It’s no secret that the online multiplayer sci-fi role-playing game did not deliver on its expectations. “Nothing here is necessarily outright wank, it’s just been done better before,” we mused. “It has sparkles of brilliance within its Iron Man-coated shell, and there’s no denying it’s easy on the eyes. However, it’s abundantly clear that BioWare should have stuck this one back in the oven for another six months or so given its current state.” BioWare continued to bolster Anthem with post-launch Acts and Cataclysms, which were live events that offered time-limited Contracts, Freeplay, and Strongholds to complete. However, these were buggy and lacklustre, and they were eventually swapped for seasons of content, but even then, players found themselves twiddling their thumbs for something to actually do in Anthem.
In fact, the rocky road began while the game was in its initial stages of development, due to disagreements and departures at BioWare. Rumour had it that the developer was planning to overhaul the game, terming it “Anthem Next”, and changing chunks of how loot, quests, social features, progression systems, and the world of Anthem works. This was thought to be the reason why the live support was all over the place, because BioWare was essentially breaking Anthem into bits and rebuilding it behind closed doors. Now, we know the game is getting a makeover, as announced by general manager Casey Hudson.
Hudson described the development and release of Anthem as “exhilarating and terrifying,” and expressed his gratitude to the teams that lent their talent to supporting the game. “I am so proud of the work the team has put into this game, and at the same time there’s so much more that we—and you—would have wanted from it,” conceded Hudson. “We recognize that there’s still more fundamental work to be done to bring out the full potential of the experience, and it will require a more substantial reinvention than an update or expansion.” The new Anthem will arrive in due time, as the developer tests its ideas and focuses on “reinvent[ing] the core gameplay loop with clear goals, motivating challenges and progression with meaningful rewards.”
The DNA of Anthem will stay the same—zooming around in Javelins and protecting the planet from baddies—but it appears that BioWare is seriously shaking up how the game plays and feels to make the most of how much time and effort went in to keeping Anthem alive. When games are binned on a frighteningly regular basis, this is cheering news. “Creating new worlds is central to our studio mission, but it’s not easy. Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we miss,” said Hudson. “What keeps us going is the support from players like you. Your feedback gives us guidance on how we can improve, and your passion inspires us with the courage to create. I look forward to working together with your involvement and feedback towards the best possible future for Anthem.”
Anthem is out now on PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox One.