After poking fun at Anthem last week for still having its Christmas decorations up, we posited that one of the reasons for the extended in-game holiday season is that BioWare is hard at work on an Anthem redesign. Not even a week later, BioWare’s Casey Hudson has confirmed that an Anthem reboot is in the works at BioWare. This appears to confirm reports from last year about an “Anthem 2.0” relaunch.
To give the team the opportunity to really focus on the work that needs to be done, Anthem is abandoning its current seasonal model. BioWare still plans to run events, store refreshes, and revisit seasonal and cataclysm content, but don’t expect any big new seasonal updates like Icetide while the studio hunkers down and focuses on a “substantial reinvention.”
Hudson first expresses some pride in the development team and the community but admits that there’s a lot more that both players and the team at BioWare wants from Anthem.
Over the last year, the team has worked hard to improve stability, performance and general quality of life while delivering three seasons of new content and features. We have also heard your feedback that Anthem needs a more satisfying loot experience, better long-term progression and a more fulfilling end game. So we recognize that there’s still more fundamental work to be done to bring out the full potential of the experience, and it will require a more substantial reinvention than an update or expansion. Over the coming months we will be focusing on a longer-term redesign of the experience, specifically working to reinvent the core gameplay loop with clear goals, motivating challenges and progression with meaningful rewards – while preserving the fun of flying and fighting in a vast science-fantasy setting. And to do that properly we’ll be doing something we’d like to have done more of the first time around – giving a focused team the time to test and iterate, focusing on gameplay first.
Hudson acknowledges that the core problems stem from an unsatisfying loot experience that doesn’t support long-term progression or Anthem’s endgame. Though he stops just shy of confirming a complete Anthem reboot or relaunch, he does say that it will “require a more substantial reinvention than an update or expansion” to meet the potential that Anthem’s gameplay and world have to offer.
Meanwhile, this means that BioWare will be basically running Anthem in its current state until it is ready to launch the redesign. Existing players can expect to see past seasonal and cataclysm events return, but wider changes and new events like the most recent Icetide season are done for the time being. Hudson hints that Anthem’s anniversary at the end of February will bring a better idea of how the game will run going forward, until such time that Anthem 2.0 is ready.
What does an Anthem reboot mean?
The team at BioWare is committed to the “substantial reinvention” of Anthem, but what does that look like in practice? Will existing players get the redesigned Anthem as an update for free? Will it release as a whole new game? How will the relaunch play into the release of next-gen consoles later this year? There are currently a lot of unknowns regarding the Anthem reboot and how EA plans to distribute it.
Anthem originally released on February 22, 2019. The game was supposed to be a “Destiny-killer,” but reportedly, troubled development led to an unclear vision and disparate experience. Reports surfaced last year that a bigger Anthem reboot was in the works, but at the time BioWare remained quiet. BioWare tried to put a number of bandages on Anthem in its first year through seasonal updates and events, but it could never get beyond the perception problem that the launch issues gave the game. Anthem’s on life-support and in surgery now. It seems that BioWare is now committed to hunkering down taking drastic measures with a complete Anthem reboot that will change up the core gameplay loop. All that remains to be seen is if the redesign can break Anthem from its early negative perception that’s weighed down the game.
On the off chance Anthem’s reboot does end up being free for all existing players, you might want to hop onboard right now while the game’s still cheap. You can get Anthem on Amazon for just $10 right now, which is a pretty great investment if the game ends up being good soon.
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