Just a day on from the release of a patch that introduced a new Stronghold and made a number of quality-of-life improvements, BioWare has delayed a number of key Act 1 features that were due to be introduced to Anthem over the next couple of months.
BioWare explained the delay in a developer update from lead producer Ben Irving and live service boss Chad Robertson over on Reddit, where they explained that sorting out bug fixes, stability issues, and implementing quality of life improvements had taken precedence over the new content. Speaking in the post, they said:
“We have been prioritizing things like bug fixes, stability and game flow over the new features of Act 1. We set aside time for this work, but the reality is there are more things to fix and improve than we planned for. While this is the best thing to do for the game, it means some items from the calendar will be delayed.”
What that essentially means is that Anthem simply wasn’t good enough at launch, and trying to make it actually work and be a more enjoyable experience has been given more importance than developing the new content. While it’s good to know that BioWare are addressing the numerous issues present in the game, this news will still come as a source of frustration to players who have stuck with the game and are eager for it to gain expanded features. It’s another big blow for the Anthem, which has suffered from a mostly negative reaction with both players and critics (and a reportedly dreadful development cycle) and has again raised questions for me about games being released before they’re ready and up to standard.
Specifically, the following new features have been delayed:
- Mastery System
- Legendary Missions – Phase II
- Weekly Stronghold Challenge
- Some Freeplay Events
Although there are a number of important features in that list that will enhance the game (such as Guilds, the Mastery System, and the Weekly Stronghold Challenge), the standout of the delayed content is undoubtedly the Cataclysm. Cataclysms have been described as the games “most ambitious and challenging content”, which take place through time-limited events that introduce new enemies, new challenges, and cause extreme weather. They have been much anticipated by players who are looking forward to trying out some true, raid-like endgame activities. Speaking about the delay to the first Cataclysm, which was originally scheduled to be released in May, Irving and Robertson said:
“The Cataclysm is an important addition to the game and it’s currently a big focus for the team. The Cataclysm will bring new challenges and rewards and pushes the story of Anthem forward. As our work continues, we will share more with you in May.”
Concluding the post, Irving and Robertson acknowledged player frustrations over the delays and stressed their desire to get Anthem to a place where they want it to be:
“We know you have been waiting for these updates, and that you might not be pleased with where we are today. We understand and respect these perspectives.
The only thing we can say is this – We Believe in Anthem. We believe the game will be great, but we recognize getting there will take a lot of hard work. We want to do that work and we want you all to join us on the journey to get there.”
Understandably, the post has received quite a negative backlash from players who still feel like they were mis-sold a vision for a game that has been nowhere near delivered. The sad reality is that Anthem is a shell of what players expected from the game, both in terms of content and the fact that it is nowhere near finished, and the delay to these key features will now leave players who stuck with Anthem and have completed everything there is to do with nothing left to tackle or aim for in the game for the foreseeable future.