Following teething problems with last weekend's invitation-only Anthem trial period, from endless loading to laggy controls, BioWare have explain some of what went wrong and some of what they're doing. They say the full game has already fixed some of the issues players flagged, that this demo is based on an earlier version of their cooperative sci-fi shoot-o-looter, which is good to hear. And it sounds like they'll also fix the demo up a little for the open weekend which starts this Friday, to which we're all invited. So, fingers crossed?
The 'VIP' demo weekend ran Friday through Sunday for fancy people who pre-ordered, plus those riding their coattails with friend invitations. The most immediate--and most obvious--problem was connection troubles at launch, making just getting to play frustrating.
Chad Robertson, BioWare's head of live service, said in Saturday's blog post, "I want to dispel one comment we've seen: that we under-planned for server capacity."
Robertson insisted that they had excess capacity, but the connection problems was caused by the "spike in players" sparking something they hadn't seen during internal testing.
Their testing had uncovered another of the demo's big problems, the "infinite loads" where it would stall while loading, but Robertson says it was only "in isolated cases" and they thought it fixed. "Unfortunately," he continued, "the problem is exacerbated in the real-world where differences with player's ISPs and home networks introduce new behaviour." They're working on it, apparently.
"We appreciate everyone's patience and sincerely apologise for those who have had issues getting into the game," Robertson said.
That's fairly over-arching, game-stopping stuff, but little bits were frustrating too.
"The build is a little old now and unfortunately some changes were made that aren't available in the demo," lead producer Ben Irvo responded in a Reddit thread about PC complaints. Irvo says that several irksome demobits are already fixed for the full release: mouse acceleration is off for aiming; input lag is reduced; controlling flight with a mouse is less annoying.
He went on to address many points of contention from the thread starter, covering everything from key bindings to performance issues. In short, some things they're working on, some they might change or fix, and some might be nothing. So... the full game should be better.
I'm being a little vague here because unless you have a specific complaint, it's not that exciting to pick at every problem in a demo build BioWare say is outdated. But if you've heard complaints from pals or found problems yourself, you might fancy a read of Robertson and Irvo's responses. The rest of us, well, I suppose we'll see what state the demo's in soon.
Anthem's open demo is due to start at 5pm GMT on Friday, February 1st and run until Sunday the 3rd. It's a 44GB download so I'd recommend you preload the Anthem demo if you're interested.
The full game is slated to launch on February 22nd, priced at £55 on Origin or coming covered by EA's Origin Access Premier subscription service.
Alice L played a preview version shortly before the demo weekend, and you can see some of her adventures in this here handy video below. She'll have another Anthem video coming later this week too.