Fans of Anthem, or simply those who have been watching the spectacle that has been this disappointing game unfold, are in for some interesting news at E3 this year. According to IGN, Anthem is confirmed to be at E3, but it is unclear what they could possibly want to present given the current state of the game.
The decision to include the game at E3 is a curious one because, as discussed at length in our previous coverage Anthem here, the current state of the game pales in comparison to what was promised to players prior to its release, Twitch viewership is abysmally low, and there is a very real possibility that the game is simply going to be shelved permanently and forgotten by EA.
Anthem Doesn't Need DLC Right Now
With that in mind, what is the most likely outcome in terms of announcements at E3? The worst case scenario would probably be if EA strolled on stage as if their game were not currently a dumpster fire of bugs, sparse content and low player numbers to reveal the development of a new expansion or DLC pack coming soon, that of course, players would need to pay to access. This would enrage the few dedicated players who are holding out for the game to be patched to its initially promised potential and would send everyone else into hysterics if they believe anyone would buy into the game in its current neglected form.
At this stage, something drastic would be needed in order to both keep and reward those few players who still believe in the potential of the project, to bring old players back, and also to attract new players. It is entirely possible that the game could become a free-to-play model after dedicating itself to correcting the issues presently in the game, of which there are many. At this point, it seems to be one of the only plausible moves, as the reputation of the game is so poor that the idea of pitching new content to sell is at this point absurd.
With that in mind, there is absolutely nothing wrong with shifting towards that zero-dollar entry point, especially if we consider the success of others like Warframe, Fortnite, Path of Exile, and the soon to be released, Dauntless. Each of those games focuses on purchases that are purely cosmetic in nature, and each does quite well in terms of sales and player reception (Dauntless excluded since the launch is about two weeks away).
Anthem Needs To Respect Its Players
If we consider the core of the issue, there is one main commonality between games that succeeds or fail. Regardless of the type of game, its genre, or its platform, it seems clear that properly managing player expectations is a consistent point that needs to be addressed. Warframe and Fortnite do not succeed simply because they are fun games, but rather because they respect their players in terms of communication and managing their expectations. It is not nearly enough to make an enjoyable game these days.
Put another way, the player base that signed up for the hype train of Anthem were promised something akin to a gourmet meal at a fine restaurant, but were then given moldy bread and soup with a dead fly floating about. Yes, it was a meal, but it was not as advertised, and that is where they need to start in order to win back their players. Make a plan for the future of the game, stick to what was promised, and stop treating players like fools. That’s it. That’s the whole secret to success.
Anthem Might Just Be Over
Lastly, there is the possibility that the entire project will simply be shelved. It might not be presented in that straightforward sort of way, but that might be what occurs after promises to first patch out existing issues in the game. As Sean Murray writes, the parallels between Anthem and Mass Effect: Andromeda are such that abandoning the project might be the best financial move, regardless of the fallout.
Exactly what will be presented at E3 will remain a mystery for a while longer, but regardless of which path they choose to take, there will certainly be a lively discussion to follow.