Here's What ANTHEM's Story Is All About - Will It Be DESTINY All Over Again?

Here's What ANTHEM's Story Is All About - Will It Be DESTINY All Over Again?

When Bungie first hyped Destiny, the online FPS multiplayer was touted as having a story that was crucial to the gameplay. Anyone who's played since the game's 2014 launch can tell you that's not true.

By MarkJulian - Jun 21, 2018 06:06 AM EST
Filed Under: Anthem
Source: GameInformer
Game Informer has just posted an exclusive interview with Anthem's executive producer Mark Darrah and lead producer Mike Gamble on their YouTube channel and GameFragger is here to provide a written recap that highlights all the key talking points.  Previously, Darrah refuted comparisons of Anthem to Destiny or Monster Hunter, however, the biggest game that players are comparing Anthem to is the JRPG, Xenoblade. With a blending of fantasy and science-fiction elements, disappearing gods, and two warring races - don't be surprised when the YouTube videos pop up after Anthem's release, bashing the game for "stealing" from Xenoblade 1 and X.

However, that sentiment will probably be held by a minority of gamers as the Xenoblade series just isn't that popular in the West. If you're feeling hesitant about Anthem and felt letdown by Destiny 2, you'll definitely want to scroll through our rundown of some of the key aspects for Anthem that have presently been revealed.  It should be noted, that the developer did confirm that some aspects of the game are still being kept under wraps and will be slowly revealed as we draw closer to Anthem's February 22, 2019 release date.

What Is Anthem?

The title of the game takes 's its cue from the name of the planet upon which the game is set.  Gamble kicks things off with the reveal that Anthem takes place in what's called "an unfinished world." The gods who were creating this world mysteriously vanished.  They left behind ancient relics that will be at the heart of Anthem's story.  

In a separate interview, YouTuber Arekkz Gaming caught up with Jonathan Warner, game director for Anthem, and we'll be referencing this interview as well. Warner was a bit more descriptive in his responses, particularly on the overarching goals in the game.  "The overarching goal is really to power-up your javelins to the degree where you feel like you're pretty legendary.  So you have that mid-level goal where you're going to go out and defeat The Dominion, which is kind of that nice, bespoke story that we're going to tell.  And then there's kind of the world conflict because once you defeat The Dominion, your work's not done."

How Do The Players/Character Know The Planet Is Unfinished?

So what does it mean for a planet to be unfinished and how do its inhabitant come to realize that it is unfinished? For instance, if the Earth was an unfinished planet, how would humans learn this? Wouldn't the environment and landscape just be normal? 

Darrah answered, "The story tells people what's happening around them.  People are living in a world where these things are causing- not just destruction but actual creation.  So they are interpreting that as 'this is a world that was in the middle of being created.'  [Now] maybe the actual purpose was something different and this was always the intended endpoint but humanity is interpreting this as exactly that, 'no,no, someone much bigger, stronger and greater than us was creating these things and for some reason, they stopped in the middle and kind of left their tools scattered about.'"

"Of course, within the world, there's different factions who all have their own lore and thoughts on exactly what this means, where we came from, where the enemies come from and all that kind of stuff," added Mike Gamble.

Who Are The Shapers?

Mark Gamble was quick to cast doubt on the notion that the race called The Shapers, are a precursor race.  "I don't really see them as a precursor race.  There's a whole lot that we don't know, as the player, about The Shapers, what their intentions were and where they came from.  And they weren't necessarily a precursor race, they're the creators." He continued, "We don't know if they lived on the planet, we don't know if they were there, we don't know why they were there.  And again, that mystery is really core to the story of Anthem."  

Gamble confirmed that he and the Bioware team already know the full story on The Shapers but wouldn't reveal anything else beyond that.  At the very least, it's good to know that the game's story isn't going to be made up as DLC and sequels are released.

What Are The Exosuits?

Mark Darrah explained that Bioware approached the game with the mindset that it's a world of advanced tech, yet the concept of microchips and circuitry doesn't exist.  Therefore the concept of the exosuits or javelins as they're called, rolling off an assembly line doesn't exist.  Each exosuit is handcrafted and assembled by skilled artisans.   

What Are Freelancers?

A freelancer in the world of Anthem is a type of mercenary-for-hire who takes odd jobs, primarily focused on dealing with deadly threats.  They make the world a little less dangerous, explained Gamble.  There's a lot of history and triumphant victories in the past of The Order of Freelances but at the start of the game, they're going through some tough times and can no longer rely on their past, rich history to guarantee status.  

Who Are The Dominion?

They are the primary antagonists in the game and a human faction. They're described as militaristic and fascists.  

Is Anthem Set In A Futuristic Version Of Our Reality?

This is where the interview got really interesting.  "Nope, can't talk about that," said Gamble.  That denial seemingly is all but a confirmation that Anthem is, just like Mass Effect, another Bioware take on humanity's future.  Gamble continued, "The mystery of what the universe is, is a big part of [Anthem's] appeal. It's certainly not Earth, I'll say that."  

How Will Microtransactions Be Handled?

In a separate interview, Casey Hudson, Bioware's Lead Studio Manager, provided a response. He unabashedly stated that Anthem is a "live service game" but that the out-of-the-box sticker price will provide gamers with everything they need to complete and be competitive.  Going forward, it sounds like there will be DLC or other additions that will require additional purchases.  He also confirmed that there would be no "loot boxes" or "pay for power"elements in the game but there will be cosmetic components that players can "choose to buy."

What's Anthem's Endgame Strategy?

A big issue that plagued Destiny 2 at the game's launch was a lack of endgame content, the elements and goals that keep players engaged after defeating the campaign.  The first Destiny had a ton of endgame pursuits but had a very bland campaign.  Bungie sought to address this by delivering a superior launch campaign but the studio completely dropped the ball on endgame content and as a result, Destiny 2's playerbase fell off in droves.

Jumping back to Arekkz Gaming's interview with Anthem director Jonathan Warner, he coyly hinted at what EA and Bioware have planned. "There are all sorts of cool challenges to grapple with because as you know, this is an unfinished world by its gods.  They've left it in a strange state and that's always a conflict you'll have to endgane in and be challenged by."  

What's Anthem's Progression Path?

Jonathan Warner, provided a description of the progression in Anthem that's fairly standard to most of these games.  Players will start out playing Story Missions and Side Missions in an effort to earn all of the Javelins and collecting the first level of Uncommon and Rare items.  As you become stronger and your gear gets better, Stronghold activities become available.  Per Warner, there was a Stronghold mission titled Scars and Villainy that was available on the E3 floor.  Stronghold missions are designed to offer unique and dynamic challenges that require greater coordination.  

Warner also stated that there would be some sort of weekly reset in place for Anthem's various challenges and activities but countered that it was still being "fine-tuned" to "find the right cadence".  

There are also cool World Events players will encounter while exploring and collecting resources.  At E3, players who went hands-on with Anthem randomly encountered that Ash Titan, an open-world boss that Warner provided as an example of the type of World Events players would stumble across.

Gamefragger's Early Impressions

So far, Anthem is looking to be a very intriguing "games as a service" installment that's boarding on must-play.  However, the game's E3 2018 presentation didn't have quite the same panache as the 2017 presentation.  Fans of the game also bummed to learn that there won't be a romance option in Anthem, a staple of nearly every successful Bioware game.  There's just something about fighting alongside and protecting a loved one that raises the stakes.

 On the whole, Anthem's presentation this year lacked the wow factor.  It was a solid, info dumping seminar that didn't really move the needle one way or another.  If E3 is supposed to be the time of year where studios and developers pull out all the stops, EA certainly didn't get that memo.  Hopefully, with Gamescom (August 21), PAX West (August 31) and EGX (September 20) still to go before Anthem is released on February 22, 2019, EA and Bioware will reveal something that restore's the luster surrounding Anthem back when it was first unveiled.  

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