Former BioWare developer James Ohlen doesn't believe the company's future as a game developer under Electronic Arts will be impacted by how successful Anthem is. BioWare is not too worried about EA shutting it down, if, for some reason, the upcoming game fails.
Anthem is one of the most ambitious titles for BioWare to date. It's an online action RPG that features stunning visuals and offers a new approach at gameplay and style than most of the studio's previous titles. Anthem will put players in the role of a freelancer, a brave adventure-seeking explorer who dons an exoskeleton suit called a Javelin. The Javelin allows players to fly through landscapes, climb through mountainous terrains, and customize each suit to the player's liking. While exploring, the player will also face space-time events called "Shaper Storms" that they can fly into.
Former BioWare Senior Creative Director James Ohlen spoke to Game Informer about what Anthem's success (or lack thereof) could mean for the future of the studio at EA, mostly because the publisher has become quite adept at shutting down acclaimed developers under their umbrella, such as Visceral Games.
"The more success that a studio has, the more freedom and resources that it has, so obviously BioWare wants to have success with Anthem because that will be good for the studio as a whole. However, 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. "
BioWare received a lot of criticism concerning its involvement with EA after the release of Mass Effect: Andromeda. Players and critics blasted the game for its numerous bugs and mediocre storytelling. The title killed the Mass Effect franchise (for now), including any future DLC plans for Andromeda. So it's no surprise that fans are a little hesitant to adopt a new game from the studio, especially one that's starkly different to what BioWare has created in the past.
However, work on Anthem hasn't ceased. BioWare continues to push for the ambitious title to meet and exceed fan expectations. After showing a trailer with some impressive graphics in 2017, the company assured players that Anthem's graphics wouldn't be downgraded on release. But, there's still a lot about the project that remains a secret. Although BioWare has shown off some trailers and gameplay footage, only a few details about actual game and story have emerged. BioWare does have plans on separating Anthem from its previous titles, making changes that some fans might not like. The studio announced that it is doing away with their dialogue wheel. They also confirmed that Anthem will not include romance options. These are both vast departures from the way BioWare games generally play.
Anthem also has some fans concerned due to how Mass Effect was handled with Andromeda and how similar the game appears to Destiny on the surface, at least from what has been revealed at this point. With Anthem not releasing until 2019, though, BioWare still has time to get all their fans back on their side.
Source: Game Informer