Electronic Arts and BioWare have actually validated that prepare for Anthem 2.0, likewise called Anthem Next, have actually been canceled. While this news was not a surprise, specifically offered how peaceful the group has actually had to do with its development on Anthem Next, I can’t assist however lament the missed out on chance here for an experience that held a lot more pledge than a lot of provided it credit for. Now that the future of Anthem is permanently at a dead stop, here are my ideas on the video game, the launch, and what might have been.
When I initially dove into Anthem, it was pre-launch throughout a press occasion. There were bugs, however that was to be anticipated with early access to an online video game. While kept in mind in my protection, it didn’t moisten the pure delight I felt when requiring to the sky in my customized Javelin that extremely very first time. Anthem has a few of the best flight and fight mechanics I’ve ever seen in a video game (and this is a hill I will pass away on), specifically when taking a look at the in-depth animations that flaunted a love for the craft from the minute those boots left the ground.
What was frustrating to me was the endgame material, which frustration existed due to the fact that of the core story. We all understood entering that the primary story would be incomplete due to the nature of a live-action video game, so that wasn’t the issue. The problem was that the story leading up to the “end” was so complete and natural in a lot of various methods. Speaking with Brin and hearing her one-track mind simply rattle off in enjoyment without a care worldwide was so relatable to my core. And do not even get me begun on the “Is it hot risk” female, due to the fact that I’m quite sure that if there was love in this video game, I would have spouse’d her right away.
Another treasure? Matthias and his arc. Spoilers ahead for specifics, however Matthias Sumner was a gosh darn gem and a real enjoy the world of Anthem. He’s a devoted arcanist who is definitely spellbinded by Shaper innovation. He’s likewise the outright worst when it concerns remaining focused, which…hi, are we the very same individual?
There is one part concerning his arc in the base video game that has him unexpectedly divided in between 3 individuals when an explore a Manifold fails. Suddenly, parts of his personality that are usually balanced out are now individual Matthiases. I thought I loved Matthias before, now BioWare gave me three of them?! While I thought it was like Christmas, the actual storyline surrounding this was executed perfectly, and his voice actor did a phenomenal job at playing the three parts. Whether he was playing Erryl, the soft-spoken scholar, Matti, the adventurous one, or Sumner, the bad boy that you want to kiss and kick at the same time, it all felt wildly entertaining. These are the moments of magic that Anthem had to offer, and they were more than just one-offs.
Let’s not even get into how much I squealed over the Black Emporium Dragon Age Easter egg at the bar…
The story in the base video game before the “final” fight flowed in a way where discovering more of the world felt fun and natural. With each triumph, the area of Tarsis became less of a place ravaged by the need to survive and more of a hub celebrating human life. With each conversation, the people in this world became more real, more tangible. I cared about listening to their stories, their paranoia, their fears. I cared about learning how children were coping with so much uncertainty and witnessing the bravery of young adults who haven’t learned what it feels like to fail yet. The story before the endgame in Anthem was rife with beauty, with personality, and with a promise for a continued experience beyond when the end credits rolled. A promise that, unfortunately, was dulled by the tragic disconnect in between the introductory narrative and what the endgame had to offer.
Beyond the obvious issues at launch that resulted in more glitches that we can count and load times that could fit an entire movie in them, the problem was that the endgame and everything before it felt like two insanely different experiences. Like with most live-service games, the introductory narrative is meant to almost act as a cliffhanger; it’s supposed to draw the player into that universe and give them a reason to stick around and see what else is on the way. With Anthem, there was this wonderfully done build-up that just…dropped. I remember wrapping up the main campaign and being so confused. I thought “Wait, did I miss something? That’s not it, is it?” But sure enough, it was. I could still take on small contracts and the odds and end side quest, but everything meaningful was wrapped up and done.
This wouldn’t have been a terrible thing had the studio released major content updates in a timely manner. Say what you will about Destiny, but Bungie’s set-up of seasons gives just enough time to explore everything new while offering a “light at the end of the tunnel” perspective if any given season wasn’t a player’s cup of tea. With this, we didn’t know when the next step was coming. We didn’t know when the new “season” would start and when events and the like did occur, they were over almost as quickly as they started. The never-ending “is this it?” feeling persisted, and as BioWare shut down communication, that light at the end of the tunnel for a new batch of content became dimmer and dimmer.
Another aspect I treasured about Anthem was the crafting. Being able to make my own Javelin suit with whatever colors I wanted and with some funky fresh patterns was incredibly enjoyable, especially for those who love to customize. Taking to the skies as a giant Barney the purple dinosaur was hilarious, especially when I was grouped up with individuals that took customization way more seriously. Have you ever seen Barney fly high with Iron Man? Lemme tell ya, that is a treat that everyone should experience at least once.
Crafting and customizing these suits with different variables allowed me to home in on what I wanted to focus on when in combat. Resistance, firepower, control? You name it, and that desire to be better made exploration even more fun.
Just like with many games, there are different level types for components. Common, Uncommon, Rare, Epic, and Masterwork made the grind for gear fun because finding that Masterwork from doing something especially challenging felt incredibly rewarding. This also gave Challenges more meaning as well, instead of just feeling like random busy work.
Gathering materials for crafting was always fun for me, too. Usually, I hate this kind of busywork and it’s actually one of my biggest gripes with Destiny 2 in the past. But here? This world is stunning. The weather changes? Breathtaking. The views? Beyond stellar. Taking to the open world to gather materials needed gave more of a purpose to crafting the perfect gear and the journey while doing so was nothing to scoff at.
Now that the news is official that there will be no more updates for Anthem, including the anticipated Anthem Next overhaul, it’s hard not to feel sad over what could have been. This story, in the past the endgame, set up a fantastic new experience. The endgame could have absolutely made a turnaround and could have had its own No Man’s Sky redemption story. The only positive out of this is that now the team can focus more on the projects that have hope like Dragon Age 4 and the future of Mass Effect, but that doesn’t make it any less heartbreaking to see that potential go to waste and to see the developers that worked so hard and were so proud of the vision have to walk away.
To learn about the state of Anthem and what BioWare needed to state about the cancelation of Anthem Next, you can take a look at our previous protection here with the studio’s declaration.