Before Lord of the Rings: Gollum, before Redfall, before Babylon's Fall, CrossfireX, and Gotham Knights, there was Anthem. When it was released back in 2019, Anthem was the biggest disaster gaming had ever seen, so full of bugs and glitches as to be virtually unplayable. Even when fans struggled through Anthem’s technical issues, they’d only arrive at an end-game that didn’t actually exist. As a result, players left Anthem for greener pastures, and EA eventually shuttered Anthem's servers.

But before EA canned Anthem for good, BioWare had an ambitious plan to revitalize the game called Anthem Next. Sadly, we'll never know exactly what BioWare had in store, but according to one former dev, it would have been "great."

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Responding to Ashley Rochelle's tweet about game devs revealing their worst-rated games, former Bioware dev Ian Saterdalen topped Aliens: Colonial Marines with Anthem. "I learned a lot on this project," he wrote. "We knew it wasn't ready, as this game was literally created in 15 months. Which is unheard of for a game that scope. Anthem 2 would have been great!"

Anthem 2 here likely refers to the canceled Anthem Next update. In follow-up tweets that were later transcribed on Reddit, Saterdalen revealed that BioWare actually had a separate development team working on Anthem Next beside the 30 devs tasked with keeping the main game stable.

"The team was gutted when it was canceled," Saterdalen admitted. "The game was really fun and was going in the right direction. The team had hit a really great milestone when EA canned it."

Saterdalen went on to confirm that the vast majority of reports on Anthem's troubled development cycle were true. He credited the 90-hour workweek to the loss of his marriage and months of therapy. He noted that EA's insistence on using the Frostbite engine made the game worse, and that scope creep kept expanding Anthem to the point where it was unsustainable with the resources at hand.

When Anthem was released, everyone became focused on making the game stable to the exclusion of everything else. There was no thought given to Anthem's end-game as BioWare hadn't really thought to contract work out to other studios. "We really needed another one or two studios to make endgame content while we were finishing up the game."

An Interceptor speeds past enemies with their blades in hand

Saterdalen said that both current and former developers are still under NDA, making it unlikely we'll ever get the full story of Anthem's development. But Saterdalen did say that the game was a failure due to both EA and BioWare management.

"I actually don't think it was all EA's fault. A developer and publisher are supposed to be a healthy relationship of trust and transparency. It's a two-way street which I don't think was satisfied on either side," he said.

BioWare is said to still be recovering from Anthem as it works on Dragon Age: Dreadwolf and the next Mass Effect. No release date for either game has been announced.

Next: Dragon Age Dreadwolf Needs To Be More Like Dragon Age Origins