Anthem was first revealed at Microsoft’s E3 2017 conference with a visually spectacular trailer. Bioware opened the trailer with a disclaimer confirming that it was all in real-time so that people don’t call it pre-rendered footage, but now that the final game is out, it doesn’t even compare to what they promised.
Anthem has faced a lot of criticism recently. It is not doing that well in reviews and even had a fiasco surrounding on YouTuber who had to remove his negative review which was made in partnership with EA.
Bioware presented Anthem with a heavily edited footage that was claimed to be running all in real-time on an Xbox One X. This trailer featured visuals and interaction that were mostly removed from the retail version which launched on February 22.
The footage was a couple of minutes long offering seamless open world exploration from the main hub to jumping into the Javelin and then exploring out in the wild. There were no load times unlike the retail version, which suffers from long load times despite the day one update that promised to reduce their frequency.
In the footage, you can see how lively the world looks with wildlife. They seem to be interacting naturally in the world giving the impression that you are a visitor. The retail version, for comparison, seems to be mostly empty from any such interaction and the enemy AI doesn’t seem to work in the same way. The animations are also toned down now while they look quite lively and immersive in the E3 2017 footage.
The E3 demo had some great lighting and effects. Character models looked higher quality while the main hub felt alive and full of people. The retail version doesn’t come close to all the complexity offered in the E3 demo. While the main hub is a lot more empty now, it has been reported that this is related to how the game progresses so the more you play the story, the more people will join the city and appear in the main hub.
Another issue with Anthem was with its performance. The game seemed to hold up its frame rate when it was revealed at E3 but as we saw with the VIP demo, the performance was quite terrible on almost every platform. The abundance of loading screen was just one of the many problems that Anthem had with Performance sticking like a sore spot.
This is something that will never happen now. If we look at history, there has never been a case of a game actually meeting their target render footage if it was released in a downgraded state. The way to avoid it is, to be honest, and just show the game in its current prototype stage so fans can keep their expectations in check for the final release. Mods on PC can make it somewhat possible to do so, but with Anthem focusing on multiplayer, that is likely not going to happen.
Bioware has detailed their roadmap for what they are planning for Anthem in the future and it seems to focus on end-game content and further improving some of the issues that have been reported by the players.
Anthem was originally set to release in 2018 but it was delayed for a few months. This delay didn’t seem to add much at first glance but perhaps the game was even more messed up and hence the delay. In either case, Bioware has definitely a long way to go to undo the damage that the first reveal of Anthem has done, and no matter what they will do, the comparison between the final product and what they promised will be always brought up in any future conversation regarding the game.