BioWare apologizes for rocky Anthem demo launch, 'infinite loads' problem persists

Anthem's VIP demo has been fraught with problems. Players have been unable to log in to the game, or have faced an infinite load screen when moving between in-game areas. Others have struggled to get stable performance, even with top-end rigs, and some of the PC settings—such as adjusting resolution—don't work properly. Developer BioWare has now apologised for the problems, explained why they happened, and outlined some of what it is doing to fix Anthem ahead of its next month's release.

In a blog post, BioWare's head of live service Chad Robertson denied that the issues were caused by BioWare under-planning for server capacity. "To ensure stability, we intended to manage our servers to match the player population as it grew," he said. "Overall, we had excess capacity prepared for population increases, and continue to do so."

The problems were caused by a "spike in players entering the game" when the demo launched, which led to issues that BioWare didn't see during internal testing. Player "entitlements"—account flags that grant players pre-order bonuses and demo access—were also playing up, and if you had a specific combination of entitlements you could've been locked out of the demo. "We believe we’ve resolved most of these, but have additional cases we are addressing," he said.

The "infinite loads" issue looks like the most troubling, and potentially the most difficult to solve. Bioware saw "isolated cases" of it during testing, but believed it to be fixed. "Unfortunately, the problem is exacerbated in the real-world where differences with player’s ISPs and home networks introduce new behavior," he said, adding that it will be "difficult" to fix before the demo ends today. He finished his blog post by apologising for the issues, and saying that everyone who played the demo will get an additional new vinyl at launch. 

Bioware has since released a potential workaround for the infinite loading screens, which is to close the game client, relaunch it, and "if it asks to rejoin the expedition press the indicated button to connect". 

Separately, Anthem lead producer Ben Irvo has addressed criticism of the PC version on Reddit. User MushuMash's post, called "The PC version is an afterthought" is a good summary of issues players are facing, from negative mouse acceleration to permanent motion blur even when you turn it off in menus, which is something Bo came across in testing, too. 

In response, Irvo said that the Anthem demo is running an old build, and that Bioware has fixed many mouse-and-keyboard issues, including input lag and mouse acceleration, in its latest build. Performance has also been boosted in subsequent builds, which should solve some of the problems players are facing. He also said he'll look into why there isn't an FOV slider and why motion blur isn't working correctly, adding that the team will continue to improve the UI. His full response is worth a read. 

All in all, it looks like EA and BioWare have their work cut out before the open demo launches on Friday. The state of the game then will give us a better idea of how quickly the dev team are able to fix problems, and should indicate what kind of state it will be in on release date, February 22.

Update: Bioware has announced that it will unlock all four javelins for anybody that took part in this weekend's VIP demo. You'll be able to use them in the open demo next weekend.

Samuel Horti

Samuel Horti is a long-time freelance writer for PC Gamer based in the UK, who loves RPGs and making long lists of games he'll never have time to play.