Anthem’s chief developer for live service — aka the whole reason the game was made, basically — has left the studio. It’s another sign that BioWare’s sci-fi, open-world big bet probably won’t be getting that familiar “OK, now it’s a good game” redemption story after a year’s worth of post-release support.
Chad Robertson announced via Twitter on Thursday that he would be leaving BioWare after 14 years with the company. As the live service director, Robertson had been the public face behind the promises that Anthem would be getting better, following a thud of a launch in February and major revisions to its content roadmap soon after.
I join as a fan now, and look forward to playing BioWare games for years to come. I'm very excited about the next step of my journey in the game industry and look forward to sharing that soon.— Chad Robertson (@crobertson_atx) October 31, 2019
Anthem lead producer Ben Irving also left BioWare in August, around the time Anthem’s 1.3.0 patch update finally delivered the promised “Cataclysm” end-game content. That was after BioWare reorganized its plans to deliver add-ons as narrative “Acts,” in favor of seasonal updates and overall balancing and tuning.
Probably the biggest sign of EA’s expectations of Anthem — or lack thereof — came when the game was added to the library of free titles in EA Access back in September. And in a conference call with investors on Tuesday, EA’s top executives had little to say about their expectations for Anthem or BioWare, other than a Dragon Age sequel will probably come after the company’s 2022 fiscal year (which begins April 2021).
Coming into 2019, Anthem had been looked to as a tentpole product supporting EA’s software-as-a-service focus. For BioWare, it was also seen as a critical rebound from a lackluster Mass Effect: Andromeda that launched in March 2017 and saw post-launch support end five months later, along with the closure of the Montreal studio that made it.