Rumors have been circulating that Bioware was coerced into developing Anthem as its next game, and that failure will mean the end of the studio, but an ex-developer claims this isn’t the case.
The always-online, shared-world shooter that is Anthem sounds much more like EA’s thing than Bioware’s, which has lately lead many to wonder if the project was pushed upon the studio. In a recent Game Informer interview, ex-narrative director James Ohlen disparaged this conspiracy theory, claiming that taking risks and trying new things was right in the developer’s wheelhouse.
“I think one of the things about BioWare has been really good at it, which has allowed it to survive for more than two decades, is taking risks and trying new and different things,” Ohlen said. “Neverwinter Nights was quite a bit different when it came out in 2002 and obviously Star Wars: The Old Republic was quite a bit different when it came out in 2011.”
Ohlen goes on to explain that doing a multiplayer-focused shooter does not mean the studio is done making the types of games it is known for. According to Ohlen, Bioware is simply stretching its creative reach, as opposed to giving into the demands of a domineering publisher.
“The fact that BioWare is doing something different with Anthem doesn’t mean that BioWare isn’t going to do games that skew more towards the traditional style that BioWare is known for,” Ohlen said. “It’s just a chance to do something a little different. It was driven by BioWare itself, the team. I know there’s a lot of the conspiracy theories that EA is the one behind it, but that’s never been the case. BioWare’s always had a lot of control over the kind of games it makes.”
The second part of this conspiracy theory involves the idea the Bioware will close down if Anthem doesn’t sell well, given the flop that was the studio’s last project, Mass Effect: Andromeda. Ohlen expects the publisher-developer relationship is too strong for this to happen.
“I think EA is looking for BioWare to be a long-term part of the company,” he expressed. “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.”
Anthem is slated to launch February 22nd on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, with EA/Origin Access members getting to jump into the game one week early. In other Anthem news, we recently learned that the RPG shooter will have set bonuses built into its gear-based progression.
Source: Game Informer