Anthem - EA CEO Interview

Andrew Wilson, Electronic Arts' CEO, had an extensive chat with the folks over at during this year's E3. Among the topics discussed, he talked about BioWare's recent co-operative action-RPG Anthem and its less than stellar reception. According to Wilson, despite Anthem's issues, the publisher still has confidence in this title and its developers.

A few sample paragraphs:

“We brought together these two groups of players who were making this emotional value calculation on two different vectors,” Wilson explained. “One was traditional BioWare story driven content, and the other was this action-adventure type content. About the 30 or 40 hour mark they really had to come together and start working in on the elder game. At that point everyone kind of went, ‘Oh, hang a minute.’ Now the calculation is off. It's off because I've got a friend who sits in this other category of player. They want to play the game a certain way. I want to play the game a certain way. The promise was we can play together, and that's not working very well. Oh, by the way I'm used to 100 hours of BioWare story, and that’s not what I got.’ Or, ‘I expected that this game would have meaningfully advanced the action component that we'd seen in games like Destiny before, and I don't feel like it has.’”

Wilson says that Anthem’s core premise—the nuts and bolts of what the game is built around—make it an easier decision to keep investing. EA is far from ready to pull the plug on BioWare’s foray into cooperative action. Instead, Wilson suggested Anthem’s path forward is similar to Star Wars Battlefront II’s road to redemption, voicing confidence in the world BioWare created as the seed for a long-running franchise.

He likened BioWare’s pedigree to Steven Spielberg’s. Spielberg might not have hit a home run with Ready Player One, but you’d be a fool not to bet on the Indiana Jones director’s next movie. Likewise, Wilson said that he’d bet on BioWare “every day and twice on Sunday,” despite Edmonton’s stumbles with Anthem and (now closed) BioWare Montreal’s challenges with Mass Effect Andromeda.

“If we believed that at the very core the world wasn't compelling people, if we believed at the very core that the characters weren’t compelling for people, or the Javelin suits weren't compelling, or traversing the world and participating in the world wasn't compelling then provided we hadn't made promises to our players... we might not invest further," Wilson said. “IP lives for generations, and runs in these seven to ten year cycles. So, if I think about Anthem on a seven to ten year cycle, it may not have had the start that many of us wanted, including our players. I feel like that team is really going to get there with something special and something great, because they've demonstrated that they can.”