Former BioWare Dev Says Anthem’s Failure Wouldn’t Shutter the Studio

Concerns and theories have swirled of late that suggest EA may shutter BioWare should Anthem not perform well. There’s very little evidence to support such worries. Yet, EA’s closing of Dead Space studio, Visceral Games, compounds these fears. News of the concerns not being shared at BioWare should at least assuage fans perturbed by the developer’s future.

During an interview with Game Informer, ex-BioWare developer James Ohlen dispels this theory and more. Ohlen, a game designer who recently departed the studio after 22 years, speaks to BioWare’s significance and the respect EA has for the developers behind Mass Effect.

I think EA is looking for BioWare to be a long-term part of the company. I think EA really respects what BioWare brings to it. BioWare is a lot different than all the other aspects of its business, so even if Anthem doesn’t do as well – and I think it’s going to be great – but if it doesn’t do gangbusters I don’t think that’s the end of BioWare. I think it will simply be a chance for BioWare to learn some lessons and apply it to the next game that comes out.

Another conspiracy theory that’s recently made the rounds claims EA is forcing BioWare to pursue games-as-a-service success. Ohlen puts this speculation to rest, as well. The developers at BioWare always had their hearts set on Anthem and all that encompasses its design. Ohlen explains,

The fact that BioWare is doing something different with Anthem doesn’t mean that BioWare isn’t going to do games that skew more towards the traditional style that BioWare is known for. It’s just a chance to do something a little different. It was driven by BioWare itself, the team. I know there’s a lot of the conspiracy theories that EA is the one behind it, but that’s never been the case. BioWare’s always had a lot of control over the kind of games it makes.

Though, at the outset, it seems far from the truth, Anthem does bear notes of BioWare’s DNA. Story and choice will have some level of importance. While romance options won’t be available, the studio continuously emphasizes the importance of building “universal” relationships with NPCs. Do you think that’s enough to satisfy BioWare’s hardcore audience? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Anthem arrives early next year on February 22.

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