Anthem is not dead yet as BioWare promises a redesign

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After a disappointing first year for Anthem, BioWare has promised to redesign many key features of the multiplayer sci-fi action-RPG.

As we draw close to the one-year anniversary of the release of Anthem, I half expected BioWare’s blog post to announce the game would be shutting down. After all, it has been quite a disappointing first year for the game, which launched with the promise of a world rife with interesting creatures and fascinating lore.

That wasn’t at all what was delivered at launch. Admittedly, I was one of the few who actually found a bit of joy in Anthem at launch thanks, in large part, to its combat mechanics (and Javelins). As a “game-as-a-service” title, I was willing to give BioWare the benefit of the doubt. After all, as we saw with Ubisoft and The Division, it is possible to recover from a rough launch.

Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case for Anthem. Nearly one-year later, the game is still very much a disappointing mess.

The journey isn’t over yet, though. In an early anniversary post, BioWare reflected on their work with Anthem, acknowledging that the team has “worked hard to improve stability, performance and general quality of life while delivering three seasons of new content and features.” The developer continued:

"We have also heard your feedback that Anthem needs a more satisfying loot experience, better long-term progression and a more fulfilling end game.  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."

BioWare essentially confirmed an earlier report from Kotaku, explaining that they will work to “redesign” the core experience of Anthem. This includes reworking the repetitive gameplay loop and adding more meaningful challenges and rewards.  This overhaul was previously described by Kotaku as a complete revamp dubbed “Anthem 2.0” or “Anthem Next,” and it certainly sounds like that is what we’ll be getting. The studio promises to allow more time for testing and reiterating these systems.

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Unfortunately, this sort of revamp and redesign will take time. BioWare offered no timetable for when this rework will roll out, but I imagine it will take at least a few months. Hopefully, much of the conceptualizing for what the new Anthem should be has already taken place so we won’t be waiting too long. Still, implementing and testing these systems to ensure we don’t get another buggy mess of a launch will take time.

While we wait, BioWare promises to continue to run the current version of Anthem. In-game events, store refreshes and the return of past seasonal and cataclysm content will continue, but it doesn’t sound like any of what was previously promised on the roadmap will be delivered anymore. BioWare has already stated they’ll be moving away from full seasons as they “work towards the future of Anthem.”

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This honestly sounds similar to what Bungie did with Destiny, another game that somewhat disappointed at launch and didn’t reach its full potential until The Taken King expansion a year after the original game’s release. It’s just unfortunate that it has taken BioWare this long to come to the realization that the current version of Anthem had to be completely reworked.