When Anthem releases next year, it will fulfill a promise made by Electronic Arts (EA) to not burden players with any loot boxes or pay-to-win microtransactions.
The notion comes as surprising since any major offering from a prominent publisher these days is bound to have the controversial business model. However, there is a good reason behind EA changing routes. It has all to do with the Star Wars Battlefront II debacle from last year, which made it clear that you can only push players so far before they are forced to take a stance.
Speaking with Game Informer in a recent interview, game director Jon Warner admitted that Star Wars Battlefront II was a tremendous learning experience for everyone. It so stands that Anthem will have no loot boxes at all. There will also be no pay-to-win microtransactions to ensure a level playing field.
That being said, there will still be in-game items to purchase. These, however, will be “strictly” cosmetics for customization. The developer has also confirmed that in addition to the store, players will be able to unlock cosmetics through old fashioned progression. There is no guarantee for the more flashy cosmetics to be exclusively placed behind a pay-wall but that hardly warrants an outcry.
We have a couple pillars that we stick to, and generosity to our players is number one on that list. Making sure you feel you got a great value for what you bought, and that you get everything you think you should get for that money. And then, as we continue to service this game and create more stuff for it, allow you the opportunity to buy cosmetic items and vanity items that you’re interested in. But no loot crates. No pay-to-win. Strictly cosmetic.
For those concerned about EA doing a 180 degree turn after Anthem has secured pre-orders or is into its post-release period, Warner has assured that nothing of the sort will happen. The promise to stick with cosmetics only is “forever” and will last for as long as Anthem stays around.
Star Wars Battlefront II was supposed to be a massive hit and perhaps it still was in terms of sales, but the negativity it brought upon the publisher was dire.
The entire progression system was designed to reward those who pay with real-world money, and even succumbing to microtransactions still meant facing the randomness of loot boxes. Core content that should have been free was locked away and future expansion packs were rumored to be even more expensive.
The entire setup led to a major fiasco where EA was blasted left and right from every news outlet for insulting the player-base. The situation grew so bad that even politicians from around the world began talking about microtransactions as potential gambling.
EA had no choice but to cave and disabled all in-game purchases in the hopes of ending the controversy. However, the damage was already done.
Fast forward to now and the publisher has begun considering player-experience. The upcoming Battlefield V will feature no season pass and instead rely on a live service that grants content periodically for free. Other upcoming projects are also expected to move away from loot boxes and controversial microtransactions.
The one responsible for forcing a conglomerate like EA to bend the knee is you, the player. The combined voices of many did the job when others said it would do nothing. This goes beyond a singly publishers and the same message is out there for the rest. Do not test your customers!
Anthem is scheduled to release worldwide on February 22, 2019, for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.