Bioware’s future is indeed in jeopardy as many have feared. While the gameplay engine and graphics of Anthem should sell for an instant success the title has struggled to ship units since its release on Xbox One, PS4, and PC February 22, 2019. Sales of this title could be very important for the studio’s survival as subsidiaries of EA Games have historically been closed down after just one flop at times.
According to the NPD via EA, Anthem has sold 50% of Mass Effect Andromeda’s physical launch sales and around 25% of Destiny’s digital sales. The numbers also indicate that Kingdom Hearts 3 and Resident Evil 2 sold much higher in their opening weekends. The next Dragon Age title which was teased recently will need to rise to meet the demand from shareholders to keep Bioware’s relationship with EA Games alive.
Yet another one of Bioware’s founding fathers has left the game development studio behind titles like EA’s Mass Effect and the upcoming Anthem. The studio once held a good reputation in the industry for its story-tellers and RPG design experts, but their image slowly slid until most gamers began to view their titles as mediocre at best. Scores came in lower each time a new game was released with Dragon Age II, Mass Effect 3, and Mass Effect Andromeda standing out as some of their least enjoyed and lowest rated products.
This problematic scenario has caused many fans to believe that Anthem is something EA Games forced Bioware to create, seeing it as a ‘games-as-a-service’ product built for greedy cash-in functionality similar to other hollow titles EA has produced recently. This is based on evidence, not conspiracy, since Visceral Games was forced to create Battlefield: Hardline and their Dead Space IP was killed. Most fans also fear that if Anthem doesn’t turn out to be an extremely profitable project, EA Games will shut down the studio as they have with so many others before; most recently Visceral Games following the failure for Dead Space 3 to reach unrealistic goals set by EA.
Now, amid rumors that Anthem is seeing problems in development, the people who helped make Bioware what it is today are leaving. It’s understandable that those who remain a part of this company fear for their jobs and face unreasonable stress every day. After all, EA responded to Mass Effect Andromeda’s reception by immediately liquidating Bioware Montreal – an offshoot of the studio that was meant to expand its production capabilities and recruit new talent from the massive Montreal game development community.