Anthem has been available in early access since February 15, but now BioWare is preparing for the official wide release. The company announced just when the game will unlock for those who have preloaded it, and it will be a rolling start. The official account tweeted that the game will go live on February 22 by midnight in each local time zone. The phrasing leaves open the possibility that some time zones may be able to play earlier.
The progressive rollout may help stave off some launch day troubles that tend to hit online games when players log on en masse. Even the Anthem VIP demo suffered server outages for a short time. But Anthem has already been running relatively smoothly among those with early access.
Origin Access subscribers on PC and EA Access subscribers on Xbox One have both had access to a ten-hour trial, with progress that will carry over into the main game. Origin Access Premier members have unlimited play instead of the trial period. PlayStation 4 owners have no Access program, though that may change soon.
BioWare also just rolled out an extensive day-one patch, fixing up several issues and making improvements before the game becomes widely available. Those include changes to crashing or infinite loading bugs, clearer UI, and other changes.
“Anthem has good ideas, but it struggles significantly with the execution,” Kallie Plagge wrote in GameSpot’s Anthem review. “It’s a co-op game that works best with no one talking; it buries genuinely interesting character moments and puts its most incomprehensible story bits at the forefront; its combat is exciting until you get to the boss fights and find your wings have been clipped. Even the simple, exhilarating act of flying is frequently interrupted by the limitations of your javelin, and you never quite shake that feeling of disappointment–of knowing, throughout the good parts of Anthem, that you’ll inevitably come crashing back down.”