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Anthem represents a real chance for EA to make up for past mistakes

Anthem (Image credit: EA)

Between the discontent surrounding the launch state of Mass Effect: Andromeda and the fiasco surrounding Star Wars: Battlefront II's microtransaction system, 2017 was not a good year for Electronic Arts (EA). While it's true that we received an apology from EA's design chief in the wake of the controversy, we've been here before. As my colleague and Windows Central Xbox Editor Jez Corden wrote a few weeks back, EA has been in trouble with the gaming community for years. At this point, the cycle of "we're sorry" is wearing thin.

Anthem, EA's next AAA title slated for a delayed release in 2019, represents a chance for change. Seeing as Anthem is a new intellectual property, it's somewhat of a fresh slate — and EA can't waste this opportunity to implement the feedback it has received.

A quality launch

EA and developer BioWare need to ensure that Anthem will release in a playable state. This issue is what killed the hype around Mass Effect: Andromeda; hours after release, people were reporting every performance issue under the sun, ranging from broken animations to bugged out quests, to the game refusing to run at all. While it is true that Star Wars: Battlefront II was much more polished, it nevertheless had a sizable collection of its own bugs.

Thankfully, there's a good chance that this is being made into a priority since Anthem was delayed until the first quarter of 2019. Delays usually make gamers groan, but I think they're a necessary evil to ensure that a title releases in a quality state. As much as we'd all like to see Anthem in our download queue, I think the gaming community can collectively agree that stability is critical.

A consumer-friendly microtransaction system

While it's true that no microtransactions at all would be what most people prefer, I think that's an unrealistic expectation. Companies like money, and microtransactions have made EA a lot of it. Be that as it may, there are ways to put them in games so that the system isn't invasive like it was with Star Wars: Battlefront II.

One route the company could opt to take is making the microtransactions cosmetic-only. This way, it only has an impact on a game's customization systems, and not the core gameplay experience. Another thing EA could do is make it so that there isn't an element of randomness. This is something that Titanfall 2 did — the micropayments in that game allowed you to buy exactly what you wanted, as opposed to most systems, which are tied to a random number generator. It's worth noting this still leaves room for a pay-to-win issue, so any weapons that you can buy should be "sidegrades" (weapons that are different but not better) instead of upgrades.

EA needs to commit

In the event that Anthem doesn't do as well as expected upon launch, EA needs to bite the bullet and commit to its game over time. This was another major issue with Mass Effect: Andromeda, as all future content updates for that game were canceled shortly after the lackluster release. If Ubisoft has proven anything with games like Rainbow Six Siege and The Division, it's that games can make strong and profitable comebacks if the publisher and developer stick with them.

Read: The Division's resurrection proves flawed games don't have to die

Hopefully, it won't come to that, and Anthem will release strongly and won't require extensive support after the fact. But if it does, EA will need to commit instead of cutting all ties.

Your thoughts

What do you think? Do you expect EA to finally show us they're listening with Anthem? Let us know.

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.

  • Battlefront 2 was a big disappointment for me and the Division is not my style of game, Anthem looks promising but no matter what I don't think i will ever buy an EA title until well after launch and after good reviews, trust is gone.
  • I'm completely fine with cosmetic micro transactions. Developing games is getting more and more expensive.
    But I want a more or less linear single player experience within a sandbox for once. Just like the first few missions from the first Crysis game. But this game could be awesome so at the end it doesn't matter.
  • dude that's a myth that publishers need micro-transactions in order to turn a profit. in 2017 alone five CEOs from EA made over 57 million combined. 5 people. Micro-transactions are nothing but a get rich quick scheme.
  • It's amazing how people still believe that it's a necessity.
  • I hope Anthem brings back the feeling of KOWTOR and Mass Effect, with a great gameplay loop. I don't care if this comes out for the next generation as long as we get an amazing game. Let me buy stupid suits and comestic things and I am in. I did it in Assassins Creed origin and loved it!
  • I still thing it's funny that websites keep talking about "EA's last chance," as if Anthem is EA's only hope at redemption. The sad reality is that only a small minority of gamers will continue to boycott a publisher past one or two releases. Gamers will switch allegiance at the drop of a dime if it suits their needs. Every once in a while a publisher screws up so bad that the game becomes a lost cause. (Like Battlefield 2 or Destiny 2) But gamers will still return in droves regardless of what happened several years ago... assuming the game is actually good, of course.
  • So true.
    Often sales and critics' (and hardcore fan's) liking don't match... I think the reasons for that are,
    1. Angry consumer is always louder than others.
    2. A big portion of gamers don't follow game news or interested / want to spend time talking about games on forums like us enthusiast. I was talking to other veterans the other day. We devs shouldn't listen to whatever that's on the internet, nothing satisfy ALL humans and we should listen to the majority (also constructive suggestions from happy customers), not those loudest ones.
    Use statistics and experience to make your best judgement.
  • "I was talking to other veterans the other day. We devs [...]"
    LOL Can you prove that the majority of gamers want microtransactions? There was an article on this site talking about a survey that said that only 1.3% of the people actually like microtransactions. The people interested in these articles and news are mostly the people who are more into gaming or hardcore gamers. So your answer is ignore these gamers and listen to investors?
  • EA can't make up for past transgressions with one game. They've gutted so many studios that people were fond of. They crap on the memory of a great studio by using it's name as it's digital download platform. They are greedy and they deserve the scorn they get.
  • There is no such thing as a consumer friendly micro-transaction system. And knowing EA, they will have a terrible launch as usual and they will dump the game about four months afterwords. DO NOT BUY EA
  • To be fair, I think microtransactions is fine in free2 play games. But in this case this game will never be free2play so I somewhat agree.
    My interest level around this game dropped by a lot. And it'll be zero depending on the microtransactions/lootbox.