Electronic Arts-owned BioWare has denied rumours that its troubled shooter Anthem is causing permanent damage to unlucky players' PlayStation 4 consoles, admitting that there is a 'power-down crash' bug but claiming that there is 'no risk of damage' to hardware.
Designed to compete with Bungie's Destiny and EA's own Apex Legends, and to a lesser extent other multiplayer timesinks including Epic's Fortnite, the BioWare-developed Anthem has not had a smooth launch. Its VIP Demo, made available only to paying Origin Access subscribers and pre-order customers, was riddled with bugs and hampered by server outages while the game launched without previously-teased support for the deep learning super sampling (DLSS) functionality of Nvidia's RTX graphics card family. The game's release left critics cold, with clunky mechanics and awkward mission structures among its troubles.
A bigger problem, though, is the game's stability - particularly on Sony's PlayStation 4 consoles, on which the game has been crashing hard enough to completely freeze consoles until physically power-cycled, seemingly due to the console overheating during gameplay.
Rumours have been circulating since Anthem's launch that the hard-crash bugs in the game's PlayStation 4 release are severe enough to permanently damage consoles, but BioWare's head of live service Chard Robertson claims to have found no evidence this is the case. 'After thorough review, we have not encountered an instance where Anthem has "bricked" a PS4 console,' Robertson claims in a Twitter post. 'If you are experiencing anything different, please reach out to @EAHelp so we can track the incident and investigate. Thanks for your patience.'
Robertson does, however, acknowledge the game's issues on PS4. 'We’ve identified several causes for the temp power-down crash some PS4 users experienced,' he confirms. 'Fixes for the top issues are in patch next week. If you encounter a game crash where your PS4 console won’t respond, you can manually power down and restart it – no risk of damage.'
Replies to Robertson's post include claims that 'my friend has a PS4 that has been bricked,' 'my buddy had his bricked, contracted y'all and you told him he was SOL,' 'my PS4 hasn't worked right since your POS game shutdown my console,' 'it nuked my PS4 lol blue screened locked up fan went crazy, left it in the hope it would unfreeze like it has been doing after a few minutes, got stupid hot and is now a pretty paper weight,' and users reporting the forced power-off can necessitate a rebuild of the console's filesystem - a process which can take a considerable length of time and runs the risk of data loss.
Sony has not commented on the problem, nor on why if the issue is indeed related to the console overheating a thermal shutdown isn't automatically initiated, but it has begun refunding download customers outside the usual time period without argument.
April 3 2020 | 14:09