good. Sure enough, Anthem Next now looks to be dead, despite BioWare hoping to salvage the game as recently as last summer. Unfortunately, it looked like there were too many hurdles for BioWare to overcome. As we noted in our review, Anthem was not good at all and with COVID-19 impacting development, too much time had passed to save the project.

Anthem will continue to exist in its current form. However, this is the end for the game, as BioWare will now focus on Dragon Age 4, Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. We'll follow the Anthem story (or lack thereof) here at Shacknews, so stay tuned for the latest.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
  • reply
    February 24, 2021 11:30 AM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Anthem Next has been canceled by BioWare

    • reply
      February 24, 2021 11:16 AM

      EA says nah to Anthem 2.0

      y'all work in the next Dragon age now:

      https://twitter.com/jasonschreier/status/1364654789443862528

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        February 24, 2021 11:23 AM

        Hahahahah! I came so close to being excited for that game... then it came out.

      • Zek legacy 10 years
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        February 24, 2021 11:25 AM

        Man, that blows. This so easily could have been another FF14-esque success story, but they obviously didn't invest enough in the revival project for it to stand a chance from the beginning.

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          February 24, 2021 11:30 AM

          I'm surprised EA even considered it after finding out how much money and time they already pumped into Bioware on this project. It's really weird that EA were actually the functional party in this story.

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          February 24, 2021 11:39 AM

          It seemed pretty clear after release that the problems with it were fundamental in the game’s design but also in the underlying tech. Correcting those was basically going to mean starting from scratch.

          • Zek legacy 10 years
            reply
            February 24, 2021 12:23 PM

            That's exactly what they did for FF14. You have to be ready to make a serious commitment or else there's no point in pretending you're going to fix it.

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        February 24, 2021 11:34 AM

        Shame, that traversal had so much potential. It was fun just zipping around.

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          February 24, 2021 11:37 AM

          Yeah, that was about the only thing they got right, and it was fairly unique in that regard, too.

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            February 24, 2021 1:59 PM

            And yet they released a demo (or a beta?) on PC where it was just utterly broken and unusable.

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              February 24, 2021 2:02 PM

              The flying was broken? The only issue I recall around that was the rubber-banding, which was a networking issue, which they resolved during the beta IIRC. When network wasn't a problem, the flying seemed to always work well? It is like it was the only system they had spent appropriate time on prior to launch.

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                February 24, 2021 3:59 PM

                Imagine having a mouse stuck to the top of a thumb stick and trying to use it like a mouse. Utterly unusable and eventually patched for release, but it did a lot of damage.

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                  February 24, 2021 4:01 PM

                  Oh you're referring to the PC version? I think I only spent time with the Xbox release and it didn't have any particular control issues outside what I mentioned above.

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                    February 24, 2021 4:02 PM

                    Well yes, as I said PC in my comment. :)

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            February 24, 2021 5:40 PM

            graphics and sound were pretty solid

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          February 24, 2021 2:52 PM

          It was aside from the frustratingly short flight time if you couldn't hit water or anything. They should have doubled it IMO.

      • reply
        February 24, 2021 11:39 AM

        Now they will have time to take down the holiday decorations.

      • reply
        February 24, 2021 11:39 AM

        I'm super sad they couldn't make this work. It's such a cool concept.

      • reply
        February 24, 2021 11:43 AM

        Their blog post
        https://blog.bioware.com/2021/02/24/anthem-update/

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          February 24, 2021 11:46 AM

          That must stink to work on something for a year and then it gets axed and nobody will every see it or play it.

          It's like you did a hamster wheel for a year of your life

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          February 24, 2021 12:00 PM

          yowza. welp there it is. dragon age hopefully will receive that "laser focus" instead of the horrible ongoing scope creep disaster that was anthem

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        February 24, 2021 11:53 AM

        I have a copy of Anthem for Xbox One that I got for $5 a few years ago on Black Friday that I've never opened.

        For some reason reading this about no Anthem 2.0 makes me want to buy it on Origin for PC and check it out (in a morbidly curious kinda way) and keep that Xbox copy sealed. Not that it'll be worth anything, I just kinda like leaving it undisturbed.

      • reply
        February 24, 2021 11:55 AM

        Better to spend that money on a new ME game. But sounds like it's all hands on DA4. If that flops, whatever is left of Bioware may be done.

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          February 24, 2021 12:03 PM

          yep. that game has some serious gravitas behind it now. the question is does the DA team even want anyone from the anthem team? if there's some of the "add jet packs! no... no jet packs never mind... NO WAIT YES DO THE JET PACKS" type people in there... they are in real fucking trouble

          • reply
            February 24, 2021 12:05 PM

            what

            • reply
              February 24, 2021 12:26 PM

              jetpacks, are they cool or are they whack?

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              February 24, 2021 12:44 PM

              https://kotaku.com/how-biowares-anthem-went-wrong-1833731964

              Yeah yeah kotaku link but it’s basically the definitive story on why Anthem is such a clusterfuck.

              It starts out by saying the name of the game was changed literally days before the E3 reveal because they couldn’t secure the trademark to the original name, Beyond, so they renamed it to Anthem. They’d even had Beyond T-shirts made already.

              It goes downhill from there.

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                February 24, 2021 1:25 PM

                I know the story, just stupefied by downforce's post. Sounds like it was written by a brain damaged person or a small child

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                  February 24, 2021 1:31 PM

                  Made perfect sense to me, maybe you’re just a moron 🤷🏼‍♂️

                  • reply
                    February 24, 2021 2:00 PM

                    I mean, I understood what he's saying, it's just braindead

          • reply
            February 24, 2021 12:10 PM

            I mean the flying was one of the best parts of that game. There is a core of a really interesting story and gameplay loop there. But it was trying too hard to be Destiny. It also didn't have any end game content, from what I am told. I am also not a group play squad person. I solo'd a bit of Anthem, but you get a ramp eventually where you basically have to play with a group. That's not something I am interested in.

          • reply
            February 24, 2021 1:40 PM

            any developer on the Anthem team has more talent in their pinky than any manager who drove that project into the ground

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          February 24, 2021 12:27 PM

          EA doesn't care about good games. They only care about milking the same formula over and over.

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          February 24, 2021 12:31 PM

          This insistence on going "all-in" with Dragon Age is baffling to me. Like...does anyone really give a shit about the Dragon Age franchise? That seems like a really weird hill to choose to die on.

          • reply
            February 24, 2021 12:33 PM

            Seems like a lot of people out there like shitty MMO style gameplay.

          • reply
            February 24, 2021 12:39 PM

            It was the last big success they had with an RPG. It's a pretty big property. They've had to consecutive bombs in a row with ME:A and Anthem.

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            February 24, 2021 12:40 PM

            What’s really weird is that I’ve never played a Dragon Age game and I’m not sure I could recognize the game if you showed me a screenshot. Like, other games I don’t play I could still recognize but Dragon Age is this massive franchise I’m not sure I’ve ever really seen much of. Or I have and it’s not memorable. Or distinguishable.

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            February 24, 2021 12:51 PM

            Yeah, I've never touched the series but it's hard to find a single coherent feature accross all episodes.

            From what little I've seen, Inquisition is less grimdark than DA Origins and DA2, combat system seems to change from one game to another, none of the episode seems to have the same scope, etc

            I know it's BioWare having its own take on a fantasy setting but I'd take anything Forgotten Realms related over what unoriginal setting they seemed to have delivered.

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            February 24, 2021 1:17 PM

            Well, say what you will about Dragon Age, but I actually enjoyed all of the games. Yes, even numbah 2, despite its many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many flaws, but y'know, pirate lady wit big ol' tiddies or something.

            DA:I was a slog at times for sure. But when I played through it again the last time I really enjoyed it and I managed to 100% everything and would do it again. That said, I sincerely hope they drop or minimize the fetch-quest-mmo-touch-myself-with-my-strong-tactile-hands....

            That I actually replayed through all the DA games again, and enjoyed them immensely, and I couldn't stomach to replay Mass Effect Andromeda tells me that it's entirely possible that they may actually give us a decent DA game... or not. I dunno, I'm a sign, not a cop.

            I don't even know why I'm here.

          • reply
            February 24, 2021 1:28 PM

            Dragon Age: Andromeda

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            February 24, 2021 2:00 PM

            Dragon Age: Origins was amazing.

            The rest were okay.

            Bioware is trash-tier, so I have no expectations for the 4th one.

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              February 24, 2021 2:14 PM

              I loved origins and am sad they didn't stay with that formula

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            February 24, 2021 2:17 PM

            Inquisition was a middling game but I think it has a kind of rabid fanbase inexplicably. Dragon Age is such a painfully generic IP, it bores me to tears so I'm also baffled by this move.

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              February 24, 2021 2:37 PM

              Inquisition was such a boring game, it made ME:A look like a masterpiece by comparison.

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                February 24, 2021 2:44 PM

                And yet I found it more compelling than the original DA:O haha. At least they made an attempt to make the universe/story interesting in Inquisition. Still got hella bored and stopped playing around 20 hours in. Those games all kinda suck IMO.

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                  February 24, 2021 2:56 PM

                  I never really played the other ones, except for a couple of hours of the first one. I honestly couldn't tell you much at all about DA:I other than there was a catapult thingy at some point and I spent way too much time running across a giant map to kill the equivalent of rats. I called it quits after 7-8 hours.

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                February 24, 2021 2:59 PM

                Yeah I enjoyed DA and DA2, Inquisition was terrible.

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                February 24, 2021 5:58 PM

                I can't agree with this. The writing in DA:I, while not stellar, was infinitely better than the trash tier Joss Whedon fanfic style writing in ME:A. At least DA:I had compelling characters, ME:A didn't even have that.

                The biggest mistake for DA:I was the horrible opening area that people felt compelled to try to 80% complete before moving on with the main story.

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            February 24, 2021 2:23 PM

            I've played them all and can't name one unique thing about Dragon age. It's dungeons and dragons fantasy slurry

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              February 24, 2021 2:42 PM

              I only played the first one but feel the same way. I literally can't remember a single thing about it and that never happens to me with games.

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            February 24, 2021 4:03 PM

            I’ve never seen a more generic “by-the-book” fantasy setting in all of gaming. You have to actually put in effort to make that series as uninteresting as it is.

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          February 24, 2021 12:58 PM

          Dragon age inquisition was their best selling launch ever lol, mass effect 1 probably sold more copies, but over 10 years vs. DA:I hitting 50% of that number in the first 6 months.

          Doing MA over DA:I would be silly based on franchise popularity

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          February 24, 2021 2:00 PM

          If they're still using the Frostbite engine, I assume there are going to be major issues.

      • reply
        February 24, 2021 11:55 AM

        https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D9KsuCZXsAEROTl?format=jpg&name=large

        Memory serves the game was pretty new when this was posted

      • reply
        February 24, 2021 12:28 PM

        I bet we see this kinda announcement for the Avengers game before the end of the year.

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          February 24, 2021 12:47 PM

          Man say what you will about Bethesda launching live service games in bad shape but they will at least beat them into shape eventually, usually within like a year (ESO, F76).

          EA is all “nah, fuck it, let’s just focus on Established IP n+1”

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          February 24, 2021 6:04 PM

          I don't believe that, if only because Square-Enix already has experience with rehabilitating a broken launch and knows it can be viable (see FFXIV). They haven't stopped working on the game and it's in a significantly better state now than it was at launch. Still needs a ton of improvement, but they're clearly making the effort - Anthem devs had already gone into hibernation by this point.

          • reply
            February 24, 2021 6:43 PM

            Yeah but I'm a recurring sub business model had a major part in the decision to rehabilitate that game.

            • reply
              February 24, 2021 7:43 PM

              you mean like costume microtransactions

              • reply
                February 25, 2021 4:34 AM

                You can't really call that recurring and it's definitely not at the scale of guaranteed revenue from millions of customers every month.

      • reply
        February 24, 2021 12:45 PM

        Yeah it makes sense. The game is already heavily discounted, doesn’t have a subscription, and not many play it.

        Why invest money into a game that you won’t see back in any way? Can’t have it be a paid DLC as people will be mad.
        I doubt it’ll lead to many more sales either as the game is part of ea plus/game pass. Maybe only to save the brand? Even then it’s beyond repair.

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        February 24, 2021 12:48 PM

        not surprised in the least. I never thought for one second that EA of all people would put in the same effort that square put forward to save FF. Its not even comparable honestly. Saving the franchise that is the core of your studio is one thing, wasting a ton a resources on a new IP that has already crashed and burned, not so much

      • reply
        February 24, 2021 12:54 PM

        I started Dragon Age Origins recently since I had never played one before. I kind of like it, but the story didn't keep my interest and there were a lot of side quests. I might go back to it to give it another try since I only played 12 hours.

      • reply
        February 24, 2021 1:30 PM

        That's a shame. I was really looking forward to what they came up with, game was a good time.

      • reply
        February 24, 2021 1:43 PM

        #ibelieveinanthem

        Lol

        • reply
          February 24, 2021 1:56 PM

          Now I'm interested to see footage (probably only via leaks at this point) of the supposed updates/changes that they made under the Anthem NEXT banner.

      • reply
        February 24, 2021 1:50 PM

        Do you think they’ll give me a $10 credit if I send them this piece of crap game back?

    • reply
      February 24, 2021 2:47 PM

      That sucks about anthem for folks who liked it.

      I dont have high hopes for da4 but DAI was better than FO4 imo!

      If you play through DAI using the infinite blink mod, travel is so much better. I stopped playing in like 2017ish and never did the dlc so new character to finish it all to have a savegame for da4.

    • reply
      February 24, 2021 4:51 PM

      How long do you think the game will stay online? I still have my copy in hopes that it would get better but since it won't guess I should play whats there.

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        February 24, 2021 5:08 PM

        1 year. At least til the xbone stops being made

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        February 24, 2021 5:42 PM

        yea same. i wonder when the servers will be stopped. i enjoyed stomping around as the colossus

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        February 24, 2021 6:03 PM

        1 year? That's how long they keep the last year's madden and fifa severs up

    • reply
      February 24, 2021 6:41 PM

      Man I get development is hard but the marketing on this shit was practically criminal. Remember the roadmap? The hype around cataclysms? $20 emotes and armor colors?

      No repercussions for that bullshit. This industry is fucking cancer some times.

    • reply
      February 24, 2021 7:18 PM

      I still kinda want to try it from Gamepass. Looks like it could be fun for a few hours at least.

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        February 25, 2021 4:28 AM

        I played it a bit last night. First time since the open beta. I think the biggest annoyance is the loot all seems the same. You get the same guns, only now they have bigger damage numbers. The world is pretty, and flying feels great. I'll probably jump back in at some point, but Outriders demo drops today.

    • reply
      February 25, 2021 5:12 AM

      And nothing of value was lost

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