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Former BioWare developer Ian Saterdalen recently reflected on the development of Anthem, the studio’s poorly received multiplayer action RPG launched in 2019 on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. “I learned a lot on this project,” Saterdalen explained on Twitter. “We knew it wasn’t ready, as this game was literally created in 15 months. Which is unheard of for a game [of] that scope.” He added: “Anthem 2 would have been great!”

Saterdalen, who also worked for Blizzard, Riot, and 343 Industries in the past, went on to answer many questions users had in the comments to his initial post. He elaborated on his point that the game was made in just 15 months and explained that the team only managed this by working 90 hours a week for the entirety of those 15 months: “It wasn't sustainable and not even a position we should have been in.”

He said that he “needed therapy for a while after that endeavor” and that there were “a lot of morale hits on a personal level and a team level,” calling it “a vicious cycle.” Responding to someone questioning why the developers put up with this, he wrote: “Maybe to our own detriment we were too passionate to continue working in those conditions? I support unions, I hope it becomes more common in the next few years.”

Saterdalen explained that it “was a great team effort to get the controls how we shipped. We went through many iterations and it was super rough in the beginning. I know the team was really happy where the controls landed too. We actually took in a lot of feedback from the EA game changers.” However, the strict timetable and the crunch meant that the developers couldn’t give every area of Anthem this sort of much-needed attention: "We really needed another 1-2 studios to make endgame content while we were finishing up the game."

Part of the fault was with the team itself, the developer admitted: "There were really high expectations for this game and the team felt it. We always were trying to push for cool features, etc. So I think we could have done it if we kept our scope creep in check."

Additional content had to be put on the backburner after launch as well, since all the available manpower was needed to fix issues.

Apparently, there was a lot of pressure from EA as well as BioWare’s upper management to get the game out as early as possible – Saterdalen even insinuated that BioWare’s existence as a studio was on the line. The game’s incomplete state was communicated to these authorities, but Saterdalen said that “I think it was ignored/denied from leadership.”

"I actually don't think it was all EA's fault. A developer and publisher is supposed to be a healthy relationship of trust and transparency. It's a 2 way street which I don't think was satisfied on either side," Saterdalen explained.

Criticism was also leveled against the Frostbite Engine developed by DICE, another EA studio, which was widely used throughout the publisher’s development houses: “I guarantee we could have put something out in Unreal. Working in Frostbite was rough.”