Anthem, EA & BioWare’s “Destiny Killer” is finally, mercifully, being put out of its misery. Today BioWare announced that development on Anthem is ceasing. This includes all work on Anthem 2.0, the proposed rehaul of the beleaguered looter-shooter.
This update effectively puts the final nail in Anthem’s coffin. EA and BioWare have committed to a future where Anthem is remembered as a complete and utter failure, and it, like Battleborn recently, will be left to wither away.
Sadly, the story of Anthem really isn’t even all that interesting to look back on. And unlike Battleborn, I don’t have a lot of good things to say about it.
Anthem was incredibly ambitious, very beautiful, and had some of the best jet-pack flying mechanics I’ve ever experienced in a video game.
It was also completely soulless, devoid of an interesting gameplay loop, and it had a bland, and below-average story at best.
Like many, my experience with Anthem was frustrating and short-lived. I was initially enthralled by the game’s beautiful world. I saw the potential in the game’s four classes and how they could synergize together.
I also looked forward to eventually seeing this world open up and tackling challenging bosses using the full power of my Javelin suit alongside friends similar to what I do did with my guardian in Destiny 2 at the time. BioWare doing a looter-shooter was very appealing to me as someone who loves Mass Effect and loves games like Destiny.
None of that hope ever materialized into something real for me, though. While the world was great to look at, it was uninteresting. I wish I could tell you what I thought about the story here but I can’t even remember a single story beat or character.
Do you know what I do remember, though? The infamous Tombs of the Legionnaires mission, a massive time-sink grind inexplicably put in towards the beginning of the story that made me want to put Anthem away in its case and never take it out.
By comparison, in the opening minutes of the original Mass Effect, BioWare wastes no time setting the stage of this fictionalized and fascinating version of our Milky Way galaxy. Playing it for the first time, it effectively introduced me to the various alien races, main characters, politics, major locations, etc. Mass Effect starts off hot, never lets off the gas, and before I knew it, I was reading codex entries on planets that I couldn’t even land on just because I wanted to know every bit of detail about this expertly crafted universe.
The gameplay couldn’t save Anthem early on either. I couldn’t stomach blasting through hordes of boring rank and file enemies that I knew very little about, and slogging my way through uninteresting bullet sponge bosses. Grinding for better equipment was a chore and figuring out how to create your perfect character felt unintuitive.
I’d like to go on but I can’t. Like most people, I didn’t have it in me to push through all of those problems and I gave up on Anthem shortly after launch.
There were plenty of other better, well-developed looter-shooters that were more fun to play at that time. Between Destiny 2, and other MMOs like Final Fantasy XIV that commanded my attention then (and still do), I just didn’t have time to give a severely flawed game like Anthem a serious shot when it wanted so much of my time in return.
However, as successful as Destiny 2 and Final Fantasy XIV are, both of those games had their moments of doubt and pain. In those cases, the developers and publishers worked in concert to see their vision through and put out a product that players would enjoy.
We’ve seen time and time again in recent years that players are willing to give games second chances if a real effort is made to respond to criticism and make the game more fun to play. However, everyone involved in making the game has to really want that “good ending” and believe that they can get there.
EA and BioWare, though, either lacked vision, faith, or both. And instead of putting the work in to try and have Anthem live up to what fans hoped it could be, they have both decided that the best course of action is to cut their losses and commit to the “bad ending” for Anthem. It sucks, but if they don’t believe in it, it’s probably for the best.
I said that Battleborn deserved better when I wrote about it being put down last month. Anthem, on the other hand, got what it deserved.