If you enjoy a complete game shipping day one sporting no bugs, Anthem is not the game you should seek out. An additive that makes Electronic Arts and Bioware’s looter-shooter, Anthem, look worse is content shown during E3 2017 that did not make it in the full game. However, Ben Irving — Anthem’s lead producer — claims the missing content is an act of transparency and not that of dishonesty.
Anthem has a lot of problems. I could go on about the game’s list of issues such as Larry Blackmon’s eyes tripping out, the game force closing or bricking systems, and Javelins looking like Spoderman, but I won’t. Instead, Irving’s recent comment on cut content is worth examining.
Back on March 5th, 2019, Reddit user TheWalkingDerp posted up a discussion thread titled “Whatever happened with these things? Just a few examples of what we’ve seen previously that’s absent from the game we got.” The title is followed by an image showing the following content:
Like clockwork, fellow Freelancers pounded the upvote button 11.2k times (and counting) like they were using a weak weapon against a bullet sponge enemy, which in turn got the attention of Mr. Irving.
Irving’s response to the post boasting a silver, gold, and platinum award reads as follows:
“The short answer is that the cost of transparency is things change. We did our best to be transparent on the journey to going live but with that we knew things would be different in some situations. Sometimes people would be happy and sometimes they would be upset.
It’s the cost of transparency.
Edit: to elaborate – game development is full of change. There are a million reasons why you set out with an idea and it evolves over time. This is common in every game. We shared as much as we could. Some things change. So the cost of transparency is that some things we said become not true, not because someone was dishonest but because it changed over the course of development.”
After hearing the lame excuse that Irving typed out, user Karimouhbi replied:
“I get your point. I think people are more than willing to accept changes as the game development advances, but I’m afraid what the game has seen ultimately was pretty much exclusively downgrades: smaller world, worse graphics, worse inventory, less immersion, more simplistic narratives, etc.
I’m sure people would have been fine with losing some and gaining some, but I don’t think we can say that’s the case. And after being at the receiving end of this very similar thing for a few years now (Watch Dogs, Destiny, No Man’s Sky, The Division, Fallout76, etc.), you honestly kind of get tired of making excuses. It just so dangerously borderlines false advertising at this point.”
Being honest here, I knew this day would come given the E3 2017 video. Heck, even other people a year and two ago on different Anthem E3 2017 videos stressed the same thing as the people playing the glitchy game today:
With all of that said, I guess the lesson Irving taught everyone on March 5th is that dishonesty and showing “blockbuster” content that’s not in the final product isn’t false advertising. . . It’s just transparency.