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🔗 Jason Schreier: How BioWare's Anthem Went Wrong

Over the months, Anthem had begun naturally picking up ideas and mechanics from loot shooters like The Division and Destiny, although even mentioning the word Destiny was taboo at BioWare. (Diablo III was the preferred reference point.) A few people who worked on the game said that trying to make comparisons to Destiny would elicit negative reactions from studio leadership. “We were told quite definitively, ‘This isn’t Destiny,’” said one developer. “But it kind of is. What you’re describing is beginning to go into that realm. They didn’t want to make those correlations, but at the same time, when you’re talking about fire teams, and going off and doing raids together, about gun combat, spells, things like that, well there’s a lot of elements there that correlate, that cross over.”

Because leadership didn’t want to discuss Destiny, that developer added, they found it hard to learn from what Bungie’s loot shooter did well. “We need to be looking at games like Destiny because they’re the market leaders,” the developer said. “They’re the guys who have been doing these things best. We should absolutely be looking at how they’re doing things.” As an example, the developer brought up the unique feel of Destiny’s large variety of guns, something that Anthem seemed to be lacking, in large part because it was being built by a bunch of people who had mostly made RPGs. “We really didn’t have the design skill to be able to do that,” they said. “There just wasn’t the knowledge base to be able to develop that kind of diversity.”

I absolutely hate linking to Kotaku because 99% of the time they are clickbait bullshit but this article by Jason Schreier is very informative. I did not hide my distaste for Anthem in my February retrospective. I couldn't understand how BioWare had made such a poor clone of the original Destiny. But after reading this article I'm surprised the game didn't turn out even worse. It sounds like for the majority of it's development no one at BioWare actually knew what kind of game Anthem was suppose to be.

I want to feel bad for the developers at BioWare but at a certain point you have to be held accountable for not speaking up. After nearly seven years in development certain types of mistakes are inexcusable. BioWare is a completely different company from the one that made Baldur's Gate and Knights of the Old Republic or even the original Mass Effect, but the studio seems to have refused to accept that fact. Rather than grow and embrace their new identity as a large studio inside EA they keep trying to hang onto that "BioWare magic" which seems to be more of a liability instead of an asset nowadays.


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