Geek Culture

Anthem: Here’s What We Know So Far

Up until the past month or so, EA and BioWare have been pretty stingy with revealing too much about the much-anticipated game Anthem, slated to release on consoles and PC in a couple of weeks.

Now that we’re mere weeks from launch, the Anthem team have been doling out trailer after trailer, gameplay demo after gameplay demo, whetting our appetites to no end. This last week, they’ve released even more details about the game, as shown in the video above, and also on their official website.

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Now, on to the meat of what we know so far about Anthem.


Setting

The setting of Anthem takes place centuries after the first Javelins called the Legion of Dawn fought off an old enemy called the Dominion in a bid to preserve humanity. The Legion of Dawn’s leader and revered hero, General Helena Tarsis, spearheaded this elite group to fight off a massive creature that threatened to end all of humanity, sacrificing her life to end the fell beast in the process.

Since then, the walls of Fort Tarsis (named in honour of the fallen General) have stood high and mighty, ushering in centuries of relatively quiet peace. However, the Dominion have risen again, amongst other dangers, to terrorise humanity, and that is where you and your friends – elite Javelin pilots called the Freelancers – come in to keep that peace.

Fort Tarsis is the bastion upon which humanity thrives, and also serves as the general hub where you and your friends gather to pick up quests, upgrade your Javelins, or just hang out in general.

Besides upgrading and kitting your Javelin in the Forge, the NPCs are also another reason for you to be spending lots of time in Fort Tarsis. Each of them has their own backstory and quirk, so it should make for some interesting conversations with them. Here are some of them:

  • Owen is an optimistic and ambitious young cypher who’s learning the trade at your side. He can get himself in trouble in his urge to prove himself but is always enthusiastic and vital to the success of your missions.
  • Faye is a mysterious cypher who comes from a prestigious background. She is fascinated by the Anthem of Creation and driven to learn more about it, to the point that her personal relationships have suffered.
  • Haluk is a grumpy but dedicated Freelancer who keeps your javelin in working order. He’s a legend in the Freelancer world and your begrudging mentor, though he hasn’t suited up himself in quite a while.

These are just a few known NPCs that will aid you on your patrols and quests outside Fort Tarsis. Since Anthem is purported to have an equal focus on story and gameplay (since it’s BioWare, anyway), it remains to be seen whether dialogue options will be present when interacting with these NPCs.

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Javelins & Customisation

So far, we know about the four Javelin types in Anthem that you can start your campaign with and very briefly on what they’re each capable of, each of their strengths, ultimate abilities, and so on. What we didn’t get a look of before was the customisation options available to us on the character screen.

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Here’s how the character screen might look like in the game.

As per the website, “each javelin has two pieces of offensive gear, one piece of support gear, six components, and two weapons that can be switched in and out to customize your loadout”. All this gear adds up to your Gear Score, which is an indicator of how powerful your Javelin is.

To acquire more gear – and ultimately level up your Gear Score – you’ll need to complete missions and explore the world for hidden treasures. Once you do, you’ll be able to outfit your Javelin with those swanky new upgrades in the Forge in Fort Tarsis.

You can also customise your Javelin in more subtle, cool ways:

  • A javelin’s paint job is made up of two parts: paint and materials.
  • Materials change the texture of your javelin, making it look metallic, leathery, and everything in between. Each javelin is broken into six areas that can be assigned their own materials, so you can have multiple textures across a suit.
  • You can pair different paints and materials to create a truly unique javelin. Want to use battle-stained canvas and neon orange leather on the same suit? No problem.
  • You can add five character animations to your loadout, including an arrival animation, a victory pose, and three emotes.

Gameplay

At this point some of you might probably be calling out “Destiny, is that you?”. Owlbear Gaming’s explanation on what makes Anthem stand out from its Bungie counterpart might just allay those doubts and fears.

Anthem consists of three main gameplay modes:

  • Quests, which progress the main story.
  • Dominion Strongholds, instanced dungeons where you’ll be infiltrating and destroying the enemy faction’s strategic assets.
  • Freeplay Expeditions, where you’ll be simply flying around in your Javelin in search of loot to scrounge or take part in random World Events.

Being an MMO-lite, Anthem will feature the inclusion of multiplayer content quite prominently. You’ll see players flitting in and out of your worlds especially in Fort Tarsis and in Freeplay, and you can call on friends to help you out on missions.

This is, however, not to say that you can’t play Anthem solo if you’re a lone wolf, of course, so it sounds great that you have options here!


As we’ve said before, Anthem is shaping up to be a pretty big deal. And by EA’s and BioWare’s standards, this should go down as one of the biggest games of the year. Keyword: should.

How that sentiment will play out remains to be seen. For now, the demo for the game will be out this week, so that’s something to look forward to!

Anthem officially launches on February 22 for PS4, Xbox One and PC.


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