You can’t help but get a little nervous when your favourite studio, employed by EA, is going through a rough patch. A look back at the history of the infamous publisher and in its wake you’ll find great studios like Bullfrog, Westwood Studios, Black Box Games, Maxis Software and, more recently, Visceral Games shutting their doors after a game or two did not meet expectations and failed to bring in the money expected. After Mass Effect Andromeda had its own difficulties, many believe it now lies on the shoulders of Anthem to keep Bioware afloat within the walls of the EA corporation. James Ohlen, a 22-year Bioware veteran who recently left the studio, believes it’s just not the case.
I think EA is looking for BioWare to be a long-term part of the company. I think EA really respects what BioWare brings to it. 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.
He also points out that many people are assuming that EA pushed Bioware to make the decisions they made with Anthem. According to him, it’s as far from the truth as it’s ever been. The only people who currently decide the fate of their own games are Bioware themselves:
The fact that BioWare is doing something different with Anthem doesn’t mean that BioWare isn’t going to do games that skew more towards the traditional style that BioWare is known for. It’s just a chance to do something a little different. 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.
As for Ohlen? He is stepping away from the games industry for a while, but if you loved games like Baldur’s Gate, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and Star Wars: The Old Republic you can thank him for being part of those teams that made those classics become reality.
To read the interview in full be sure to head here.
Anthem launches on 22 February for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.