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According to Jason Schreier, making Anthem was Bioware idea; EA actually gives the studios autonomy and more

Fisty

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,190
True that, but with all the leaks in the recent years nobody can actually leak something like that? They’ve been leaking stuff that are worse than that.
Pretty sure EA said in an investor's call that Anthem was being released for fiscal reasons and not because of product readiness.
 

Dojima

Alt-account
Banned
Jan 25, 2019
2,003
Internal company emails? It would be easy to figure out who leaked it. That would be more than anonymous sources. And frankly the stakes aren't high enough for a leak to happen. I venture to guess people working there would do anything EA wants to make sure they do not get shuttered and is probably feeling the.bunker mentality
Makes sense to me. I enjoyed reading your replies, thanks a lot mate.
 
Oct 25, 2017
12,750
People dislikes EA because of their recent practices also people needs to stop pointing fingers on EA due to their studios failures. Don’t forget that months before release BioWare said that it’s their idea and that’s what they wanted to make. I still understand EA’s hate though
Its not just recent and EA isn't entirely free of the claims

EA got them as part of the Bioware deal in January 2008,
EA forced them to rush Mercenaries 2 out in August 2008, sells were hurt because it was so filled with bugs and janky
Pandemic Australia can't hit a December deadline for The Dark Knight game so it is cancelled in October 2008
LotR conquest is released January 2009
EA shuts down Pandemic's Australian office February 2009
EA completely shuts Pandemic down November 2009
Saboteur is released December 2009

The company that made the 2 best selling Star Wars games of all time(at that time), a really successful side series in Destroy all Humans, another successful side game Mercenaries 1
all just 3 years before EA took ownership, and the company doesn't even make it 2 years with EA.
 
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H.Cornerstone

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,248
Yeah, it sounds like Andromeda and Anthem had all the time in the world.

Not the rushed piece of shit that DA2 was but just two very confusing messes..

What the fuck is going at Bioware?
From what I've read, Frostbite is a huge POS to work on for any game that isn't a FPS and is largely the cause of all their problems. To me it's no coinedence that EAs two best recent's games (Titanfall2 and Apex) aren't on Frostbite.

The Visceral games, ME:A, Anthem and Dragon Age all reported lots of problems with Frostbite.
 

Dojima

Alt-account
Banned
Jan 25, 2019
2,003
Pretty sure EA said in an investor's call that Anthem was being released for fiscal reasons and not because of product readiness.
They did that? I never knew thanks for the info! Anthems bad launch is on EA then because that means they rushed me also no way in hell they’ve been working 6 years on this
Its not just recent and EA isn't entirely free of the claims

EA got them as part of the Bioware deal in January 2008,
EA forced them to rush Mercenaries 2 out in August 2008, sells were hurt because it was so filled with bugs and janky
LotR conquest is released January 2009
EA shuts down Pandemic's Australian office February 2009
EA completely shuts Pandemic down November 2009
Saboteur is released December 2009
I forgot about this. Now I remember it like if it happened yesterday
 

jschreier

Press Sneak Fuck
Verified
Oct 25, 2017
610
Trying to figure out which of two parties is at "fault" for a game turning out disastrous is futile. We're talking about a production that was 6-7 years long, cost tens of millions (if not hundreds of millions) of dollars, and was put together by hundreds if not thousands of people -- there's no single explanation for the results. Both EA and BioWare are responsible for what Anthem is today. I haven't exactly been subtle about the fact that I hope to write about what really happened on this game, but that'll take a bit of time.
 

Schlorgan

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,288
Bountiful, Utah
Re: ME3, when people were going in pretty hard on EA about the ending, I pictured an absurd scenario of John Riccetiello coming into Casey's office with a script and saying "Make it like this or you're all fired!"

The thing is, theres PLENTY to hate on EA for. But stuff like a shitty loot system? Subpar weapon combat? How the fuck is that on EA? Oh they rushed the game? 7 year dev time is somehow rushed? Millions of dollars over that time not enough resources? Like its clear when EA stepts in with shitty monetization-but THIS? It never made sense to blame them and watching people still try to make this about EA is fucking crazy town. They need to get a grip and realize EA isn't at fault for all the world's problems.
It's basically an alternate "Thanks, Obama!"
 

jviggy43

Member
Oct 28, 2017
15,713
what you don't get is that "not asking for X amounts of dollars" would mean "firing X amounts of people"

yes, i'm sure benevolent papEA would have allowed them to make a game without GaaS-type post launch revenue if bioware would have been willing to fire half of their staff. what a great choice offered by our benevolent corporate masters!
Bioware usually always makes games that are triple A and require a big team in the first place even before being bought by EA so its not surprising that their dream project was a large one that would require a huge amount of funding. Seriously acting like EA ia the bad guy here for giving them hundreds of millions and wanting a return is fucking insane-especially because again, all evidence points to that they gave the studio a ton of independence. Its only here by internet conjecture backed up by nothing that were seeing this narrative that evil EA coerced them into making this game.

And lol corporate master, get that fucking gamers rise up jargon out of here. Its sad.

Trying to figure out which of two parties is at "fault" for a game turning out disastrous is futile. We're talking about a production that was 6-7 years long, cost tens of millions (if not hundreds of millions) of dollars, and was put together by hundreds if not thousands of people -- there's no single explanation for the results. Both EA and BioWare are responsible for what Anthem is today. I haven't exactly been subtle about the fact that I hope to write about what really happened on this game, but that'll take a bit of time.
 

The Artisan

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,376
Something's gone really wrong with the top--level decision making at Bioware. IIRC didn't EA give them a lot of leeway/freedom on Andromeda as well?
Not that this is anything to go by but I just remember seeing some YouTube comments say BioWare just isn’t the same as it was in the mass effect days because so many people left; or something of that nature.
 

Necron

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,395
Switzerland
Trying to figure out which of two parties is at "fault" for a game turning out disastrous is futile. We're talking about a production that was 6-7 years long, cost tens of millions (if not hundreds of millions) of dollars, and was put together by hundreds if not thousands of people -- there's no single explanation for the results. Both EA and BioWare are responsible for what Anthem is today. I haven't exactly been subtle about the fact that I hope to write about what really happened on this game, but that'll take a bit of time.
I look forward to reading this.

Regardless, I sincerely hope that BioWare gets back on track with Dragon Age 4. I liked Dragon Age Inquisition despite its shortcomings. Andromeda was disappointing but at least the controls/shooting was alright. I haven't even touched Anthem but what I've seen of it doesn't look enticing whatsoever. It all seems very mismanaged.

Looking ahead: whoever has played the Trespasser DLC for DAI knows how good of a setup this all is.

Especially if you're an elf who had a romance with Solas...

Going to Tevinter+Solas as the villain? I'm already excited at these prospects. Who says it couldn't be a Witcher 3 type of success?
But I digress. Bioware's troubles seem to run deeper than Anthem...
 

J_Viper

Member
Oct 25, 2017
10,765
I highly doubt EA is down to throw another couple hundred million dollars at BioWare for another Dragon Age game when their last two huge projects (ME:A and now Anthem) have been complete failures

If I had money to bet, I’d wager that franchise is as dead as Mass Effect.
 

Ralemont

Member
Jan 3, 2018
2,215
I highly doubt EA is down to throw another couple hundred million dollars at BioWare for another Dragon Age game when their last two have been complete failures

If I had money to bet, I’d wager that franchise is as dead as Mass Effect
...Dragon Age 4 won't cost a couple hundred million dollars, lol.

Worst case we'll get something with the scope of Dragon Age 2 with the GaaS model of AC Odyssey.

Which actually sounds pretty awesome to me.
 

TitlePending

The Fallen
Dec 26, 2018
1,178
Trying to figure out which of two parties is at "fault" for a game turning out disastrous is futile. We're talking about a production that was 6-7 years long, cost tens of millions (if not hundreds of millions) of dollars, and was put together by hundreds if not thousands of people -- there's no single explanation for the results. Both EA and BioWare are responsible for what Anthem is today. I haven't exactly been subtle about the fact that I hope to write about what really happened on this game, but that'll take a bit of time.
I just feel the situation is a whole lotta this...
 

J_Viper

Member
Oct 25, 2017
10,765
...Dragon Age 4 won't cost a couple hundred million dollars, lol.

Worst case we'll get something with the scope of Dragon Age 2 with the GaaS model of AC Odyssey.

Which actually sounds pretty awesome to me.
I would be down for this too, BioWare works so much better in more tighter, focused spaces.
 

bxsonic

Member
Oct 30, 2017
361
Bioware released such a game just last year with ME Andromeda. And Inquisition before that.

Everything i've heard form EA is that it's a publiser that gives devs enough rope to hang themselves. And sometimes they do. Andromeda had 6 Years. Anthem even 7. Both were hugely ambitious projects. Probably too ambitious.

The pursuit of ever higher profits is not unique to big publishers btw. Recurring revenue is the goal of pretty much every dev. Even indies.
Inquisition was released 5 years ago. And wasn’t Andromeda handled by a new team? Seems like Anthem was the main focus for Bioware. But you’re right that EA can be generous in giving their devs time. I don’t think we can fault EA for the quality of those games.

Also, I’m not faulting publishers for wanting recurring profits. I just think that EA is not exactly giving their developers autonomy on the type of games that they can make. Their cancellation of multiple single player focused games seems to make that very clear.
 

spam musubi

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,236
Inquisition was released 5 years ago. And wasn’t Andromeda handled by a new team? Seems like Anthem was the main focus for Bioware. But you’re right that EA can be generous in giving their devs time. I don’t think we can fault EA for the quality of those games.

Also, I’m not faulting publishers for wanting recurring profits. I just think that EA is not exactly giving their developers autonomy on the type of games that they can make. Their cancellation of multiple single player focused games seems to make that very clear.

To be fair, those games all had troubles getting off the ground and had scope creep and mismanagement, from the accounts we've heard.
 

Tunichtgut

Member
Oct 27, 2017
944
Germany
Is it even really that important? Even if EA said "makes us a destiny clone", this game was 6 years in development, and we don't know what went wrong in the development, but after 6 years you should expect a decent product, or not?
 

bxsonic

Member
Oct 30, 2017
361
To be fair, those games all had troubles getting off the ground and had scope creep and mismanagement, from the accounts we've heard.
True. Not saying those cancelled games would have turned out well or that it’s fully EA’s fault for canceling them. But it’s not exactly a stretch to say that EA is more focused on Gaas type of games rather than single player focused games.
 
Oct 25, 2017
12,973
Sweden
Trying to figure out which of two parties is at "fault" for a game turning out disastrous is futile. We're talking about a production that was 6-7 years long, cost tens of millions (if not hundreds of millions) of dollars, and was put together by hundreds if not thousands of people -- there's no single explanation for the results. Both EA and BioWare are responsible for what Anthem is today. I haven't exactly been subtle about the fact that I hope to write about what really happened on this game, but that'll take a bit of time.
right, there is no single explanation

but if one publisher is struggling over and over again to make their non-sports big budget games a success, probably some kind of conclusion about the abilities of that publisher can be drawn. but that doesn't absolve the developer from all responsibility, naturally

i do hope you'll get to write about how this game would be made. would make for an interesting read
 

SirKai

Member
Dec 28, 2017
1,204
Washington
Trying to figure out which of two parties is at "fault" for a game turning out disastrous is futile. We're talking about a production that was 6-7 years long, cost tens of millions (if not hundreds of millions) of dollars, and was put together by hundreds if not thousands of people -- there's no single explanation for the results. Both EA and BioWare are responsible for what Anthem is today. I haven't exactly been subtle about the fact that I hope to write about what really happened on this game, but that'll take a bit of time.
Thanks for the insight Jason, and I can't wait to read what you'll investigate and put together. Please keep up the excellent work!
 
Oct 25, 2017
7,649
Houston
Why does it always seem like someone speaks up for the developers and everything was always their idea?

It was probably like this:

EA: "It would be a shame if a certain studio would have to close.. What we really need are these live service types of games, lots of microtransactions..."
Bioware: "*sigh* ... we have an idea for the live service game you demanded"
EA: "Congratulations, you may live... until the next time....."
would pay $5 for this one person play
 

Dekuman

Member
Oct 27, 2017
8,699
Why does it always seem like someone speaks up for the developers and everything was always their idea?

It was probably like this:

EA: "It would be a shame if a certain studio would have to close.. What we really need are these live service types of games, lots of microtransactions..."
Bioware: "*sigh* ... we have an idea for the live service game you demanded"
EA: "Congratulations, you may live... until the next time....."

Worth noting the power relationship is not equal and EA holds the purse strings. There's a lot they could do with those two factors alone and nothing in the OP tweets changes this. The FUT comment actually reinforces it.
 

Mr. Nice_Guy

Member
Oct 27, 2017
973
So EA didn't explicitly tell BioWare to make a game but suggested it strongly.
That's how people in positions of power operate.

We have a whole scandal here in Canada about the Prime MInister suggesting the Attorney General do something she didn't want to do.

This seems like splitting hairs. And you know, EA could structure incentives such that the executives and leaders at BioWare want to do something but the decision would not have been arrived at independently. And frankly we'll never know what really happened unless there's actual digging as to the timelines, discussions and processes that worked behind the scenes. And it will need to come from former employees.

The people who made those decisions are not going to come forward and admit they messed up.
This was my first thought too. When EA has the final say as to what gets funding, and you look at the majority of the games they release, it doesn’t take make to put two and two together to see developers are “suggested” or “steered” into certain directions when coming up with a pitch. Also, while said company you’re speaking on has control over your livelihood, I’m understandably not going to take much of what you tell me about them wholesale while your name is attached to the statement.

Anthem being a disaster is on BioWare though.
 

Cabbagehead

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
4,019
Worth noting the power relationship is not equal and EA holds the purse strings. There's a lot they could do with those two factors alone and nothing in the OP tweets changes this. The FUT comment actually reinforces it.
Exactly it's wild seeing people capping for EA all of a sudden going "SEE IT'S NOT ALWAYS THEIR FAULT!".
 

gremlinz1982

Member
Aug 11, 2018
1,713
The moment you need to have a version of Ultimate Team on a game so that you can monetize the shit out of it is the moment a game starts running into issues around design. Games are now being built around monetization and pushing players into the microtransaction store more and more than it is about gamers an experience that will have them coming back for more.

In previous years, developers have got away with giving out games that were not fleshed out, bug ridden and lacking in content and got away with it. That is something that Bungie, Bethesda and now EA have tried getting away with and consumers are pushing back at the release it now and complete it later model and the endless roadmaps.
 

Sameer Sedlar

Member
Feb 8, 2018
209
Egypt
They could have made something easier to make, like a standalone Mass Effect multiplayer. They chose to make a sprawling shlooter new IP when they had no experience building many of the systems that this type of game entails.
I agree, yet maybe after Andromeda they feared that another Mass Effect that is MP only would actually damage the brand more and make people even more angry at them.
 

wollywinka

Member
Feb 15, 2018
303
Too bad, at least Mass Effect 3 MP was a better shlooter than Anthem by miles.
While the ME3 campaign did not reach the lofty heights of its predecessor, ME3 MP gave me hundreds of hours of pleasure., more than all the other entries in the series put together. I tried to approach Anthem as an evolution of ME3’s inspired multiplayer, but it falls woefully short.
 

BrassDragon

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,288
The Netherlands
While the ME3 campaign did not reach the lofty heights of its predecessor, ME3 MP gave me hundreds of hours of pleasure., more than all the other entries in the series put together. I tried to approach Anthem as an evolution of ME3’s inspired multiplayer, but it falls woefully short.
If you can look past the tactibro setting, The Division 2's mechanics and flow are surprisingly similar to ME3's multiplayer. Every big fight plays like an ME3 map except it's in the open world or an instance. The only thing lacking is the hero card variety and that may change as new 'speciality' templates get added (the game ships with three that offer unique abilities.)
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,914
London, UK
I’m still intruiged as to how there is so little content in anthem

Having read Jason’s book and the section on destiny they totally r3started it a year before launch. I wonder of something similar happened here
 

Seik

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,432
Québec City
Let's just say that while it was obvious since Bioware employees are saying this since weeks. EA built their reputation themselves by shutdowning multiple studios in the last decade. These assumptions people have haven't popped out of thin air.
 

BrassDragon

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,288
The Netherlands
I agree, yet maybe after Andromeda they feared that another Mass Effect that is MP only would actually damage the brand more and make people even more angry at them.
Not only did they start Anthem before Andromeda, the more logical explanation that some of these people had been on Mass Effect duty for years on end and the prospect of a fresh world and new gameplay concepts excited them. Perhaps the ME3 ending controversy also played into the appeal of a clean break.
 

Pachinko

Member
Oct 25, 2017
390
Canada
A Bioware timeline -
1995-2000 : Small studio operating out of smaller office space , made a number of successful PC RPG's as well as MDK2 on the dreamcast.
2000-2005 : Continues making stellar PC RPG's while also working with Microsoft to publish KOTOR and Jade Empire on the xbox
2006-2010: the Acquisitions era, Mass Effect is started with some MS' money for the xbox 360 , a holdings firm buys out both bioware and Pandemic , that holdings firm is then bought buy EA. ME1/2 and Dragon Age release, Pandemic is killed off (likely EA didn't want them to begin with)
2011-2015: The backlash era - Dragon Age 2 comes out with a consoles first focus , ME3 comes out and makes everyone mad because of it's half baked ending , star wars TOR online launches , the original founders leave the company (they likely had to stay for X number of years after the EA buy out and walked away with a healthy cheque). Mass Effect Andromeda is announced. Dragon Age Inquisition launches and is generally well liked (wins GOTY a few times) but also signals the beginning of a switch to EA DICE's battlefield engine Frostbite 2. A game engine designed expressly for making battlefield games, there are conflicting reports on how much autonomy various EA studios had in being forced to use this engine.. but every game EA's launched since around 2013 has used it so....

2016-2020(in progress): The modern era - So Bioware Edmonton from 2006 or so was basically 2 studios in one building , you either worked on Dragon Age or Mass Effect and as a project finished up you could switch back and forth. By the time ME3 was being worked on a Montreal studio had formed that only made that games multiplayer. There was also a Bioware Austin formed that has mostly worked on The Old Republic. After ME3 Shipped the Mass Effect Edmonton team started work on what became Anthem in 2013 or so. The Montreal studio started work on Mass Effect Andromeda as soon as ME3 DLC wrapped. Austin continued working on TOR. The Dragon Age floor in Edmonton was knee deep in Inquisition work. Fast forward to late 2015 , despite 3 years of messing around , both Anthem and Andromeda are kind of a mess , Andromeda has too much work done on a version of the game that doesn't work as a ship-able product and Anthem still isn't enough of anything. So, what ends up happening is that the Mass effect team in edmonton puts the breaks on anthem and steps in to turn Andromeda into a real game. They practically have to start over as many have likely read about because there was no real narrative made , only a planet generator. A year deep in development on this version of the game and EA starts tapping their feet "we've already spent twice as much money on this and have nothing to show for it yet , get this thing done for 4th quarter 2016". All of Bioware Montreal, a sizeable portion of Bioware Edmonton and even a section of Bioware Austin are then brought in fairly early in 2016 to crunch out Andromeda. It's not enough and the game gets a delay for 6 months.. all of it more crunch. So Eventually Andromeda finally ships in May of 2017 having only really been in development for around a year and half. With that finally wrapped up , the task falls on Anthem to be an even bigger hit but it's still barely in a state where it's much of anything. The goal the entire time , as this thread mentions - was simply for Bioware to make a big successful more casual game. Despite their popularity- neither mass effect or dragon age ever set the sales world on fire, they did well enough but Bioware didn't have a Call of Duty level success. That's what Anthem was intended to be. The way to actually have the game do that was always up in the air though. So while there were plenty of new people brought in to staff up to make anthem in 2016+ , it was literally the Edmonton Mass Effect team trying something different in the hopes it would be that 10 million selling break out hit game. Sadly, lack of a clear focus on just what Anthem was going to be lead to it being in development hell pretty much from the time Andromeda started showing problems. Shipping ME:A meant Anthem couldn't hunker down fully until after it launched in 2017... so the version of Anthem that exists right now is largely a game cobbled together from 4 years worth of half baked pre production work. Bioware didn't even give themselves 2 solid years to actually finish the game either because once again , you've got EA tapping their feet saying "okay seriously guys, you gave us a half dozen games in a half dozen years and now we've got only 2 games in 5 years, you have to have something ready by Fiscal year end (march 31st 2019) because we've got nothing else to pad out the quarter but there are too many titles after , just ship it or someones losing their head over this"

And so, for most of 2018 ALL of Bioware Edmonton had to spend a few months stapling together Anthem into something ship-able. It was a tumultuous time because everyone working on it could see it wasn't as good as it could and should be but it had spent too long in the oven and needed to face the world , good or bad. Once out , the Edmonton team would slowly finish up some of the initial pipeline of content before transferring all future development over to Bioware Austin, the studio most familiar with online gaming.

Where does this leave Dragon Age ? well , some work was started on a new entry back in 2015 but obviously finishing up these other 2 games delayed development a fair bit. Now, as of late last year, the team in Edmonton is toiling away on a new game. Hopefully with Andromeda and Anthem shipped , Bioware can move forward and evolve from some of these missteps. Go back to making the types of games the fans want from them instead of trying to shoot for the moon in a field they haven't dabbled in from the get go.
 

JABEE

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,261
You have complete autonomy to make the game we want to fund. If at any point we no longer want to fund it, we have the power to cancel or limit the marketing potential of this product.

Also, the game should have continual revenue streams like FIFA. Please figure out a way to design your gameplay systems in a way to extract this additional revenue in any product you wish to pitch. Also, we would like to see the studies, models, etc on how this revenue will be generated before determining the extent by which we will buy in to your idea or green-light your studio's game.

"Off-in-the-distant: EA is only interested in making games which delight for years to come and keeps customers engaged."

I don't really understand why a distinction needs to be made. BioWare made the game EA wanted after their other games disappointed. EA points to the markets. Nothing in this style of game-funding is autonomous. The guys and girls making the Star Wars games thought they had autonomy until EA decided to move a chunk of their team and funding to Battlefront DLC after it was clear the studio's ideas weren't in line with the type of game EA wanted to publish. They just slowly strangled the game out.

The notion that any studio has "autonomy" in this system while there are examples of broken studios all around is giving EA a pretty big pass if you want to say one side "decided" to make the choices they made. All of these forces interact with one another and someone blaming EA for the profit harvesting schemes they wish to support is pretty well evidenced by their statements as a company to shareholders and their interactions with fans/internal developers.
 

wollywinka

Member
Feb 15, 2018
303
If you can look past the tactibro setting, The Division 2's mechanics and flow are surprisingly similar to ME3's multiplayer. Every big fight plays like an ME3 map except it's in the open world or an instance. The only thing lacking is the hero card variety and that may change as new 'speciality' templates get added (the game ships with three that offer unique abilities.)
I got TD2 a couple of days ago. Really enjoying it. Not far enough in yet to have its true measure. The thing I loved about Mass Effect was the phenomenal combo system. And while it is present in Anthem, it feels dumbed-down and rather uninspired. TD2 already feels like a far more polished and engaging looter shooter.

Not only did they start Anthem before Andromeda, the more logical explanation that some of these people had been on Mass Effect duty for years on end and the prospect of a fresh world and new gameplay concepts excited them. Perhaps the ME3 ending controversy also played into the appeal of a clean break.
Completely agree. It must get tiring to work on the same franchise for years on end, but I was expecting more from the team’s diversification. In a sense, it’s a shame that Anthem was a GaaS because now they’re stuck polishing a turd. It amazes me that the length of Anthem’s development cycle was comparable to that of the Mass Effect trilogy.