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Irving announced his departure from the Anthem lead producer position on Twitter this morning. Irving said working at BioWare had been his dream job, but that his new opportunity is an exciting one. Irving also addressed the Anthem community directly, saying he had enjoyed interacting with its members “through the good times and the tough times” on streams and social media. Some in the replies to Irving’s tweets expressed frustration with him for “jumping ship” after Anthem’s notoriously rough launch and wondered if he would have stayed if Anthem was more successful.
(2/3) I will forever be grateful to all the people who gave me the chance to work on great products with amazing people. I believe Anthem has a bright future – there is a great team working on it and I look forward to following its progress (and playing it!) from the sidelines.
— Ben Irving (@BenIrvo) August 15, 2019
Fans on the Anthem Reddit seem to believe the end of Irving’s leadership, regardless of how much fault he actually had in deciding Anthem’s direction, isn’t necessarily bad news for the game. Irving earned a similarly controversial reputation among the Star Wars: The Old Republic (BioWare Austin’s Star Wars MMO) community when he was lead producer on that game, as fans seemed to blame him for decisions that put a greater emphasis on grinding and RNG.
Irving became Anthem lead producer in April 2017, according to his LinkedIn. Previously, he was lead development director and then lead producer on Star Wars: The Old Republic. He began working at the company in 2011 and was in charge of managing product releases.
Despite BioWare pledging to remain committed to Anthem as Dragon Age 4 rumors circulated, EA made only one small mention of the live service game during its E3 2019 EA Play show, just months after its February launch. BioWare has still been supporting it with updates, like last week’s launch of the Anthem Cataclysm season, but the title’s highly critical reviews seem to still be leaving a stain on the game.