As the E3 2018 games come thick and fast, EA has finally given us more info on Bioware's Anthem game - from its story and lack of romance options, to the mechs we can fight in and customise. The Anthem game release date is currently March for PS4, PC and Xbox and here's everything we know so far:
Anthem game release date confirmed for February 2019
The Anthem game release date was originally a clearly hopeful 'Fall 2018' when the game was first announced at E3 2017. That then slipped to a broader '2019'. More recently an EA financial call pinned it down to the last month of that financial year, which would make it March. However, at this year's E3 the date was finally pinned: February 22, 2019.
Does the Anthem game have a solo story or romance options?
We finally have a better handle on what the Anthem game is doing with story - important given developer Bioware is mostly known for things like Mass Effect and Dragon Age. First the bad news, depending on what you were expecting: there are no romance options. It shouldn't be a huge surprise given this is a co-op game about loot, but you won't be able to make sexy with any of the characters. You can form friendships according to Bioware but that's it. Executive producer Mark Darrah has said "a great story for BioWare is about characters you can have a connection with, [and the] choices you make.”
In terms of that story, while the bulk of the gameplay is about multiplayer raiding, when you're not doing that you'll be alone. When you're in the game's 'home' space it's a single player experience to allow a focus on the story. What we know about that is that the plot is built around some long lost gods - world shaping entities that have disappeared leaving their plant altering gear behind. We also know this will be a ever changing narrative thanks to post-launch support, and will also see new areas added as things develop. Lead writer Cathleen Rootsaert has said that the game has been designed "so that we can add story for years to come."
Does Bioware's Anthem game have loot boxes?
In a word, no. There will be cosmetic DLC, likely to pimp out your Javelin Exosuit, but Bioware's Anthem game won't have any loot boxes Obviously there's going to be some sort of microtransations if you can buy a new coat of paint for your armour, but anything even remotely close to loot crates is out.
Anthem game classes are all about customising your Javelin Exosuit
Anthem game classes are designated by the choice of Javelin exosuit you wear. There are four types that you can swap between at any time which, from left to right up there, are called the Ranger, Colossus, Storm and Interceptor.
Here's what you get to play with for each:
Ranger - this is basically the default suit. A good all rounder for combat, armour and mobility.
Colossus - the tank option, with high armour and a focus on area of effect attacks.
Storm - The Storm suit is effectively the magic user, potentially with a support use. Concept art for the design has shown it with a range of elemental looking abilities.
Interceptor - the hot rod of the gang. The fastest and lightest of the options here.
One thing we do know for sure is that you'll be able to customise the hell out of these things. As well as weapons and abilities you'll unlock and collect as you play there's a range of cosmetic things to play with like paint and decals.
Anthem gameplay shows a world full of opportunity, loot and raids
Our main look at Anthem gameplay so far comes from the original E3 reveal. You can watch that above, but the main take away is that it's a co-op sci-fi shooter where up to four players take the role of 'Freelancers,' using highly upgradable and customisable Javelin exosuits to explore an alien world. Anthem gameplay looks to taking a lot of cues from Destiny, with its focus on defeating enemies and taking missions to find better gear to access better missions to get better gear... and so on.
There is an Anthem game PS4 release, despite the initial Xbox reveal
Microsoft very sneakily revealed Anthem at its 2017 E3 show to a big fanfare, and scattered among several Xbox exclusives, leaving many with the impression the Anthem game itself was exclusive. It isn't. There's an Anthem game PS4 release, and a PC one because EA only make multi-platform games. Microsoft might be throwing money at promoting it, but Anthem will be playable on all three main formats (don't hold your breath for a Switch version though).
Anthem game news
Aside from the more game related info revealed so far we've also had some other Anthem game news since its reveal. For example, long time BioWare writer Drew Karpyshyn left the studio. He had been a writer on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect before leaving BUT then rejoining to help shape the Anthem game's narrative. BUT... he then left again in Match 2018:
It's Friday (at least in my time zone) and I'm finally able to go public with my big announcement! *******drumroll*******As of last Friday, I have left BioWare to pursue other creative ventures. For more details, go to my NEWS page: https://t.co/cmSV0up2SaMarch 9, 2018
Karpyshyn leaving was a blow to many who credited for a lot of the narrative success behind some of BioWare's biggest titles.
An Anthem beta will happen at some point
What form the Anthem beta will take isn't know yet but we'll definitely have one. game director Jonathan Warner tweeted as much in an answer to a fan in September 2017:
Yeah we'll have a beta! #PrepareForAdventure27 September 2017
More recently in May 2019, an EA financial call confirmed "new ways for fans to join the community and play early," specifically with a focus to "shape and refine the game with input and feedback.” Whether that's a full Anthem beta, or some part of EA Access remains to be seen but the Anthem game will be playable in some way before release.
Is the Anthem game another Destiny?
EA will never say it outright but it's not hard to see how the Anthem game borrows heavily from Destiny's raiding and looting. Especially after Meanwhile, EA's Patrick Soderlund described Anthem as "a game that we see, once we launch it next year, will be the start of, I think maybe a ten-year journey for us." That's highly reminiscent Destiny's oft mentioned 'ten-year plan' when that game was originally launched.
Elsewhere the comparisons are there too see: Freelancers are to Anthem as Guardians are to Destiny - the highly capable heroes that venture into the unknown to blast hostile creatures and gather any precious loot or weaponry they might drop. Just as Destiny has The Tower, your main hub in Anthem is Fort Tarsus, a safe haven for humanity that sits high above a perilous jungle.
Fort Tarsus is protected by The Wall (now where have we heard that name before?), which separates everyday citizens from vicious animals and plotting marauders. It's here that you'll meet up with NPCs and rack up quests, like saving marooned workers hired by the pleading foreman Praxley seen in the Anthem gameplay trailer. Anthem's hub areas are effectively the reverse of Destiny, where you mill about town in first-person before embarking on third-person adventures. That close-up perspective should give you a better look at Fort Tarsus' high-tech bazaar - complete with a colossal quadrupedal robot lumbering overhead - and the highly detailed, uncanny-valley-triggering faces of its many human denizens.
Anthem game classes come via Javelin exosuits
Javelins are full-body exosuits along the Iron Man idea providing weapons, protection and the ability to fly. In the Anthem game Javelins act as classes with their own unique abilities, and you'll have the freedom to collect multiple suits to diversify your playstyle. Anthem's game director Jonathan Warner points out that Javelins will be "heavily customizable so they look and play how you want" in his narration of Anthem's debut gameplay trailer.
Two Javelin types have been detailed so far: the Ranger, which sounds like a beginner-friendly DPS class that Warner describes as "balanced and all-purpose", and the Colossus, the "tanking powerhouse" that should be able to soak up and dish out big damage in exchange for slower movements and cooldowns. It's still unclear if your Freelancer will level up independent of their Javelin, or if each suit will need to be leveled up individually. Like Destiny, each Javelin has two special abilities and an ultimate move; Anthem's trailers highlighted the Ranger's lock-on rocket barrage and the Colossus' heavy mortar shot. As you'd expect, your Javelin has numerous gear slots to let you outfit your personalized model with additional attachments and enhancements.