An Ode To Anthem And What May Have Been

Digital Arts and BioWare have confirmed that plans for Anthem 2.0, additionally referred to as Anthem Subsequent, have been canceled. Whereas this information was not a shock, particularly given how quiet the crew has been about its progress on Anthem Subsequent, I am unable to assist however lament the missed alternative right here for an journey that held much more promise than so many gave it credit score for. Now that the way forward for Anthem is perpetually at a standstill, listed below are my ideas on the sport, the launch, and what may have been. 

After I first dove into Anthem, it was pre-launch throughout a press occasion. There have been bugs, however that was to be anticipated with early entry to an internet recreation. Whereas famous in my protection, it did not dampen the pure pleasure I felt when taking to the sky in my customized Javelin that very first time. Anthem has a few of the smoothest flight and fight mechanics I’ve ever seen in a recreation (and it is a hill I’ll die on), particularly when wanting on the detailed animations that confirmed off a love for the craft from the second these boots left the bottom. 


What was disappointing to me was the endgame content material, and that disappointment was there due to the core storyline. All of us knew stepping into that the principle story can be unfinished because of the nature of a live-action recreation, in order that wasn’t the issue. The problem was that the story main as much as the “finish” was so full and natural in so many various methods. Talking with Brin and listening to her one-track thoughts simply rattle off in pleasure and not using a care on this planet was so relatable right down to my core. And do not even get me began on the “Is it horny hazard” lady, as a result of I am fairly positive that if there was romance on this recreation, I might have spouse’d her instantly. 

One other treasure? Matthias and his arc. Spoilers forward for specifics, however Matthias Sumner was a gosh darn gem and a real delight on this planet of Anthem. He is a devoted arcanist who is completely enraptured by Shaper expertise. He is additionally absolutely the worst in terms of staying targeted, which…good day, are we the identical individual? 

There’s one half relating to his arc within the base recreation that has him all of the sudden cut up between three individuals when an experiment with a Manifold goes mistaken. Instantly, elements of his character which might be normally balanced out at the moment are particular person Matthiases. I believed I cherished Matthias earlier than, now BioWare gave me three of them?! Whereas I believed it was like Christmas, the precise storyline surrounding this was executed completely, and his voice actor did an exceptional job at enjoying the three elements. Whether or not he was enjoying Erryl, the soft-spoken scholar, Matti, the adventurous one, or Sumner, the unhealthy boy that you simply wish to kiss and kick on the similar time, all of it felt wildly entertaining. These are the moments of magic that Anthem needed to supply, they usually have been extra than simply one-offs. 

Let’s not even get into how a lot I squealed over the Black Emporium Dragon Age Easter egg on the bar…

The story within the base recreation earlier than the “ultimate” battle flowed in a method the place discovering extra of the world felt enjoyable and pure. With every triumph, the world of Tarsis grew to become much less of a spot ravaged by the necessity to survive and extra of a hub celebrating human life. With every dialog, the individuals on this world grew to become extra actual, extra tangible. I cared about listening to their tales, their paranoia, their fears. I cared about studying how youngsters have been dealing with a lot uncertainty and witnessing the bravery of younger adults who have not discovered what it feels wish to fail but. The story earlier than the endgame in Anthem was rife with magnificence, with character, and with a promise for a continued expertise past when the top credit rolled. A promise that, sadly, was dulled by the tragic disconnect between the introductory narrative and what the endgame needed to supply. 


Past the plain points at launch that resulted in additional glitches that we are able to rely and cargo instances that would match a complete film in them, the issue was that the endgame and every thing earlier than it felt like two insanely completely different experiences. Like with most live-service video games, the introductory narrative is supposed to virtually act as a cliffhanger; it is supposed to attract the participant into that universe and provides them a cause to stay round and see what else is on the way in which. With Anthem, there was this splendidly accomplished build-up that simply…dropped. I keep in mind wrapping up the principle marketing campaign and being so confused. I believed “Wait, did I miss one thing? That is not it, is it?” However positive sufficient, it was. I may nonetheless tackle small contracts and the chances and finish facet quest, however every thing significant was wrapped up and accomplished. 

This would not have been a horrible factor had the studio launched main content material updates in a well timed method. Say what you’ll about Future, however Bungie’s set-up of seasons offers simply sufficient time to discover every thing new whereas providing a “mild on the finish of the tunnel” perspective if any given season wasn’t a participant’s cup of tea. With this, we did not know when the following step was coming. We did not know when the brand new “season” would begin and when occasions and the like did happen, they have been over virtually as rapidly as they began. The endless “is that this it?” feeling continued, and as BioWare shut down communication, that mild on the finish of the tunnel for a brand new batch of content material grew to become dimmer and dimmer. 


One other side I treasured about Anthem was the crafting. With the ability to make my very own Javelin swimsuit with no matter colours I needed and with some funky recent patterns was extremely gratifying, particularly for many who like to customise. Taking to the skies as a large Barney the purple dinosaur was hilarious, particularly once I was grouped up with those that took customization far more significantly. Have you ever ever seen Barney fly excessive with Iron Man? Lemme inform ya, that could be a deal with that everybody ought to expertise at the least as soon as. 

Crafting and customizing these fits with completely different variables allowed me to house in on what I needed to give attention to when in fight. Resistance, firepower, management? You title it, and that want to be higher made exploration much more enjoyable. 

Identical to with many video games, there are completely different degree sorts for parts. Frequent, Unusual, Uncommon, Epic, and Masterwork made the grind for gear enjoyable as a result of discovering that Masterwork from doing one thing particularly difficult felt extremely rewarding. This additionally gave Challenges extra that means as effectively, as an alternative of simply feeling like random busy work. 

Gathering supplies for crafting was all the time enjoyable for me, too. Normally, I hate this sort of busywork and it is really one in every of my greatest gripes with Future 2 prior to now. However right here? This world is gorgeous. The climate modifications? Breathtaking. The views? Past stellar. Taking to the open world to assemble supplies wanted gave extra of a goal to crafting the proper gear and the journey whereas doing so was nothing to scoff at. 

In memoriam

Now that the information is official that there can be no extra updates for Anthem, together with the anticipated Anthem Subsequent overhaul, it is onerous to not really feel unhappy over what may have been. This story, earlier than the endgame, arrange a unbelievable new expertise. The endgame may have completely made a turnaround and will have had its personal No Man’s Sky redemption story. The one constructive out of that is that now the crew can focus extra on the initiatives which have hope like Dragon Age 4 and the way forward for Mass Impact, however that does not make it any much less heartbreaking to see that potential go to waste and to see the builders that labored so onerous and have been so happy with the imaginative and prescient need to stroll away.

To be taught concerning the state of Anthem and what BioWare needed to say concerning the cancelation of Anthem Subsequent, you possibly can try our earlier protection right here with the studio’s assertion. 

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