Bioware feels the pres­sure

Re­ports re­veal that An­them has been pushed back, while fresh Dragon Age de­tails and a new Bat­tle­field ti­tle also emerge

XBox: The Official Magazine (US) - - INSIDER - the wait­ing game

Af­ter a ter­ri­ble end to 2017 for EA’s pub­lic im­age thanks to loot­box woes in Star Wars: Bat­tle­front II, it seems the pub­lisher has been hav­ing a long, hard think about how to han­dle its up­com­ing games. Bioware, the stu­dio be­hind Mass Ef­fect and Dragon Age who are now work­ing on An­them, have a lot of fo­cus and pres­sure be­ing thrust upon them.

Be­ing an open mul­ti­player shooter sim­i­lar in style to the likes of Destiny and Bat­tle­front II, An­them will have a lot to prove if it wants to suc­ceed. It’ll need to demon­strate that it’s learned from EA’s and Ac­tivi­sion’s mis­takes, as well as com­pete with the pop­u­lar­ity of the ris­ing Bat­tle Royale genre; if it doesn’t the ram­i­fi­ca­tions could be cat­a­strophic for Bioware.

Af­ter the lack­lus­tre re­cep­tion of their last game, Mass Ef­fect: An­dromeda, An­them is look­ing like a ‘make or break game’ for the stu­dio, with re­cent re­ports sug­gest­ing that re­sources are be­ing pulled away from other projects to fo­cus on get­ting it right. The game has also been pushed back from an au­tumn re­lease this year to early 2019 to give Bioware more time to do so.

Knock-on ef­fects

De­spite the de­lay, the up­dates on An­them’s progress have led to other rev­e­la­tions such as the fact that a new Bat­tle­field is on the way this au­tumn. EA wants to give the shooter more ‘breath­ing room’ be­fore Bioware’s game is re­leased, but no fur­ther de­tails on it were given—we’ll most likely have to wait un­til E3 to see what shape it will take. So with Bioware putting its all into

An­them, where does that leave their other project— Dragon Age 4? We know it’s hap­pen­ing, even though it hasn’t for­mally been an­nounced. Com­ments by stu­dio head Casey Hud­son sug­gest it’s very much un­der­way, and he’s also been teas­ing the po­ten­tial of ‘live’ el­e­ments. Could we be see­ing a more per­sis­tent world with el­e­ments of Destiny or Mon­ster

Hunter: World’s hubs? “Read­ing lots of feed­back regarding Dragon Age, and I think you’ll be re­lieved to see what the team is work­ing on,” Casey Hud­son said on Twit­ter re­cently. “Story and char­ac­ter fo­cused. Too early to talk de­tails, but when we talk about ‘live’, it just means de­sign­ing a game for con­tin­ued sto­ry­telling af­ter the main story.”

Not quite, then, but it also doesn’t sound quite like tra­di­tional DLC ei­ther. Though if An­them doesn’t come to­gether as well as it needs to per­haps we won’t get the chance to find out. It’s go­ing to be a tough year ahead for Bioware, but given how great its pre­vi­ous games have been, and hav­ing some breath­ing space to learn from other’s mis­takes, we’re con­fi­dent it can pull it off.

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