It’s no secret that BioWare and EA’s Anthem wasn’t quite the success they wanted it to be. Since launch, the game has been bogged down by various technical issues and a disappointing lack of content.
These issues have clearly contributed to a massively dwindling player base. In a recent fan survey on Reddit, over half of the players asked admitted that they’ve turned their back on Anthem for good.
The upshot of this seems to be that BioWare is shifting focus to Dragon Age 4 a little earlier than was perhaps initially planned. Three key members of Anthem’s lead development team have now departed the struggling online shooter; Executive Producer Mark Darrah, Lead Producer Michael Gamble, and Lead Director Jonathan Warner.
Of those three, it seems that only Warner intends to return to work on Anthem after a personal sabbatical. A recent tweet from Darrah seems to confirm that the reasoning behind this move is indeed pretty much entirely down to getting Dragon Age 4 out of the door.
We aren't working on Dragon Age 3
We aren't working on Dragon Age 5
I guess that's that.
— Mark Darrah (@BioMarkDarrah) May 1, 2019
Gamble later confirmed to a fan on Twitter that Anthem obviously isn’t being completely abandoned, and that the game’s Lead Producer Ben Irving and Head of Live Service Chad Robertson are now the ones behind the game’s post-launch cycle.
The big question going forward is what a renewed focus on Dragon Age 4 means for the previously planned decade of post launch content for Anthem. The news that Darrah and Gamble were leaving the game to work on Dragon Age 4 suggested to many that 10 years of content for the game might have to be revised.
However, Gamble took to Twitter to retweet a statement from Robertson on the state of Anthem, and added that the studio remains committed to Anthem‘s post launch content.
We remain 100% committed to Anthem and look forward to showing players the new content we are working on. We want to make sure we aren’t overpromising, so our updates on what’s coming in the game will be focused when we have things near completion.
It’s also been pointed out that Darrah and others were actually only ever brought on to work on Anthem because BioWare needed all hands on deck to get the game out in time for its February release date, so this could well have been the plan all along.
Meanwhile, Dragon Age 4 has had its own troubles over the years A recent report from Kotaku detailed the long and tumultuous development of the game, revealing that the game has existed in various forms for years now.
The most recent incarnation of Dragon Age 4, according to the report, will be built on Anthem’s codebase will be built on Anthem’s codebase, and will include a “live service component, built for long-term gameplay and revenue.” Certain staff at BioWare have reportedly referred to Morrison as “Anthem with dragons.”
It remains to be seen exactly what shape Dragon Age 4 will take, or if BioWare do in fact stay fully committed to ten years of content for Anthem. Whatever the case, there’s clearly some fascinating stuff going on behind the scenes at BioWare right now.
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Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.