EA and BioWare's new IP named Anthem is a shared world action-adventure and RPG coming to your PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on Feb. 22nd, 2019. During E3 2018, BioWare sat down during EA Play to talk about the new title. They shed some light on a few of the Anthem's features while explaining the differences between their game and the other "games as a service" genre.
Telling a great story has always been a vital part of the BioWare development process. They are the studio behind many great games like Dragon Age and Mass Effect, both of which, had stories that created entirely new worlds. Anthem will not be different. While on stage during EA Play, Anthem's lead writer, Cathleen Roothsaert, states "Anthem's story has been written to be expanded on for years to come."
In Anthem, we play a rookie freelancer who can use mech suits called the Javelin. While on missions we can play solo to explore or work with a team to take down giant mutated monsters that inhabit the land just outside our walls. There is another human faction named the "Dominion" that BioWare claims will act as the main antagonist in Anthem.
Creating a story that can be easily expanded upon is excellent for PVE players. Games like Destiny had taken much criticism when it came to storytelling. Bungie's FPS has fantastic gameplay, but the story has always had much to be desired. Their characters had lines that were as silly as "I don't have time to explain why I don't have time to explain."
The Javelin armor comes in many forms. Since we play as a freelancer, we can use many different versions of the Javelin armor. BioWare revealed four different classes of armor. The Ranger which is an all-around class of armor. The Colossus, which is like a tank. The faster and smaller character classes of Javelin named the Interceptor, for speed, and the Storm which BioWare team members have dubbed the glass cannon.
All of the armor classes will be available to all players at any time. Keeping character classes open will allow players to coordinate with friends to round out the team play. Changing Javelin armor also provides us with a sense of replayability, as we use different items in the game. Ubisoft's The Division had similar game mechanics, where your character could use different skills at different times. A significant difference here is that your Division Agent had to choose "Signature Skills" that funneled your character into a role during end game content. That "Signature Skill" was locked.
BioWare wants us to feel connected to the gear we collect in Anthem. The game offers customizable armor. We can use pink paint on parts or go for a camouflage pattern. The Javelin armor pieces that we collect are used to make our Javelin feel unique. The weapons that we find will allow us to customize even further and if I can be honest here, I just want to make my own Iron Man suit.
BioWare has stated that they will not be implementing loot boxes. There will be in-game purchases that will enable players to make a cosmetic change, but pay-to-win will not be in Anthem. The investments will not be random, and you will know what you are exactly what you are buying.
BioWare has taken lessons from both Destiny and the Division here. The Division had characters that all looked pretty similar. An Agent at the max level simply took more damage than an unleveled Agent.
Bungie's Destiny changed similar looking armor pretty late in the game's lifetime with The Taken King DLC and the infusion mechanic. Infusion enabled you to make your guns and armor better by using other loot that dropped in-game. Destiny made a mistake with their microtransaction system. The "Eververse" shop was filled with randomly rolled loot packs, where you could spend hundreds of dollars to get cosmetic items.
Anthem takes place on a shared overworld. The story can be played through as a solo player, but BioWare claims it becomes a more luxurious experience when we play with others. Social gaming can sometimes be awkward. BioWare understands that and has decided to put matchmaking on missions.
Even after we complete the initial story, the world is a shared space. All events that will take place on your planet will also appear on all other planets. So, when you see your friends in the real world, the next day, you can tell them all about what you did during the in-game weather changes, and they can tell you about their experiences.
The in-game weather changes are all made possible by servers. BioWare claims that this is an essential feature of Anthem. Insisting that servers allow them to make changes to all of the shared game spaces. While other games like Bungie's Destiny have used peer to peer systems, BioWare has opted to use a server system. A dedicated server system can be expensive for the developers to construct, but it will lead to a better gaming experience.
These are just some of the reasons why we are excited to play BioWare's Anthem, but what about you? Do you want to see more story? Are you excited to play Anthem? Let us know in the comments below.