*** Editor note: We prepared this article before the announcement that the game has been delayed until 2019 but we’re still excited for the game and thought it was still worth sharing
With the passing of the old year and the dawning of the new comes renewed hopes and expectations for the year ahead. Lord Alfred Tennyson, Queen Victoria’s Poet Laureate, once wrote: Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering ‘it will be happier’. Ah, but who cares about all that, a new year means new games! 2018 is already shaping up to be a year to remember. Over the next couple of weeks, we’re going to be highlighting a different game each day, giving you all the relevant details and salient talking points for what we think are going to be among the best games of the year. Today it’s the turn of Anthem, Bioware’s attempt to make Destiny but with a good storyline.
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: Q4 2018
Officially, Anthem is an online multiplayer action role-playing game. Unofficially, Anthem is Bioware doing their version of Destiny. Playing from a third-person perspective, you take control of a customisable exosuit called a Javelin. These suits enable you to fly or swim, increase your mobility or armour you up to tank-like levels. From the gameplay we have seen there seems to be an emphasis on exploration and the ability to tackle scenarios with different tactics depending on your loadout.
Bioware can do open-world action RPGs superbly, just look at Mass Effect 1-3. The game looks absolutely gorgeous with Bioware pushing the Frostbite engine to new heights. The co-operative element looks to be implemented in a very user-friendly way and provides some great gameplay opportunities. The way that the footage, shown during the Xbox E3 press conference, moved from a highly populated area to lush forest to underwater is particularly exciting. If Bioware can learn from Bungie’s mistakes with the Destiny franchise, this could be a game that will keep people hooked for years to come.
Bioware’s last open-world action RPG was the rather underwhelming Mass Effect: Andromeda. While that game wasn’t a disaster, it was such a disappointment that the franchise has now been put on hiatus. Anthem’s biggest hurdle though, would appear to be Electronic Arts itself. Ever since the company learned what a loot box was and how it could provide an extra revenue stream, they have been forcing them into every game their greedy fingers could. This decision has led to the ruin of Star Wars: Battlefront II and Need For Speed: Payback as well as turning fans off of UFC 3 before the game has even been released. If there is even a hint of loot boxes in Anthem it could be toxic enough to turn off the vast majority of fans who are looking forward to the game.
Oh boy, do we hope so. A Destiny-style game with Bioware’s depth of storytelling would be really special. So much depends on whether Electronic Arts get in the way and forces loot boxes or some other detritus that tries to pry more money out of gamers’ wallets, into the game. Unfortunately, there is a scenario where if the game isn’t successful, or at least successful enough, Bioware could join the likes of Visceral, Pandemic, and Bullfrog in the graveyard of studios that EA killed off. Here’s hoping that Bioware’s team in Edmonton knock it out of the park and EA leave them alone to make the game they want.
Well, that’s our thoughts on Anthem. Are you excited about the game? Why not share your thoughts in the comment section below? And don’t forget to come back tomorrow for the next game that we think is going to make a big impression in 2018.