Everything We Know About BioWare’s Anthem

Everything We Know About BioWare’s Anthem
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To close out EA’s E3-adjacent EA Play news conference, BioWare walked the audience through a lengthy deep dive into Anthem, its Destiny-esque multiplayer shooter.

To begin, BioWare’s Casey Hudson, Mark Darrah, and Cathleen Rootsaert explained that the goal with Anthem is to avoid “diluting” the story by keeping it separate from action-heavy combat. You’ll go on missions that take place in a shared world where, for example, everybody experiences nighttime simultaneously, but then you’ll return to your base, which is a wholly single-player experience. There, you’ll talk to characters and do more traditionally BioWare-y things.

“This is where your story really lives and breathes,” said Darrah.

You will, however, be able to play the whole game solo if you want. BioWare wants multiplayer to be a “choice” that players make of their own accord.

Your goal will be to push back against the evil Dominion, who are trying to use a powerful force called the Anthem Of Creation as a weapon. If all those impenetrable proper nouns don’t get Destiny fans salivating, nothing will.

The presentation then shifted over to a gameplay demo in which four players, each flying around in specialised super suits, fought Dominion creatures in order to secure a relic of the Anthem Of Creation. Basically, it was like the Avengers if everybody was Iron Man. The ranger suit, for example, carried a general purpose jack-of-all trades arsenal, while the storm suit could blow shit up real good.

“You’re not your suit,” said Darrah, explaining that you can switch depending on your mood or the specific needs of particular missions.

The mission proceeded through phases, first with a high-flying outdoor fight over the relic, and then with a segment that took place in a cave and ended with a weird, gigantic Metroid-arse looking monster.

Just in case it wasn’t already clear that EA is no longer worshipping at the golden altar of ill-advised loot box monetisation, BioWare added that Anthem won’t have any. There will, however, be ongoing releases of new content.

Anthem will be out on PC, PS4, and Xbox One on February 22. Subscribers to EA’s new PC subscription service, Origin Access Premier, will be able to play Anthem from February 15.


    • Doesn’t seem like there aren’t many people looking at this game that way. EA seem to be forcing it right now.

      • Of course they’re marketing it, it’s a huge IP. Backlash against Andromeda’s still probably hurting them too

        • Yeah of course, it’s more like they’re asking crowds to clap like Jeb and it looks sad. Only thing that’s going to save the game is the game being absolutely stellar. Even if it’s a slight miss they’re going to pay.

        • It’s not backlash against Andromeda really, though it may be backlash against them sabotaging Andromeda’s development in favor of this thing, or backlash against them deciding to shelve Mass Effect forever.

          It’s just that they’re making a game the bulk of the audience they spent decades cultivating just doesn’t want.

          • I could understand them doing this out of creative desire. Destiny does a lot of things wrong, but for a world builder/lore nerd it has amazing potential. In my head, I imagine some of the creative heads at Bioware genuinely excited by the prospect of building a new universe and deciding that that was a better use of their resources than ME. They’ve proven to not be too sentimental about their IPs in the past (not many of their pre-ME game’s ever got a sequel) so it’s possible.

            I just hope that if it does fail (or match expectations) they can survive, like they did with SWTOR.

      • yeah why look forward to something, then be disappointed, when they can just judge an unfinished product for which we have virtually seen nothing of. Some gamers are their own worst enemy.

        I dont see how EA have been forcing it, seriously this is the most game play we have seen that first launch.

        • They’re hype training with no reason to be hyped. The judgement is based on recent performance.

          • games devs dont own hype. They just advertise. Gamers interpret the advertising with their expectations. they can say all the words and show us all the videos they want, they cant create hype without customers doing the rest.

            Is the team creating this game EXACTLY the same team making those other games, no. Is it exactly the same type of game as before? No. So why not wait until we see the finish product instead of presuming?

          • Neat and all but when somebody sells you an ice cream that turns out to be a turd on a cone, then repeatedly does so over a long period, it’s only natural that you assume the next one will be a turd too.

            It’s once bitten twice shy, not once bitten keep offering your hand and hope the fifteenth time works out.

          • but people dont write reviews for ice creams nor do millions of streamers make videos on them. the ways gamers use hyperbole like turd, it translates to ‘a game I dont like’, here’s the thing, that is your taste. you can scream to a hundred friends thats what you think, but they all have their own tastes.

            i get that one bitten twice shy thing, FOR A GAME THATS OUT. in which you can see how it turned, see your concerned was justified. but to actively hate some for months on end based on nothign about the product itself is simply childish.

          • I already said the game needs to be stellar on release. They’ve got no good faith which is why no one cares about the prerelease shit they’re doing.

  • Bioware and EA released SWTOR without Lootboxes, and after 9 months flipped the switch and made the decision that since they messed up the marketing of the game, they would just milk the existing players as whales.

    Not trusting them one bit, until at least a year into its life as a “games as service”… Lootboxes are just one patch away.

  • They’ve also announced no romances for Anthem, which after the trainwreck and whinging of Andromeda (complete with post release patching additions to please lobbies) I can totally see them throwing their hands up in the air and saying ‘Never doing that again!’

    • It kinda seems like writing/story in general just isn’t a big priority for this game. The heavy focus whenever they’ve talked about it has been world and gameplay. Kinda weird considering this is apparently a “all hands on deck” scenario for Bioware but apparently they’re not making much use (or at least not giving much attention to their work) of the very talented writers they still have in the main studios.

  • I for one am interested and intrigued. Just glad I am not one of those people who have been cheering it to fail for the last year. Seriously what is that about? I get EA rubs people up the wrong way and the last ME likewise. nut why spend so many months pouring over every detail, no matter how small, and looking forward to its disaster. (and I say that as someone who got their monies worth out of Andromeda, dislikes EA and havent really enjoyed Bioware since DA:O)

    There is certain point where confirmation bias has to give way to common sense. See how something turns out, then judge it on how it actually is, not how you want or believe it is.

    Especially when so much of the hate centres around people whining about political correctness, from a company who has been making political correct games for decades now, which in themselves were based on desktop games with the same progressive society awareness of diversity, well before some gamer gaters were even born to start using the ridiculous term, for ridiculous reasons.

  • Was looking forwards to this, but every reveal shows it slip more and more into Destiny territory. I mean I don’t mind rpgs with fps mechanics, but I really don’t like the tendency towards bullet sponges that make end game content in these titles and the redundancy of world events due to them not supplying equal xp and loot.

  • I was so excited with the reveal last year, but today’s presentation has made it look like Destiny in a different skin. It’s turned me right off it.

    I’d be more than happy to be proven wrong though and hopefully the reviews at time of release can do so.

  • “Playable completely solo”

    “Your base is a solo instance”

    So why bother making it multiplayer at all?

    • It’s looking like the division. Sure you can get missions and do them on your own if you want, but it’s probably not going to be much fun since they seem very inclined to advertise coop.

  • I really don’t understand why people are so antsy with Anthem – yes Andromeda disappointed many (not me, but that’s irrelevant), yes it superficially looks like Destiny, but what are we judging Anthem on? Some complain it looks too much like Destiny but Destiny looked bloody fantastic – it was the game people were disappointed with and we don’t have that experience yet with Anthem. Others seem to argue that because Andromeda was bad Anthem will be too, an equally silly argument, especially given the details we know about its development issues fueled at least partially by an inexperienced team that saw most of their experienced support leaving the project to work on Anthem.

    The game could be awful, but we haven’t played it or seen any unscripted gameplay, so what are we judging it on? The Marketing? Remember the Dead Island trailer that was absolutely incredible and the bland game it was advertising? Have you seen the Half-Life 2 trailer, a trailer that pretty much only shows of the now dated graphics and otherwise is pretty boring? What about the Life is Strange trailer that would probably have pushed me away from ever playing a game I loved. Trailers aren’t interactive, what might look good might play horribly and vice-versa, if you really judge a game by its marketing material that’s always going to be misleading, let the game come out, let it be its own thing and then I’ll judge it, until then we’ve got next to nothing to go off, and while caution is always a good thing to have looking at marketing material, I think it’s silly to dismiss the game the way some seem to have done with the little information we have.

    • I think the simple answer is that Destiny never really delivered on the sprawling story based coop promise it made and Andromeda was shit, so it’s a combination of a developer and a game type that don’t have much faith. I love coop games so I want it to be awesome. I’m not hoping too much though.

    • Because it’s yet another hollow “live service” game designers to extract as much money as possible out of microtransactions.

      It might very well end up with a decent gameplay loop… but you can almost guarantee it won’t be a “classic game” to remember 10 years from now.

  • I’m really looking forward to it, I love looter shooters and this isnt made by the Andromeda team (although I didnt mind Andromeda) if it can nail movement (by all reports that’s fantastic) gunplay (ok at this stage but needs tightening) and has a decent story then it should be great.

  • Let’s not proliferate EA’s marketing speak by calling what they showed a “deep dive”. They didn’t even show a complete gameplay loop, they showed a small part of one mission that amounted to really nothing new over what they had shown before. I like that instead of solving the sp vs mp dichotomy, they just continue the status quo by walling quests dialogue and story within towns and multiplayer taking place outside.

    I think it speaks volumes to the development hell this game has been, that after all these years and 9 months away from release, they’re not able to show a quest being given, the crossover to multiplayer, the quest completed in group, and then returned in a meaningful way in single player. It’s obviously a mess behind the scenes.

  • I know there have been rumours around this past year of cross-platform play. I’ll play it alone, but cross-platform would be really great, it’s the only way I’ll ever be able to play a game with my brother on the other side of the country.
    Looks good though, I would have played Destiny 1 & 2 if they weren’t online only. Really liked Andromeda too by the way, it was great fun, though I played two years after release to avoid any issues, they had the same issue Star Wars does, people want the same but don’t want it to be the same, basically they don’t know what they want and can’t be satisfied, I knew going in it was something different and didn’t treat it like the Trilogy.

  • In all honesty I am surprised how short people’s memories are where BioWare’s work is concerned, especially under EA’s banner.

    BioWare has a history of starting a new thing without experience in the genre/type of that new thing and failing as a result.

    For example everyone cheered when Star Wars: The Old Republic was announced, no one cared that BioWare did not have an in house experience with MMOs so it was their first attempt. Now we have TORtanic that went free to play faster than one would hope so and generally disappoints when compared with other modern MMOs (themes not considered).

    Then we have Mass Effect: Andromeda. Kotaku wrote an very good article about what BioWare wanted ME: Andromeda to be and what it ended up being. BioWare wanted it to be open world, procedurally generated game, once again they lacked an in house experience with that and… well most of us know the end result.

    Now BioWare is trying a clone of Destiny, despite the fact that we have Destiny 1 & 2 on the market (with Bungie still not getting it right after so much time developing the franchise), Division 1 (and 2 if Ubisoft Twitter is to be believed) and Warframe. All made by experienced (at least at this point in the development) teams, that continue to struggle with communication and audience engagement.

    Now I know some people wish the best for BioWare, but wishing the best and being realistic are not mutually exclusive stands. What makes anyone think that a team marred by constant re-shuffling, departures and lack of experience in an RPG/Shooter genre will get the RPG/Shooter game right the first time and in a way that will make all other games in the genre irrelevant? Especially given the current state of the genre?

    Let face it, BioWare has been very good at making template role playing games, a known quality and quantity design and experience and it was what they were good at, every time they tried to walk away from it they somewhat failed (at least in my opinion). After all, we continue to talk about Mass Effect, Dragon Age and Knights of the Old Republic and not about The Old Republic or Andromeda. At this point I believe that EA is simply trying to slap the BioWare brand on whatever new product they can in order to boost sales and some are still falling for it.

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