Report: Bioware Rebuilding Anthem From the Ground Up

"I'm so tired at all these Anthems..." -- John Anthem, probably

Bioware is leveraging both its Austin and Edmonton studios towards a complete rework of its floundering online shooter Anthem, according to a report published today on Kotaku. According to sources involved with the project who spoke with Kotaku on the condition of anonymity, this massively overhauled version of Anthem is referred to internally as Anthem 2.0 or Anthem Next.

The most basic of Anthem‘s building blocks are set to stay in place, which means that players of this new version will still put on robot power armor as gig workers called Freelancers. Everything else however, including Anthem‘s beleaguered mission structure, loot systems, and map, are either up for grabs or are actively being rebuilt, according to the report. This news flies in the face of general public opinion, which holds that Anthem has been largely abandoned by both EA and Bioware, following the public departures of Bioware Head of Live Services Chad Roberston, as well as Anthem producer Ben Irving.

“We spent a few months just tearing it down and figuring out what needed to change fundamentally (a lot),” one person working on Anthem Next told Kotaku. “And we’ve been rebuilding for another few months since.”

How Anthem Next/2.0 might arrive is another waveform that has yet to collapse. Bioware is considering a series of gradual updates over a long period of time, similar to the method used by Hello Games to reinvent No Man’s Sky over the course of several years. Another option is to pack all of the changes into one enormous update, completely revolutionizing the product in one go. Bioware also hasn’t ruled out releasing the updated version as its own new game, ala Final Fantasy XIV‘s rebirth as FFXIV: A Realm Reborn, though sources tell Kotaku that existing Anthem owners would likely receive some kind of discount on the new product.

Bioware, to its credit, said that it was doing this exact thing last September, when Roberston addressed the community just before his departure:

We hear your concerns on core issues in Anthem and are acting on it. Those systems require a more thorough review and re-working versus quick fixes. We’ve got a team working on that now, and early results are promising.

In order to address these long-range plans, we are moving away from the Acts structure for updates. Instead, we have additional seasonal updates planned for this year that we think players will enjoy. These events will deliver challenges and chases similar to what you’ve seen, and are built around some fun themes we’re bringing to the game.

As I’ve said previously, we want to be transparent with you that we know more work needs to be done to make Anthem better. We also want to ensure we’re backing up our words with a great game you can play. So I don’t have any news today to share about the long-term changes we are bringing to Anthem. What I can say is that we will continue to engage with you, our community, through PTS when we can show you what is coming.

So while much of Anthem‘s reincarnation has yet to solidify in any real form, it’s clear from Kotaku’s report that Bioware has a considerable amount of staff dedicated to the issue, which is way more than most assumed. Speaking personally, I wouldn’t have been surprised if EA decided to chock Anthem up to experience and simply never address it again, but it seems that Bioware is exerting more responsibility over the situation than that. Here’s hoping that everyone working on Anthem gets to realize their visions for that world, and that everyone who bought the game gets to do something, like, fun, at some point.