Written by Andrew Busch // Edited by Andrew Dunaway // Header Image courtesy of EA
EA’s Saturday press conference was largely focused on new gameplay and buzz surrounding Battlefront II, but the developer titan also had a couple more surprises up its sleeve. One of these reveals was a new title called Anthem created by Mass Effect developer, BioWare.
The game is a “shared-world action-rpg” which means multiplayer elements like four player cooperative play but still have character progression, crafting, and open-world exploration. Anthem looks a little bit like Destiny with its emphasis on teamwork as well as the flexibility that allows friends to drop in on your sessions at any point. Even though it is a bit early to make any bold claims what appears to set Anthem apart from other similar games is that it is more heavily grounded in customization and exploration.
For example, the gameplay video opens with a cinematic discussion that starts a mission. After, the main player featured in the video joins up with one of their friends and says, “I’m going to use my ranger and try out some new upgrades”. At the same time, the other player tell her that he is going to choose another exo-suit model called the “Colossus”. This shows that there is not only key differences between the types of exo-suits or “javelins” in terms of their abilities, but players also have the freedom to change between these models before leaving the main base.
The game’s director, Jon Warner, also reveals in one of his asides throughout the gameplay trailer that each of the javelins are highly customizable. They “play how you want”, meaning each has a range of abilities that can be tailored to fit a player’s needs. This is a new take element in the genre of RPGs because usually players are forced to make a binding decision from the beginning of the game. Games force you to select unalterable elements like what race to play or what class to select. But Anthem seems more focused on allowing players to experience and experiment with different styles of play as you swap between the different javelin models freely.
In Anthem players also have that added freedom of exploration. As the two players gear up to head out into the jungle they choose to veer off to the left after surveying what looks like a massive map. There is no telling how large this area is, but there are clearly alternative routes to explore in the distance as they look off at the massive jungle sprawled out beneath them.
The game’s free exploration component also influences how players encounter various enemy threats. You can either choose to take hostile NPCs down strategically or completely avoid them altogether to conserve resources. For instance, as the two players touch down from their flight to the planet’s surface they dodge a large gorilla-like beast saying, “Yeah, he seems like a problem for another day,”. However, when the two encounter a group of smaller enemies they work together to take them out, gathering both materials and experience from the encounter.
Even though all of Anthem’s details have not been revealed just yet, the game appears to be an interesting take on the classic RPGs. The emphasis on a unique customization system where players have access to multiple exo-suit models and the freedom of exploration sets this game apart from current titles. Additionally, the combat appears both fluid and intensely satisfying. It will be interesting to watch how the game unfolds as it gets closer to its launch in fiscal year 2018. We can only speculate on some of its intricacies, but I cannot wait jump into a javelin and start exploring Anthem’s jungles with friends.
Also be sure to check out the official reveal trailer here: