Anthem is a third-person shooter which was supposed to compete with established titles like Destiny 2, but due to its lack of content, performance issues, and broken loot system, it failed to gain much traction. According to a report by PC Gamer, EA admitted that Anthem failed to meet expectations, but the company is committed to making the experience better. In order to make sure Anthem's failures aren't repeated in the future, the publisher is making significant changes as to how it handles the launch of online titles.
Developer BioWare is mostly known for single-player experiences, so Anthem was a significant departure for the team. A report by Kotaku also outlined the culture problems faced by the team. EA's Andrew Wilson said the following during a recent earnings call.
The reality is, it's not just an EA challenge, it's an industry-wide challenge. You're moving from what was initially a BioWare game which would be somewhere between 40 and 80 hours of offline play to 40 to 80 hours of offline play plus 100 or 200, 300 hours of elder game that happens with millions of other players at scale, online. As games have gotten bigger, that system isn't working as well as it has done in years gone by. So what you should expect from us is that it's not just about changing the development processes in the game... but it also comes down to changing how we launch games. You should expect that we'll start to test things like soft launches — the same things that you see in the mobile space right now. And it also comes down to changing how we communicate with players. Our entire marketing organization now is moving out of presentation mode and into conversation mode, and changing how we interact with players over time. We think that we're in a really good position for this — I think this gets really hard if you don't have scale to do this, and so we feel very good about it... over time we hope that we can lead from the front and help other developers and publishers change the way they do things as well.
While "soft launches" will allow the developer to test new ideas, the problem Anthem faced was the lack of leadership and direction at BioWare. Additionally, Respawn Entertainment released Apex Legends without any major leak or public test. Maybe EA should model its online games on that.
What do you think could help EA in the future? What do you want Anthem to do to bring players back? Let us know.
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