While it’s not much of a surprise at this point, BioWare announced earlier this week that the entire roadmap of updates for the game has been delayed. This includes new features like a Mastery System and Guilds, as well as the first major in-game event and additional story, Cataclysm. This came following a strangely off-key Anthem update 1.1.0 stream which has done nothing to improve relations with the game’s increasingly bitter community.
On Reddit, BioWare’s Lead Producer Ben & Head of Live Services Chad wrote:
While we have delivered many of the Act 1 features on time, we are not going to hit all the goals on our Act 1 Calendar.
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.
Those features include:
- Mastery System
- Legendary Missions – Phase II
- Weekly Stronghold Challenge
- Some Freeplay Events
For Cataclysm in particular, which is down on the original roadmap as appearing in May, they will now only “share more with you in May.”
One of the main issues with the aforementioned stream was that the hosts completely ignored the watching community, who were incessant in their requests for info on the game’s loot. Here Ben and Chad said, “We agree that our loot and progression systems need to be improved and we are working towards this. When we have more information to share, we will.”
And finally, on the topic of communication, they wrote, “A lesson we have learned is we have been talking about things too early. There are so many factors that can cause us to pivot on our plans – whether it’s bugs & stability issues, player feedback, or complications with a feature that require us to take more time to deliver it. Our goal is to tell you about new content and features once the work is closer to being done.”
So… they’ll be talking to the community less? I’m not sure that’s going to go too well.
In all seriousness, Anthem is a game in a really awkward spot right now. BioWare are damned if they do and damned if they don’t, but where a smaller company like Hello Games could go into hiding after the poor reaction to No Man’s Sky’s initial launch and eventually recover their reputation, that’s simply not an option for BioWare. Battening down the hatches is a bad idea right now, because a live service game depends on regular content drops and regular updates from the developers. Even if it’s delivering bad news, you can get a community on your side by talking to them and being open.
Not talking about it at best will only delay the inevitable, well, Catalcysm.