Thursday, November 30, 2023

A hymn to the hymn and what could have been

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Electronic Arts and BioWare have confirmed that plans for Anthem 2.0, also known as Anthem Next, have been canceled. While this news came as no surprise, especially given the team’s silence on their progress on Anthem Next, I can’t help but bemoan the missed opportunity here for an adventure that has held for much longer. of promises that many have attributed to him. . Now that Anthem’s future is forever stalled, here are my thoughts on the game, the launch, and what could have been.

When I first dove into Anthem, it was before launch at a press event. There were bugs, but that was to be expected with early access to an online game. While noted in my cover, it didn’t dampen the sheer joy I felt taking to the skies in my custom Javelin the very first time around. Anthem has some of the smoothest flight and combat mechanics I’ve ever seen in a game (and it’s a hill I’ll die on), especially looking at the detailed animations that showed a love for the craft at from the moment these boots left the ground.

Before the end of the game

What disappointed me was the end game content, and that disappointment was there because of the main storyline. We all knew the main story would be unfinished due to the nature of a live action game, so that wasn’t the issue. The problem was, the story leading up to the “end” was so complete and organic in so many different ways. Talking with Brin and hearing his one-sided mind run wild with excitement regardless of the world was so relatable in my heart. And don’t even get me started on the “Is it sexy danger “woman, because I’m sure if there was romance in this game I would have married her at once.

Another treasure? Matthias and his bow. Spoilers ahead for details, but Matthias Sumner was one hell of a gem and a true delight in the world of Anthem. He is a dedicated arcanist who is absolutely delighted with Shaper technology. It is also the worst to stay focused, which … hello, are we the same person?

There is a part regarding his arc in the base game that suddenly splits him between three people when an experiment with a collector goes awry. Suddenly the parts of his personality that are generally balanced are now individual Matthias. I thought I loved Matthias before, now BioWare gave me Three of them?! While I thought it was like Christmas, the script around it was executed perfectly and its actor did a phenomenal job playing all three parts. Whether he played Erryl, the soft-spoken scholar, Matti, the adventurous, or Sumner, the bad boy you want to kiss and kick at the same time, it was all hugely entertaining. These are the moments of magic that Anthem had to offer, and they were more than unique moments.

Let’s not even talk about what I shouted about the Black Emporium Dragon Age Easter Egg at the bar …

The story of the base game before the “final” fight unfolded in a way that discovering more of the world was fun and natural. With each triumph, the region of Tarshish has become less of a place ravaged by the need to survive and more of a center celebrating human life. With each conversation, the people of this world became more real, more tangible. I wanted to listen to their stories, their paranoia, their fears. I wanted to learn how children deal with so much uncertainty and to witness the bravery of young adults who have yet to learn what it is to fail. The story before the endgame in Anthem was full of beauty, personality, and the promise of an ongoing experience beyond the end credits. A promise that, sadly, was blunted by the tragic disconnect between the introductory narrative and what the endgame had to offer.

End of Game

Beyond the obvious problems at launch, which resulted in more issues than we can count and load times that could fit an entire movie, the problem was that endgame and all of the above looked like two incredibly different experiences. As with most live-action games, the introductory narrative is meant to act almost like a cliffhanger; it’s supposed to draw the player into this universe and give them a reason to stay and see what else is in the way. With Anthem, there was this wonderfully well-done build that just … fell. I remember finishing the main campaign and being so confused. I thought, “Wait, did I miss something? That’s not it, is it?” But of course it was. I could still accept small contracts and the parallel quest for luck and the end, but all that was meaningful was over and over.

It wouldn’t have been a terrible thing if the studio had released major content updates in a timely manner. Say whatever you want about Destiny, but Bungie’s seasons setup gives just enough time to explore everything new while providing a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ perspective if a given season wasn’t there. a player’s cup of tea. With that we don’t have know when the next step came. We didn’t know when the new “season” would start and when events and the like would happen, they were ending almost as quickly as they had started. The endless “is that it?” the sentiment persisted, and when BioWare cut off the communication, that light at the end of the tunnel for a new batch of content got weaker and weaker.

Arts and crafts

Another aspect that I cherished about Anthem was the manufacturing. Being able to make my own javelin suit with any colors I wanted and with a little awesome fresh the patterns were incredibly nice, especially for those who like to personalize. Taking off as giant Barney the Purple Dinosaur was hilarious, especially when I was grouped with people who took personalization a lot more seriously. Have you ever seen Barney fly high with Iron Man? Let me tell you, it’s a treat that everyone should experience at least once.

Crafting and customizing these suits with different variables allowed me to understand what I wanted to focus on in combat. Resistance, firepower, control? You name it, and that desire to be better made exploring even more fun.

Just like with many games, there are different types of levels for the components. Common, Uncommon, Rare, Epic, and Masterwork made material work fun, because finding that Masterwork doing something particularly difficult was incredibly rewarding. It also made the challenges more meaningful, instead of feeling like a random busy job.

Gathering materials for crafts has always been fun for me too. Usually I hate this kind of busy work and this is actually one of my biggest gripes with Destiny 2 in the past. But here? This world is beautiful. The weather is changing? Stunning. The views? Beyond stellar. Going to the open world to gather the necessary materials gave more than one purpose to crafting the perfect gear, and the journey in doing so was no mockery.

In memory

Now that the news is official that there will be no more updates for Anthem, including the planned review of Anthem Next, it’s hard not to feel sad about what could have been. This story, before the end of the game, set up a fantastic new experience. The endgame could have absolutely done a turnaround and could have had its own No Man’s Sky redemption story. The only bright spot is that now the team can focus more on projects that have hope. like Dragon Age 4 and the future of Mass Effect, but that doesn’t make it any less heartbreaking to see that potential go to waste and see the developers who worked so hard and were so proud of the vision have to step back.

For more on the state of Anthem and what BioWare had to say about the Anthem Next cancellation, you can check out our previous one. cover here with the studio statement.


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