Electronic Arts and BioWare have confirmed that plans for Anthem 2.0, additionally known as Anthem Next, have been canceled. While this information was not a shock, particularly given how quiet the group has been about its progress on Anthem Next, 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 ceaselessly at a standstill, listed here are my ideas on the sport, the launch, and what might have been.
When I first dove into Anthem, it was pre-launch throughout a press occasion. There had been bugs, however that was to be anticipated with early entry to an online recreation. While 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 among the smoothest flight and fight mechanics I’ve ever seen in a recreation (and it is a hill I’ll die on), particularly when trying 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. We all knew stepping into that the principle story could be unfinished because of the nature of a live-action recreation, in order that wasn’t the issue. The challenge was that the story main as much as the “end” was so full and natural in so many various methods. Speaking with Brin and listening to her one-track thoughts simply rattle off in pleasure and not using a care on the planet was so relatable all the way down to my core. And do not even get me began on the “Is it sexy danger” girl, as a result of I’m fairly certain that if there was romance on this recreation, I might have spouse’d her instantly.
Another treasure? Matthias and his arc. Spoilers forward for specifics, however Matthias Sumner was a gosh darn gem and a real delight on the planet of Anthem. He’s a devoted arcanist who is completely enraptured by Shaper expertise. He’s additionally absolutely the worst with regards to staying centered, which…whats up, are we the identical individual?
There is one half relating to his arc within the base recreation that has him out of the blue break up between three individuals when an experiment with a Manifold goes unsuitable. Suddenly, components of his persona which are normally balanced out are actually particular person Matthiases. I believed I beloved Matthias earlier than, now BioWare gave me three of them?! While 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 components. Whether he was enjoying Erryl, the soft-spoken scholar, Matti, the adventurous one, or Sumner, the dangerous boy that you just need to kiss and kick on the identical time, all of it felt wildly entertaining. These are the moments of magic that Anthem needed to provide, and so they had 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 “final” combat flowed in a method the place discovering extra of the world felt enjoyable and pure. With every triumph, the realm 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 kids had 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 persona, 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 provide.
Beyond the obvious issues at launch that resulted in additional glitches that we are able to depend 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 nearly 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 achieved 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 something? That’s not it, is it?” But certain sufficient, it was. I might nonetheless tackle small contracts and the chances and finish aspect quest, however every thing significant was wrapped up and achieved.
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 Destiny, however Bungie’s set-up of seasons provides simply sufficient time to discover every thing new whereas providing a “light at the end 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 had been over nearly as rapidly as they began. The unending “is this it?” feeling persevered, and as BioWare shut down communication, that gentle on the finish of the tunnel for a brand new batch of content material grew to become dimmer and dimmer.
Another facet I treasured about Anthem was the crafting. Being capable of make my very own Javelin swimsuit with no matter colours I needed and with some funky recent patterns was extremely pleasing, particularly for individuals who like to customise. Taking to the skies as an enormous Barney the purple dinosaur was hilarious, particularly once I was grouped up with folks that took customization far more critically. Have you ever seen Barney fly excessive with Iron Man? Lemme inform ya, that could be a deal with that everybody ought to expertise no less than 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 identify it, and that want to be higher made exploration much more enjoyable.
Just like with many video games, there are completely different stage sorts for elements. Common, Uncommon, Rare, 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 nicely, as a substitute of simply feeling like random busy work.
Gathering supplies for crafting was all the time enjoyable for me, too. Usually, I hate this sort of busywork and it is truly one in all my greatest gripes with Destiny 2 prior to now. But right here? This world is beautiful. The climate adjustments? Breathtaking. The views? Beyond stellar. Taking to the open world to assemble supplies wanted gave extra of a function to crafting the proper gear and the journey whereas doing so was nothing to scoff at.
Now that the information is official that there will likely be no extra updates for Anthem, together with the anticipated Anthem Next overhaul, it is onerous to not really feel unhappy over what might have been. This story, earlier than the endgame, arrange a unbelievable new expertise. The endgame might have completely made a turnaround and will have had its personal No Man’s Sky redemption story. The solely constructive out of that is that now the group can focus extra on the tasks which have hope like Dragon Age 4 and the future of Mass Effect, 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 had 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 Next, you may try our earlier coverage here with the studio’s assertion.