Anthem's Loading Times Are A Real Problem

On Saturday night, I logged into BioWare’s new game Anthem and loaded up what I thought was a mission called Finding Old Friends. Instead, I got to play an entirely different mission: Finding Old Friends On Facebook While Wondering If Anthem Will Ever Actually Load.

Anthem, which came out February 15 in early access and launches for real on February 22, is riddled with bugs and issues, some of which may be fixed in the day-one (read: day-seven) patch. Perhaps the most prevalent issue is the loading times, which have been absurdly long for many players, myself included.

After sitting through a number of painful loading screens in previous missions, I finally pulled out a stopwatch for Finding Old Friends.

The period from hitting the launch button to entering the game took an excruciating two minutes and 24 seconds. But that wasn’t all. By the time I got into the game, my other three squadmates had already gotten way ahead of me, so I had to watch yet another loading screen as the game yelled at me for lagging behind and teleported me ahead to catch up.

Then, after shooting some aliens and watching a mid-mission cutscene, I watched a loading screen pop up for another three minutes or so before Anthem decided it’d had enough and booted me from the game entirely.

That was about the time I decided to shut down my PC and go take a few stabs at Martyr Logarius.

This is a problem that BioWare says it’s fixing in Friday’s patch, which isn’t much comfort to anyone who dished out extra for one of EA’s subscription services to play Anthem a week early. It also makes me think of an amusing anecdote.

Last January, in a piece about the severe pressure that BioWare was feeling on Anthem, and about how the studio had rebooted and paused Dragon Age 4 as a result, I reported that the game had been delayed from fall 2018 to early 2019. I wrote that, as BioWare sources had told me, the autumn 2018 window was “never realistic” due to Anthem’s rocky development.

Shortly afterwards, EA confirmed that delay in an unusual fashion. On a quarterly earnings call in February 2018, EA CEO Andrew Wilson said that it wasn’t actually a “delay” because actually, the game would’ve been ready - they just wanted to move it away from Battlefield V.

“Regardless of how it’s being portrayed, we’re not looking at that as a delay,” Wilson told investors. “The date is chosen by portfolio balance, not product readiness.”

And, wrote the Wall Street Journal: “The company denies a report in video game site Kotaku earlier this month claiming the change is due to development being behind schedule ... ‘It’s not a delay,’ EA’s finance chief Blake Jorgensen tells the WSJ. ‘People are trying to create a story.’”

Now that it’s February 2019 and Anthem players need to wait for a day-one patch to fix critical game-breaking issues, those EA executive comments sure are fascinating.


Comments

    The load screen to load screen shit might actually be worse than Destiny... Which I didn't think was possible with its obnoxious having to load to orbit, select mission, etc.

    Some missions in Anthem you spend about as much time in loading screens and the mission end screen than you do in actual gameplay... And that's running it on an SSD.

    It's clearly a pretty deeply embedded issue in the game itself, coupled with piss poor design choices such as the Forge over having a much cleaner and more accessible inventory that isn't fucking buried between two loading screens, it wouldn't be so utterly horrendous if that wasn't teh case.

    A simple patch ain't going to fix such deep flaws.

    I've got no intention of handing over money for this product, but during the demo (which I gave a real shot) I felt like the game had frozen many times during loading. It's pretty disappointing to hear that this is still happening on release because it was so bad that I just assumed it was just terribly buggy or poorly optimised at that point. On missions that required to you walk into a cave for ten seconds then have to leave because of a locked door or something (why!!!????) it was particularly frustrating.

    I knew going into this game it would be similar to destiny, but hoyl crap this is almost a 1:1 copy of the game besides the flying part.

      I'm gonna be even more brutal and say that based on the demo, at least Destiny is fun.

      To me (based on the demo), it felt less like Destiny and more like a really bad version of Warframe.

        To me it feels someone looked at Warframe, and thought: "This is really obtuse and confusing, and seems to require a thousand hours to get to a viable endgame build". WF's a lot of mindless fun, and the story missions they've released along the way have been outstanding... but I have about 800+ hours in it and I feel I'm still not really ready for endgame content.

        It is basically Mass Effect but with the ability to fly.

        The element combo system, the suit abilities, the way they dodge, handle weapons, etc, it's basically all combat from Andromeda (which is arguable one of the only solid aspects of that game) and previous ME titles.

      they are nothing at all the same. On no level, beside the genre.

      It's actually much more like ME: Andromeda. Basically the combat and combo ability systems of priming and detonating are the same. The life-less mannequin NPCs and the horrendously shitty writing. The Male main character is even voiced by the same fucking guy as Ryder in ME: A.

      It feels like a re-skin with flying. But with way less content and variety of missions.

    Load times have been a trial on SSD, good luck to anyone playing something slower.

    Sounds like they learned nothing from Mass Effect Andromeda.

      Having PTSD remembering the loading times on the f*cking ship planet to planet

        Oh god it was so bad. I remember once I had to go back and forth on that pirate planet like 4 times in 20 minutes....... oh god whyyyyy

    I have taith the game will inprove very quickly, played enoigh MMOs to be sure of this.

    I think games need a lot more polish for release than some give in this immediate react and post internet we have now, the whole patch it next week philosophy doesnt work when you consider a lot of complaints from the VIP demo gave been fixed three weeks and 1000 bug fixes and improvements later... but those complaints are now going to be immortalised in youtube and media posts.

    Would the game had of been better if they delayed or not even set a date until beta delivered a polish product... but asking a AAA publisher to not have a release date is impossible.

    Might be a good one to wait until a while after launch to pick up.

    Something tells me Apex Legends won't be loosing too many players to Anthem.

    I think this might be it for Bioware. They needed Anthem to be a hit and all the reviews I have read have said the game is an average bug ridden mess. I suspect EA will be burying the studio alongside Maxis, Visceral, Westwood etc within the year.

    F for Bioware.

    The loading times are annoying for sure but its hardly a deal breaker for me. I went in with mild expectations and have played almost 40 hours since saturday, its really fun despite the flaws IMO

    The only way the load screens affect me currently is by successfully placing dread into my heart. I have now lost three of my ten hours to the main menu. I am still far more likely to not even get into the game, than when I do. And then the times I do get in, I crash after every single mission.

    So all the load times represent to me is a will-they, wont-they work thing. It is getting to the Diablo III or Simcity level of badness in terms of just getting into the game.

    And funny enough I had far more success playing Fallout 76 in the first four days, than I have had playing this. That is the level of the issue.

    Its a shame because when it works I am having a blast and I dont doubt, like all looter shooters it will keep getting better. YOu know, when the load screens stop being the enemy.

    An EA published game that launches in this state should not surprise anyone at this point. It's basically par for the course. Anyone who expects it to be different is kidding themselves.

    I have a pretty decent PC so the load times haven't been a huge PITA, no more than any frostbite game (aka Battlefield).

    Once you're in the game then the load time between missions is pretty small, and the missions are a decent length so I don't feel like I'm loading every 5 minutes of gameplay.

    I have not encountered any of the infinite loading bugs etc either.

    They've said the load times are due to a workaround put in place while they fix the inifinite load sceens, which is to essentially dump everything and load it from disk into memory all over again. I'm seeing load times of around 20-40 seconds on an NVMe SSD, so I can't imagine what it would be like on a HDD. That said, if Friday's patch actually implements a real solution to this issue, it would solve one of the main annoyances of the entire playerbase.

    I got 10 hours free from a friend. Running it on a brand new Samsung 970 EVO NVMe SSD and the load times are still absolutely pathetic.

    I also struggle to maintain 60FPS in firefights on a 2700x @ 4.2Ghz, GTX1080 and 3200hz 16gb RAM. This is at 1440p.

    Unfinished game is an understatement.

    Having played around 30 hours, 10 of that at max level, I can sadly say I'm glad I went 1 month of premiere to try before I buy.

    Games like this should really "start" at max level, but no new content opens up other than higher difficulty and legendary contracts. My legendary contract involved flying around picking up relics and killing a titan... The exact same as I had been doing whilst leveling.

    In short, the endgame is a gear grind for power level but with no content you've not seen on the way there.

    Give it 6 to 12 months and Anthem will be amazing.

    My problem with you saying load times are horrible is that the other people you were playing with - when you load in finally - are miles ahead... does this not suggest they are loading in fine and the issue is you?
    I would have thought a bug in the game would mean everyone would suffer the same symptoms.

    Loading times are long. Thats not that much of an issue, if theres something to do while thats happening. I didn't mind Destiny 1/2, because you could tweak loadouts while loading.

    Something like this needs to happen with Anthem, give us something to do while we wait.

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