After reports cropped up that an internal review would decide the fate of Anthem earlier this month, BioWare has confirmed development of the Anthem NEXT update has been cancelled. The substantial reinvention will not be going ahead, but this doesn’t mean the end of the game altogether. The developer has promised the game’s live service will continue to run “as it exists today.”
The game received a very lackluster reception upon release and a series of updates were introduced to address its issues. Those updates fell behind as development staff were moved onto other projects. After a lengthy period of silence, the team confirmed they were working on Anthem NEXT, a complete reinvention of the game. The update was still a long way from completion even back in May 2020, but Covid-19 had a negative impact on its development. After an internal review by EA this month, the game’s fate was finally decided. You can read the full statement from Anthem’s Executive Producer Christian Dailey below:
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.
The game is now unlikely to receive any updates at all, although whether or not any staff are retained to keep the servers in a playable condition remains to be seen. According to Eurogamer, the small development team that was working on Anthem NEXT will move onto Dragon Age 4.