Some bizarre information emerged from BioWare earlier today, as the development team revealed that the studio still considers Anthem to be an early access release and that nearly all of its key content from its initial roadmap will now be delayed indefinitely. The news comes hot on the heels of anticipation for the upcoming new Stronghold release, a move that would have inspired some excitement for a game that has too often been viewed as an exemplary instance of corporate greed and rushed development sinking an otherwise promising new IP.
Anthem's struggles are nothing new—in fact, they began in what fans initially believed to be the early access release period that saw Origin subscribers given a full week of play time before other PC, PS4, and Xbox One users were given the chance to join in. Lately, a player-made Anthem survey indicated the dire conditions that surround the game now, suggesting that over half the game's initial playerbase had already quit the game permanently while a further third were considering leaving if something didn't change relatively soon. After a flurry of initial Anthem patches saw developer BioWare attempt to stopgap some of the most egregious bugs and missing features, news about the game's ongoing repair process has been strangely quiet.
In an update posted to Reddit by Anthem team member Darokaz, staff updated fans on the status of the game as well as the silence that has been a troubling but consistent element of BioWare's approach as of late. Troublingly, the post indicated that BioWare still inexplicably believes that Anthem is in early access release. The post then addressed Anthem Update 1.1.0, which introduced the new Stronghold called The Sunken Cell as well as a few other quality-of-life changes that have been requested for weeks now. Finally, the update dropped a bombshell on fans—a dramatic number of Act 1 features were being delayed, with little reason other than there being more pressing fixes given. Here's what's being delayed:
- Mastery System
- Legendary Missions - Phase II
- Weekly Stronghold Challenge
- Some Freeplay Events
In short, nearly everything that has kept fans sticking around and hoping for something better in the near future will be delayed by BioWare as the studio continues to try and figure out how to sort out the cataclysmic mess that is Anthem. While Cataclysm was a huge focus on early content releases in the build-up to launch, its May release window is now being used to simply release information about the feature, which fans still don't know about. The post also closes out by addressing the many complaints over Anthem's loot that have literally persisted since the beginning of the game's launch, stating:
"We have heard your concerns around end game loot. We agree that our loot and progressions systems need to be improved and we are working towards this. When we have more information to share, we will."
Basically, the most recent update on Anthem is that nothing is going right. Now seems to be an appropriate time for fans to panic, as months after the game's release, the only thing Freelancers have to show for their continued support is one extra Stronghold and the promise that things will get better, just not on schedule. It's an atonal message from a developer that already needed to do a lot to win back the faith many had placed in its ability to produce quality products, and it's hard to imagine anything except an extremely negative backlash waiting in the wings for BioWare after the latest Anthem update brings nearly all bad news.