Talking About BioWare's Anthem
With E3 2017 now playing, what a great time to be a gamer and a part of this amazing community. Electronic Arts just kicked off the event in Los Angeles, a few hours ago, and while the presser wasn't exactly the most exciting thing ever seen - probably because of a bad handling of the time at their disposal - if you only look at the trailers and think about the new stuff they introduced... Well, it wasn't that bad. It wasn't bad at all.
Look at the new game from Brothers' dev, A Way Out, which seems to be a totally crazy improvement in comparison with the previous title and much more ambitious in terms of scope and presentation. It's great to see that someone out there still believes in this kind of games, narrative, and gameplay, especially after Starbreeze - A Tale of Two Sons' publisher - said they would be focusing on more remunerative products like always online, multiplayer co-op experiences.
Talking about always online, multiplayer co-op experiences, did you see what BioWare is trying to do with Anthem? The game, codenamed Dylan by the beloved songwriter and singer who was recently awarded a Noble Prize, is the much hinted at Destiny like BioWare title, which was recently delayed to 2018 even though it wasn't official yet. After EA Play yesterday, we have few more information about Anthem, beginning from the final name which also means something in particular, and a short CGI trailer.
In the trailer, you can hear a woman talk about a wall, which from what is seen separates civilization from the wild on an unspecified planet. From the looks of it, the part where humanity (and robots, likely) live and cooperate is much smaller than the other and is probably going to be for Anthem what the Tower is for Destiny. Both in terms of narrative and gameplay, meaning that the place is pretty sure going to be a social hub or at least a safe harbor for people willing to customize their character, grabbing missions, taking some rest, etc.
Two more things are shown in the short teaser: a Titan-like suit, which is probably set to be the thing we'll be wearing during missions and customize back on solid ground, and a giant, probably alien, beast right behind the wall. It will be interesting to learn about the nature of this creature, especially if we'll meet it often during our sessions or it'll be a boss in the likes of Crota. From this will depend on a lot of how Anthem's gameplay works, in terms of weaponry and equipment, but I am also thinking about verticality which is almost for sure going to be an important part of the game design here.
It's also interesting to offer few considerations about the current business at BioWare. The brand new IP has long been in the works now, and that has never been a secret and is set to be a "true" BioWare game as it is in the making at the Edmonton headquarters. Mass Effect Andromeda was built from the ground up at Montreal's studio and, especially after reading the latest Kotaku report about the issues met in the development process, you could say that wasn't the best choice possible out there. At any rate, the decision to go for an E3 2017 showcase was pretty curious, considering that Electronic Arts has recently delayed Anthem to 2018 and that BioWare is not synonymous of good quality productions now, because of Andromeda, from the perspective of consumers. Probably, the decision of going for an early showcase was due to the will of sweeping the Mass Effect Andromeda dust under the carpet, focusing gamers' anticipation and excitation on the latest BioWare title instead of the last. The future is always shinier than the past, and EA clearly knows that.
This, obviously together with the dismission of the dev team, isn't good news for BioWare Montreal and most importantly for the Mass Effect franchise. The saga had a chance to return relevant in the modern gaming landscape, with more games to come in the next few years (maybe a new game every two or three years at max), and clearly failed. That chance is now in the hands of Anthem: should it prove as successful as Destiny, the game could completely change the way BioWare works and the way we look at it - it could become "the studio of Anthem", and focusing only on it the studio would probably put single player RPG aside. We know that a new Dragon Age is in the making, and we also know that we were all quite forgiving about Inquisition because it was a decent return of the franchise after the pretty bad Dragon Age II: the next one really needs to be great, if they want to stick with the idea of making single player titles and we want to have them still working on those.
Now is the time of Anthem, anyway: share your thoughts about the game in the comments below, and let us know if you appreciate the brand new game from BioWare.