We’ve been learning a lot about BioWare‘s Anthem since we got our first official look at how the game actually plays during EA Play’s event at E3 2018. Since then, various team members from the studio have been doing their media circuits to preach the good word about how they are doing things a little different with this title. Though not BioWare’s first time with online play, the overall genre niche is a different pivot for the company but as we move forward into the future, many can’t help but to be stuck on the past. Specifically Mass Effect Andromeda.
Some loved the new tale of the Ryder family within the tale of Andromeda, others felt the new story fell flat and were confused by the animations. Though the studio that worked on the latest title was a brand new, and much smaller, studio with less than ideal conditions, many fans felt almost betrayed by the focus being primarily set on the newest IP Anthem instead of their highly anticipated Mass Effect series.
What also cornered the game, other than the admittedly there mechanical issues, was that media was already putting out a smear campaign against it before the general public had access. Once the 10 hour demo hit, there was already a very seated negativity attached to the latest adventure in a new universe. Anthem’s producer Mark Darrah recently talked about the very high-profile controversy and how the positive sides of the game were completely buried underneath a “crowded” review environment.
Though Darrah did openly admit that the game had its obvious flaws, he did also shed a little light on the inopportune launch window the title released in:
“First off, the question was not “is MEA secretly a great game and did mean Nintendo make us fail?” MEA is a deeply flawed game. Especially at launch.” He continued, “But the review environment was crowded. Nier, Nioh, Horizon, and Zelda all launched in MEAs window. Each does something better than MEA (again, a flawed game).”
“As a result, even systems that are pretty decent get scrutinized against superiorly implemented ones. Does launching in a different window turn 72% into 90? Certainly not. 72 into 77/78? Maybe.” But he knows, as does the team, that sometimes there are just things you can’t control:
“And here’s the thing. That’s the nature of the industry. You don’t have full control over when you launch and no control over when others do. DAI benefited by how tough a year 2014 turned out to be for games. You launch the best game you can. MEA has a lot of problems and got lapped by genuinely better games.”
Luckily, we know that the franchise isn’t dead. “Oh, no. Mass Effect is definitely still happening,” my source told me during this year’s E3. “That franchise is much too valuable to EA for them not to do anything with it.” Which, let me be real – was very exciting to hear. Though understandably, the focus must be on Anthem until it launches.
BioWare has assured fans that Anthem will “live and breathe with the fans,” which assuaged many of the worries long-time fans had that BioWare was losing what felt very distinctly “them.” Though, as mentioned previously, this isn’t their first run-in with the online gaming experience, it is very much still new territory for the studio and does come at a time where this genre is under fire following the Destiny 2 debacle with Bungie, and EA’s own controversy with Star Wars Battlefront II.
Anthem officially launches for Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC on February 22nd of next year! To hear about my hands-on impressions of the game, you can check out the video below with some epic 1080p gameplay action also available: