Anthem tried to be a fresh new adventure for fans of loot-and-shoot-style games. However, developer Bioware showed that it’s deeply aware of the reputation garnered at Anthem’s launch. That’s why, in a blog post released today, Bioware shared that Anthem will undergo a massive rework and redesign. Unfortunately for today’s players, it’ll come at the cost of regular “seasonal” content.
Anthem launched with far more than a typical share of criticisms and suggestions, BioWare general manager Casey Hudson admitted:
So 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. Over the coming months we will be focusing on a longer-term redesign of the experience, specifically working to reinvent the core gameplay loop with clear goals, motivating challenges and progression with meaningful rewards – while preserving the fun of flying and fighting in a vast science-fantasy setting. And to do that properly we’ll be doing something we’d like to have done more of the first time around – giving a focused team the time to test and iterate, focusing on gameplay first.
To that end, Hudson said, the team needs to pull away from focusing on current content.
“In the meantime, we will continue to run the current version of Anthem, but move away from full seasons as the team works towards the future of Anthem,” Hudson explained. “We’ll keep the game going with events, store refreshes, and revisiting past seasonal and cataclysm content – starting with our anniversary towards the end of the month.”
The long story short is, yes, Bioware still wants Anthem to be worth playing. But it’ll need to go into a cocoon mode for a little while in order to hopefully emerge at the other side.
Skeptics may understandably sneer at this announcement. Anthem, which released nearly a year ago, seemed irreparable from launch.
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Long loading times, game-breaking bugs, and console-borking scenarios awaited the most unlucky players. Those that made it in faced irritating grinding, sub-par missions, and a bugged loot drop system. Further down the line, the loot system even prompted calls for temporary boycotts. And back in April, someone literally snipped fiber optic cables outside the Bioware office.
However, a long-term makeover isn’t an uncommon strategy in the “games as a service” era. Most notably, Warframe slowly boiled into a smash hit as it added more features and improved the user experience. Meanwhile, The Division worked on its own gameplay before compiling its biggest changes into The Division 2. Games like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and Anthem’s direct competitor Destiny 2 also regularly massively update their systems and mechanics, for better or worse.
Plus, with Dragon Age’s next major installment on the horizon, Bioware might want to improve its reputation. Bioware attracted fans for its storytelling and characters in series such as Dragon Age and Mass Effect. Anthem stepped away from these draws and moved into a gameplay-focused system.
Players can only hope that Bioware follows on its word. For now, they’ll have to hold onto their jetpacks and loot a little more.