That’s definitely incorrect as I will explain. I wish it were true.
That should be interesting indeed, but it’s not going to support the theory that Andromeda and Anthem were ever the same thing. Rather they seem to be similar errors. We actually know a fair bit about Andromeda’s development thanks to Schrier and others. The issues are pretty clear.
People were very impressed with Bioware Montreal’s work on ME3, both in the MP (which was all them), and in the DLC (Citadel was in large or whole part their work, IIRC).
Thus Bioware Montreal (BM) got put on developing ME4, rather than the people who developed ME1-3.
They got the same budget as ME2 & 3 - $40m, which could potentially go a little bit further given their location.
They quickly went with an idea of exploring the Andromeda galaxy, and not making a true sequel to the ME1-3 games. Indeed they announced the latter very early on.
The idea they pursued for most of the development time basically could be summed up as “No Man’s Sky meets Mass Effect”. Less focus on crafting, bootstrapping, etc. much more focus on exploring randomly generated planets.
They spent the better part of three years working on this idea, with very limited success.
Sometime around eighteen months or a bit longer before release, they decided this wasn’t going to work. They re-purposed the assets and ideas they had into a more traditional ME game, but it was a massive rush job as a result. This combined with the slightly odd decision to make the main character go on an arc from weak leader to strong leader, together with a fairly muted and unremarkable set of companions, basically lead them to disaster.
Whereas we know Anthem has been in development on and off for a similar amount of time, but with the main Bioware team. What seems likely is that they dramatically re-worked the game at some point in the last 1-3 years, much like Andromeda did, and Destiny 2 did, and quite a few big games have - and it always leads to problems.
For the conspiracy theory you’re positing to work, pretty much everyone who works as Bioware would have to be lying on their CVs, which people are not going to do (esp. ex-Bioware, who have no incentive to do so). That and the credits of Andromeda and Anthem would have to both be a massive lie of omission, which again, is not credible, nor a logical thing to believe.
Now there are some interesting similarities in theme and so on, but also extremely big differences, so I think that’s easy to explain as ideas going back and forth within a company - and within a culture - some of the same ideas appear in Destiny 1/2 and other recent games.
I’m guessing you just haven’t considered this issue in detail, but I have, so there you go.
If I had to bet, my bet would be that Anthem was NOT initially developed as a quasi-massive multiplayer looter-shooter game at all, but rather either:
A single-player or low-number-coop, more RPG-oriented game with a similar setting, but probably not no full-on Iron Man’ing.
An actual MMO (not a quasi-MMO). In 2012, when development started, actual MMOs were still seen as big business. By 2014 that perception had ended.
I suspect it was redesigned when Destiny 1 turned out to be a big hit despite being kind of a shit game - that’d be sometime after 2014. Then all you need is a big redesign due to an earlier design really not working - which happens all the time in big-budget game development (it happened 3-5 times in Diablo 3’s development, depending on how you count - over about 10 years), and them to have pushed out what we see today in 24-30 months. There’s no way it can be much less, because of what was shown in mid-2017, which is very similar to what we see now. But equally as you say, it can’t be a lot more than that because of the sheer paucity of content.
It’s possible they’re holding a ton of content back to release in the content updates, but that seems a tad unlikely.
Right now Bioware’s fate depends on two things:
- How Anthem sells. But this might be less important than you think, because EA don’t want you to buy Anthem, they want you to rent it. If you go ahead and try and buy Anthem, unless you do so in a couple of slightly indirect ways, you get a big screen trying to get you to sign up to EA Access Premium instead. That’s interesting.
- Whether EA perceive Anthem as potentially successfully pushing Access Premium in future.
Access Premium means Anthem does have a chance to recover that a game like Andromeda did not. If they can get the game in a considerably better state in the next 6 months or so, they may well yet survive this. Even if it’s only an okay success, it could potentially make a lot of money for EA.
EDIT - Sad as it is to say, the fact that the other “Big Bs” have all fucked up badly in the last year may help Bioware. Bethesda, well, Fallout 76 is a bigger mess than Anthem, and Todd Holland has sort of systematically shat on hype for Starfield and TESVI by implying the all the tech upgrades for them are already in FO76 (plus not even a whisper of a release date for either). Blizzard have had a hard time due to BfA being unpopular (somewhat unfairly), and not really announcing anything except a mobile game which isn’t developed by them, and recently announcing nothing at all for 2019, and Bungie may have had unreasonably good reviews for Destiny 2 (84% Opencritic is some ridiculous bullshit when you consider the state D2 launched in - should be more like 65% if it was on the same scale as Anthem), but users were not at all happy and even post-Forsaken the game isn’t where anyone expected it to be.