BioWare is a company that is known for creating superb RPG series. For example, games like Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic all belong to them. For years, BioWare has been working under Electronic Arts, and almost nothing was stopping the company from creating games with interesting stories and characters. The studio believed that no matter how rough a game’s production might be, things would always come together in the final months — they called it “BioWare Magic”. They’ve done it with games like Dragon Age 2, but with Anthem, the magic appears to be starting to wear.
If you ask anybody on the street about Anthem, they will most likely tell you the game’s not great. Honestly I’ve never seen a AAA game that’s been reportedly been worked on for a few years get such low scores. It’s got a 58% on Metacritic and a 6.5 from IGN. Following the game’s release, Kotaku‘s Jason Schreier did some digging and outlined the things that went wrong from interviews with several of BioWare‘s current and ex-employees. The fact that the employees use the term “stress casualty” so casually is a strong indicator that something’s wrong at BioWare.
BioWare’s Relationship with EA
With all of this information out now, it’s clear that Anthem didn’t hit the ground running. Let’s pretend Electronic Arts isn’t happy and simply doesn’t want to support BioWare anymore. If Visceral Games was shut down by EA, then the possibility of BioWare being shut down because of Anthem’s bad press is a real possibility.
If BioWare were to suffer the same fate as Visceral, then BioWare would be no more. There’s no way the company in its alleged state would recover. At best, BioWare would split up and start working for other publishers. Unlike how Visceral ended on a slightly sour note, BioWare would be remembered as the company that botched the development of a game so badly, it caused employees to quit because of stress.
BioWare Can Live Through This
Despite all the bad press, BioWare’s live-service team is currently working on Anthem‘s 90-day post-launch plan. Some of the planned content includes the addition of leaderboards, guilds, new missions, items, and events. So far the team’s been delivering these promises, despite being only small marginal changes. While people can argue that these features should have been in the game from the beginning, we can’t ignore that the team is actively working to improve Anthem.
The fact is, BioWare wants the game to succeed. They’re even hiring more people to work on the game’s loot system. However, BioWare has a lot more work to do if they want to fix their image. There needs to be better communication between all the teams working with BioWare. Next, Anthem needs to add more content immediately if they want the game to make a big turn around.
More importantly, I think the company needs to retire their “BioWare Magic” philosophy. After hearing that “BioWare Magic” is basically having employees work an unreasonable amount of overtime, I find that the term just puts a bad taste in my mouth.
Will BioWare ever split from Electronic Arts? I personally don’t think EA will get rid of them just because of the current state of Anthem. In fact, BioWare shouldn’t be laid off, they need to improve. They need to look at everything being said about them and own up to it. I can see that their latest game isn’t necessarily the best, but if they continue to work on it, the game has the potential to rise up like Destiny did… maybe.
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