Of all the E3 surprises, BioWare’s brand new IP, Anthem – previously codenamed Project Dylan – was one of the biggest. Initially, there was only a short Anthem trailer shown at the EA Play event, but at the Xbox press conference later that week we actually got to look at some gameplay.
And from what we’ve seen so far, you play as ‘Freelancers’ kitted out with exo-suits called Javelins and protect the humans on an alien planet. Everyone’s calling it the major new Destiny rival because it’s so focused on co-operative gameplay.
BioWare simply describes Anthem as “a new game from EA’s BioWare studio, [where you] explore a landscape of primaeval beauty, confront the dangers you find, and grow in power with every step.”
Until we get our hands on the game in later 2018, we’re collating all the Anthem release date info, news, gameplay and more here, for your reading convenience.
When is Anthem coming out?
EA and BioWare have confirmed that the Anthem release date will lie somewhere in 2018, but there’s some conflict over what part of next year it’ll launch in. Microsoft’s presentation seemed to suggest that it’ll be in ‘Spring 2018’, but the official Anthem YouTube page lists a ‘Fall 2018’ release date.
Technically, EA has said it’s launching in fiscal year 2019, which runs April 2018 to April 2019, so it could arrive any time in that bracket.
What platforms will I be able to play it on?
Despite Anthem being one of the biggest games at the Xbox E3 press conference, there’s no exclusivity for this game. You will be able to play it on PS4, Xbox One and PC whenever it comes out.
What will the gameplay be like?
Like a true BioWare game, Anthem is going to be a meld of action and RPG gameplay, with a strong focus on shooting mechanics. But more importantly for BioWare, it’s the studio’s first game in a very long time that you’ll be able to play co-operatively with your friends from start to finish.
Because of that, people have already started calling it EA’s answer to Destiny, with BioWare starting up a brand new team at BioWare Edmonton to create the brand new IP.
EA CEO Andrew Wilson said in the company’s earnings call that “the game is built around a live service, and through our creative process, we’ve decided to add more to the disruptive new social designs for our players.”
In the game, you'll play as Exosuit-wearing 'Freelancers', tasked with protecting humanity on an alien planet. According to the first gameplay trailer, you'll "either live with the choices they make, or die trying to change them". Deep.
"The world of Anthem is hostile, and threats can come from any direction," said Game Director Jon Warner, presenting the game at E3. Along with the enemies and the world's big beasties you'll also have to face large-scale world events like Shaper Storms can force you to change your tactics. They act like huge sandstorms that take over the map, reducing visibility and forcing you to change tactics.
The Anthem gameplay trailers showed that you can explore the game's sci-fi themed open-world flying around like Iron Man in your exo-suit, diving into the water or just patrolling from the air.
Each Exosuit is fully customisable too, so you can make sure it feels exactly the way you want it to.
What about the story?
In an interview with Edmonton AM, a Canadian radio show in one of the studio’s home towns, Flynn explained that Anthem is very much in the realm of science fantasy, similar to Star Wars and Marvel.
“The story is that you are part of humanity and you’re a member of a group called the Freelancers, who are out there to protect and to save humanity on an alien planet far away,” explained Flynn. “It’s in a genre we call science fantasy, very much like Star Wars, very much like the Marvel Universe, where you see a lot of amazing things happening but we don’t worry too much about why they’re happening or how they’re happening – the science of it.
“Mass Effect is more our real, hard-core science-fiction RPG. This one is much more [about] having fun in a game world that’s lush and exotic and really sucks you in.”