anthem

BioWare “Focusing on Long-term Redesign” of Anthem

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Once upon a time, Anthem was one of the most anticipated games of 2019. It felt well short of the mark. This week BioWare General Manager Casey Hudson confirms they are reworking and redesigning the game. From the official blog post:

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.

Anthem is a Destiny-like, online cooperative third-person action game. Players travel and battle in special Iron Man-like suits called Javelins, which have limited flight and can equip different weapons. Critics and fans were not impressed with the lame weapons, forgettable story, and repetitive missions, leading to poor sales and few updates.

Hudson promises to continue to support the current iteration of Anthem with some events, but will “move away from full seasons as the team works towards the future of Anthem.”

It’s not unheard of for large but mediocre games to go through major redesigns and improvements. Notable examples include Final Fantasy 14 (which took three years) and Destiny’s highly lauded third expansion (which took one year). Hopefully Anthem (and BioWare) can find its way again with a new, improved Anthem 2.0.

anthem

Sign Up for the Anthem Closed Alpha

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If you’re excited about BioWare’s upcoming Destiny-with-Mechs online co-op game Anthem, you could be among the first to play it next weekend. EA and BioWare are offering a limited Closed Alpha test that will run the weekend of Dec. 8-9. Sign ups close Monday, December 3, however, and it’s on a first come basis.

The Anthem Closed Alpha will be available for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It will require PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold memberships to play on those platforms. It’s limited to 18 and older, and you can only sign up for one platform.

The Closed Alpha will also require an EA Account, and the signing of a Non-Disclosure Agreement. That means anyone playing the Closed Alpha will be not be able to share their thoughts, screenshots, or video streams. The Alpha is primarily to test sever loads and provide feedback directly to EA and BioWare via a private forum.

How to sign up:

  • Head to the EA Community Playtesting site.
  • Sign in with your EA Account.
  • Choose your platform and time. Once your choices are completed, click Submit.
  • Signing up does not guarantee you’ll be invited to take part, it’s on a first come first served basis.
  • If you’re in, you’ll see a confirmation on the Community Playtesting site and you’ll get an email from us letting you know how to download the Anthem Closed Alpha game client. You will be able to pre-load the Alpha before the test time.

Anthem is the latest game from the Dragon Age and Mass Effect developer BioWare. BioWare is known for making blockbuster RPGs. Anthem represents a departure as an online multiplayer action-RPG. Players take on the role of Freelancers who have access to Javelins, powerful mech suits that are used to combat threats on the alien planet. The co-op action gameplay has been closely compared to Activision and Bungie’s Destiny series.

Anthem was officially announced at E3 2017, with a tentative release date of Q4 2018. It has since been delayed to the new launch date of February 22, 2019. It has not yet been rated.

origin access premiere

EA Launches Origin Access Premiere Subscription for PC

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EA has announced a new subscription tier to Origin, EA’s digital storefront and gaming library for PC. The Origin Access Premiere subscription will cost $14.99/month or $99/year. Members will be granted access to 100+ games on Origin as well as additional in-game currency, and early access to new releases such as Madden NFL 19, Battlefield V, and Anthem.

“Origin Access Premier offers players a wealth of content, including all of EA’s PC games and numerous titles from other publishers in a single membership,” said Michael Blank, Senior Vice President, Player Network. “As our first-ever subscription service with full access to newly-released EA games, we’re offering players more freedom to play the games they want, anytime they want.”

In addition to the Basic tier library of games, the Premiere subscription provides access to the following games:

  • A Way Out
  • Fe
  • The Sims 4 Digital Deluxe Bundle
  • Star Wars Battlefront II
  • Unravel Two
  • Madden NFL 19 Hall of Fame Edition (August 2)
  • FIFA 19 Ultimate Edition (September 20)
  • Battlefield V Deluxe Edition (October 11)
  • Anthem Legion of Dawn Edition (February 15, 2019)

The previous Origin Access Basic membership already granted access to a library of 100+ games for a fraction of the cost: $4.99/month or $29.99/year. The main differences are that Premiere includes extra content (most likely the deluxe edition) with a minimum $20 value. Additionally the Basic subscription grants only 10-hour trials of early access to new games, while the Premiere tier grants full unlimited access to new games several days in advance.

Both tiers also provide 10% off Origin purchases.

Unfortunately EA has also chosen to end its On the House program, where it periodically gave away free downloads to older EA games, such as Theme Hospital, Plants vs. Zombies, and Mass Effect 2. Any games that were added and downloaded from the program will remain in your collection.