BioWare is reportedly working on a complete overhaul of Anthem

(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

By all appearances, Anthem is a game in serious trouble. The launch was a mess, big plans have been abandoned, it's lost some high-profile personnel including the lead producer and head of live service, and the big seasonal event announced earlier this month didn't exactly make a huge splash. Electronic Arts has committed to sticking with it, but you can understand why fans might have doubts.

According to Kotaku, however, reports of Anthem's impending demise are greatly exaggerated, and in fact BioWare has developers in both Edmonton and Austin planning out a complete overhaul of the game—enough of a do-over that some people refer to it as Anthem 2.0 or Anthem Next. 

It's still very early days, to the point that BioWare and EA are still hammering out how it will be distributed: through a series of updates, a major all-at-once expansion, or even as an entirely new game. However it's handled, the site said that most of its main systems, including the mission structure, loot, and the game world, will change "drastically."

One potential major change would see the game world of Tarsis split into segments, which would enable developers to work on particular areas without worrying about unleashing bugs across the entire game world. It would also presumably make Anthem more Destiny-like, at least in its basic structure. 

"We spent a few months just tearing it down and figuring out what needed to change fundamentally (a lot)," one source told the site. "And we’ve been rebuilding for another few months since."

Despite the lack of concrete detail, what's significant right now is simply that EA and BioWare apparently aren't simply washing their hands of the whole thing. Anthem needs a lot of work, and there's no guarantee that players will return even if it's whipped into proper shape, but large-scale turnarounds are possible: It took Destiny 2 a couple of years to really find its feet, and the remarkable persistence of Hello Games took No Man's Sky from one of the most overhyped disappointments in years to a game that people are legitimately excited about. Anthem has a lot of ground to cover, but it's not beyond the realm of possibility that it can be done.

The report also says that BioWare is still at work on Dragon Age 4, and more surprisingly, that a new Mass Effect game is "in very early development" under the direction of Mike Gamble, a longtime BioWare producer who has previously worked on Mass Effect 2 and 3, and Anthem.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.