The only video from the game so far dates from June 10th. 5 months ago.
Given that EA is in the news, why not have some rampant speculation! None of it positive!
1 – It’s Destiny but with flying
The same BioWare team that did Inquisition would be working on Anthem. Inq was mmo-ified, just lacking multiplayer. Sure does look like Destiny – just with a different background and more focus on the 3D space.
2 – MTX everywhere
Where EA applies the EA logic to gameplay, and the lootbox fun that no one wants. Want that neat gun that does double damage? Gamble away for it. Don’t actually buy the gun, that would cheapen the gun. Gamble away for a secondary credit that you get in random amounts. The gun could cost $10 or $100, cross your fingers!
3 – Timers everywhere
Gate things through timers and charge people to reduce the timers. Crafting, missions, grouping. Timers.
4 – Looks good, hard to see
I’ve never been a fan of the Uncharted series combat, since line of sight (LOS) is so hard to come by. Most quality FPS games have a mix of open spaces, then closed spaces. All told, you can still SEE things, targets in particular. Horizon (robot dinosaurs) are a challenge, in particular in dense foliage because you can’t see them.
Anthem, in that video in particular, has a line of sight issue. From that 3:00 to 5:00 mark, it is really hard to make out what is going on.
5 – Bugs. Everywhere.
I was a huge Bioware fan for many, many years. When the doctors left, it was a passing of the torch. SWTOR launched, buggy and missing key pieces. The story was amazing, but the other parts lacked polish. That was the way every Bioware game had ever launched – we just ignored the rusty bits. Fine enough for single player – just reload. Time is crunched, things don’t work, day 1 patch, day 30 kitchen sink patch and then cross your fingers.
6 – Frostbite is a limiter
The engine all EA games work on (Frostbite) is both a bane and a boon to the dev cycle. It’s “easy” enough to swap people from one project to the next, and to re-use previous content. The engine is purpose-built and after a few years now, people are getting a better handle. Unfortunately, it is built for closed-space FPS games. Large scale, dynamic systems are a challenge. Battlefront will help, but that will also mean that Anthem is more akin to lobby-based/sectional games than an open-world game.
7 – Poor inventory management
This is just a general problem with RPGs today. Inventory is a mess. There’s just too much stuff and no way to organize it.
8 – No group management
Following the Destiny trend, there will be no group management. Guilds/clans, sure. But active grouping and easy to use tools… nope.
9 – Poor length
Again, like Destiny and the Division, a lack of forethought to extending the life of the game so as to merit the name “games as a service”. I would love to avoid another “dark zone”, or “single run forever” mentality. Breadth of options = longevity.
10 – 1 year delay
To be fair, any game that wants to launch to a very large user base aught not be silent for months at a time (nearly half a year). If it’s to launch in 12-18 months, then dev cycles tell me the core gameplay is done, and the side systems are being worked on. No news means no progress, means at least a year’s delay. Launch will be in the Sep-Nov timeframe… in order to get as many eyes as possible.
11 – Bioware’s last game
In two ways. BW was recognized for making deep RPGs with interesting stories. Mass Effect: Andromeda shook that trend, enough to shutter one of the studios. Anthem appears to be taking the MMO part of SWTOR (people and stats) and ditching the RPG portion. Those interested in a story will have to stick with SWTOR (which isn’t a terrible thing).
Second, EA has a tendency to close their studios who do not exceed expectations. Unless Anthem is a smash (see above), this could be the final hurrah for the company name. Which would be a shame.