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BioWare spreads out Anthem’s 90-day roadmap

In-world events and a new progression system build to May’s ‘Cataclysm’

four people in exosuits hover high in the air above a river valley BioWare/Electronic Arts
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

BioWare offered a three-month roadmap for Anthem now that the game’s mystifying series of launches and access dates have all passed. With it, the studio’s head of live service broadly acknowledged Anthem’s lackluster debut and promised to improve it over the next 90 days.

“We understand that we have lots of work ahead of us to continue to improve the game,” BioWare’s Chad Robertson wrote yesterday. “Our most recent patch – the one you are playing now — reflects your feedback ... Beyond that, we have a growing list of improvements we’re evaluating for the future. You’ll start seeing the next of those this coming week.”

The day-one patch went out yesterday and has dozens of fixes and balance adjustments. Most of these address issues that came to light during Anthem’s early access periods.

The next 90 days form Anthem’s first “act,” called Echoes of Reality. BioWare first mentioned plans for its Acts a couple of weeks ago. Basically, they’re the end-game content to keep players returning after they finish Anthem’s core campaign missions.

A lot of this roadmap is flagged “Cortex Locked” (Anthem-ese for the in-world journal of lore), but here are the highlights:

  • Things kick off next week with three in-world events, and continue with a series of March updates called Evolving World. These will bring back two of the three events (There Be Giants and Outlaw Outrage) while also offering new cosmetics, items, and the first phase of Anthem’s Legendary Missions.
  • April (“Stronger Together”) is about enhancing interaction and competition in Anthem’s multiplayer. That means a new Stronghold, a weekly Stronghold challenge, leaderboards and guild support. This month begins phase two of the Legendary Missions and a new progression system, plus seven freeplay events.
  • In May, Anthem’s “Cataclysm” starts, bringing another freeplay event, new missions and rewards. No other details were mentioned. There are locked spaces for Acts 2 and 3, suggesting they will close out the last 180 days of 2019.

“I look at today from two perspectives. As a gamer, I’m excited by what we’ve created with Anthem and the promise it carries for a long future behind the game’s lush world, immersive lore, rich characters, and core gameplay,” Robertson said. “As a developer, I know we’ve worked hard to strike a balance of engaging BioWare story combined with fun action-gameplay and multi-player progression; I also know how much more we want to bring to the game.”

Our review of Anthem was not charitable toward the game as it exists at launch. We found end-game content to be a glaring shortcoming and the combat, while “marvelous,” was poorly supported by the mission design and a plodding narrative.

“In order for Anthem to survive, BioWare will need to clarify its identity and prioritize the right elements of it,” reviewer Russ Frushtick wrote. “Playing Anthem, I can sense where this game is going. I just worry about how long it will take to get there.”

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