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One year on, Anthem remains a sad monument to a generation of folly

It’s the most wonderful time of year: February! It’s also still Christmas, according to Anthem, because the game still has its decorations up – even now, a full two weeks after the initial tweet, which pointed out that open invitation for bad luck, went viral. Apparently that’s intentional because BioWare extended its “Ictide” event a little longer, but it’s not a great look, is it? Especially not as Anthem celebrates its first full year since launch.

At least the effect is interesting, by regular service game event standards. If you hop into a Stronghold, which is a sort of replayable mini-raid or “strike”, by Destiny’s terminology, you’ll notice that in the occasional moments of downtime between fights, deep below ground, in the dank, dripping dungeon of giant spiders, the haunting echo of sleigh bells will just, ever so softly, start to fade in. A sort of wafting, aural threat, like they’re about to summon a choir of the dead. Ominous! Schedule the relaunch for that liminal, Nightmare Before Christmas, early November time when nobody knows whether to feel spooky or festive and you know what, it might just work.

But that’s exactly it: if you haven’t already heard, there’s a relaunch coming! There’s no time or date, absolutely no detail on what exactly is going to change, and also the game is going to “move away from full seasons” – like this winter holiday one, you’d hope. There may also be the odd eyebrow raised at the timing of that announcement, shortly before the inevitable flurry of anniversary impressions. But there is a relaunch coming, and so it’s no longer fair to really twist the knife into the game’s current state.

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