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If Anthem doesn't succeed, it won't be the end of BioWare, thinks ex-studio designer

Last month, Baldur's Gate lead designer James Ohlen left BioWare after 22 years of service. Prior to his departure, Ohlen worked on Anthem. He reckons the upcoming action RPG will do well at launch—but it won't mark the end of the studio, should it flop.  

Speaking to Game Informer (via gamesindustry.biz), Ohlen says he thinks EA sees BioWare as a "long-term" part of the company. 

"I think EA really respects what BioWare brings to it," Ohlen tells Game Informer. "BioWare is a lot different than all the other aspects of its business, so even if Anthem doesn't do as well—and I think it's going to be great—but if it doesn't do gangbusters I don't think that's the end of BioWare. I think it will simply be a chance for BioWare to learn some lessons and apply it to the next game that comes out."

Ohlen describes BioWare's studio culture as one of "humility" and "excellence", where its key figures—not least Casey Hudson and Mark Darrah—have grown up, and have continued to "keep that culture alive". Ohlen reckons one of the main reasons BioWare has excelled over the past two decades is its willingness to take risks and think outside the box.  

"Anthem has been doing things differently than the traditional model than anything you've seen from Dragon Age or Mass Effect back to the Baldur's Gate part of being systems based," Ohlen explains. "Anthem's different from that, then again Neverwinter Nights was quite a bit different when it came out in 2002 and obviously Star Wars: The Old Republic was quite a bit different when it came out in 2011. 

"It was driven by BioWare itself, the team. I know there's a lot of the conspiracy theories that EA is the one behind it, but that's never been the case. BioWare's always had a lot of control over the kind of games it makes."

Read Game Informer's interview with Ohlen in full here

Due on February 22, 2019, here's everything we know about Anthem, BioWare's shared-world shooter.