Kotaku ran an article earlier today titled “How BioWare’s Anthem Went Wrong” citing a negative workspace and development woes that are being attributed to the studio’s newest IP and its controversial launch. Though the title absolutely had many issues when it launched, the feedback hasn’t been totally negative as some would make it seem and now BioWare is addressing the claims of an unhealthy environment with a blog post of their own detailing their professional culture.
“We’d like to take a moment to address an article published this morning about BioWare, and Anthem’s development,” began BioWare’s official response. “First and foremost, we wholeheartedly stand behind every current and former member of our team that worked on the game, including leadership. It takes a massive amount of effort, energy and dedication to make any game, and making Anthem would not have been possible without every single one of their efforts. We chose not to comment or participate in this story because we felt there was an unfair focus on specific team members and leaders, who did their absolute best to bring this totally new idea to fans. We didn’t want to be part of something that was attempting to bring them down as individuals. We respect them all, and we built this game as a team.”
The studio also took a moment to address claims of a hostile work environment, adding that the health and well-being of the team has always been a priority despite recent claims. “We have built a new leadership team over the last couple of years, starting with Casey Hudson as our GM in 2017, which has helped us make big steps to improve studio culture and our creative focus,” the statement continued. “We hear the criticisms that were raised by the people in the piece today, and we’re looking at that alongside feedback that we receive in our internal team surveys. We put a lot of focus on better planning to avoid “crunch time,” and it was not a major topic of feedback in our internal postmortems. Making games, especially new IP, will always be one of the hardest entertainment challenges. We do everything we can to try and make it healthy and stress-free, but we also know there is always room to improve.”
But the statement, though it might seem a little defensive, isn’t about attacking the press. BioWare added that they know criticism is a part of the work environment and added that they take it all to heart to make working there even better, but cite that “the creative process is often difficult” and because of that, there are unique challenges that developers face that some press might not be taking into account. “People in this industry put so much passion and energy into making something fun. We don’t see the value in tearing down one another, or one another’s work. We don’t believe articles that do that are making our industry and craft better.”
The journey of Anthem as a live-service game continues, with so much more endgame content on the way — including narrative progression and more adventures to take on. The team assures fans that the next chapter will be rolling out soon, but until the newest content arrives, Anthem is available now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
Editor note: I personally loved Anthem, the story was much more intricate than I thought it would be with a flavor of both Mass Effect and Dragon Age hidden in the details. That being said, the title did have an incredibly messy launch, but the developers have been very transparent about fixes and being open to feedback. If you want to discuss Anthem and the environment surrounding it, feel free to hit me up over on Twitter @DirtyEffinHippy!