BioWare is focussing its energies on an overhaul for Anthem that would shake up the fundamentals to deliver an entirely new game experience, termed "Anthem Next" (via Kotaku).
Kotaku’s sources allege that the publisher and developer are "trying to integrate the disparate parts of the game together" utilising the teams at Austin, Texas, and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada to address Anthem’s "core issues". After a problematic development process, Anthem is considered to be devoid of excitement. If its developers are attempting to balance live support with a serious overhaul, it’s no wonder that BioWare chose to end content-heavy Acts for "seasonal updates".
The loot, quests, social features, difficulty, progression system, and world of Anthem are all going under the knife, according to the report. “We spent a few months just tearing it down and figuring out what needed to change fundamentally (a lot),” said an anonymous source. “And we’ve been rebuilding for another few months since.” One especially interesting change is that the world will be broken up into zones instead of staying as one continuous map. This would let developers add to and fix these zones without causing a ripple effect of unforeseen glitches elsewhere.
“We’re also looking at breaking up the need to go back to [Fort Tarsis] after every mission,” said one source, “and what a mission technically is. That was always a weird disconnect. [We’re] trying to integrate the disparate parts of the game together.” There is no evident timeline for "Anthem Next", and it might be staggered in sequential updates, or it might release in an expansion, or it might be a totally standalone game. What is known is that Anthem players won’t be paying full price for “Next”.
It’s important to remember that this is hearsay, and EA did not comment on Kotaku’s report. However, if this is true, it marks a momentous turnaround for a project blighted with mismanagement, conflicts, and crunch. In the meantime, Anthem will be decking the halls of Fort Tarsis with snow and sparkly lights soon to celebrate the Icetide season, and add a brand new Freelancer Time Trial to boot.