According to BioWare, fixing the company's internal problems is a "top priority." The launch of Anthem was riddled with issues, causing BioWare to be hammered with criticism from gamers.
BioWare has long held a reputation as one of the most reliable video game developers in the industry, particularly in terms of its ability to craft a compelling story. This reputation was fostered in the late 1990s with the release of the critically-acclaimed Baldur's Gate, which is often called one of the greatest RPGs of all time. This distinction has since been given to several of BioWare's titles, including Stars Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Neverwinter Nights, Mass Effect 2, and Dragon Age: Origins. It's easy to see why expectations were high for Anthem, which launched in February. Reaction to the online multiplayer RPG has been anything but favorable, however.
Earlier this week, Kotaku published a report that provided insight into the development of Anthem. Kotaku reported that staffers suffered from mental health issues due to the rush to finish the game. After the report was first published, BioWare accused Kotaku of attacking the studio's employees in a public statement, but didn't exactly take responsibility for any wrongdoing by the company. However, BioWare general manager Casey Hudson later acknowledged the problems listed in the article by assuring all staff in a letter that the studio had plans to address these issues, stating:
"The article mentions many of the problems in the development of Anthem and some of our previous projects. And it draws a link between those issues and the quality of our workplace and the well-being of our staff. These problems are real and it's our top priority to continue working to solve them."
The Kotaku report described development of Anthem as a story of "indecision and mismanagement", as well as "technical failings" caused by the implementation of the Frostbite Engine. Crunch was perhaps the biggest hurdle for developers. The rush to finalize several of Anthem's features contributed to many mental breakdowns brought on by stress. These problems were reportedly present in Mass Effect: Andromeda, which would explain why it wasn't the major success the company was hoping for. Like Anthem, the development of Mass Effect: Andromeda was rushed to a point where the game visibly suffered.
Reviews for Anthem are a good indication of how badly BioWare went wrong with its latest game. Based on Metacritic scores, Anthem is the worst-reviewed game in BioWare history. Fans are blasting it for failures to fix loot problems, its bug-filled console experience, and missing features.
The only silver lining is that Hudson had admitted that the concerns raised by Kotaku's report are "real". If BioWare is able to recognize the problems that contributed to Anthem's failure, the studio can take the necessary steps to ensure its next project is a success.