Earlier this week, rumor spread of a new Battle Royale game would be coming from Respawn Entertainment. Now it seems those rumors were accurate; a Battle Royale shooter set in the Titanfall universe was released for free today. Titled “Apex Legends”, this new shooter features eight “Legends” for players to choose from, each with their own unique abilities and style of play. Some legends include an interdimensional teleportation specialist calling herself Wraith, a technological tracker who goes by Bloodhound, and a scout droid with a zip line and grappling hook, all of which look like they may were pulled straight from Titanfall 2‘s multiplayer offerings.
As previously stated, Apex Legends is a new team-based shooter in the burgeoning Battle Royale genre, meaning the last team standing wins. When the game starts, teams choose where they want to drop onto the map using the “Jumpmaster” system. Teams also have access to a ping system, a dedicated button that marks anything on the map; enemies, weapons, ammo, and anything else on the map. This system should allow teams without voice chat to still be able communicate quickly. Lastly, Respawn Beacons are single use locations marked on the map that show where downed allies can be revived. Tread carefully, as players are vulnerable while reviving teammates.
Being a free-to-play game, Apex Legends also includes some microtransactions. These include purchasable cosmetic items and premium currency. The premium currency, Called Apex Coins, can be used to purchase weapons and character skins, Legends (6 are free from the start, two are unlockable), and Apex Packs: loot packs containing any number of cosmetic items, crafting material, or character quips. It should be noted that Respawn saw fit to show the Probability rates of the rarity of items Apex Packs contain.
Respawn seem fully committed to making this a “proper live service game,” and so I think we can expect them to push updates for this regularly. Apex Legends is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC via Origin store.
Anthem is a game that has been utterly shrouded in mystery. From its development cycle to what is planned for a post-launch release, Bioware Edmonton’s newest creation has been a complete enigma up until its first demo several weeks ago. Even looking at its official social media pages, its hard to discern what the final form of Anthem is truly intended to be, with little focus on showcasing the game’s systems. Even now, after the first leg of its public demo, the discussion surrounding Anthem is more based on the failings of the demo than what the game actually is.
Developed by Bioware and published by Electronic Arts, Anthem is an always-online MMO-lite shooter in a similar vein of Destiny 2 and features a persistent open world with drop-in-drop-out co-op gameplay. While there are certainly comparisons to be drawn between Bungie’s MMO shooter and the newest addition to the Bioware catalog, each game exists in its own circle of influence and certainly stands on its own.
On the planet of Bastion, Elder Gods once shaped the world with great machines and a force known as the Anthem of Creation. A wild and untamed elemental force, the Anthem and its melodies could create life from inanimate objects while shaping the world at its whim. Long before the rise of humanity, these gods left, leaving their relics and instruments behind on a volatile world. Now these powers threaten the very land of Bastion, and heroes have risen to meet them. Known as Freelancers, these contract-soldiers take flight in their Javelin mech suits to defend humanity from threats based on the Anthem, and those that encroach from within the very ranks of humanity itself.
This, in my opinion, is one of the more interesting and under-utilized narrative conflicts that we just haven’t seen in western game development over the last decade. Too often do we see heroes backed against a wall by an unseen or omnipotent enemy force, when sometimes the best opposition can come from nature itself. Anthem certainly has that on full display at its onset with the melodies of Bastion ripping horrific monsters into being in an instant or glassing a plain with savage licks of fire. However, this quickly turns into the introduction of a big-bad villain who attempts to weaponize the Anthem and things quickly begin to hit a tired story beat.
The narrative of Anthem is, oddly enough, one of its weaker points. Despite being known for their fantastic storytelling and wonderful narrative construction, Bioware’s strongest skill set firmly falls flat in this department, at least within the first few hours. While the introductory missions are incredibly well written and serve to inject action into the world of Bastion there is a two year time-jump immediately after this plot-line, cutting any emotional attachment to the characters we just struggled with. From there things merely chug along in Anthem, hitting story beats until the introduction of the game’s main villain.
The Monitor, leader of the Dominion and intent on wielding the fury of the Anthem.
What’s slightly more disappointing, however, is how well written the game’s wide variety of characters truly are. From your co-pilot Owen, who’s neurotically charming to a fault, to one of the Sentinels who is standoffish and uncomfortable but warms up to your character over time. Each character has a wonderful amount of time and energy put into them, with their own development arcs and unique quirks. There is a living, breathing world in Anthem, but it simply feels as if the, “why,” in existing in it doesn’t build until later in the game.
Despite the lack of why, the “How do you play in Anthem,” is incredibly fun and well worth the purchase price of the game. Most of your play time will be spent inside a Javelin, one of the Freelancer’s exo-suits. Each one is unique in its design and playstyle, fitting a different role in a traditional RPG role. Each has six unlockable equipment slots, as well as a host of unique interchangeable abilities.
The first players will have access to is the Ranger, a medium armor class Javelin. Focusing heavily on gunplay, the Ranger features abilities that veterans of Halo or Gears of War may find familiar. Starting with several artillery abilities such as grenades and missiles, this particular suit is the best for those unfamiliar with RPGs or Anthem in general; much like Soldier 76 of Overwatch, the Ranger is a great introduction for FPS players and the most versatile of each javelin. After completing the tutorial players will be able to select one of the other remaining Javelins, unlocking the others as they level up their pilot.
The Colossus is the de-facto tank of the Freelancer fleet, originally a large construction suit intended to protect workers from hazardous materials. Now the pilots of Fort Tarsis equip them as mobile siege weapons, using their bulk as an advantage in combat. Each Colossus comes equipped with a large ballistic shield, which compensates for their lack of standard energy shield. Unable to wield pistols or sub-machine gun weapons, this Javelin instead can equip heavy weapons such as rocket launchers and gatling guns. This suit is a walking siege weapon, equipped to maximize damage and come up with blunt force solutions to otherwise complicated problems.
The Interceptor is the Javelin for those looking to unlock sheer speed, being the most nimble and deadly melee combatant on the battlefield. While it boasts smaller shields than any other suit available, it recharges its shield through constant moment and speed. Standing still for the Interceptor is not the way to play. Specializing in pure damage and one-on-one combat, the Interceptor cleaves through the battlefield at lightning speed.
New Javelins can be unlocked at pilot levels 2, 8, 16, and 24.
The final suit, and the one I spent the most playtime with, is the Storm. Wielding the elemental fury of Bastion, Storm is the casting powerhouse of the Freelancers. Boasting wide-spread area spells and effects, gunplay is used as a back-up for the destructive powers of the Anthem. Whereas other Javelins do best flitting in and out of melee combat, the Storm is best suited to hover at a distance and unleashing its fury upon the hapless enemies of the Freelancers.
Any time you step outside of the safety of Fort Tarsis, the main hub of Anthem, you’ll be loaded into one of your Javelins. Each comes loaded with several firearms be they rifles, submachine guns, pistols, shotguns or heavy ordnance. Each also has a jump-booster, a system that players can utilize to hover, glide or fly over Bastion. These jets can be activated at any time, indoors or out, but can only run for a certain amount of time; as with any flame-propulsion system it will eventually overheat.
Players can instead maximize their flight time by soaring beneath or over bodies of water, using gravity to assist their flight (such as tilting downwards or even straight down), or by flying in water-related weather patterns. This is one of Anthem’s more rewarding systems, as it simply feels good to fly and pull off various maneuvers with each Javelin especially when you can manipulate your flight pattern and stay aloft indefinitely. Each suit handles a little differently from each other based on its armor class; the beefy Colossus is sluggish and takes artillery on directly while the Interceptor rolls in and out of combat and flies as daintily as a bird.
While customization is limited when it comes to the player-character (with only one voice per sex and roughly 24 pre-rendered faces to choose from), Javelin customization is incredibly wild and varied. While each Javelin not only has replaceable parts and armaments, attainable through in-game vendors and currencies, every single color and texture of the Javelin can be customized or altered to your specifics. Leather under-linings can be changed to an all-metal super suit, capes and cloaks can be altered to be leather of any variety. Even the loadouts for your mechs can be utterly unique, turning a tanky Colossus into a long-ranged assassin or a Storm into a front-line psycher.
When it comes to the gameplay of Anthem everything just feels right. Gunplay is tight and fun to engage with, flight feels great, and even simply exploring the world is fun. However, this is where the cracks in Anthem’s designs really begin to show.
Like Dragon Age: Inquisition, Anthem moves through its narrative beats and story-progression via a mission system. While this does piece out the story and lore into palatable chunks, it also makes exploring Bastion incredibly jarring. After the completion of each mission the player will be thrust out of their Javelin and into Fort Tarsis to manage their Javelin and pick up quests. While this allows players progressing quickly to optimize their loadout this does not negate the issue for players enjoying the free-roaming aspects of Bastion. If you even want to change your firearms you will have to return Fort Tarsis, enter your loadout, adjust your guns and sit through two more loading screens to return to that open world.
It’s also clear that hovering was not entirely fleshed out in regard to combat; while the Storm is built around the concept of flying high and avoiding damage, every other Javelin can also do just that as well, minimizing the threat of any enemy encounter especially in group scenarios. This reaches a paramount point towards Anthem’s endgame, which players of more recent MMO-Lite franchises may find familiar.
As the Freelancers rebuild their forces and begin to wage war on some of the deadliest parts of the Anthem, players will earn the ability to fight against Strongholds. These multiplayer encounters revolve around silencing a dangerous relic, fighting off waves of often negligible enemies and fighting off a large boss-version of those enemies, which feels again like a large bullet sponge. As bosses have no set loot table, rewards can range from low-tier uncommon items, which I received during my time at EA Redwood, to blueprints. These blueprints can be used to create Masterwork weapons, requiring players to use Anthem’s crafting system to target and develop specific end-game pieces they want, making the end-game less a targeted experience and more of a wide-sprawling attempt to find exactly what you need blindly.
Anthem’s Loadout Screen, only accessible through the Forge at Fort Tarsis.
There also doesn’t appear to be much direction in terms of what happens after the story campaign. While there have been promises from both Electronic Arts and Bioware that there will be additional content beyond the end-game, and a confirmation from producer Scylla Costa that Bioware Houston will take over the live-service aspects of Anthem, there’s no direction into what that’s going to be. For now, running Stronghold’s appears to be the entire post end-game content, meaning that this live service will be relatively deceased after players hit the end of this RPG.
So that leaves us with one major question: where does this leave Anthem? Frankly, Anthem is an incredibly fun game when you don’t look too far past the veneer and finish. While player agency isn’t as prevalent as in other Bioware games such as Star Wars: The Old Republic, neither is Anthem truly intended as a full-scale MMO nor a full-level RPG. Instead this game melds genres far more successfully than other more recent entries in the AAA sphere.
However, in comparison to those other entries, there are also quite a few gaps simply due to the setting of Bastion and the legacy of Bioware; players are used to complete agency in the designs of their characters, instead of the armor they wield. Other entries keep this customization out in the world instead of relying on older system concepts to force player evolution, allowing them to make basic adjustments on the fly instead of resetting their world to tweak a firearm. Anthem has a lot of heart, love and ingenuity baked into its very artistic essence, but the defects do stand out otherwise; some for the cracks in the façade, and others simply because Bioware has dominated this space for years.
For those interested, Anthem launches into the world on February 22nd, 2018
Disclaimer: Writer was flown out to EA’s Redwood, California Campus to preview Anthem at no cost.
Battlefield V is scheduled to receive another update this week on Tuesday, January 29, 2019. As usual, producer Jaqub Ajmal has offered a preview of what’s coming, which includes further vaulting improvements, killcam fixes, various user interface improvements, and much more.
Highlights are as follows:
-Footstep audio has been further fine-tuned, is now somewhere between previous and current update
-Cool new and neat additions to the Practice Range
-Further Vaulting improvements
-Ledge grabbing improvements
-Fix for the Killcam that would have an unintended delay
-Medic revive icons timer has been fixed
-Console chat is back!
-Universal Carrier now has a horn!
-Various Frontlines UI fixes
-Fixed some exploits
-Improved flow when joining a friend that is on a full server
-HUD aim lead indicator has been implemented along with the show netgraph on problems option.
Addressing players’ concerns about AA nerfs, Ajmal promised a “substantial” improvement and a more consistent experience when shooting down planes. Over on Reddit, he wrote:
Players should notice that shells that detonate in proximity to an airplane do damage more consistently, and also that shots that are closer to the target do more damage than shots that are further from the target. This is especially obvious when planes are flying directly at or away from an AA, with higher damage for flying at an AA and lower when trying to escape an AA. We have adjusted damage values on all AA guns to compensate for this improvement, and the different kinds of AA guns should now be clearer choices. Fast-firing AA is now better against highly maneuverable, small targets like fighters. Slow-firing AA is now better against larger targets like bombers.
The incoming patch will also include a number of other fixes, which will be detailed via patch notes. We’ll share those with our readers as soon as they’re released.
Yesterday at time of writing, saw the launch of the VIP Access Demo for the newest, possibly most highly anticipated live-service game of 2019 (sorry Division 2), Anthem. While troubles are to be expected with any live-service experience, those troubles increase significantly during demos and beta testing phases. Surprising few, Anthem was no exception, as the VIP Demo was a difficult experience for many players, including myself, on the first night.
Earlier this afternoon, BioWare Head of Live Service (this is a real title now people) Chad Robertson posted to The BioWare Blog about how BioWare feels about the issues with the Demo and how they plan to fix it going forward.
Yesterday was rocky. The first day of our VIP demo weekend did not go exactly as we planned, and I want to share what happened.
We’ve been testing the entire game and platform for several months, but there were a few things we missed; real-world play frequently leads to unexpected issues. Before I share details on this and what we’re still facing, I want to dispel one comment we’ve seen: that we under-planned for server capacity. To ensure stability, we intended to manage our servers to match the player population as it grew. Overall, we had excess capacity prepared for population increases, and continue to do so. That said, what’s important is that all parts of the game work as designed to meet players’ needs, and that did not happen in the opening hours.
The post starts by saying that the team at BioWare planned for server capacity and even now still have excess server space for player population. This is an important distinction, as server size has been an issue in games for years, and live-service games feel that significantly more strongly than other, traditional online games. Robertson seems confident Anthem servers will have enough space to accommodate the undoubtedly massive flood of players the game will see on launch day. How true that turns out to be remains to be seen.
Robertson goes on to outline the most problematic issues players were experiencing in the Demo, and how they plan to fix them:
While there are a number of issues we dealt with yesterday, the three primary areas were:
Platform connections – this was caused by the spike in players entering the game when we opened up. Unfortunately, these issues did not present themselves during our internal testing. Investigations are ongoing, and we will continue to apply fixes throughout the weekend.
Entitlements – these are account flags that grant players things like their pre-order incentives and demo access. During the demo weekend, we identified a bug where VIP players with a specific combination of entitlements were being blocked from accessing the demo. We believe we’ve resolved most of these, but have additional cases we are addressing.
“Infinite loads” – this is occurring for some players, particularly when they transition from Fort Tarsis to an expedition. We saw this only in isolated cases during internal testing and believed it was resolved. Unfortunately, the problem is exacerbated in the real-world where differences with player’s ISPs and home networks introduce new behavior.
Today, our top priorities are:
Continue to resolve any reports of issues with login and entitlement problems.
Implement fixes to address “infinite loads”. I want to be upfront that this is a difficult one, and something we may not resolve during this weekend — many players are not seeing this issue and the last thing we want to do is destabilize the experience for everyone.
Improve server performance. We’ve heard reports of rubber-banding and other signs of server latency. We believe we can address this and will be conducting some small-scale experiments to confirm that. We may roll some fixes out this weekend or may wait for the open demo next weekend, depending on the level of risk to the overall service.
Anthem is a going to be a large game, and even its demo is getting hotfixes to possibly take care of some of these issues during the weekend. From the way Robertson spoke, if the issue can’t be fixed this weekend, we can be assured they will be less prevalent during next weekend’s demo. BioWare are putting a lot on Anthem’s shoulders, so it’s understandable that they are committed to doing everything they can to make sure their players have as positive an experience as they can.
BioWare are also remaining positive about the game’s potential stating that the game is seeing “over 300K concurrent viewers yesterday & over 100M minutes watched — those are Fortnite-type numbers!” Robertson also teased an upcoming announcement with new information on the way.
While we have had problems, we have also had many players enjoying the game. It’s been incredibly humbling to see so many people watching along with us on Twitch (over 300K concurrent viewers yesterday & over 100M minutes watched — those are Fortnite-type numbers!). Thank you for your support! Our goal is to get everyone into the demo having fun together.
We believe we’ve created an amazing game and we’re doing everything we can to ensure our entire community can enjoy it. We’re committed to keeping an open conversation with our community as part of our Live Service well into the future. (We’ll also have some cool news to share soon on our plans for the game after we launch — stay tuned!)
Anthem releases on February 22. It’s going to be a big one, so clear your calendars everybody. If you’re playing the VIP Demo or interested in game in general, let’s talk about it in the Forums or on Twitter using #AskPSNation.
Today’s launch of the Anthem VIP demo gave the wider public the opportunity to finally get their hands on the game—or it least it was supposed to. A number of server issues have prevented players from being able to complete missions or even start up the game. Some players are finding that loading screens will get hitched at 95% and never progress further, requiring a full shut down and restart of the application. BioWare currently reports that the main issues have been resolved, and most players say they’ve been able to start playing this evening, hours after the demo first launched. A few scattered reports of problems still persist, though most have said that simply restarting the application has fixed any issues they had.
The Anthem VIP demo was originally a preorder incentive. Players has the ability to share links with friends for access, and there were multiple places that were giving out hundreds of codes. Although it was called “VIP,” just about anybody could get in if they wanted to try it out and knew where to look for a code. The demo could be preloaded by anyone, with an authorized EA account (via code) granting access. Right now it’s unknown if BioWare plans to extend the demo period beyond the weekend to make up for today’s issues, but the company is focused on making sure things are fully ironed out before addressing that.
Players might normally expect these kinds of issues from a beta, but the Anthem VIP demo has always been billed as a demo to show proof of the concept, rather than a beta test. Regardless, it seems that the issues BioWare is faced with are acting as a kind of beta ahead of launch as the studio scales up capacity and fixes anything that comes up. At least we’re seeing these problems now during the free event, which will hopefully help to mitigate any potential problems during the actual launch of the game next month.
If you aren’t able to get in yourself, make sure to take a look at the latest in our series of exclusive Anthem hands-on reports. We had a chance to go hands on with the demo content and more to tell you a little bit more about BioWare’s multiplayer enigma.
Have you run into any problems attempting to play the Anthem VIP demo today? Are you glad that they’ve held an early trial to get issues figured out before launch? Let us know.
The wide world of Anthem has long since been in the works by Bioware’s ambitious Edmonton, Canada studio. Boasting a wide open reactive world, engaging gunplay and a story true to the grandeur of Bioware titles past, Anthem is a game destined for greatness. Despite this, however, information on the world of Bastion and its Freelancer defenders has been incredibly scarce, and questions from players have long since gone unanswered. I got the opportunity to travel to EA’s California offices and sit down with Scylla Costa, one of the Producers working on Anthem to talk about its development, player co-operation and the road map for launch and beyond.
With Bioware we have seen a bit of a change when it comes to Anthem in it being an always-online live service game, where as we’ve had strict multiplayer modes with other games like Mass Effect: Andromeda and Dragon Age: Inquisition. Why the transition to a live service game?
That’s a very good question. If you look at the history of Bioware you can see that we have been trying different stuff for a long time. We had Baldur’s Gate which was an isometric game that you could play in multiplayer if you had a LAN. Then we went to Neverwinter Nights which also had multiplayer but also had the mod aspect with user generated content. Then we jumped into the console with say Knights of the Old Republic and Jade Empire. Then from there we went to the Mass Effect and Dragon Age series, so we had a sci-fi cover shooter and a fantasy RPG with very different styles. Then finally Star Wars: The Old Republic which is an MMO for PC. So actually, if you look around you can see that we have been always trying something different and doing different things.
Anthem, maybe if you just look back one game or two, it may look like a big change but we have been changing [over time]. And the reason is also every time we’re creating a new [intellectual property] we need to look into the future. A new IP doesn’t get made in one year it takes maybe five years or more. When we finished Mass Effect 3 we started to think about Anthem and what was going to be Anthem and what kind of game we were going to do in five years. Just to remember now, five years ago we didn’t have Fortnite, Twitch wasn’t what it is today, so the way the players and consumers consumer their entertainment has changed a lot. Even Netflix has changed a lot! So you kind of have to try and project in that time-frame of five years, what kind of game do we want to make, what kind of game do we need to be playing in five years?
We wanted, going back to your question, to make a game that was an open world, that was also easy for me to jump in and out of so a seamless co-op experience with my friends, I could play by myself if I wanted to and we wanted to tell a story that wasn’t science nor fantasy but kind of sci-fantasy. We wanted to have a world that you could go outside and see a jungle and you go, “Oh, yeah, that looks like Earth!” But suddenly you have a Shaper ruin and there’s Ursics in your face trying to kill you and you go, “Woah this is NOT Earth! Where am I? What is that ruin? What activates these relics? What mysteries are hidden out there in the world?” Specifically, for the game of Anthem, we wanted to create also an antagonist, so we have The Monitor who leads the Dominion coming in from the north. That’s the enemy you need to protect humanity from.
What has Bioware, as a studio, faced in terms of difficulties and challenges in developing a live-service game like this?
Well first of all it’s a new IP. Creating a new IP is always hard because you don’t know the right answer or the wrong answer. If you’re doing a sequel, like we did with Mass Effect for example or Dragon Age, you can reach out to your consumer base; you can ask what they like, you can see the interviews, see the reviews of the game and try to build on the strengths you have while fixing the weaknesses. In our case, with a new IP, there is no right or wrong answer and that’s the biggest challenge. How do we create a new world that is fantastic and at the same time you want to explore but it’s super dangerous? How do you make people want to be there? How do we make people feel when they have a Javelin that they’re controlling they have all those super powers that make you feel very different from any other game? All the verticality that we have in the game as well, that’s something we tried really hard to make so that when you fly it simply feels really good to fly. We wanted you to have fun just traversing and exploring the world as well.
With [Anthem] being a multiplayer game, there are certain features that players expect going into it. One of them, which was confirmed by a tweet from one of the Executive Producers several weeks ago, was that [item] trading was not going to be available at launch. Was this an oversight or was this more due to focusing on single-player aspects of the game?
It was a design decision not having trade at launch. We wanted to make sure that progression wasn’t going to be short-cut. Let’s say that I’m playing with you and another two friends and you give me a super powerful Masterwork weapon. Let’s say I’m level 2 and you’re level 30 and suddenly I’ve got a level 30 weapon, it’s really going to short-cut everything. We’ve seen that happen with other games and we wanted to avoid that problem. We wanted to make sure that everybody would have meaningful loot every time they play. So, if I’m a Level 2 and you’re playing with me as a Level 30 every time I go out I’m going to find loot that is reasonable for my level just as you will find loot that is reasonable for yours. You can still help me level up and you’re still going to find stuff that is reasonable for you, even on the same mission.
With that ability to drop in and drop out, with people of different levels, is that more of the loot is set at that that player’s particular level?
Yes, it’s set based off of the player’s Pilot Level.
So character power isn’t dynamically scaled in such a sense?
Well, we scale the game in many different ways. If you’re playing together, we try to scale the [encounter] based on how many players are in your group, so you can play it alone if you want. The number of enemies you’d expect to be different if you were playing with a four player group, otherwise it would simply be too easy for the four player group. We can scale the waves of enemies, how tough they are, the types of enemies; so a group of four may see an Elite where as a [solo player] may not. We can also play around with the dynamic of the world as well, with how depending on the area of the world and the weather we can change what kind of creatures can spawn. If you’re playing in a group you may come across a bigger enemy like an Ash Titan for example, but if you’re playing alone we’re not going to make you fight that Ash Titan by yourself. We can play with many different variables so as to always make a challenge for you without making it completely punishing.
With a lot of live service games, especially with the introduction of the Steam Early Access model and development continuing post launch, there are some concerns among consumers that Anthem will be light on some features at launch, particularly with character customization and agency. What will players have access to personalize their character and immerse themselves into the world?
Let’s go first to personalization. For us, that is changing the materials of everything that you have [to customize your Javelin]. You can change the type of material which will give you a different look, the color of those materials, you can apply vinyls over them. You can also have different pieces of armor, for example different shoulders, helmets, legs. For the Storm you can have a different cape. There are many different things you can change about your character, even the animations you can use in the world or as a victory pose animation. We give you all of those personalization options and they are all cosmetic. You can acquire all of them just by playing the game and using the in-game currency. The more you play, the more you get, and you can spend it on whatever you want.
You also have player agency in terms of the equipment loadouts. You can have the same Javelin, say a Colossus for example, that can work as a tank. You can pull aggro, pull enemies to you, use your shield have a flamethrower. But you can also, because you want to, have a loadout that has a Sniper Rifle with an artillery gear slot that can fire from really far away to act as a support for your group. So we’re really giving the player the agency to choose how does he want to play with whatever Javelin suit he has.
Now let’s jump tracks for a moment and talk about the economy in Anthem. Now one of the Executive Producers, Mark Darrah, has said that the economy that players are going to see in the public demo for Anthem is going to be vastly different than what we’ll see in the final game. What are players going to see in that final release in February?
So for Anthem in terms of the economy, the demo was created quite a few weeks ago and therefore while it is a slice of the final game, we have been tweaking and iterating on the economy since then. We did find out that we need to make some changes in regards to the curve in which you gain experience. We also made changes to the amount of in-game currency you get, the prices of items in the store. We had to balance those out so that we could have a better experience overall. We always have the philosophy that we want to be fair to the consumer, to the player, making sure that, as long as they play, they always feel rewarded by playing because you’re going to have enough coins to get that cosmetic you wanted to buy. It’s not going to be like, “You’ve gotta play forever to buy that one thing.” We wanted to make sure it’s always fair for the player to do so. Of course there are different items, with different rarities and different prices but we have been tweaking a lot. That’s what Mark Darrah meant when he said the economy from the demo is different, because we’ve been tweaking it a lot over the last few weeks.
Right now we are aware of the fact there is a premium currency in Anthem. Are we going to see any other potential revenue streams introduced into Anthem post-launch?
At launch we’re just gonna have the cosmetic stuff. Post-launch it will really depend on the feedback we get from our consumers and from the players. We have a team in Austin that has been working on an MMO the last six years, Star Wars: The Old Republic. We developed Anthem with Bioware Edmonton and Bioware Austin. Bioware Austin is going to be responsible for taking the live service further, so I’m very comfortable about that, I’m very happy about that. I know they have the experience to listen to the feedback and change the plans according to that feedback. So according to what the players want to see in the game, we may have different stuff.
What’s the road-map for Anthem looking like post-launch?
There are a lot of things coming post-launch. We have many different teams who have been working on that stuff for a few weeks already, so you can see different cosmetic items, different creatures, maybe a new region to explore! You’ll have different events, different weather states. Anthem is a dynamic world; if you have rain right now it applies to your jets you can fly for longer as it cools down your jets. You can use electricity and therefore create larger effects. Try to imagine that we can create different weather states and apply that so not only are new parts of the world going to behave differently, but old parts of the world as well. If it’s day or if it’s night some creatures may show up or may be more powerful. We can play with all of these variables and create a new narrative for the game.
There was a lot of disappointment in the potential playerbase when it was announced that Anthem would not contain any Player vs. Player content at launch. Is that something that’s going to be incorporated into the game post-launch?
Like you said, PvP is not available for launch but it’s going to depend on the feedback that we get from the playerbase.
Bosses in Anthem don’t have a set loot table. When it comes to endgame player progression, particularly in gearing up your Javelin, is there a method for players to target specific pieces of equipment they are looking for?
Yes. In Anthem, specifically for the endgame, we want to give players the ability to craft their own weapons and gear. The way that we do that is you have Challenges, which will give you the blueprints for those Masterwork items. Now you can craft those masterwork items and in order to craft them you’re going to have to collect those resources through missions or freeplay, which will give you more resources. Once you have those items you can go back, craft your Masterwork items and now that you’re more powerful you can go into those missions and get even more powerful rewards.
There’s been discussion about Pilot Skill Trees and further progression after the end-game. Can you explain that a little bit and what impact that will have in terms of player power at the end of the game?
This is a very good question, but honestly I would prefer to keep that one for live. There are some things we want to do in live, exactly for the end-game and how we want Pilot Skills to show up. So we’re gonna keep that one for live for now.
Many thanks to Scylla Costa for sitting down with us to talk about Anthem and its development cycle beyond its upcoming release on February 22nd.
It has been a big day for Anthem. Today, preloading for the demo went live, so regardless of which tier you are, you can go ahead and get that Anthem data on your hard drive. But in the middle of all the demo hype, multiple BioWare folks on social media confirmed that Anthem has also officially gone gold.
Lead producer Michael Gamble, for example, just nonchalanty dropped the news in a little tweet, as you can see:
Needless to say, it’s an exciting time over at BioWare. While things weren’t so great with Mass Effect: Andromeda, with the reception to the game itself and all the surrounding drama, this other wing of BioWare has been toiling away on Anthem. Now, that work is on the way to paying off.
Anthem‘s VIP demo is set to run from January 25 through 27, 2019. Then, on february 1 through 3, the demo opens up to everyone else. It’s also worth noting the demo is a separate build of the game from the full release, and some details (such as the game’s economy) will be different. Finally, the full Anthem experience will be released on February 22.
Anthem‘s Executive Producer, Mark Darrah, has taken to Twitter to outline some differences between the game’s demo and its launch version. We’re told that the demo will be “easier in general” but will start players in the middle without tutorials.
By Pilot Picker, Darrah means that players won’t be able to select facial features etc. but you’ll be able to select your character’s sex.
As far as the demo’s content is concerned, BioWare’s Lead Producer Michael Gamble said last week that the studio won’t be revealing much as it wants to retain an element of surprise. Additionally, BioWare won’t be following the trend of releasing intros as Anthem‘s developers feel that it’s an “emotional experience” that is between the player and the game.
Anthem‘s VIP demo, which is only open to those who preorder the game or have EA Origin access, will go live on Friday, January 25, 2019. A public demo will follow on February 1. The full game will release a few weeks later on February 22 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
We’ll update our readers when we have more details about the demo.