While EA’s annual E3 press conference brings perennial updates on the latest iteration of titles like FIFA, Madden, and Battlefield, it is often full of unexpected surprises, and few were more surprising than Anthem‘s reveal in 2017. The latest game from renowned game studio BioWare, Anthem looks like a heady blend of Mass Effect and Destiny, creating a shared-world, action-RPG full of giant monsters, hulking mechanical exosuits, and jetpacks (which automatically make a game worthy of my attention). On Saturday’s E3 press conference, BioWare developers revealed our best look yet at the game in a brand-new cinematic trailer, as well as a live gameplay demo, which the public can play at EA Play this week.The players take on the role of a “Freelancer,” who wear armored Javelin exosuits to survive the in a world left behind by the gods where a storm threatens to wipe out all of mankind. They are in direct conflict with members of the Dominion, a group of people looking to harness the power of “an unknowable force” known as the “Anthem of Creation,” according to lead writer Cathleen Rootsaert. The world is as deadly as it is beautiful, which means you’ll need to use your wits, wiles, and an endless array of weapons in order to survive until your next paycheck. There are four different types of Javelin exosuits the player can don–Ranger, Colossus, Interceptor, Storm–each of which come with their own unique abilities, movement speeds, and advantages in combat. The key to creating a successful team will be mixing and matching Javelins in order to complement each other’s abilities in battle. You won’t be locked in to a single choice either; you’ll be able to swap between the classes depending on your mood or what you think would best suit an upcoming mission.
If you’re thinking this sounds like BioWare’s Destiny, well, you’re not wrong.
Why yes I will play Bioware's Destiny
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) June 9, 2018
I always wanted a good Iron Man game. #E3 #Anthem
— Matt Bragg (@Axialmatt) June 9, 2018
And, of course, BioWare diehards were out there asking the REAL questions:
Important #Anthem question: can we romance and then bone our crew members? This is very important. Please I need to know my crops are dying— #EAPlay
— Mica Burton (@MicaBurton) June 9, 2018
BIOWARE: in this game you're gonna get absolutely pounded by a titan.
EVERYONE: Go on…..
— chris person (@Papapishu) June 9, 2018
Players looking for Mass Effect or Dragon Age-style romances might be in for a disappointment. Anthem lead producer Mike Gamble spoke with Game Informer and said that there won’t be much in the way of romance in the game.
“There are no romances,” Gamble said (via Kotaku). “There are friendships. Some of the stuff we did with Mass Effect – the Citadel DLC specifically – there was a lot of friendship moments. You and Garrus sitting up, shooting – that kind of stuff, we want to lean into that. The romantic stuff, we’re moving away from that for Anthem.”
The game will be fully playable both as a single player and in co-op, so you if you’re feeling particularly anti-social–as I’m wont to do every now and then–you don’t have to deal with any pesky human interaction. However, if you have a core group of gamer pals that you like to conquer new worlds with, you’ll be able to squad up and tackle the many monsters populating the world. That being said, the game is putting story first and foremost with an emphasis on keeping the action-heavy combat of the shared world separate from the story-driven moments you’ll experience back in your base, which are almost a wholly single-player experience. “This is where your story really lives and breathes,” said BioWare’s Mark Darrah at the press conference.
As for in-game monetization, cosmetics and vanity items will be available for purchase within the game, and you will know what you are getting in advance, but there will be no loot boxes or ability to “pay for power,” according to Darrah.
EA and BioWare announced that Anthem will hit store shelves on February 22, 2019 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC, although eagle-eyed fans spotted that the date leaked prior to the press conference via a listing on Amazon Italy.
What do you think of Anthem? Will you be playing solo or with a group? Let us know in the comments below!
Stay tuned to Nerdist all week long for the latest and greatest in E3 coverage.
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Dan Casey is the senior editor of Nerdist and the author of books about Star Wars and the Avengers. Follow him on Twitter ( @DanCasey).