It's no longer enough for games to offer compelling single-player campaigns, entertaining multiplayer, or graphics that would've been downright spectacular just a few years ago. Now they also have to be consistently updated "living services"--at least according to Electronic Arts and its Anthem sci-fi shooter.
Anthem debuted on February 22. But development on the game won't stop just because it reached consumers. EA said it plans to release new content, from missions and freeplay events to items and in-game cosmetics, between now and May 2019. (With "more coming soon," though we suspect that's dependent on game sales.)
A lot of modern titles are updated post-launch with downloadable content, bug fixes, and other changes. Anthem is supposed to differ in the scope of those updates. BioWare Head of Live Service Chad Robertson said there is "a long future behind the game’s lush world, immersive lore, rich characters, and core gameplay."
We've heard these promises before. Bungie planned similar updates to the Destiny series, and it largely delivered, but it's not clear how many "living" sci-fi shooters people can play, especially when Anthem hasn't been particularly well-received. Can the promise of future updates overcome that negativity?
Sometimes it can. No Man's Sky was given a new lease on life with the NEXT update in mid-2018, Destiny 2 received middling reviews at launch but improved with each update, and other titles have managed to survive despite early skepticism by sticking to their plans to offer regular expansions to the base game.
That means the question is less "Can Anthem release enough post-launch content to outlive its bad reputation?" and more "Is EA willing to invest in Anthem long enough for BioWare to actually solve the game's problems?" With games like Apex Legends offering a more immediate return on investment, well, it's doubtful.
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