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Anthem: Everything We Know So Far

BioWare's new Destiny-like action-adventure game made a big debut at E3. Here's a round-up of what we know about the game.

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BioWare's new IP Anthem was finally revealed at E3 this year, and while we didn't see a lot, or get any hands-on time, the trailer filled in some bits and pieces we had heard about the game previously. Here's a rundown of everything we know.

Release Date

Anthem is still a ways off from release. It was originally planned for release in fiscal year 2018, but in EA's latest earnings call, the game was moved back to FY 2019, meaning late 2018 or early 2019.

Setting

The futuristic setting places players on as yet unnamed planet in a settlement called Fort Tarsus. The makeshift city is surrounded by large walls that keep its inhabitants protected from wild creatures and some unforgiving "shaper" storms. When players leave Fort Tarsus, they do so in a variety of Javelin exosuits, equipped with different armaments and abilities. Whether Fort Tarsus is the only known settlement was unclear, but from the trailer we know that players were higher level, so this could be a settlement that players get to after they have spent some time leveling. The town allows for loading up new gear, changing out exosuits, and getting new missions. 

The Story

We don't have many details on the underlying story yet, but game director John Warner, who narrated the trailer, mentioned that there will be "large scale world events like Shaper stories." These are dynamic and can pull you off-missions, only to discover new story elements. The example in the trailer was a "Shaper storm," a large electrical event that forced the call for reinforcements. The trailer ends with players flying into the storm.

It is unclear how much backstory we will get, as to how the walled cities were created, or how the world came to be settled. But EA CEO Andrew Wilson's comment that "the great RPG character development and story progression that BioWare is known for" would be evidenced in the game gives hope that we will get all of that and more.

The Gameplay

Players take on the role of Freelancers, who are the ones lucky enough to have exosuits and go outside the wall. From the trailer, we find that occasionally non-Freelancers make it outside the wall for missions, but usually aren't as well equipped. There are a variety of exosuits, but right now we only know of two. The Colossus is a tanking machine that can take lots of damage, and the trailer had one equipped with a mortar. The Ranger is more balanced, offering a jetpack for speed, and one weapon that could target multiple enemies and launch rockets at each.

We see some massive monsters that can attack with sheer brute strength, and other creatures known as Scars using robotic units to take out larger mechanized vehicles. Some creatures are even capable of using beam or pulse weapons.

While out on missions, players gain XP from exploration and taking out enemies. They can collect treasure and gear, such as a Legendary Volt Rifle called Jarra's Wrath. The weapon itself was level 35, so it is likely that players will need to do significant adventuring and upgrading to get to that point.

The game is an action adventure with some RPG elements, and appears to have a drop-in, drop-out multiplayer system. As the trailer was nearing its end, we saw one of the players saying they could use more help, and two new exosuited players dropped in for the excursion. It is two-player co-op, but can have up to four players at any time. They were level 31 and 36, so it seems likely the game will allow for some variance in levels when grouping together.

EA is developing the game as a social title with "live services," and hashing out these services to be the best they can be was the main reason for the game's delay.

Contributing Editor
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