Electronic Arts managed to garner positive attention following the reveal of Anthem during the publisher's EA Play press conference on June 10, 2017. Developed by BioWare (Mass Effect, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic), the new IP looks to innovate the third-person shooter genre through large-scale worlds and co-op action reminiscent of Bungie's Destiny and, ideally, learning from that franchise's and EA's own stumbles.
Of course, there are more questions surrounding the forthcoming title than details at this point in time. As a result, Screen Rant has put together an overview of news, rumors, co-op details, release date information and more to keep aspiring Anthem fanatics satiated for the time being.
What Exactly Is Anthem?
Based on details arriving from EA and BioWare, Anthem is a third-person action role-playing title that takes place in an open world that's ripe for exploration. Taking on the role of a Freelancer, players will suit up in mech-esque exoskeletons referred to as Javelins. These suits will grant players the ability of flight, which makes traversing the areas present within the game a much more realistic task.
The title will also feature a "shared-world" similar to what is present within Bungie's ongoing Destiny series and Ubisoft's Tom Clancy's The Division. This means that other players will appear in the in-game world in real-time while Anthem users are connected to the internet, allowing gamers to interact with one another even if they aren't in a dedicated party.
When users aren't engaging with each other, they'll be taking on the various creatures that inhabit the environment. These beasts will also battle with each other if left to their own devices, but they aren't the only threats found within the game's lush environment. There are also armed creatures referred to as Scars that laid in wait and ambushed the players in the debut trailer of Anthem. Whether or not they belong to a larger hostile faction found within the tropical forests of Anthem is unknown, but they certainly aren't out to help the Freelancers.
What is Anthem's Release Date?
Anthem's release date was initially announced for 2018 but was delayed until 2019 across PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows PC.
Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson tells investors however, that the 2019 date is not a delay.
"Regardless of how it's being portrayed, we're not looking at that as a delay. We've chosen to launch Anthem in [the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018]. The date is chosen by by portfolio balance, not product readiness. And we're really excited by the way the new Battlefield is shaping up. It probably doesn't make too much sense to launch Anthem right by it. As a new IP, it probably makes sense to give [Anthem] its own launch window."
Does Anthem Have A Story Mode?
Details on the narrative surrounding Anthem are few and far between. Still, EA and BioWare have confirmed that a bastion for humanity is located behind a wall that shields them from the dangers beyond. It then falls to the Freelancers and their Javelins to aid the people of the city through missions.
Admittedly, this isn't much to go on at this time. Fortunately, Drew Karpyshyn (Darth Bane trilogy, Chaos Born trilogy) took to Twitter to confirm that that he will be writing for the forthcoming title. The scribe's background in gaming includes saddling up as the lead writer on scripts for Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, as well as Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 – the latter two of which are heralded by fans and critics alike as being the stronger entries in the series.
Although Karpyshyn's involvement will hopefully result in an in-depth story mode for Anthem – especially given the writer's past work with other mainstream sci-fi properties – it sounds as if there will be a number of elements left unexplained. Prior to his departure as BioWare's general manager in July 2017, Aaryn Flynn (via GamesRadar) disclosed that fans will "see a lot of amazing things happening but we don’t worry too much about why they’re happening or how they’re happening, the science of it." Instead, Flynn pointed to BioWare's Mass Effect as the outlet for the studio's more in-depth attempt at sci-fi lore.
More details about the story surrounding Anthem, the world the Freelancers inhabit, and the background on the player-controlled Javelins will likely be divulged as the build to the title's 2018 release continues.
Will Anthem Have Microtransactions and Loot Boxes?
As an always-relevant topic of discussion amongst gamers, the consumer reaction to microtransactions and loot boxes reached a crescendo with Electronic Arts' own Star Wars Battlefront 2. The backlash from gamers was so bad that EA was forced to postpone the inclusion of loot boxes within Battlefront 2. As a result, it's possible that the publisher is now rethinking how to implement such features in future games, although at last check, loot boxes were said to be something still under consideration for BioWare's Anthem.
Taking to reddit, Anthem's creative director, Brenon Holmes, responded to a thread highlighting the concern one gamer had about the potential for a "toxic loot box economy" within the new BioWare title. According to Holmes, talks about such a system are still an "ongoing discussion," but reassured the fan that a number of people on the development team were gamers as well and they shared similar concerns about such forms of monetization.
How Many Players Can Play Anthem Co-op?
As the bread and butter of Anthem's appeal, co-op multiplayer is understandably a major feature in the shared-world romp. A single player will be able to team up with three other friends (or complete strangers) for a total of four users per group, which plays into the Javelin class system that BioWare has briefly detailed.
How Many Javelin Classes Are There in Anthem?
Currently there are two Javelin types that have been announced for the game: Ranger and Colossus. The Ranger class appears to be a very general-use suit that will provide users with the fundamentals required to jump right into Anthem. Meanwhile, the Colossus will allow players to take on a tank-esque role within their respective parties, equipped with a bulkier frame and presumably some much more heavy-duty armaments.
BioWare has confirmed that more Javelin classes will be joining the aforementioned two in due time, guaranteeing that more variety is en route. Another important note is that Freelancers will be able to swap out their suits on the fly, allowing them to collect different exosuits and change classes whenever the need may arise.
Players Can Customize Their Javelins
Concrete details pertaining to how these suits can be altered are still tucked up BioWare's sleeve, but they will be significant from both a cosmetic and functionality point-of-view based on claims made during the debut trailer of Anthem. Indeed, Anthem's game director, Jonathan Warner, said as much during the title's debut trailer, claiming that the Javelins will be "heavily customizable so they look and play how you want."
It's worth noting that each Javelin is said to feature two special abilities and an ultimate move, although it hasn't been confirmed whether or not these will be part of the customization aspect of Anthem.
There Are World-Altering Events Within Anthem
Jumping into Anthem, it's entirely possible that players will stumble across a lightning storm known as a Shaper Storm. This event is said to alter the world that Freelancers find themselves exploring, although the extent of how the world will be changed during these moments is unknown.
It appears as if these Shaper Storms will have a larger role to play within the mythos of Anthem as well, with promises that there will be new things to discover whenever they enter the scene. The game's demo showcased vegetation being lifted out of the ground and flung through the air courtesy of gale-force winds as wildlife stampeded towards players in a bid to reach safer ground. Even then, the players in the demo opted to press onward and fly into the heart of the storm, although the footage cuts to white before fans can see what happens when they did.
Anthem Will Be a 10-Year Journey for Electronic Arts
It's almost a cliché statement for shared-world titles at this point, but it sounds as if plans are in place to have Anthem be a major game for roughly a decade. The Executive Vice President in charge of Worldwide Studios at Electronic Arts, Patrick Söderlund, said as much in an interview with Microsoft's Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb (Director of Programming for Xbox) during the Xbox Daily @ E3 stream (via PC Gamer) back in June 2017.
After touching on how Anthem has been in development for four years, Söderlund stated that "it's a game that we see, once we launch it next year, will be the start of, I think maybe a ten-year journey for us." That's a bold claim, but one that's reminiscent of the intent behind the original Destiny. Although gamers have come to learn that those goals will never come to fruition with Bungie's shooter series, thanks to the release of Destiny 2, it'll be interesting to see if Anthem manages to live up to the lofty expectations of EA's VP.
Official Anthem Gameplay Trailer
Official Website: Anthem