EA asks for help to diagnose Anthem's alarming PS4 crashes
If you've played Anthem on PlayStation 4 and experienced its hard crash issue, EA would like you to get in touch.
Anthem's publisher finally acknowledged the game was hard crashing PS4s last night, and asked fans for help diagnosing the issue via its EA Answers HQ message board.
These crashes are not just closing the game client - they're suddenly switching off the entire PS4, as if you had yanked out the console's plug.
I've very occasionally experienced this kind of bug in other games, maybe a handful of times since the PS4 launched. Some of Anthem's PS4 players report this happening multiple times in a single play session.
When reports of this began popping up online yesterday, a handful of users claimed their PS4 had been "bricked" by the issue - something I've seen a few websites repeat.
"Bricked" implies a console has been irrevocably broken, turned into a literal brick of plastic with no way of turning back it on. I've yet to see proof of this - and EA does not recognise it yet either.
What does seem to be happening - fairly widely - are the after-effects of a PS4 suddenly losing power. Many fans using EA's Answers HQ report having to wait a short while (a few minutes in some cases) before their PS4 is able to be switched back on, and only then by pressing the button on the console itself rather using a controller. Some report being thrown into the PS4's hidden Safe Mode, which is a scary-looking set of menus designed to fix serious system bugs.
After that, PS4 owners will see the usual unexpected shutdown error code and system storage status screens, as the console gathers itself together and restarts.
All of that said, Anthem's hard crashes are a serious issue - and not one anyone should expect to encounter, let alone repeatedly, and in a big budget EA tentpole release.
"We are currently in process of gathering information about the PS4 issues so we can determine the root cause," EA wrote. "If you are experiencing hard crashes of your console please reply with the following information:
"PlayStation Console: (PS4, Slim, Pro), PSN ID, Crash Info: When does the crash take place? Are you having to take specific steps to get your PlayStation going again? Have you reported your crash data when prompted?"
Hundreds of Anthem owners have responded, with the same issue reported across all PS4 models.
Reports of the issue have surged in the past few days, prompting some fans to question whether changes in a recent patch are the cause. A couple of people on reddit have reportedly gained refunds out of Sony for their copies of the game, although these seem to be outliers if true, and not indicative of any blanket refund policy.
Whatever is causing the problem, it's another blow for BioWare's struggling loot shooter, which has had a torrid time of it since release.
"Beautiful, broken, with flashes of brilliance, Anthem is a disorganised mess in search of a reason to be," Oli wrote last week in Eurogamer's Anthem review.