BioWare’s Anthem blasting off in February 2019

BioWare’s multiplayer shooter-RPG Anthem will launch on February 22nd, 2019, EA announced during their E3 pressblast today. They also showed off the first big lump of Anthem in action since its announcement at E3 last year, with power armour, robots, spacemen, guns, a Spacebrit, and a big spacebug.

Anthem will send us to an alien planet as ‘Freelancers’ slipping into ‘Javelin’ power armour to shoot baddies. Shoot, loot, customise your Javelins to better shoot and get better loot, and so on. It’s one of those there Destiny-esque “shared-world” shooters, with multiplayer letting players group up or just exist in the same world. And like Destiny, BioWare plan to add new stories, events, and so on over time after launch.

As for story, the marketing blurb explains:

“On a world left unfinished by the gods, a shadowy faction threatens all of humankind. The only thing that stands between these villains and the ancient technology they covet are the Freelancers.”

Now for starters with moving pictures, here’s Anthem’s E3 2018 cinematic trailer:

“The Scars have put together an acid-based superweapon, so you gotta take them out,” writer Cathleen Rootsaert said on stage before the gameplay demo, explaining the mission’s premise in a tone that suggested even she thought it was daft.

Though Anthem’s Destiny inspirations have always been quite clear, I suppose I didn’t expect them to go for great glorbs of sci-fi word soup too. “Echoes from the anthem of creation” indeed.

I don’t know whether you’ll be relieved or disappointed to read in Game Informer’s preview that it doesn’t have romances.

Anthem is coming to PC via Origin on February 22nd, 2019. It will cost £55. For now, see the game’s site and our Anthem hub for more info.

EA say that Anthem will sell cosmetic and vanity items, but not in random loot boxes. After the mess of Battlefront 2’s loot boxes, they’ve been careful to pre-emptively address this topic with several games shown today.

Check out our E3 2018 tag for more announcements, trailers, news, and goodness knows what else.

54 Comments

  1. Pich says:

    60 bucks for Warframe’s Plains Of Eidolon. yeah I’ll pass.

    • Cloak says:

      I saw the concept more as The Division just in prettier wannabe Avatar land and with ironman suits.

      Warframe might be dense and redundant garbage but at least it’s free and honest with itself and players. Anthem on the other hand is shrouded by mystery and a lot of unanswered questions. Which has me to believe the rumors are true, that this game is in trouble. I see another ME:A failure coming along. RIP EA & Bioware – Good Riddance.

  2. Wang Tang says:

    Wow, this sounds incredibly boring. Bioware, give us another single-player game please…

    • napoleonic says:

      #SavePlayerOne

    • SaintAn says:

      You must not have played Inquisition or Andromeda. Just put BioWare out of its misery and sell off its IP’s please EA!

      • EwokThisWay says:

        Most people shitting on Andromeda never actually played it more than a few hours and usually before the patches that solved the release issues.

        • Hoot says:

          As far as I know there was no patch that fixed the juvenile writing, horrendous dialogue, despicable UI or boring characters.

          Andromeda was a steaming pile of shit.

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          Frog says:

          I did, finished it, waited for the patches. It was still horrendous. A steaming pile. I haven’t opened Origin since. No fixing the lack of creativity and writing talent in the smoking ruin of Bioware.

        • Premium User Badge

          Ninja Dodo says:

          It still has a range of problems but there’s also a lot to like: some fun characters, solid combat, a few stand-out missions, cool ship and tank-jeep Nomad, gorgeous environments… Shame about the bugs, inconsistent polish and uneven writing (some of it’s good but there are some real low points and the overall plot never really comes together due to a weak central villain and magical macguffin technology that makes little sense).

      • Wang Tang says:

        I haven’t, actually. But ME 1-3 were great (I’m even one of the 3 people that didn’t mind the ending), and I also fondly remember Jade Empire.

  3. Arglebargle says:

    There is no more Bioware. Just an empty name.

  4. Godwhacker says:

    So it’s another space FPS / RPG hybrid in space where all the names have ‘The’ in front of them, and all the characters speak like they’re auditioning for Buffy, in space.

    “There’s a storm coming”. Superhero landing. One of the playable classes has a shield. “The Scars” and “The Shapers”.

    What’s the fucking point.

    • Xerophyte says:

      I imagine the point is to make a lot of money, much like Dentistry 1 made a lot of money and you know that lightning always strikes in the same place twice.

      • LexW1 says:

        If that is a typo, that is the best typo ever.

        • Xerophyte says:

          No, I just think malapropriately calling a space war megaepic shootygame “Dentistry” is funny. Bathos from the banal being juxtaposed with the pompous, or something. This probably says bad things about me and means I will die alone, but so it goes.

    • LexW1 says:

      TPS-RPG but yes.

      I like the visuals, the gameplay looks fun in a sort of Mass Effect-meets-Iron Man sort of way, and the verticality is cool.

      But fuck the Proper Noun bullshit, and fuck Buffy-ish chit-chat.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Buffy-ish chit chat? So they’re using the same writers from ME Andromeda, then.

    • khamul says:

      The Fucking Point are another faction in the game.

      Big on sex. And indicating the location of things (often sex) by gesturing with their fingers.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      I mean, the dialogue in Buffy was amazing, but whatever.

    • BooleanBob says:

      Proper nouns are The Blight on writing in AAA games at the moment. Smartdumb dialogue is also painfully overused. Personally I blame Abrams and his mystery boxes.

  5. TimePointFive says:

    Looks kinda neat, but no thanks!

  6. Seyda Neen says:

    Yeah, ok, I was holding out a small bit of hope for this, but it’s been dashed. Everything about it looks generic as heck. It’s interesting they didn’t show any story content in the preview. There were tidbits of some awkward looking cutscenes without any audio, but 95% of the focus was on the jetpacking shooty parts. Casey Hudson said the story isn’t an afterthought, but they sure didn’t do a good job of actually showing that.

    • Vandelay says:

      It clearly is an afterthought. They said as much when they talked about how it was being integrated. The story bits all being kept to the hub areas between missions really is the least interesting approach they could have taken with merging story content with a multiplayer game.

      I will admit that the jet packing looks like fun and the art work of the world is pretty, but everything else here is not that promising.

  7. brucethemoose says:

    Not even going to watch the cinematic trailer. It’ll just depress me.

    Why?

    Because of Bioware’s previous space fantasy RPG: SWTOR. Which has fabulous cinematic trailers, and gameplay that has absolutely nothing to do with them.

  8. Horg says:

    Those are some of the most obnoxiously large floating damage numbers i’ve seen in any game with floating damage numbers. I’ve complained in the past about overabundance of particle effects in shooters making it hard to follow the action, but those FDN’s made it hard to enjoy the gratuitous light show. If the designers felt the need to shower you in maths to indicate your weapons are having any kind of impact, the game may fundamentally lack in the only area that seems to have absorbed significant development time. Based on what we’ve seen today, they certainly wern’t pulling crunch shifts to hammer out a good story : |

    • brucethemoose says:

      Apparently grindy, shooty combat is a trend?

      Which I don’t get, not even a little bit. The most fun games I’ve played have fast, fluid, punchy combat… Not combat that is so slow, a floating health bar isn’t enough to show that you’re doing damage, much less get any adrenaline going.

      The cynic in me says stretching out gunplay like taffy somehow helps Bioware make money, the pragmatic part knows EA does focus testing too… But do most players really prefer that kind of gunplay?

  9. napoleonic says:

    I was going to watch this video, but my face was tired.

  10. grimdanfango says:

    I wonder in what ways they might be quietly redesigning the game at this late point, to not be centered around a lootbox economy and the supporting tedious grind…
    …because this game *has* been in production since long before the big EA lootbox push-back, so it would surely have been designed up to a certain point around that premise. I wonder if they’ll be redesigning it at all, or just waiting and hoping that the lootbox controvosy has died down by Feb ’19, and they can quietly try again.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Cosmetic space armor, personal housing back at the base, and aquarium fish to decorate it with. The possibilities for monetization are endless.

      Of course there’s that tricky bit, where people have to like the game well enough.

  11. mlj11 says:

    Oh boy. I don’t even play Destiny or its sequel but I roll my eyes every time I hear any of their dialogue.

    The fact that Anthem is copying their fondness for pretentious, mysterious-sounding sci-fi word soup is gonna seriously dent the chances of me ever picking it up.

  12. rusty says:

    If I was hovering in a suit of armour it’s unlikely that I would hold my leg up like that.

  13. Deathshadow says:

    Wow Bioware bought Bungie? And Desinty 3 is coming out in 2019?

  14. coleislazy says:

    Lot of hate on this story. I get it: we’ve been burned by AAA games in recent years, with their constant trend-chasing (“open-world”, “season pass”, everything “royale”) and by Bioware in particular. Shamelessly borrowing from Destiny doesn’t seem to have helped (though I’m sure it will help sales).

    But! Iron Manning around with your friends? Looks like it could be fun for a month at the least. As others have said, the vertical environments look like an interesting and relatively unique feature.

    As for the writing, is it really any worse than any other sci-fi game ever? Take a few lore-dumps from your Destiny’s, KotOR’s, or Mass Effect’s without context and it would likely sound like B-movie garbage. For that matter, consider games from other genres acclaimed for their writing or story, like Pillars of Eternity or the Witcher, when they start spouting on about monsters, magic spells, or blowing up gods. Seriously, start quoting Durance to your grandma and see what she thinks.

    I remain cautiously optimistic.

    • brucethemoose says:

      You’re not wrong about the story writing.

      But I like to think some sci-fi games, like Kotor and Mass Effect from Bioware, really do have great character writing. I like HK, Jolee, T3 and Mandalore better than pretty much anyone from the Star Wars movies, for example (though some bias/development from KOTOR II is probably bleeding into that opinion), and I’d pick Revan over Anakin as a anti-hero any day.

      All that seems to have gone down the toilet in newer Bioware games. The only squadmate I can even remember from Andromeda is S.A.M, and I don’t hear people reminiscing about Destiny’s characters like they reminisce about Wrex or Liara. Heck, I was reading memes about them before I even got a PC and played Mass Effect.

      And I’d argue that’s the important part of writing anyway. In most good stories, the lore is just a construct you use to build characters in, IMO.

    • DatonKallandor says:

      If anything the gameplay is going to be fine. Coop Multiplayer is literally what the last 2 Mass Effect games were best at. It’s the technical backend, the writing and the singleplayer that’s been awful.

      Anthem might well run terribly, have atrocious netcode (they could barely get 4 player wave mode in instanced small maps to work, and they’re trying to copy the incredibly wonky and far bigger budgetted Destiny in terms of networking) and be terribly written. But it will probably play really well. It’ll just have to play well enough to make up for all the other crap.

    • bacon seeker says:

      Even if Grandma might not be impressed, there is big difference between the writing quality in, say, Destiny vs Witcher 3. I doubt a Bioware Destiny clone is going to be on the right side of that particular divide.

  15. fish99 says:

    I dunno, it manages to somehow looks even more generic than the game it’s trying to emulate (Destiny), and while it’s technically impressive, the environments don’t make me want to explore them.

    Maybe if the story is good….?

  16. Creeping Death says:

    I was really interested in Anthem when they revealed it last year but now that they’ve shown some gameplay… It just looks so incredibly dull!

    How do you make flying around in an Iron Man suit look boring? Apparently by making it stick to a very low speed limit. Why is it so slow? I was waiting for someone to hit w boost button at some point.

  17. StarJuice says:

    Visuals look great, looking forward to reviews and gameplay footage.
    Im not hyped for this game at all yet i do want to like it. Most likely i wont like it.

    On the other side of things, Andromeda was a boring shell of a game, while the original mass effect trilogy was awesome, i’m still hoping to see a new Knights of The Old Republic single player experience, maybe with a co-op tie in but not full fledged MMORPG. Wishful thinking right…

    • brucethemoose says:

      The husk of SWTOR has to die first.

      Heck, I’d be happy if they just added a “skip combat” button to that game, turning it into a Telltale-style game. It has some pretty landscapes, music, voices, and some decent cutscenes, which are all gated by days of WoW grind.

      It’s such a waste, considering how much content there is.

  18. Spacewalk says:

    Is there gonna be any walking in this game or is it just jumping and pulling superhero poses?

  19. Freud says:

    The thing with flying is that it really kills a sense of place.

    In the earlier World of Warcraft you had to ride around. There led to you actually exploring and you always had a chance of running into enemies (human or AI). When they introduced flying mounts all that was gone.

    In Xenoblade Chronicles X, you spend the first 30 hours traversing this giant alien planet by foot (but you can jump high and there is no fall damage). It’s cumbersome but you are truly exploring the place. Then when you get your mech that can leap high and the exploration takes on a new dimension. Then you get flight on your mech and all is lost. You just plop down where you are supposed to go and then take off flying. No sense of danger and exploration.

    While flying can be fun, it also doesn’t create as much fun gameplay as actually having to interact with a world in a more tangible way.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Flying while shooting also means the environment isn’t as useful for cover. You just fly around and shoot while exposed. “Tactics” are reduced to weapon and defense skills, ignoring the terrain. Not that the Mass Effect games were brilliant cover shooters, but at least it worked sometimes.

  20. Caiman says:

    The mighty, fallen.

  21. Kurokawa says:

    Yap, that looks every bit as inspired, innovative and exciting as one could realisticly expect from an EA Destiny clone…

  22. Ham Solo says:

    Bioware? Nah, thanks. I’m good.

  23. Turkey says:

    I guess this is the part of the deal with the devil where he comes to collect.

  24. Plok says:

    Shame to see it’s as po-faced and cringeworthy as Destiny.

    And that premise…it’ll take a few days for eyes to stop rolling. Looks pretty though.

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