Despite Rocky Start, Anthem Was BioWare's Second Best Game Launch Ever
After all the bug complaints and performance issues the plagued the launch of Anthem, it still emerged as the overall best selling game in the US last month, ahead of Jump Force (No. 2), Kingdom Hearts III (No. 3), Far Cry New Dawn (No. 4), and Red Dead Redemption II (No. 2), according to data by The NPD Group. In addition, it now officially ranks as developer BioWare's second-best launch month.
Anthem was not able to topple Mass Effect 3 to claim the single-best launch month, but coming in second place is nothing to sneeze at, especially in this case—The NPD Group does not include in its numbers players who are enjoying Anthem through the EA Access Premier subscription program, or the game's digital sales on PC. It's not clear if those figures would propel Anthem into the top spot.
Either way, Anthem is proving a hit for BioWare and publisher Electronic Arts. That outcome was not a given, based on the shape the game launched in. As explained by Casey Hudson, BioWare's general manager, these past few weeks have been a "wild ride."
"On the one hand it’s been a rougher launch than expected. But then as I think back we also knew that big new online games tend to hit some kind of problem once they go live, so as much as we tested and prepared to make sure everything was ready, we were also ready for the possibility that unexpected issues might arise at launch. And we continue to be committed to responding to them," Hudson said in a blog post.
Hudson was upfront about Anthem launching with a "degree of issues," but said those bugs did not reveal themselves until the game was operating on a large scale with millions of players. He also admits to being "disappointed" about the shape it launched in.
"I’ve been in there playing with you since those early days (I’m a Ranger in Edmonton Oilers colors!) and it makes me sad to hear about any issues that would hold someone back from fully enjoying the game. I take that very personally, and it’s been our top priority to get improvements out to you in the fastest, safest way," Hudson added.
Hudson says BioWare has pushed out over 200 improvements to Anthem through patches and live updates, addressing stability concerns, loot and progression, customization, and more. He also says that BioWare is listening to the ongoing feedback and will continue to improve the game, specifically referencing endgame loot and progression, game flow, and further stability and performance improvements.