Electronic Arts (EA) has officially cancelled BioWare’s planned overhaul of its Anthem multiplayer shooter.
In a blog post, Christian Dailey, executive producer at BioWare Austin, attributed the cancellation to COVID-19 related development hurdles and a desire to renew the team’s focus on other projects.
“2020 was a year unlike any other however and while we continue to make progress against all our game projects at BioWare, working from home during the pandemic has had an impact on our productivity and not everything we had planned as a studio before COVID-19 can be accomplished without putting undue stress on our teams,” wrote Dailey.
He noted that development had started on the overhaul — also known as ‘Anthem Next’ — in late 2019 and the team had been “doing brilliant work” on it.
“Game development is hard. Decisions like these are not easy,” said Dailey. “Moving forward, we need to laser focus our efforts as a studio and strengthen the next Dragon Age, and Mass Effect titles while continuing to provide quality updates to Star Wars: The Old Republic.”
Anthem was originally developed by the main BioWare team in Edmonton and released in February 2019. However, the game received negative reviews for an overall lack of content, light story, shallow endgame and more. After a number of updates shortly after launch, Anthem received minimal post-launch support until February 2020, when then-BioWare general manager Casey Hudson confirmed that a “substantial reinvention” had begun to improve the game.
This relaunch was taken on by BioWare Austin, the studio behind Star Wars: The Old Republic, due to its more extensive experience with multiplayer games than the historically single-player experience-focused Edmonton team.
Since then, BioWare Edmonton has shifted focus to brand-new Dragon Age and Mass Effect games, as well as a remaster collection of the original Mass Effect trilogy that’s set to release in May.
Dailey says Anthem‘s servers will remain active so players can continue to access the game “as it exists today.”