Anthem abandons seasonal content as BioWare confirms major redesign and reinvention

    
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So, apparently all the stories last week about how Anthem still hadn’t taken down its Christmas decorations struck a nerve, and we’ve got an update on the state of the game. This afternoon, BioWare’s Casey Hudson seems to have confirmed last year’s rumors that the game was getting some sort of major reboot, though he doesn’t quite call it Anthem 2.0 or Anthem Next as speculated.

“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,” Hudson writes. “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.”

The downside is the current version of the game isn’t going to see much love, as it moves “away from full seasons,” though Hudson does promise “events, store refreshes, and revisiting past seasonal and cataclysm content” including anniversary events later in February. We don’t know when exactly we’ll see the new version, but it’s welcome at least to know BioWare hasn’t given up on it despite all the high-profile team departures.

Source: Official site

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yarazin

Sorry to drop in but its so frustrating for a ME fan that they keep this going but dropped ME:A like a hot potato. Not saying MEA didn’t have its issues but I for one still want DLC and a sequel. :)

On topic I hope for Anthem fans that this works out.

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tentimes

Wouldn’t it be interesting if, after this huge redesign, it actually turns out to be a really good game? I might buy it then.

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Aiun Tanks

Yeah, I’ll believe it when I see it.

Right now? BioWare seems to think that the best thing for Anthem is leaderboards, time trials, and other forms of competitive PVE, with a focus on repeating content over and over again for chances to pull the lever on the character-power-progress one-armed bandit. Which, y’know… fuck that, and fuck them.

I can’t think of anything worse for an endgame, but the devs genuinely seem to think that’s exciting, and the two hundred players who still play this dismal failure seem to agree.

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Randomessa

It kind of feels like all the Anthem devs or higher-ups heard was “relaunch it like FFXIV did” and stopped there. I don’t feel like they get that the reason FFXIV’s relaunch worked was not merely because it relaunched, but because the person in charge of the relaunch started by clearly explaining what went wrong with the 1.0 version, showing that he precisely understood the problems, and therefore how to go about remedying them. Then he continued to work on the 1.0 version while the 2.0 was being built in the background, actually addressing some of those issues in the live game and bridging the two versions with story. Did I mention story? There was a story. There continues to be a story. I remember a time when I thought Anthem would have a lot of story. I didn’t see any mention of a commitment to the continuation of the story.

Anthem saying “we’ll do better, promise, and we’ll keep the store open while we do” does not inspire a vote of confidence, but I’m not sure anyone at the helm will understand WHY.

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tentimes

FFXIV relaunch also included a lot of humble pie and people wanting to learn lessons.

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dreamer

Too true! And these are things EA/Bioware are incapable of expressing.

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NeoWolf

I liked Anthem, it just needed content. However I do not think they ever really understood what content was as all these seasons added were events not the continuation of stories with more zones and features and things to do… just temporary gets these new shinies by repeating this one thing over and over and that its.

Repetitive grinds are not content they are filler for LACK of content..

Rebooting it a good thing I guess but not without cost, what about all the progress we HAD made? now i imagine it will count for sh**.

Honestly it feels like the industry isn’t even sure what a GAME is anymore, they are so used to releasing half-finished “in progress” Alpha/Early Access crap these days the idea of something being done, sustainable and complete let alone expandable as a live service is just alien to them.

Karma_Mule
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Karma_Mule

Well put. I had much fun on my first play-through of Anthem, and was astonished they were so unprepared as to not have at least some next step in the story ready to go in the first few months after launch.

I remember how much I loved their descriptions of Anthem’s intended emphasis on PVE and story. It’s sadly evident they had no idea how to actually implement that vision.

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Matt Comstock

With its well documented issues and problems, Anthem was the biggest let down for me in my history of gaming, which spans back to the original Nintendo in or about 1985 (may have been ’87 when it showed up under the Christmas tree).

I am cautiously optimistic about the re-work on this game. I very much hope that they do not charge for a new game (either full or reduced) for persons owning a copy of the game in its current state.

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rafael12104

Well, this is no surprise is it? And to the extent that they are “rebooting” the game to hopefully deliver what was promised originally, it is welcome news.

BUT, I don’t trust Bioware and Hudson. Not anymore. Remember, he was the one that was laying it on thick a year before to Anthems launch telling us it would be the best game we had ever seen. Heh.

So, now that the game is officially in sustaining mode, as if the “seasons” were actually significant new content, I have to wonder if this refocus on what should have already been the focus is nothing more than another ploy to squeeze a little more out of the games faithful. Will they come back in 6 months and say,

“We tried, but it’s too much work and we have Dragon Age to focus on. Sorry!”?

Heh. Don’t be surprised if that is the case.

I’ve been playing Anthem since that first pre-launch demo and I enjoy it. With this last event, I think the game turned a corner and finally delivered a complete product.

But Casey’s blog post confirms that Anthem was an incomplete mess and a total shitshow from the start. The post also reaffirms that it is the players still hanging on that will pay the price.

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rosieposie

The saddest part in all this is to see developer resources still wasted on this, instead of something the studio is actually good at. If they are still good at anything…

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3dom

Anyway, whoever didn’t play Anthem yet – get it while you can find a discounted game. For $5-10 it’s a major bargain considering I got nearly 600 hours of excellent gameplay out of my copy since 1.20 patch in May (same as Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Monster Hunter combined).

Karma_Mule
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Karma_Mule

I agree that for fire-sale prices it’s worth it. I maybe got about 75 hours out of my first run-through of the story and wandering around the world, but that’s still more than worth it when the cost is so low. Plus you won’t have your hopes up that there’s a viable endgame when done and can move on without all the angst.

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Natalyia

I don’t trust a word out of Casey Hudson’s mouth about games. here’s a quote from an interview prior to Mass Effect 3’s release:

Hudson: “Yeah, and I’d say much more so, because we have the ability to
build the endings out in a way that we don’t have to worry about
eventually tying them back together somewhere. This story arc is
coming to an end with this game. That means the endings can be a lot
more different. At this point we’re taking into account so many
decisions that you’ve made as a player and reflecting a lot of that
stuff. It’s not even in any way like the traditional game endings,
where you can say how many endings there are or whether you got
ending A, B, or C…..The endings have a lot more sophistication and
variety in them.”

This, for a game whose ending was – quite literally, a choice of watching one of three differently-colored but identical scenes of the Mass Relay network exploding. Which, last we were told, would result in the destruction of every system those relays were in, and the inevitable collapse of galactic civilization.

Sophistication and variety, indeed. Never again. And nothing they’ve done since convinces me that anyone at EA/Bioware have learned a darn thing. Ah well.