EA CEO Explains Anthem's Struggles

BioWare’s Anthem released in February this year, and it wasn’t a huge critical success. Part of the reason why the game struggled, according to EA CEO Andrew Wilson, is because it attempts to appeal to two different audiences. He talks about the game’s struggles and opportunities for future growth and success in a new interview.

“We brought together these two groups of players who were making this emotional value calculation on two different vectors,” Wilson told GameDaily. “One was traditional BioWare story-driven content, and the other was this action-adventure type content. About the 30 or 40 hour mark they really had to come together and start working in on the elder game. At that point everyone kind of went, ‘Oh, hang a minute.’ Now the calculation is off.

“It’s off because I’ve got a friend who sits in this other category of player. They want to play the game a certain way. I want to play the game a certain way. The promise was we can play together, and that’s not working very well. Oh, by the way I’m used to 100 hours of BioWare story, and that’s not what I got,'” Wilson explained. “Or, ‘I expected that this game would have meaningfully advanced the action component that we’d seen in games like Destiny before, and I don’t feel like it has.'”

While Anthem might have struggled out of the gate, Wilson said EA is committed to supporting the game in the long-run. In fact, he mentioned that Anthem could have a “7-10 year cycle.” Wilson said EA feels good about investing in Anthem in the long-run because the game has a strong foundation to build on.

“If we believed that at the very core the world wasn’t compelling people, if we believed at the very core that the characters weren’t compelling for people, or the Javelin suits weren’t compelling, or traversing the world and participating in the world wasn’t compelling then provided we hadn’t made promises to our players… we might not invest further,” Wilson said. “IP lives for generations, and runs in these seven to ten year cycles. So, if I think about Anthem on a seven to ten year cycle, it may not have had the start that many of us wanted, including our players. I feel like that team is really going to get there with something special and something great, because they’ve demonstrated that they can.”

The full interview at GameDaily is in-depth and wide-ranging, touching on a number of other subjects including loot boxes, layoffs, and a wider look at the future of EA. Go read it.

At E3 this year, Anthem lead producer Ben Irving said he believes Anthem has a “very bright future.”

“We’ve learned a lot these last few months, we really want to make the game better, we believe Anthem can be a really amazing game,” he explained. “We know we have some work to do, we just want to work with the community and build it together and make it the game that everyone wants it to be.”

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