The one game that got the most focus/stage-time during this year's EA press conference was BioWare's forthcoming action-RPG title, Anthem. While they brought a handful of the development team on-stage to talk about the game and what players can expect, I'll admit, it was a little disappointing that more wasn't shown/discussed. This is particularly surprising when you consider it will be arriving February 22, 2019.
The first time we got a glimpse of Anthem was at last year's E3. The announcement/reveal of the title was an important moment for BioWare after everything it had gone through the past few months with Mass Effect: Andromeda. What was teased then certainly sounded promising, and it was hard not to draw some comparisons between it Destiny. Since then, however, things have been relatively quiet.
So, going into today, we were hoping that we'd be given a lot of details about the game, like "how's it play," "what's it doing for loot," "what's the co-op like." While we got some answers, there was more of a focus and discussion about the world of Anthem itself and how it was being developed/created. Humans have taken residence on another world where "the gods harnessed the Anthem, a source of pure creation... but before their work was complete, the gods vanished leaving behind an unfinished world strewn with the instruments of their creation." (The moral here is to always finish what you started.) Humanity has managed to survive by constructing exosuits called "Javelins," and a group of Javelin users - called "Freelancers" - fight against bad humans (the "Dominion") who seek to control the Anthem and use it for nefarious schemes.
There are four different types of Javelins (the Ranger, Colossus, Interceptor, and Storm), but as BioWare highlighted during the presentation "you're not your suit;" meaning it sounds like while you can customize and outfit a particular class of Javelin, you're free to swap between them. The presentation ended with a gameplay demo highlighting some cooperative action. A group of players fought some creatures called "Scars," then avoided fighting a giant "world-event monster" called a "Titan," and finally fought some more Scar in order to reclaim a relic.
From a gameplay perspective, Anthem bears a striking resemblance to Mass Effect: Andromeda, i.e., third-person, over-the-shoulder shooting. There's also a certain familiar quality to the jump packs that allow you to fly/hover, and the special abilities that are unique to each Javelin class. That's not entirely a bad thing, but it does make me a bit wary of how the final thing will control/feel as Andromeda wasn't exactly "tight" on its controls.
(Thanks to GameSpot for the full footage above from the Anthem portion of the press conference.)
The whole thing wrapped up with a release date reveal: February 22, 2019. Pretty early into the new year, but it also falls a few months after the sheen of "Year 2" of Destiny 2 has a chance to wear off.
Anthem will be available on the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One when it releases next year. Four player online co-op will be supported in the game.