BioWare has been working to fix Anthem ever since its rocky launch a couple months ago, but the writing may now be on the wall for the third-person shooter. In a Reddit post on Tuesday, the Lead Producer and Head of Live Services wrote about the current state of the game with the release of the latest patch, which did add a new Stronghold and some needed QoL improvements, and also where things are headed. The short answer: nowhere fast.
Before getting into the near-future for Anthem, let's talk about the update and what's changed (full notes can be found here). There are a number of tweaks and balances to different things, but the more noteworthy changes are as follows:
- The Sunken Cell stronghold is now available to all players who have completed the main story (critical path). This was part of the roadmap that BioWare laid out soon after the game's release.
- Added the ability to select contracts from the start of expedition screen rather than going to the individual contract boards in Fort Tarsis or in the Launch Bay. A good quality-of-life improvement that makes it easier to just get into the action.
- Added the ability to launch a new mission from the end of expedition screen without having to return to Fort Tarsis or the Launch Bay. Again, another good QoL to keep you in the action.
- Added the ability to access the Forge during Missions, Strongholds and Freeplay. You can now change your gear without having to return to Fort Tarsis or the Launch Bay! A HUGE QoL improvement. I was fine being locked into gear for a Mission or Stronghold, though I do understand the counter-argument to this, but felt like you shouldn't be locked in for Freeplay where you have the freedom to mess around with different builds and gear.
Those QoL improvements (particularly the last one) are all really good, and needed. But they are the little bit of sugar on a big onion and anchovy sandwich.
Some of the content that was originally promised for April (an expanded progression system [Mastery], a new set of Legendary Missions, weekly Stronghold challenges) is not arriving in the course of the next few days, or even next month. They've even been removed from the official roadmap page on EA's website. What's more, everything for May, which included the mysterious "Cataclysm" world event, is also delayed. So, if you were looking forward to some big new content, then I'm afraid there's nothing here but sadness. And just to kick that horse while it's down, one of the biggest areas of the game that needs some real TLC, the loot, isn't getting fixed anytime soon. BioWare is aware of this and are working on it, but have nothing else to share at this time. It all feels pretty bleak and reminds me of the trajectory of Mass Effect: Andromeda.
I kept rooting for Anthem to make it through these rough few months and somehow turn into the title that I think a lot of people saw buried within, despite the fact that every update felt like it came with a disclaimer of "these things are fixed, but other things are now worse/broken." Maybe BioWare can still pull it out and turn everything around; but it's starting to feel more and more like these are its dying breaths as the title will only survive with a thriving player-base, and I think they've now had their fill of "just wait a little bit longer."