The Frostbite engine has loomed large in stories of problems at BioWare over the last few years, and former BioWare GM Aaryn Flynn recently shared his experiences with EA's engine at the Reboot Develop Red conference, recalling how powerful it was, but also how hard to manage.
Flynn compared the engine to an F1 car, GamesIndustry.biz reports, adding that both "require a huge crew of folks to maintain them and get that optimum performance out of them."
"My experience with it was very much like this: you could do amazing things, go very fast in some elements, but very delicate and very hard to manage," he said. And he result was that BioWare found it harder to meet people's expectations.
"It was getting harder and harder to make the content that people wanted," he said. "It was harder and harder to move that content through these pipelines and do things. And even though we had more people—we had more teams, more folks—we were slowing down the rate at which we could build and craft these experiences."
Flynn left BioWare in 2017 and wasn't talking about the Frostbite engine as it is now, though not much seems to have changed, judging by Kotaku's report on Anthem's development woes.
It's even more frustrating given BioWare's history with game engines. The Infinity Engine became synonymous with one of the best eras of RPGs, while Neverwinter Night's Aurora Engine was designed to let modders create their own RPGs and persistent worlds, elevating an otherwise mediocre RPG. That was one of my first experiences with making mods myself, and a gateway drug into MMOs, so it's a shame to see BioWare now stuck with an engine that's consistently caused it problems.