One of the most disappointing game releases of 2019 has to be Anthem. The first new IP BioWare produced in a decade launched to a lukewarm reception and progressed even worse in the last few months.
At E3 2019, EA CEO Andrew Wilson spoke with GameDaily.biz to reassure fans that EA and BioWare are committed to improving Anthem to turn it into something special. In fact, Wilson seems confident that the developers will be able to make that happen.
If we believed that at the very core the world wasn’t compelling people, if we believed at the very core that the characters weren’t compelling for people, or the Javelin suits weren’t compelling, or traversing the world and participating in the world wasn’t compelling then provided we hadn’t made promises to our players… we might not invest further. IP lives for generations, and runs in these seven to ten year cycles. So, if I think about Anthem on a seven to ten year cycle, it may not have had the start that many of us wanted, including our players. I feel like that team is really going to get there with something special and something great, because they’ve demonstrated that they can.
To be honest, though, it’s a bit hard to agree with Wilson that BioWare successfully demonstrated the ability to improve Anthem post-launch. When I got to review the game, I hoped they’d be able to do that quickly:
It is frustrating to rate Anthem. The game looks great, plays even better and has an intriguing setting to boot. However, the fragmented world design, overabundance of loading screens and severe lack of content considerably drag down the experience, at least for the time being. Still, this is a live service game after all and the folks at BioWare have the chance to right this ship by adding enough content in the upcoming months, though it won’t be easy.
However, the roadmap the developers had originally posted was not delivered to players in time, with plenty of features and content cut from patches while BioWare had to focus on bug fixes and core game tweaks. By comparison, Bethesda managed to deliver a steady stream of new content and features to Fallout 76 while fixing bugs at the same time. As a result, the reputation of Fallout 76 has significantly improved since its similarly problematic launch.
Anthem fans can only hope Andrew Wilson is right about BioWare’s capability to do the same kind of turnaround for their game by continuously supporting the title and listening to the community’s concerns and feedback.
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