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The Real Reason Anthem Bombed

The story of Anthem is actually quite tragic. Before it was even released, some thought the game could lead to BioWare's funeral, since the company already had a few recent failures and had seemingly placed all its eggs in Anthem's basket. While Anthem met an untimely end, its failure may have saved BioWare from making the same mistakes with other games. But what went wrong?

Anthem had a strange launch where some platforms were given preferential treatment, which may have set the tone for its future. Not long after the game was released, it was already reduced to half-off at Amazon and Best Buy. That year's Black Friday, it dropped to a mere $5, and things were looking bleak. Nevertheless, BioWare's lead producer promised that the company wouldn't bail on Anthem, though the writing was on the wall.

Almost two years after the game was released, there was a sad rumor going around that Anthem Next, an overhaul of the existing title, was going to be shut down. Rumor became reality, and the project was finally put to rest. There are plenty of factors to consider when looking at Anthem's failure, but what were some of the root causes? This is the true reason the game bombed.

Anthem was seemingly destined for failure

Some fans may have seen Anthem's failure as a surprise. In an article breaking down what went wrong with the game, CBR writer Abram Buehner wrote, "Anthem deserved better than this,"  

While Buehner covered a few of the more obvious issues, he cited the most fatal problem as a lack of developer involvement after the game was released. According to Buehner, "live service games demand constant attention," and in this regard, both EA and BioWare dropped the ball. Buehner explained that updates were lacking and features were either delayed or cut entirely.

Forbes' Erik Kain had a few other ideas to contribute. Kain believed that Anthem was held back by its game engine, a lack of vigor from the developers, poor in-game mechanics, and "bad word of mouth," just to name a few factors. Because of all these issues, he viewed Anthem as a game that was doomed from the start. The biggest problem according to Kain, however, was the mismatched collaboration between EA and BioWare. While the former company is well-versed in pay-to-play games, the latter is arguably ill-suited for such a model. 

Anthem's shrinking player base

When you have a game with a significant online component, a declining number of concurrent players can be that game's death knell. If there's no one else to play with, you will likely lose motivation to revisit such a game yourself. And sadly, Anthem lost almost all of its player base within months.

As Screen Rant's Robin Burks explained, this is a game where "players must team up with others for specific tasks." The more a user base shrinks, the more you will struggle to find enough people to take on those advanced missions. In this situation, the snake eats it own tail, and Anthem's community of players was quickly eaten away.

The game's loot system has been seen a major culprit behind declining interest. Players have noted that BioWare decreased loot frequency, leaving the community at large frustrated. Naturally, this was a prime example where developer involvement was less than satisfying for fans. Even so, many players were rooting for the game to succeed up until the bitter end. Sadly, it's the fans who saw Anthem's potential who were the real victims when Anthem ultimately flopped.