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Bioware’s Anthem got off to a very rough start — so rough, in fact, that the developers decided to go back to the drawing board to revamp the whole experience. Their plan was to reboot Anthem as Anthem NEXT, a redesigned version of the game with a better focus on long-term content. Unfortunately, after a year of work, that plan fell through. Today, Bioware officially canceled Anthem NEXT, leaving the game’s remaining players with little hope for the future.
This news won’t come as much of a surprise for Anthem fans. The game launched in February of 2019, and quickly drew criticism for its lack of polish and end-game content. Ben Irving, the game’s lead producer, later addressed fans’ concerns over missing content. The Cataclysm DLC brought some fresh changes in August, but by September, Bioware had dropped the game’s other two planned content packs. In lieu of releasing more content, the studio announced in February 2020 that it would reboot the entire game as Anthem NEXT.
Of course, that announcement came about right as the global pandemic drew the world to a grinding halt. By May, Bioware said the development would be a “longer process” than they’d previously expected. And despite giving details about loot and equipment changes last July, very little other information was heard over the following year.
All of this concern coalesced into a Bloomberg report posted earlier in February 2020, stating that EA would meet to decide the fate of Anthem. NEXT would reportedly live or die according to the results of the meeting. Well, it seems things didn’t go well. Following the meeting, Bioware posted an update saying that development on Anthem NEXT had been canceled:
“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 (aka Anthem NEXT). We will, however, continue to keep the Anthem live service running as it exists today.”
Thankfully, Anthem isn’t outright dead. EA will continue to host the game’s servers for the time being, albeit with no intention to change the game or provide new content. Instead, Bioware will focus on its other franchises like Mass Effect and Dragon Age.