An­them

BioWare wants its share of the shared world pie, writes

Hyper - - PREVIEW - David Wild­goose

An­them will likely be one of the high­est pro­file games - shooter or oth­er­wise - of next year. But de­spite be­ing in devel­op­ment for four years and the star of EA’s stage show at E3 2017, it re­mains a game shrouded in mys­tery. To be hon­est, we’re still try­ing to an­swer the ques­tion: what is An­them?

We know it’s in devel­op­ment at BioWare, the RPG pow­er­house best known in re­cent years for its Mass Ef­fect and Dragon Age games. Specif­i­cally, we know devel­op­ment is be­ing headed up by BioWare’s Ed­mon­ton stu­dio, the same stu­dio that took the lead on all three Dragon Ages and the Shep­ard tril­ogy of Mass Ef­fect be­fore that se­ries was hand­balled to BioWare Mon­treal. We also know that Casey Hud­son, who served as cre­ative direc­tor on the first three Mass Ef­fects has re­cently re­turned to BioWare Ed­mon­ton as gen­eral man­ager in or­der to over­see pro­duc­tion on An­them. All these facts mean we feel con­fi­dent in say­ing that An­them is in safe hands.

BioWare and EA have de­scribed An­them as a “shared world ac­tionRPG” where play­ers can band to­gether in groups of up to four to ex­plore a “con­tigu­ous open world” and em­bark on var­i­ous quests. It’s not en­tirely clear whether you will see other play­ers - out­side your group of four - in the same world, as in Des­tiny, or whether it’s more of a Border­lands ap­proach to on­line play. We would ex­pect the former, but BioWare has yet to clar­ify.

We know that it’s a shooter. The min­i­mal footage made pub­lic so far has shown play­ers wield­ing sci-fi shot­guns, sniper ri­fles and mor­tars. It’s also shown them tak­ing down a large en­emy and be­ing un­ex­pect­edly re­warded with a spe­cial named ri­fle, so it ap­pears to also have ran­dom loot drops. There are also XP pop-ups when play­ers dis­cover new lo­ca­tions and kill en­e­mies, so it ap­pears to qual­ify as an ac­tion-RPG.

We know that play­ers in­habit ex­o­suits that con­fer var­i­ous abil­i­ties, in­clud­ing a jet­pack that al­lows them to fly. We know there’s an all-rounder one and a heavy, tank-like one, which means that the only thing left to do is wait for the light­weight but nim­ble one to be re­vealed. Hope­fully there’s more than three ex­o­suits to choose from. We know that An­them plays from first- and third-per­son. Footage ap­pears to show the first-per­son view lim­ited to the so­cial, hub area with the third-per­son view swap­ping in when play­ers leave to start shoot­ing and loot­ing. We don’t whether this is forced or op­tional. We know An­them looks su­per pretty. We know there’s some jun­gle bits and some ru­ined build­ings. We know there’s some caves and you can fly your ex­o­suit un­der­wa­ter. We know play­ers can join you midgame. We know there’s a mar­ket area that looks a bit like a Star Wars desert planet. And that's about it.

Ex­cept the thing we know most of all is we need to know a lot more about An­them.

THE ONLY THING LEFT TO DO IS WAIT FOR THE LIGHT­WEIGHT BUT NIM­BLE ONE TO BE RE­VEALED

Like true mil­i­taryin­doc­tri­nated pa­tri­ots, these sol­diers stand for the An­them.

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