Anthem

Beautiful, broken, with flashes of brilliance, Anthem is a disorganised mess in search of a reason to be.

Spotlight

Key events

When we first took a look at the PC version of Anthem, one thing was abundantly clear - this game is highly demanding on hardware. Average frame-rates are fine overall, but once the title's signature pyrotechnics kick off in full force, performance can drop alarmingly. Running at 4K resolution on max settings, not even Nvidia's top-tier RTX 2080 Ti graphics hardware can consistently run this game at 60 frames per second. However, the arrival of a new Anthem patch supporting Nvidia's deep learning super-sampling could potentially help.

BioWare "very disappointed" in Anthem launch issues

BioWare "very disappointed" in Anthem launch issues

"We hear the criticisms and doubts. But we'll keep going anyway."

BioWare boss Casey Hudson has admitted Anthem's launch was "rougher than expected" due to various gameplay issues which did not reveal themselves until after the game was on shop shelves.

This, Hudson says in a frank new blog post, left BioWare "very disappointed, as were many of you".

Hudson's post recaps some of the work BioWare has done since launch - including the delivery of more than 200 improvements, such as the "notable changes to the loot drop rate" rolled out at the weekend. But it also acts as a reassurance to those still playing Anthem that BioWare will remain committed to the game.

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Big Anthem update drops today - and it makes some key changes to the game

BioWare's dropping a big patch for embattled shared-world looter Anthem tonight - and it makes some welcome changes.

Patch 1.0.3, which goes live between 7am and 9am Central Time (1pm and 3pm UK time) today, 9th March, removes respawn restrictions, changes the way loot works, tackles crashes and improves the audio.

Digging into the detail, respawn timers are now based on the activity a player is in. So, Crit-Path, Agent Missions and other non-endgame missions now have a respawn timer of 10 seconds. Meanwhile, Strongholds, Legendary Contracts and other endgame missions now have a respawn timer of 30 seconds. (The respawn timer in freeplay is unchanged.)

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Anthem PS4 crash fix due next week, review finds no consoles bricked

Anthem's alarming bug which causes PlayStation 4 consoles to shutdown is getting fixed next week, BioWare has said.

And after a "thorough review" alongside PlayStation, BioWare has confirmed no consoles were left "bricked" by the issue, despite numerous reports to this effect circulating on websites and social media earlier in the week.

Writing on Twitter last night, BioWare's live service boss Chad Robertson confirmed fixes for the PS4 crash bug would be included in next week's patch for the game, due 12th March. Several issues had caused the problem, Robertson said, although no more detail was given what they actually were.

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Who loves loot? Silly question - we all love loot, but Anthem has recently come under fire for not giving players enough of it. That could be about to change, however, as a number of tweaks could see the game become slightly less stingy over its goodies.

Anthem is a mess - so what would keep us playing?

We discuss BioWare's latest on the Eurogamer Podcast.

If you've played the demo or early access, it was clear Anthem - BioWare's new games-as-a-service loot shooter - would be a fascinating if flawed game, and unfortunately the full game only emphasises what a mess it is in places.

Anthem review - shaken apart by its own identity crisis

We've been here before. In 2012, BioWare released Star Wars: The Old Republic, an online role-playing game modelled closely on World of Warcraft. At the time it was the most expensive video game ever made: a mammoth, high-stakes undertaking in a genre BioWare, which specialises in epic storytelling for a solo player, had no experience of and didn't seem entirely comfortable with. Its fully voiced dialogue and multiple branching storylines clashed awkwardly with the streamlined social play of an online world.

Anthem review

Developer: BioWare

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Is Anthem performance really improved in the final game?

Digital FoundryIs Anthem performance really improved in the final game?

And to what extent is the E3 2017 vision actually delivered?

Yes, Anthem's day one patch has indeed addressed many of the performance issues and oddities found in the console versions of the game, but despite undeniable improvements and optimisations, there's the sense that BioWare's latest epic still requires work. Meanwhile, if you're playing on PC, be prepared for an experience that really pushes your hardware, but undeniably provides impressive enhancements over the console experience. But does Anthem on any system deliver an experience anything like that E3 reveal? The answer is no, but it's still a visually arresting game.

Our first port of call after our demo testing was the Xbox build, which arrived in the hands of users ahead of its PlayStation counterpart courtesy of EA Access. We started looking at this as soon as it was available, but quickly decided to hold fire on publishing any conclusions - not only was the experience highly buggy, but in some respects, performance was actually worse than the VIP demo. The experience wasn't really improved much from what we'd sampled before, screen-tearing was introduced (unseen in our VIP demo tests) and for some baffling reason, BioWare unlocked the frame-rate on base Xbox models, which combined with constant tearing, produced an ugly experience.

On Thursday last week, the day one patch dropped, offering significant improvements. Occasional screen-tearing remains (limited to the top portion of the screen - a latency saving measure that gives a little bit of extra per-frame rendering budget), but the 30fps cap seen in the demo was thankfully re-introduced. Xbox One X spends much more of the time at its target frame-rate now - which is a relief - but the overall improvement to vanilla and S consoles is minimal. Too much of the game operates in the mid to low 20s, with only internal stages set in the cave system showing anything like a target 30 frames per second.

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Anthem's physical sales half Mass Effect Andromeda's

Anthem topped the UK boxed game sales chart during its first week of release, but with half the physical sales of BioWare's previous game Mass Effect Andromeda.

Without digital sales through EA's Origin service on PC, or download sales on PlayStation or Xbox, it's difficult to draw exact comparisons. But from the comparisons we can make, Anthem's sales do not paint a hugely positive picture.

Anthem only managing half the launch week sales of Andromeda is disappointing, as Andromeda only managed half the launch week sales of Mass Effect 3.

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BioWare has been asked - a lot - why it is the studio to make Anthem, a game far removed from its traditional single-player role-playing game fare. BioWare's responses have been - 'well, we've done multiplayer before', 'we've experimented in other genres before', and also 'would you please let us make something new for a change?' And fair enough. But from day one, many BioWare fans have been turned off by the idea of a game not specifically built for them. (And I'm sorry BioWare, as much as you protest 1996's Shattered Steel had multiplayer too, single-player RPGs are the million-selling corner of the market you have pretty successfully endeared yourself to.)

Anthem's big day one patch live now

Anthem's big day one patch live now

On day six, or day minus one.

Anthem's much-needed day one patch is available to download now, and weighs in at around 5GB.

Whether you've been playing Anthem since EA's paid early access release on PC and Xbox One last Friday or are looking forward to the game's official launch tomorrow, you'll be pleased to hear the patch targets many common issues.

Specifically, the patch will improve loading times, and fix issues causing disconnects and crashes. It will also relax the restrictive "gather party" mechanic which can force you into further loading screens if someone zooms too far ahead.

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You may have been busy playing Anthem all weekend if you're an EA/Origin Access subscriber, but the game does not officially launch in shops until this Friday. And it's then Anthem will receive its big (and some would say much-needed) day one patch.

FeatureAnthem is fascinating and flawed

Impressions from the first 10 hours of play.

Timing is everything. Anthem comes at the end of a scrabble of releases as the fiscal year ticks over, though it's the most high-profile of the lot; a vast, expensive pivot from a much-loved studio that's been under scrutiny in recent years, it's the epitome of AAA game production. There's loot and there's shooting and there are cosmetic microtransactions and a big day one patch that may well serve to smooth over the many rough edges of a game that's just enjoyed the earliest of its many release dates.

Anthem looks stunning but sub-par performance is concerning

Anthem was first revealed during Microsoft's E3 2017 media briefing, a climactic showpiece that demonstrated EA's Frostbite engine taken to the next level, with a level of visual fidelity and density we'd never seen from this generation of consoles. We were told it was running in real-time, we were told it was running on Xbox One X, all of which has made the last couple of weekends playing the demo fascinating. To cut to the chase: was the demo an accurate representation of the actual product's visual credentials? No. Is it a beautiful current-gen game? Yes, but there is a price to pay.

Now isn't the time for a full-on deep dive into how actual code varies from Anthem's astonishing reveal - we may revisit this when we are in possession of the final product, as opposed to a limited demo. However, the core themes are all there - the multiple javelin exosuits, the benefits of co-op play, and the sheer height, width and depth of the play area. The reveal trailer and the materials that followed hinted at the symphony of destruction the demo delivers, but the feeling when playing can be extremely rewarding - yes, enemies are bullet sponges, but there is an immense feeling of satisfaction in juggling the recharge rates of your special weapons in piling on the damage, while the javelin flight mechanic works really nicely. And when your squad works side by side, maximising the destruction, tearing through the opposition is highly rewarding - it's a fun game overall, marred only by some lengthy and unfortunate mid-level loading.

The visual return from this game is often exceptional, further emphasised by the pyrotechnics on display. The Anthem experience isn't just about the beautifully realised environments: BioWare also doubles down on effects work during combat, both in terms of player weaponry and the enemies' response. The effect is amplified in scenes where the entity count continually ramps up where the title delivers absolute carnage. The developer aims to make the most of the decision to drop from the usual 60fps Frostbite formula down to 30fps and not just in terms of getting more on-screen. The Frostbite post-process pipeline is really put through its paces, from the high quality motion blur down to the voxelised volumetric lighting. The ambition is impressive, but as a result, there is a problem: performance.

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FeatureBioWare's endgame for Anthem

You've played the demo - what's next?

One thing I love about Anthem's demo - available to a selection of people last weekend and to everyone from today - is its healthy serving of the classic BioWare gameplay loop. Half the fun of leaving Normandy or Skyhold was returning home afterwards, catching up with Garrus or Leliana and hearing about whatever they had going on. Calibrating some guns, probably. Anthem's demo lets you go through this loop several times, placing you back in your solo instance of Fort Tarsis after shooting and looting with other players in the field. And while none of BioWare's new characters yet compare to your favourites from other games, you get the feeling that, after just a bit more time, they might.

All EA games affected as publisher's server network struggles amid Anthem demo launch

Players are struggling to get online in the likes of FIFA, Battlefield 5, and Star Wars: Battlefront 2, as EA continues to experience issues across its entire server network following the launch of Anthem's VIP demo earlier today.

EA's server troubles began around 5pm UK time this evening, as BioWare's VIP demo event got underway. In the rush to play, servers quickly became overwhelmed, with players reporting continued difficulties joining a session.

Community manager Jesse Anderson was quick to respond, telling players via Twitter that, "Servers are getting SLAMMED", and that the "team is working on it as we speak." Shortly after, EA Help reported that "more server capacity" was being added in a bid to ease network woes.

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BioWare's latest action-RPG Anthem is available to pre-order for the surprisingly low price of 32.85 at ShopTo on both Xbox One and PlayStation 4. You'll need to put it in the basket to see the discount.

BioWare reportedly set to unveil new Dragon Age later this week

Despite being "at least three years away".

According to a new report, which Eurogamer understands to be true, BioWare is set to offer a first taste of its long-awaited next Dragon Age at this week's Game Awards. That's despite it still being "at least three years away" from release.

EA announces December start date for Anthem's closed alpha

EA announces December start date for Anthem's closed alpha

As Dragon Age news teased for "the coming month".

EA has announced that the closed alpha for BioWare's upcoming multiplayer space shooter Anthem will begin on December 8th for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

While EA says the closed beta event - which runs from December 8th to December 9th - is an opportunity for players to experience the game, it also warns that BioWare will be "adjusting things like matchmaking and server load on the fly". As such, the event is "more limited than what we want to share in the pre-launch demos".

Given the Anthem Closed Alpha's limited nature, players that want to join in will need to sign up to EA's Community Playtest programme by December 3rd. Access will be available on all platforms - PC, Xbox One, and PS4 - but participants can only register to play on one device.

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'VIP' demo coming to Anthem in February 2019

Tech tests and beta also in the works.

A demo for Anthem, Bioware's multiplayer shooter, will be released on the first of Februrary next year. The 'VIP' demo will come to Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC. It will be open to EA Access subscribers and those who have preordered the game.

Another of BioWare's old-guard has left the building. This time it's James Ohlen, lead designer of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Baldur's Gate 1 and 2, Neverwinter Nights and Dragon Age: Origins, and director of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Ohlen leaves BioWare after a staggering 22 years.

Anthem's return at E3 2018 was just as spectacular as its debut a year earlier, and last week, Electronic Arts posted a full 20-minute gameplay video of the latest demo - with developer commentary, no less. Presented in full 4K, the firm shared a source quality version of the asset with us, allowing us to take a closer look at the game's Frostbite foundations, and compared to other EA titles using the tech, we're witnessing a use of the engine quite unlike anything else we've seen before. Developer BioWare isn't talking about performance targets, but the sheer intensity in detail, and the integrity of the open world suggests that this will likely be a 30fps game on consoles - and an interesting counterpoint to the 60fps heroics of Battlefront and Battlefield.

FeatureThe big BioWare interview: the response to Anthem, and the future of Mass Effect

"For players who want this to be a traditional BioWare game, that is part of the game."

BioWare's ambitious Anthem was the highlight of EA's E3 2018 press conference - although that was hardly a tough bar to clear. We gained our best look yet at BioWare's shared world full of jetpacking players in mechs, angry monsters and mysterious god energy - but some BioWare fans watching felt like the gameplay shown did not align with their own, personal expectations of what a BioWare game should be.

On Twitter, BioWare better details Anthem's blend of storytelling and multiplayer

Anthem was EA's biggest reveal at E3 this year - its most unknown quantity, and fittingly the longest focus of today's press conference. But, despite an on-stage chat with BioWare staff and a decent montage of gameplay, I couldn't help feeling like I left the conference with more questions than answers.

Perhaps in recognition of this, executive producer Mark Darrah has been fielding some of the many questions from BioWare fans over on his Twitter account following the press conference - we've rounded up some of the most important points below.

We're chatting with BioWare about Anthem ourselves tomorrow - so if you have questions you'd like answered, leave them in the comments section and I'll be sure to read them.

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BioWare reveals Anthem release date at E3

EA BioWare has announced Anthem will be released 22nd February 2019 on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

BioWare also committed to no loot boxes in Anthem (a running theme throughout the EA E3 2018 conference). Anthem executive producer Mark Darrah said: "We are going to have some cosmetics and vanity items that you'll be able to purchase but you're always going to know what you're gonna buy before you spend any money on it, so no loot boxes, no ability to pay for power. So that means no ability to spend money on gameplay advantage at all in Anthem."

BioWare has separately told GameInformer there will be no romances - a staple feature of BioWare's role-playing games - in Anthem. "There are no romances," lead producer Mike Gamble said. "There are friendships. Some of the stuff we did with Mass Effect - the Citadel DLC specifically - there was a lot of friendship moments. You and Garrus sitting up, shooting - that kind of stuff, we want to lean into that. The romantic stuff, we're moving away from that for Anthem."

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EA E3 2018 conference live report

Anthem! Battlefield! FUFU! That and more, as it happened.

E3 is here! And EA's kicking things off nice and early this year with its EA Play event, which is live from 7pm BST. What to expect? Well, you kind of know that already - there'll be Anthem, Battlefield 5 and FIFA, the token indie game announce to try and convince everyone EA's not totally evil and maybe a surprise or two. Maybe. Join us to watch it all unfurl tonight!

Writer Drew Karpyshyn leaves BioWare for a second time

Joins 21st Century Fox's new games studio.

Influential BioWare writer Drew Karpyshyn has left BioWare for a second time. He's leaving to pursue personal projects and to work with 21st Century Fox's expanding gaming division FoxNext, and new studio Fogbank Entertainment.

BioWare's Anthem will launch spring 2019, EA confirms

BioWare's Anthem will launch spring 2019, EA confirms

To give it "some free air" away from this year's Battlefield.

BioWare's Anthem will now launch in spring 2019, EA has said, confirming recent reports of a delay.

Except it's not a delay, EA boss Andrew Wilson explained to company investors in a call last night (transcribed by Seeking Alpha). The game was progressing "well", but was being given "some free air".

"The first thing about Anthem is regardless of kind of how it's being portrayed, we are not looking at that as a delay in the game," Wilson said. "We've chosen to launch Anthem in Q4 and the date is really determined by portfolio of balancing consideration not for product readiness reasons. It's tracking well on its development milestones. We are really confident of its ship date."

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BioWare boss Aaryn Flynn quits, just months after Mass Effect Andromeda launch

BioWare's general manager Aaryn Flynn is leaving the acclaimed RPG studio after 17 years with the company.

His departure comes roughly four months after the launch of Mass Effect Andromeda, a game that debuted to lackluster sales and disappointing critical reception. Our Edwin Evans-Thirlwell called it "probably BioWare's worst RPG yet" in his review, and the tepid reaction to the game has put the sci-fi series "on ice".

Interestingly, Flynn's role will be replaced by the Mass Effect series' project director Casey Hudson, who left the company back in 2014 and accepted a position as project director at Microsoft Studios the following year, where he was to work on HoloLens projects.

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BioWare's new IP, Anthem is set to be "science fantasy" more like Star Wars rather than "hardcore science fiction" like Mass Effect, boss Aaryn Flynn has revealed. In an interview with CBC, Flynn spoke about how the game compares to the company's previous work.

Digital FoundryIs Anthem's E3 reveal the real deal on Xbox One X?

Digital Foundry's forensic breakdown of BioWare's stunning gameplay demo.

As a 'one more thing' closing zinger for the Microsoft E3 2017 media briefing, the reveal of BioWare's Anthem is hard to beat. A highly polished six-minute gameplay demo - or 'vertical slice' - the code is said to be running on Xbox One X hardware and it looks simply incredible. But from The Witcher 3 to Watch Dogs 2 and Destiny, we've been burnt before by preview teasers that exhibited noticeable downgrades when final code eventually hits stores. Armed with a pristine 4K capture of the trailer direct from Microsoft's on-site media riser, we set out to answer the question - is this the real deal?

FeatureXbox One X promises a strong and stable line-up

But does it have the vision to excite?

The Xbox One X is going to be a beast. Amazing specs. Amazing look. Amazing tech chatter, a lot of which went over my head. It's built around power, compatibility, and craftsmanship, according to Kareem Choudhry, Xbox Director of Software Engineering, on stage at Microsoft's E3 press briefing, and somehow, it's a magic trick too, because it fits in the smallest box - the smallest Xbox - Microsoft has ever offered. Just look at how powerfully dinky this thing is, like an elephant squeezed into a service elevator. A controller leans insouciantly against one edge of it, and that insouciant controller pretty much towers over the machine. True 4K textures! True 4K assets! Enhanced visual fidelity, isotropic filtering and faster load times on the games you already own! Enough of this blather. Kareem is a man in a hurry. Let's see, he says, what this monster can do.

BioWare's Anthem demoed, gameplay revealed

Microsoft closed its Xbox E3 2017 conference with an extended look at Anthem, BioWare's new shared-world action-role-playing game. It launches autumn 2018 on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

The gameplay looked incredibly impressive, showcasing a vast open-world where you and a team of up to four friends can explore dense jungles and wildernesses, boosting around by jetpack or mech-enhanced-running. The ruins and treasures of a sci-fi world are there for you to find, but so are big beasties and baddies.

There wasn't much of a hint to Anthem's story, but we saw the player character heading out in their exo-suit, named Javelins, which we were told come in various models for different play-styles.

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First trailer for BioWare's new IP Anthem

First trailer for BioWare's new IP Anthem

Looks like Destiny meets Avatar.

BioWare has finally shown off its new IP, named Anthem.

A 45-second teaser showed sci-fi planet similar to that of Avatar, and humans fighting in mechanised suits. A huge wall divides civilisation from the wilderness.

This is the project which has been in the works for years at BioWare's main studio in Edmonton, while satellite team Montreal worked on Mass Effect Andromeda.

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