- Related Games:
BioWare’s upcoming action RPG, Anthem, seeks to restore the developer’s reputation after Mass Effect Andromeda‘s mediocrity. As Freelancers, players are tasked with exploring Fort Tarsis’ surrounding environments via customizable exosuits called Javelins. These open world areas are supposedly riddled with savage beasts and lost ruins to keep players invested, regardless if they’re playing solo or experiencing Anthem with a group of friends. Though the game holds a lot of promise, there are a few reasons why fans should keep their expectations in check.
Reasons to worry about Anthem | Absence of PVP
The absence of a player-versus-player (PVP) mode in Anthem is surprising, considering how most popular titles today feature some spin on Team Deathmatch or the battle royale genre. The game’s executive producer confirmed that the option would not be available at launch in June 2018. This past January, however, producer Scylla Costa stated that the inclusion of PVP depends on the community’s feedback. It seems as though BioWare itself is a bit unsure if PVP will be the right fit.
Though the studio deserves merit for sticking with its original vision, the lack of player-versus-player firefights may disinterest fans that are accustomed to sprawling battlefields. Seeing as how Anthem touts itself as a multiplayer-centric experience, it seems odd that it limits itself solely to cooperative missions. Users may not stick with the title long after its release, as there are few competitive elements to keep them invested. These fans may play Apex Legends instead, and EA could cannibalize its product offerings for the second time in recent memory.
Reasons to worry about Anthem | Destiny and Warframe similarities
Since Anthem‘s official reveal in 2017, many fans have pointed out the game’s similarities to other popular third-person shooters on the market. The most obvious is Bungie’s Destiny, as the two properties share class-based structures that include mage, tank, and support roles. A lot of emphasis is also placed on player-versus-environment (PVE) experiences in each title, specifically in the form of enemy wave onslaughts.
Though the likenesses don’t end there, Anthem may benefit from its similarities to Destiny now that Bungie’s franchise is in-between major releases. After all, Destiny players on the lookout for something new may find BioWare’s title to be right up their alley. On the other hand, video game fans who are disinterested in Destiny may dismiss Anthem without giving it a proper chance.
Arguably, a bigger threat lies in Digital Extremes’ Warframe, the likes of which still boasts an impressive player base nearly six years after its debut. Users who are curious about the loot shooter genre may prefer to try this free-to-play title rather than purchase something they may not even like for $60. Free is a hard option to pass by on, especially when the situation comes down to two games revolving around the same gameplay premise.
Reasons to worry about Anthem | EA is publishing it
After poor sales of Battlefield 5, EA is looking to establish a revenue source that will consistently pay its bills going forward. It’s obvious that both EA and BioWare are hoping that Anthem will mark the start of a new, profitable franchise. The latter has said that the game could be part of a 10-year journey if all goes well.
If all doesn’t go exactly as planned and players don’t flock to the game, trouble may lie ahead. EA doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to keeping studios open, and BioWare may be on thin ice if Anthem ends up being a commercial failure. Of course, it’s unlikely that the studio will shutter immediately, as the company has already announced another Dragon Age game to be in development. BioWare’s closure will be more plausible if this title doesn’t do well, as it’ll mark the developer’s third consecutive failure within a few short years.
On a similar note, EA isn’t well known for its excellent public relations team either. The publisher and BioWare should communicate among themselves before attempting to pacify any heated situations that may arise. It goes without saying that none of the parties would like to be reminded of the controversy surrounding Star Wars Battlefront 2.
Reasons to worry about Anthem | Microtransactions
Fans who’ve played Anthem‘s open beta have already reported ridiculous prices for skins, emotes, and other cosmetic items. Though BioWare has stated that these numbers are not final, many are worried that the game will charge hefty premiums for innocuous materials that could be offered for little or no money. A controversy could arise that’s similar in vein to that involving Star Wars Battlefront 2, which incentivised players to spend more of their real-life money at release with low open rates for rare items. It’s unlikely that any debate that arises from Anthem will draw the same level of ire, however, as there’ll be no loot boxes this time around.
Perhaps EA and BioWare have learned enough from the past to not repeat the same mistakes going forward. It remains to be seen how drastically these early prices will change once the final version of Anthem is released. Though there’s probably DLC planned in the form of story expansions or new features, BioWare’s treatment of additional content in the past has usually been fair. Should the studio ever want to introduce a PVP mode, for instance, it’s likely that it will offer it to fans for free.
Of course, the reasons above shouldn’t completely deter fans from anticipating BioWare’s latest release. The studio’s pedigree alone warrants attention, as this is the company that crafted critical and commercial hits like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire, and the Mass Effect trilogy. Anthem could prove to be a breath of fresh air in a market oversaturated with battle royale games. Ultimately, fans will have to wait to discover whether or not the title defies the cynicism leveled at it so far. If all turns out well, it’ll surpass naysayer expectations.