Anthem, BioWare's cooperative, team-based shooter is a change of pace for the makers of Dragon Age and Mass Effect. With a focus on cooperative PvE combat popularised by the likes of Destiny, it landed amid a swirl of hype and expectation, which it has so far failed to meet.
Anthem has a big challenge in front of it then – with arguments that its endgame content is weak, its loot system broken and its story not up to scratch when compared with previous narrative-driven BioWare RPGs, it's fighting to win back the hearts of those who were initially in awe of its promise.
With EA backing it and BioWare's heritage at its heart, there's hope yet that Anthem will be redeemed. It's being touted as a "living" game after all – one that will evolve over time to keep its fans entranced long after launch – and the likes of behemoths such as Destiny and Fortnite all went through rough launches before becoming gaming juggernauts.
So what's the latest Anthem news? When's the next update? And what does the future hold for Anthem? Read on for everything you need to know about the Iron Man simulator.
Anthem: the TechRadar verdict
Anthem is an immensely fun game wrapped up in a dull story and a repetitive end-game. It will no doubt get better as time goes on, but this isn’t a great starting point:
As we said in our full Anthem review:
"It is a game of oxymorons and inconsistencies. The story is designed to be single-player but the game is clearly not. The gameplay is an absolute joy but is stifled by the repetitive nature of the end-game. The character animations are truly sublime, but most of the characters themselves are cliché and predictable.
"Anthem is a fun game, and a stunningly pretty one, but with flaws in nearly every other aspect of its design. It will improve with patches, updates, and a strong community, but it isn’t a particularly strong foundation. This is less an anthem, and more an annoying earworm..."
- Anthem review: check out our complete, in-depth verdict in our full review
Anthem update news and Anthem patch notes
- What's new? Anthem's Cataclysm event has been delayed
Anthem feature delays
BioWare may have just released the latest big patch for Anthem, adding a new Stronghold and implementing some much-needed quality-of-life improvements, but every rose has its thorn.
In a Reddit post titled 'Update on Anthem from the Development Team', BioWare addressed what the team has learnt from Anthem's rocky launch and announced the delay of some upcoming features - including the Cataclysm event.
"We have learned a lot since the game went live," BioWare wrote in the post. "We have heard a lot of feedback from all of you, and we have been working diligently to improve as many things as we can in the short term.
"We’ve fixed a lot of bugs and made changes which we believe begin to point us in the right direction for the future. That being said, we know there is a long way to go before Anthem becomes the game we all want it to be."
However, working on bug squashing and general improvements has meant that BioWare isn't on track to hit its goals for its Act 1 Calendar.
"We have been prioritizing things like bug fixes, stability and game flow over the new features of Act 1," BioWare wrote.
"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."
According to BioWare, the following features are being delayed: Mastery System, Guilds, Legendary Missions – Phase II, Weekly Stronghold Challenge, Leaderboards, some Freeplay Events, and Cataclysm. The exact details of some of these new elements remains to be revealed, too, and it now seems we'll have to wait a little longer to see exactly what they entail.
Anthem Update 1.1.0
EA and BioWare has released Anthem Update 1.1.0 for all platforms.
The latest update brings dozens of balance adjustments and fixes, as well as new quality-of-life features.
Firstly, the update adds The Sunken Cell Stronghold which is available to all players who have completed the critical path in the main story.
Additionally, players can now access The Forge during missions, meaning you don't need to return to Fort Tarsis or the Launch bay to change your gear, and contracts can be selected from the start of the expedition screen, instead of having to go to individual contract boards in Fort Tarsis or the Launch Bay.
Finally, new missions can now be launched from the end of the expedition screen without having to return to Fort Tarsis or the Launch Bay.
Make sure to check out why we think Anthem's latest update isn't enough to quell the storm.
Anthem tips and tricks guides
Anthem is a complex game. With four classes to master, a ton of loot to uncover and large world to explore, it can be daunting for a newcomer, and difficult for even a long term player to master.
Get ahead of the pack with our selection of Anthem guides, designed to help you get your Iron Man-like Javelin suit fighting fit as soon as possible.
- Best weapons in Anthem: how to build the strongest loadout
- Best Anthem Javelin: which is the class best suited to you
- Best Anthem gear: how to customize your Javelin's build
- How to make money in Anthem: your guide to earning shards and coins
Anthem DLC – what's next?
Anthem is an ongoing project at EA and BioWare, a game that both companies expect to support for many years, with a player base that will grow and evolve along with the game.
How do both teams hope to achieve this? Through regular content drops, that's how. As pictured above, EA and BioWare had already mapped out the "ongoing narrative of Anthem", with updates mapped out already until May 2019.
This first "Act" is called "Echoes of Eternity", which was initially scheduled for March 2019 introducing the "Evolving World" chapter, April 2019 the "Stronger Together" chapter and May 2019 bringing the ominous sounding "Cataclysm" chapter. However, as detailed above, BioWare isn't on track to hit its roadmap. So we're not quite sure when these updates will arrive.
Evolving World will focus on battles with huge bosses such as Titans of War, Ruin, Bane and Havoc in freeplay mode, as well as new Legendary missions and a Scar Infestation freeplay event.
Stronger Together will expand the endgame with a new Mastery System for the skill tree progression, as well as host of new freeplay events, more legendary missions, a new Stronghold called "The Sunken" (which will have its own weekly challenge) as well as the introduction of leaderboards and guilds.
As for what the Catyclysm brings, little is known at the moment beyond the promise of new freeplay events, missions and new items. We'll presumably find out more as the year rolls on.
But what about paid DLC? EA has yet to announce it's mid-to-long term plans for Anthem. We'd expect it will follow a similar path as Destiny, which had a continued supply of small improvements and features added, interspersed with larger paid-for DLC packs, before an eventual sequel.
That is, of course, if Anthem can prove its staying power... Here's hoping – there's a gem at the heart of Anthem, waiting to be dug out. We're hopeful that we'll one day be playing Anthem at its strongest.
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- All image credits: EA / BioWare