Once upon a time, say “BioWare” and gamers remember critically acclaimed titles like Baldur Gate, KOTOR and Mass Effect. Today, it brings to mind Mass Effect Andromeda, Anthem and images of a studio in serious trouble. Now come the rumors surrounding Dragon Age 4.
Booted for Anthem?
Reports indicate that while Dragon Age 4 was still “years away,” when the entire project was shelved and the development team was shifted to help get Anthem into shape for launch. Now, rumors circulate that Dragon Age 4 will essentially be “Anthem with Dragons.”
You can feel the cringe in that simple sentence – especially since Kotaku’s Jason Schreier damning expose on what went wrong with Anthem.” It is from those sources that the “Anthem with Dragons” label originates. Sources within BioWare confirmed to Schreier that Dragon Age 4, could change multiple times over the coming years.
Rumors, such Nasty Rumors!
Rumors continue to float that the newest installment into the Dragon Age franchise could follow the same Anthem “live service” model. BioWare has said that they are looking to expand the game to have a multiplayer component. What form this takes remains to be seen.
Under General Manager Casey Hudson’s, a BioWare dream team of veteran developers is being assembled for Dragon Age 4. There has also been some pushback from within BioWare about the “Anthem with Dragons” tag, citing that Anthem was a BioWare experiment to foray into multiplayer games and those online elements will not be the defining features of Dragon Age 4.
These reports of disagreement within BioWare about what Dragon Age 4 is supposed to be does not bode well for this project. Already, some are drawing parallels to Anthem’s lack of leadership and direction. This indicates that even the current preproduction phase if not going well, with infighting paralyzing further development.
Another case of Frostbite?
Compounding the internal problems at BioWare is the Frostbite Engine. There were numerous issues with the Frostbite engine that has hamstrung game development at BioWare. This makes rumors that the Tools and Codebase used to develop Anthem will be used to help create Dragon Age 4 terrifying. A lot of fixing needs to happen before this is a viable development strategy.
Anthem was the flop that could have killed BioWare for good. This makes Dragon Age 4, their last chance to turn things around. At present, there has been no confirmation on what platform or distributors for the title. Release date? Well… it could take another seven years, like Anthem.