Mike Gamble, the lead producer of Anthem, visited the Anthem Tokyo Press Event which was held in Tokyo, Japan from Jan 27th to Jan 29th (JST), and had an interview with press from around the globe.
Mike Gamble gave clear answers to the questions regarding the issue that broke out in the recent VIP demo test and other aspects about Anthem. He also emphasized that the server issues and the gunshot dynamics can definitely be improved.
Gamble also promised fast and constant updates, and assured attendees that “there will be no Season Pass or DLC and all content will be free.” Below is the full interview with Mike Gamble at the Tokyo Press Event.
※ You can watch the videos of two endgame content that were not available in the VIP demo below!
▲ Stronghold - The Temple of Scar
▲ Legendary Contract - Threat Assessment
Q: Glad to see you. First, is there any reason why the event was held in Tokyo?
I don’t know (laughs)! I just came here because it was being held in Tokyo. Japan is a nice country to visit from Korea, Taiwan, and Austrailia, location-wise. It took me 14 hours by plane to get here.
Q: 14 hours? Really?
It could have been further if it was somewhere else!
Q: A lot of reviews are coming out after the VIP demo. What were the players’ reactions during the testing period?
There were definitely some technical issues after the game opened on Friday. There were a lot of complaints saying that the gameplay isn’t smooth. The number of players went up after we solved this issue, and we got a lot of positive comments on the gameplay, the flying animation, graphics, and characters. The comments encouraged me a lot, and motivated me to do better.
Our primary focus is to fix the infinite loading issue. We will start adding more of the functions that were mentioned in the feedback, like the waypoint check function and keyboard/mouse control improvements. We are distinguishing between the things we have to fix before the official release and the things we have to improve after.
Overall, I’m satisfied with the testing. Testing and gathering feedback is essential for games like Anthem. If we know what things are not working well through the play data, we can make the game better based on it.
Q: There were many complaints about the server for sure. Will the problems be fixed in the official launch?
I could see the issues were being fixed during the weekend. It will be better next week, and we still have about a month before the soft launch on Feb 15th and the official launch, so we’ll be able to fix the issues.
The server is working properly, but some individual bugs are causing problems. The issues in the demo version are not caused by the lack of servers. The issues occurred when the players were in the process of connecting to the server and due to the traffic routing system, and it will be fixed.
Q: Some players mentioned that the gameplay with guns doesn’t feel intense enough.
This can be improved. It seems like it’s saying that the monsters should not feel too squishy. We could not put too much action like knock back during the development process. There are performance issues, and we didn’t want too much interference in seamless gameplay.
But it is definitely one of the things that have to be improved. We could add more action to small monsters when they are hit by gunshots. We can look into it this week.
Q: There aren’t many reasons to play Free Play. You have to play the main missions to watch the story, and you can play the Strongholds for farming or boss battles. What is the benefit of Free Play?
That is a good question. The materials and blueprints for crafts can be unlocked through quests, and Free Play is the best mode to do the Challenges, whether they are for the environment or the gameplay. Also, you can only gather resources for crafts in Free Play.
In addition, Free Play plays a major role in the development of the story and the universe. The player can find the secret stories hidden around the world through the adventure and record them in the Cortex. There are many hidden routes as well, where you can obtain certain level gear.
Free Play is a mode where you can try things you can’t do in the missions, so I think there are a lot of reasons to play Free Play, especially when you like to craft items and explore the universe.
Q: The Launch Bay, a 16-player social hub, was revealed. Is the Launch Bay a simple social space or is it for another 16-player feature?
As you mentioned in the question, the Launch Bay might have a connection to a feature which will be updated in the live server later. Basically, the Launch Bay is a space where players can communicate with each other and show their suits to others, but the biggest advantage is that you can return after completing a mission faster than Fort Tarsis. Fort Tarsis is a space where you can talk to the characters and enjoy solo play, while the Launch Bay is for group play.
Q: Will there be a feature for more than 4 players?
Well, I can’t tell you everything (smiles). But a lot of information regarding the live service will be revealed next month. All I can say is that our next plan is “What huge changes are coming to the world of Anthem.” It’s a secret for now (smiles), but it will be revealed very soon.
Q: How will the updates go from now on?
First of all, updates will be fast and constant. New content will be added fast after the release. For example, we can add a stronger monster and stop a specific monster from spawning. We have the environment for free updates and fixes. This will be the basis for the live service.
Q: Will there be a Season Pass or DLC?
There will be no Season Pass. Regarding DLC, we will continue to provide all content for free to our players. If we release DLC, the game will be very different depending on whether they purchased the DLC or not. So we won’t add any paid DLC.
Q: In the demo version, you could buy cosmetics with coins. Will it be the same for the official version?
Cosmetics can be purchased via in-game currency or via real money. There are no in-game items that you can only buy with real money. Also, cosmetics will not have any stats. If an item that can be purchased with real money gives stats, the game becomes P2W. We don’t want Anthem to be a P2W game, where people with more money can have advantages over others. Cosmetics are only for visuals.
Q: You can make a choice when talking to the NPCs. Will the choices affect the game? Is there an NPC amity system?
I can’t tell you a lot because I don’t want to spoil the game, but the choices you make when talking to the NPCs in Fort Tarsis will ultimately affect how your relationship with the NPC goes.
First, the Amity system and the Honor system will give you certain scores based on your choices and the scores can unlock blueprints and craft skills. You can check that in the achievement menu. You get a different score based on your choice, so it is related to the gameplay.
In addition, the appearance of Fort Tarsis itself will change depending on your choices. For example, if you made a lot of choices that favor the Freelancers, the city will change based on those choices.
Q: Is the cross play among different platforms available?
First, I would like to thank games like Fortnite for opening the path. (smiles) Making agreements with different platforms is relatively easier now. The problem is technical issues. Cross-platform play is one of the most important things we have to consider.
Q: You can see the whole area when the game starts. Is there any plan to add more areas other than the areas that are available now?
There is a possibility that new areas will be added after the release. One thing that the players don’t recognize well is that there are a lot of unseen areas above and below the horizontal map. The gameworld is 3-dimensional. There are areas where you have to fly to, and areas hidden underwater. Of course, there are areas to be added later.
Q: The controls using keyboard and mouse felt harder than using controllers. Will this be improved as well?
Of course. We are constantly checking on this issue. The feedback we received mentioned that the movement is too light and does not match the control, and we will be making improvements continuously.
Q: What are some of Anthem’s unique traits that distinguish it from other games?
I think it’s flight. Flight is the feature that makes Anthem’s gameplay unique in general. Managing the battle engagement, how to cooperate with teammates, and the fact that you have to play as a team are also important factors in enjoying Anthem.
Q: To be honest, no games are boring if played together. Would that count as one of Anthem’s unique traits?
That’s true. (laughs). But Anthem’s mechanics and gameplay are designed for teamplay. A good example is a combo play of two players. When fighting against a high-level monster, it is important to use the Javelins that have different skill mechanics, and this is only possible through teamwork. There are many games that emphasize teamwork, but Anthem is different from them since the gameplay is based on the synergy among teammates, not just for combos but also for overall strategies.