Ex-Bioware Dev Recalls Anthem Amid Talks About Poorly Reviewed Games

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum sparked a conversation about poorly reviewed games, and BioWare’s Anthem is a subject on everyone’s mind.

Screenshot via EA

A conversation about poorly reviewed games and developers that worked on them picked up on social media over the weekend. While most posts were limited to a single developer sharing the game they worked on, one title has gained much attention because of its launch and general management, Bioware’s Anthem.

It’s no secret that somewhere between Electronic Arts and BioWare, balls were dropped when it came to Anthem. The online mech-suit open-world shooter is still beloved by many fans today but was reviewed poorly at launch and had ongoing support cut. Of all the poorly reviewed games discussed this weekend, Anthem is the one that players and fans want to focus on.

Related: EA, BioWare to put an end to post-launch support for Anthem, killing Anthem Next revamp plans

Anthem’s Development Stories Shared in Candid Conversation About Games With Bad Review Scores

Over the last few days, a trend on Twitter was triggered by the reception that Daedalic Entertainment’s The Lord of the Rings: Gollum received at launch. Most outlets scored the game incredibly poorly, so game developers took to social media to share the titles they’d worked on in the past that had gotten similar scores. Almost every developer is proud of the games they’ve worked on, even if they didn’t resonate with players. 

The thread that sticks out the most comes from Ian Saterdalen, a former developer at BioWare who worked on Anthem. Much of Anthem’s development history has been covered in articles from the time of the game’s cancelation, but some new information is tucked away in replies. For example, Saterdalen states that Anthem was mostly built in 15 months, with the first Javelin mech suit, the Ranger, having been created just three months before work started.

Other snippets of information about Anthem 2.0 or Anthem Next, set to revitalize the game and brand with player feedback built into the design, show a tumultuous few months for BioWare. Saterdalen even suspects that BioWare would have been dissolved if it hadn’t launched Anthem when it did, meaning all hopes of future Mass Effect and Dragon Age games would have been dashed.

The overriding theme of most of the replies in this thread, and the much larger one on Reddit, is that Anthem has a massive fan base. The game has a 59 Metacritic score, which is unplayable for some people, but the world that BioWare built, the way the Javelins feel to fly and fight in, and the potential left untouched are still garnering fans today. This shows that review scores aren’t everything but also that delays are sometimes necessary. Anthem is the result of a short development cycle that could have been a staple MMO in 2023 if Electronic Arts had given it enough time to cook.