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BioWare confirms work on major Anthem overhaul has officially ceased

Development on beleaguered multiplayer shooter Anthem’s major overhaul – variously known as “Anthem Next” and “Anthem 2.0” – has officially ceased, according to BioWare, and the studio will now focus its efforts on the next Dragon Age and Mass Effect games.

Anthem 2.0 was officially announced last February – a little under 12 month’s after the game’s rocky launch on Xbox One, PS4, and PC – with the aim of improving the underlying experience through more satisfying loot, better long-term progression, and a more fulfilling end game.

“We recognise that there’s still more fundamental work to be done to bring out the full potential of [Anthem],” BioWare admitted at the time of its 2.0 reveal, “and it will require a more substantial reinvention than an update or expansion”.

Anthem – Cataclysm Gameplay Trailer.

Since then, a team of around 30 people at BioWare Austin, the studio responsible for Star Wars: The Old Republic, has continued to work on the overhaul project, drip-feeding planned new features to the community along the way. Most recently fans were given at look at a new and improved loot system, as well as a new Destiny-style UI.

According to Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, EA held a meeting earlier this month to review work on Anthem 2.0 and ultimately determine the project’s fate. Following that process, the development team has now been informed it will be moving to work on Dragon Age 4.

In an official statement on the BioWare blog, Anthem executive producer Christian Dailey confirmed the news, writing, “In the spirit of transparency and closure we wanted to share that we’ve made the difficult decision to stop our new development work on Anthem.”

It seems the decision to cease development on Anthem 2.0 at least partly stems from the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. As Dailey puts it, “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.”

“Moving forward,” Dailey continued, “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.”

“To the Anthem community, thank you for your passion and creativity,” he concluded. “Your feedback and suggestions most certainly help shape the team’s direction, and on a personal note, your kindness and encouragement were much needed last year.”

Although Anthem’s long-in-the-works overhaul is now no more, Dailey says the studio will continue to keep the game’s live service running “as it exists today”.

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