After weeks of complete silence, Anthem suddenly updated earlier today with update 1.2.0, which included additions to freeplay, revisions to creatures, and a number of quality-of-life bug fixes while also providing an update on Cataclysm, which will still miss its targeted release date window by what appears to be a wide margin. Anthem had been perceived as a completely dead game thanks to its lack of social media updates, following in the footsteps of similar titles like Valve's Artifact which have experienced extraordinarily problematic launches followed by what appears to be the developer simply giving up on fixing it.
The difference between Anthem and Artifact, though, is what EA and BioWare had promised Anthem's players—a large-scale investigation into what went wrong during development and a comprehensive dedication to fixing those issues over the coming months. While efforts to improve Anthem have been largely ineffective up to this point, the game's dwindling playerbase at least took solace in the fact that they were frequent in nature, which indicated a certain level of effort from the developers. With weeks of complete silence permeating an already grim atmosphere, many assumed EA and BioWare were gearing up to announce that Anthem was simply unfixable.
That's not the case—at least not yet. An update from community manager Darokaz on the EA Answers Blog has shed some light on Anthem's current progress, with the employee mentioning that the 1.2.0 update that released this morning was an effort to make several under the hood content fixes while also setting up for the future Cataclysm update. The post stated that Cataclysm was not going to be rushed out the door, but would rather be released on a Public Test Server to get player feedback and make it better. A first look at Cataclysm will also follow on an Anthem livestream on Twitch and Mixer tomorrow at 3pm Central Time. Here's what Darokaz had to say about Cataclysm:
"Speaking of the Cataclysm, you’re probably wondering when it is going to release. Rather than rush it out the door, we want to take time and get feedback from you and make changes based on what we hear. In order to do that we are releasing a Public Test Server (PTS) on PC, which will allow you to see the content as it is being developed and gives you the ability to provide feedback. While this won’t immediately solve all of the current issues, we want to continue to hear from you as we make improvements to Anthem – and the PTS is a great way to do that."
A stealth update is a nice start for Anthem, which has been criticized previously for over-promising on upcoming updates and then failing to deliver. At the very least, there was nothing expected from Anthem update 1.2.0, and its sudden release will be a pleasant surprise to players who have been worried that nothing would be coming for months.
It's not a fix to the many problems that plague Anthem, though, and it's an obvious indicator of one that has remained a persistent issue: BioWare's inability to communicate with the community in a way that satisfies both parties. That lack of communication drove a lot of people away over the past few weeks, and at this point, it feels like even if Anthem is saved by the time Cataclysm drops well behind schedule, there won't be anyone around to praise it for its sudden turnaround.