Anthem’s 8 Keys to Stepping out of Battlefront 2’s Shadow
It feels like only yesterday we were cautiously optimistic about what Star Wars: Battlefront 2 would bring to the table. I myself had written an article on what EA owes us in the sequel to make up for the lackluster and mismanaged Star Wars Battlefront. So to have seen the aftermath in what Battlefront 2 became and the recent news that BioWare’s intensely anticipated title, Anthem, was to be postponed by another year due to “unrealistic goals” there are more red flags than the First Order have ever flown.
So let’s attempt to step back from the bad taste Battlefront 2 left in our mouths and focus on what looks to be one of, if-not-the most ambitious games possible: Anthem. When the trailer dropped back at E3 2017, it was too good to be true. Unbelievable. Inconceivable. Impossible. We have been given trailers before that vastly overstated what the game was capable of, but seeing the grungy state of Fort Tarsis and then the jaw-dropping world beyond the wall… we couldn’t help but squeal in anticipation. It wasn’t until Battlefront 2 that our dreams of blasting through the sky like a custom Iron-Man were taking fire at the realization EA was at the helm. With that in mind – and some possibly misplaced optimism – here are the 8 ways EA and BioWare can get it right with Anthem.
1. Micro-Managed Microtransactions
Let’s step out of the gate with the elephant on everyone’s mind: microtransactions. EA has suffered the biggest public backlash of a developer in recent memory for its abuse and butchery of microtransactions, so much so that they had to patch the game and turn it off. As mentioned in COGconnected’s Press X To Podcast, Ubisoft has been the most successful with the use of microtransactions; the purchases are cosmetic, not mission critical, and really just for fun, only costing a small amount of money as opposed to massive season passes. If EA is going to still try to include microtransactions, they need to take a page from Ubisoft to avoid Anthem tanking before it even hits the shelf.
2. Functional Multiplayer
It’s not hard to see that one of the key comparisons for Anthem is Destiny. While Destiny 2 has been in the news a lot recently for less than wonderful reasons, the fact remains it has one of the best MMO/multiplayer aspects around. Interacting with random players to take on huge battles is exhilarating but still lets you play single player, and there is no reason you can’t form the equivalent of a fireteam in Anthem to do bigger missions. The trailer for Anthem shows us the multiplayer focus, but we need to not only see it in practice, but know that the game is perfectly playable in a single player capacity – preferably like Destiny 2.
3. A Worthy Story
What we have been teased by the trailer is that everyone lives behind a massive wall on a gorgeous, seemingly endless world. This immediately raises a number of questions we don’t have answers too: where are they? What happened? Why did they build the wall? We essentially know nothing, and in a game with so much complexity – and keep in mind this is a Bioware game which means we expect phenomenal story – we have to understand the world around us. While we need a solid multiplayer aspect, Anthem needs to be able to stand on its own with an immersive, interesting, haunting world and backstory to unfold. If we can beat the main campaign in a few hours because the focus is solely on multiplayer than the ball has been dropped. Anthem needs to be big; it has the makings of being a truly global experience, which means including a lengthy and compelling single-player story.
4. True Open World Experience
Every few months, a new open world game hits the market, touting the largest possible open world in gaming… at the time. Each game in the Mass Effect series has been known for getting progressively larger with huge sections of alien worlds open to explore. Bioware has been quiet since Andromeda – hopefully, focused on Anthem – so the simple point is this: Do not go into space, do not explore other worlds, give us what is quite possibly the first truly open world game. The verticality of Anthem seen in the trailer is staggering, with so many more options than we have seen before, but given the time going into this, the tech available in video games, the history of Bioware map sizes, and the extra time needed for the game’s release, it’s not impossible to see this as being a true open world or almost fully open world experience. If they can populate the planet in a way that makes Pandora from Avatar blush like we see in the trailer, then the bigger the world, the better.
Head over to PAGE 2 for the next items on our list…