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BioWare announces ‘substantial reinvention’ for Anthem


BioWare are not giving up on Anthem (pic: EA)

Anthem is to get its long-rumoured revamp, with an end to new seasonal content and ‘a more satisfying loot experience’.

We’re coming to the one-year anniversary of BioWare’s Anthem this month and it’s fair to say that the game has not been an unqualified success.

There are a lot of great things about it, especially the movement system (it’s the best Iron Man game never made) and graphics, but it’s main problem has always been that it’s a looter shooter where the loot is boring and the cosmetic options are unexciting.

Many companies would’ve given up after last year’s initial attempts to repair the damage, but in a new blog post BioWare has committed to a ‘substantial reinvention’ of the game, rather than an update or expansion.

‘We have also heard your feedback that Anthem needs a more satisfying loot experience, better long-term progression and a more fulfilling end game. So we recognise that there’s still more fundamental work to be done to bring out the full potential of the experience’ wrote BioWare general manager Casey Hudson.

‘Over the coming months we will be focusing on a longer-term redesign of the experience, specifically working to reinvent the core gameplay loop with clear goals, motivating challenges and progression with meaningful rewards – while preserving the fun of flying and fighting in a vast science-fantasy setting’, he added.

Hudson doesn’t offer any specifics though and warns that it may be a while till there’s any substantial change, saying: ‘We’ll be doing something we’d like to have done more of the first time around – giving a focused team the time to test and iterate, focusing on gameplay first.’

What will change immediately though is that the game will move away from full seasons and instead rely on smaller events and store refreshes, as well as rerunning previous seasonal and cataclysm content.

The first new event will be for the one-year anniversary at the end of this month (22 February to be precise) but beyond that remains to be seen.

BioWare is a big studio, with around 800 staff in total, so it’s perfectly capable of working on multiple games at once. Even so, they’ve got a lot on their plate at the moment, with not only Anthem but also Dragon Age 4 and a rumoured new Mass Effect game (and/or a remaster) in development.

More importantly though, after the failure of Mass Effect: Andromeda and the cancellation of Shadow Realms, they haven’t had a hit since 2014’s Dragon Age: Inquisition. Although so far owner and publisher EA seems to be giving them the time and resources to stage a successful comeback.

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