The near-flight feature didn’t exist in Anthem. If not, the EA boss criticized the game’s demo as “unacceptable”.

Order from the boss total

During the 4-year struggle with Frostbite, the Anthem development team also gradually absorbed gameplay ideas from looter shooter games such as The Division, Diablo, and Destiny, the game that dominated the market at the time. However, due to BioWare’s leadership that considers Destiny a bad omen, it is difficult for the development team members to discuss and learn from Destiny’s experiences. A BioWare employee said that because they used to do RPGs, they had no experience making guns, so Anthem’s weapons are not diverse, different, and impress gamers.

How did Anthem descend from a peak into a deep abyss? – P.2 Once again, the decision to force every child studio to use EA’s Frostbite was criticized as the reason for making unnecessary arduous games.

By the end of 2016, BioWare needs to make a demo for Anthem. At this point, the flight feature has been removed from the game for the n time because the studio still doesn’t know how to create a compelling flight feature. That demo took gamers on the ground and battled aliens like you were playing Crysis. Some people find this demo quite impressive, while others say it is boring and trivial, not interesting.

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By March 2017, Mass Effect: Andromeda was born, and the development team of this game was free to participate in Anthem’s implementation. However, around that time, the BioWare Montreal studio was closed, and therefore, BioWare was reduced to 2 instead of 3. Simultaneously, the demo they created a few months earlier went to Patrick Soderlund, EA director. Mr. Patrick told the BioWare team that the demo was “unacceptable,” especially for the graphics.

According to people who know about the event, the EA director said, “this is not the game you promised me,” and asked the BioWare bosses to come to talk to DICE about Frostbite issues. DICE decided to dedicate several staff to help BioWare overcome Frostbite issues and upgrade its graphics quality. The BioWare employees had to go into six-week overtime to create a good demo of Patrick Soderlund. They changed the visuals because they knew that the best way to impress the boss was top-notch graphics, and then decided to bring the flying feature back to the game.

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Mr. Patrick Soderlund, former EA general manager.

As you know, the flight feature has been removed and brought back to Anthem many times because although it is desirable on paper, it creates a lot of technical problems for the game. But as of now, flying is the only feature that has never existed in other BioWare titles, so it needs to come back to please Patrick. However, they are still unsure whether flying will live in the final version of the game or be removed again.

When Mr. Patrick went to BioWare headquarters to try out Anthem, BioWare’s new demo looked very different from the previous version. The BioWare staff did everything to make sure this demo was the best it could be, but they were still stressed out because Andromeda was a disastrous failure, and no one knew what would happen if the new demo did—frustrated Patrick Soderlund. Anthem may be canceled, BioWare may be dissolved, and all will be unemployed.

Fortunately, Mr. Patrick is very pleased. According to the demo demonstration participants, the EA general manager also requested to watch the demo again. Therefore, this demo immediately became the basis for the 7-minute gameplay trailer shown at E3 2017 mentioned in part 1 of the article. And as you all know, up to this point, BioWare is not sure what the game will be like and the gameplay, so the demo and the final version of the game are very different. In the demo, you can take missions and fly to the battlefield immediately, while in the final version of Anthem, gamers must go through a series of menus and loading screens before being able to see the outside world.

An Anthem demo is shown at E3 2017.

“A lot of the demo content is fake,” a BioWare employee said. Apart from the demo they brought to E3 (June 2017), almost no mission has been completed in the game, the skills are still undecided, and questions like “what are we going to do? This one? Do we have the technology to do this? Is there any tool to do that? How far will the flight feature go? How big is the world? ” 

Still lingering in the head of the game development team, even the extremely important save – load feature does not yet exist in the game. But despite those issues, BioWare still promises that the game will launch by the end of 2018.

“Superior” attitude

The fans who called upon the BioWare studios were Team A (Edmonton), Team B (Austin), and Team C (Montreal), but they did not know that within BioWare, similar calling existed. BioWare Edmonton employees are arrogant because they are “the original BioWare” and look down on all the other studio studios.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic.

After the release of MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic in 2011, BioWare Austin has several projects of its own such as Shadow Realms, Saga, a Star Wars: Knight of the Old Republic project on paper. All three projects were canceled at the end of 2014 when BioWare introduced a “one BioWare” policy to focus all three child studios’ power. Many of Austin’s employees have moved to DLC for Dragon Age: Inquisition and Mass Effect: Andromeda from this point, and by early 2017, the vast majority of Austin’s staff had worked for Anthem. But Austin employees felt like they were being treated like their subordinates like Edmonton would come up with an idea, they had to type a broken finger.

This created a conflict between the two studio employees and caused Edmonton bosses to ignore Austin employees’ contributions, especially when they experienced developing an online game – something that BioWare Edmonton has no implementation experience. “We have been through that with The Old Republic. We know what it would be like for a player who feels he is being pushed through story missions because other players on the team keep pushing, ” one BioWare Austin employee recounted. “We repeated the problem many times and were always ignored.”

Other employees criticize BioWare Edmonton bosses for being indecisive and not working correctly. When an idea proves impossible, the project leadership team doesn’t think of new ways to implement that idea but draws completely new ideas, wasting time and create chaos for the game development process. Meanwhile, EA did not allow BioWare to release Anthem later than March 2019. Many people realize that making a game with BioWare standards will be impossible with the limited time they have left.

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Cut back and streamline.

Also, in June 2017, BioWare is implementing another project, Dragon Age 4, codenamed Joplin. Joplin’s ideas came from creative director Mike Laidlaw, and many BioWare employees said they were excited about the game. However, shortly after that, BioWare destroyed Joplin and transferred most of its personnel to Anthem. This led Mike Laidlaw to leave BioWare, while the few remaining staff began working on a new version of Dragon Age 4 codenamed Morrison. BioWare then changed generals again when Mark Darrah (production director of Dragon Age: Inquisition) became Anthem production director, “sitting on the head” Jon Warner, who has led this project since 2014.

Mark Darrah’s number one priority in his new role was to release Anthem on time requested by EA. “The good thing about Mark is he will face anyone and make a decision,” a former BioWare employee said. “That’s what the whole team is missing – no one dared make decisions.” And so BioWare began working on the game development process, “only” three years after Casey Hudson said that BioWare was ready to develop a new game that redefined interactive entertainment. However, it is not an easy job because many essential software tools are still incomplete.

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Mark Darrah.

But with the pressure of time and the leadership of Mark Darrah, Anthem made clear progress. The combat part of the game proved to be much better than Andromeda, which is the best combat game of all the Mass Effect titles. Flight features are also set to stay in the game and gradually improved to become more attractive. Meanwhile, the screen design and the game’s story are continually changing, causing BioWare to repeat these steps.

By early 2018, Anthem was so slow that it was only right… 1 mission was put into the game. The last 12 months before the release date, Anthem was conceived and the heaviest, most stressful 12 months in BioWare history when they both made games and watched out for rivals Destiny 2 and The Division 2. Many groups work day and night, including weekends, to make up for a lost time. EA even added personnel to BioWare from the Motive studio in Montreal to finish the game on time.

But time does not wait for BioWare. EA has bet on a “game service” model, that is, games that are continually being updated with various monetization measures. Anthem is also on target when EA bosses want it to have long-term profit plans instead of just a one-time payment game. This forced BioWare to cut many features and skip searching for exciting new ideas, only focusing on “completing” the game. This is why Anthem has so many issues on the release day, such as loading the game takes several minutes and so many times loading. “We know load screens will be criticized,” one said, but they couldn’t do anything because of the excessive work and limited time. “So the problem of loading games will not be fixed.”