Bungie, BioWare, and Bethesda were the three largest breakout game developers of the 2000s, storming into the mainstream and changing the way we look at shooters, RPGs, and a hybrid of both. This year at E3, each three of the “Bs” is bound to turn up huge, and indeed, two of them will emerge in direct competition with one another.
BioWare announced its brand new IP Anthem during EA’s E3 2017 press conference this weekend. A 45-second teaser shows off a sci-fi shooter that very clearly is gunning for Bungie and Activision’s Destiny crowd.
We don’t see any gameplay, but the setup revolves around a giant wall that separates civilization from the wilderness. Those who explore beyond the safety of the wall arm themselves with powerful body armor that, no doubt, lets them survive encounters with aliens and monsters of the worst description.
We don’t know much else, but it is confirmed that BioWare’s main studio in Edmonton is in control of this project. EA and BioWare promise to show off more at Microsoft’s press conference tomorrow.
Destiny isn’t all that Anthem has to overcome
BioWare clearly wants to contend with Destiny using this project, and if the studio can dig deep into its storytelling roots, Anthem could have a fighting chance. However, there is also an enormous cloud hovering over BioWare these days, another issue that it will have to confront if it wants Anthem to succeed.
Dragon Age: Inquisition and Mass Effect: Andromeda were both met with middling reviews and hardly the same universal praise that BioWare’s groundbreaking titles from the previous decade received. The quality of its games and leaking insider stories tell a tale of a studio that is contending with rapid growth and recovering from losing many of the masterminds that made BioWare’s style a video game past time.
Anthem has the potential to be both a return to form or a new direction for the studio to take. Whichever it is, BioWare needs to not trip over its own feet this time and deliver something memorable if it wants to retain the reverent attitude that the gaming audience has for it. Otherwise, a generation will grow up wondering what all the fuss is about.
We’ll see more tomorrow on Anthem at Microsoft’s press conference. The game will be released in early 2018 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
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