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CANCELLED: The "Pile of Sand" Development Methodology for 'Anthem'

Alain Baxter  (Development Director, BioWare)

Date: Thursday, March 21

Time: 4:00pm - 5:00pm

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference - Get your pass now!

Topic: Production & Team Management

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: All

BioWare's new IP 'Anthem' is designed to be a living, breathing world for players to explore and immerse themselves into with the use EXO suits. Sharing this world with other players, the BioWare team had to develop a broad variety of content to engage and challenge the player.

Production plans were laid out, and with the use of "phased gates" for content, the team started to build their content. However, part way through, they realized they were falling behind. The solution? Switch to a new developmental process called "Pile of Sand" and adapt priorities to fit this new model.

The result? It worked. By late production, BioWare had caught up to where they wanted to be and had something that they were proud of and enjoyed playing. This talk will discuss the process the BioWare team took to adapt to this new process and lessons learned for future projects.


The key takeaway for attendees is the hindsight that planning is an important exercise in game development. Plans will change, but the work put into planning allows a team to adapt faster and be more successful when the need arises.

Intended Audience

The target audience for this talk is anyone who has gone through at least one full cycle of game development and understands that the needs of a project change through each development phase. Having additional insights into the concept/pre-production phase are helpful.