Seemingly like clockwork, Anthem is back in the news for all the wrong reasons. This time, BioWare’s head of live service, Chad Robertson, has authored an update on the future of the struggling iron man suit-donning multiplayer shooter fraught with platitudes and promises of redress that make it everything but an update.
The gist is that BioWare is shelving its episodic ‘Acts’ update structure to pool resources into fixing Anthem’s core issues. The developer will continue to push out small fry seasonal updates featuring ‘challenges and chases’ from now until the end of the year, but players shouldn’t expect any sweeping content drops like last month’s reasonably palatable Cataclysm expansion.
For many, this is a long-overdue shift towards patching up the underlying problems that have irked active players and warded off countless others from even trying the game.
Amid promises of knuckling down and fixing Anthem once and for all is this absolute gem;
As I’ve said previously, we want to be transparent with you that we know more work needs to be done to make Anthem better. We also want to ensure we’re backing up our words with a great game you can play. So I don’t have any news today to share about the long-term changes we are bringing to Anthem.
Transparency is commendable and a policy that many developers still struggle to maintain consistently, but BioWare’s news that they have no news borders on the inane, and if we didn’t know better, on the sarcastic.
Publisher EA’s patience appears to be wearing thin as last week it confined Anthem to the proverbial doghouse as the lowest-tier EA Access Vault title, which is akin to a last chance at redemption. Players pay the sum of $5.00 per month to access a catalog of EA’s older and arguably lesser titles, of which Anthem is now a part.
EA Access is the last opportunity for EA to cajole players into trying out Anthem, a final surge to bleed dry any lingering interest. For Anthem, it’s the last stop before the murky waters of going free-to-play.
But then again, the free-to-play model is dependent on micro-transactions. The lack of meaty content especially micro-transaction-boosting skins, weapons, etc. in Anthem mean there’s no real incentive for players to drop hard-earned real cash into the game.
Nevertheless, short of taking Anthem out-back to end its misery once and for all, free-to-play may be the next best thing for beleaguered BioWare. Whether EA will acquiesce is a whole other story.