Thanks to a report by Kotaku’s Jason Schreier, BioWare’s extremely troubled development on Anthem is now well known, including the fact that Anthem was rushed and its original E3 demo was fake. But it appears that hints of the problems going on at BioWare while making the game were hidden inside of Anthem all along—in the form of a collectible Cortex item that one of the writers at BioWare wrote into the game.
Players found the Cortex item “What Does It All Mean?” on the northern edge of the map, and while its text may have been at first overlooked and accepted as just another piece of in-game lore before the news of Anthem‘s development problems, it is now hard to read it without connecting it to the issues that BioWare’s developers experienced on the project.
One of those reported issues was that Anthem spent years of its development in limbo without any clear direction on the game with new ideas cropping up and then those ideas changing again and again, including meetings where no decisions were made, leaving developers confused about what exactly to be making. According to Schreier’s report, when developers brought up these concerns with the game’s leads and directors, they were shrugged off. The entire first part of the in-game Cortex item seems to be alluding to this specific lack of direction developers were receiving on Anthem:
I asked the Arcanists what the meaning of the world was, and they couldn’t tell me. They had a lot of theories. A lot of ideas. A lot of hot air. The truth is: nobody really knows. Shouldn’t that worry people? Whenever I bring it up, they just shrug. How can they not care? How can so many people be asleep?
But the game had to launch to meet EA’s fiscal year, as hinted at by former BioWare general manager Aaryn Flynn, so the bulk of the game had to be developed in the last 18 months before launch. That included the narrative, which was reportedly largely created very late in the process.
Whichever developer wrote this in-game text seems to be alluding to the lack of a well-developed narrative world in the final line of the Cortex item:
Doesn’t it bother them that our whole world is unexplained after thousands of years of living in it?
Of course, there’s always a chance that this is just a piece of in-game lore and not connected to Anthem‘s development issues. oweverH, it seems difficult to see it at this point as anything but a meta message one developer wrote into the game expressing their frustrations or hinting to players what was going on behind the scenes while the game was being made.
Anthem is available now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
Source: Anthem The Game Reddit