When is the Anthem release date? Anthem was undoubtedly one of the biggest reveals at E3 2017, and BioWare’s brand new IP is almost ready to fly onto PC. From the minds behind the original Mass Effect, the game looks to be targeting the likes of Destiny 2 and The Division in terms of being the next huge, live MMO-like. But what is it, exactly? We’ve got all the details right here.
Anthem places you in mechanised combat suits known as Javelins, effectively turning us all into Iron Man. These suits enhance strength, allow the user to wield incredibly powerful weapons, and even fly like a fighter jet. Those that use these Javelins – known through Anthem’s world as Freelancers – take on jobs to help the planet’s surviving population. This is a world plagued by monstrous creatures and colossal, destructive storms. By banding together in co-op missions, you’ll be able to do your part in making the world a better place.
EA and BioWare had long kept much of Anthem’s details to themselves, but after a lengthy hands on with the game and demo access, we now have a better understanding of the game. Here’s everything you need to know about Anthem.
Anthem release date
Anthem will release on February 22, 2019. It can be pre-ordered for PC on Origin store, where two versions are available: the standard and Legion of Dawn edition, priced £54.99 and £69.99 respectively. If you want to play with friends playing on consoles, however, we have bad news: there will be no Anthem cross platform play at launch.
Pre-orders offer a bonus of the Legion of Dawn Ranger armour pack, a legendary weapon, a Founders player banner, plus VIP access to pre-launch demos. Should you opt in to the more expensive Legion of Dawn edition, you’ll also get a complete set of Legion of Dawn Javelin armour packs, a legendary weapon and gear attachment, plus the digital soundtrack.
You’ll have got your first taste of the game with Anthem demo access. However, now that both are over, you’ll have to wait until the game officially releases to get your hands on it again. Players were frustrated at server problems such as infinite loading screens and connection issues in the VIP demo – plus unsatisfactory mouse and keyboard controls – so hopefully the main game is free of those issues.
However, the Anthem live events in the open demo promise exciting limited-time events in future. They are a part of the Anthem roadmap that includes the three-part Echoes of Reality update. This consists of Evolving World, Stronger Together, and Cataclysm, the latter seeming to refer to the aforementioned live events. As part of the roadmap we’ll get new events, quality of life updates, rewards, Strongholds, progression system changes and plenty more.
Anthem is a persistent online game, one that BioWare believes you’ll be playing for a very long time, too; EA plans for Anthem to run for ten years. Also, EA and BioWare have confirmed that while you can play Anthem on your own or in drop-in/drop-out co-op. Anthem will not have PvP, and will, at least initially, rely entirely on PvE gameplay.
That will consist mostly of story missions, freeplay, and contracts accepted by different Fort Tarsis factions. There will also be Strongholds, larger scale missions that fall somewhere between the Strikes and Raids you’ll find in Destiny 2.
Mark Darrah has confirmed that Anthem will have raid matchmaking, meaning you won’t have trouble finding other high-level players with whom to complete difficult missions. There will be no settings for the matchmaking in Anthem: Darrah says that it would be too “exclusionary”. However, he also said on Twitter that the team want to try and balance parties as much as possible.
Players are also encouraged to play alongside freelancers of all levels and experience. BioWare has a system designed to reward high-level players for helping out newbies, so even if you’re falling far behind your friends’ progress, they won’t be at a disadvantage if they do lower-level missions with you. When it comes to endgame, combining the strengths of each Javelin will be important for overcoming the game’s biggest challenges.
One of many reasons to play in multiplayer is to take advantage of the combos system. To execute one you must enable the two halves of a combo move: primer and detonator. A primer could be freezing or electrocuting a foe to the spot, then the detonator could be a melee finisher. You’ll know you’ll have completed a combo when the delightful ding sounds and ‘Combo!’ appears on the screen. Combos are endless early on, but essential when it comes to late game.
If you’d rather not play with others, though, the entirety of Anthem – besides freeplay – can be attempted solo. If that’s you, you can just set your game to private. Crucially, Anthem’s story missions can be played as an always-online single-player game, for the most part.
Related: Is Anthem a Destiny killer?
Being a BioWare game, Anthem’s story is core to the experience, and this is emphasised through solo segments of the game. While the open-world mission areas are shared environments, the places you return to after questing are private zones reserved for each individual player. There’s also the Anthem Launch Bay, a 16-player social hub that lets you hang out with friends away from the bluster of battle.
Other examples of these private zones are Anthem’s Fort Tarsis and your Strider; an AT-AT-like moving forward base. These single-player areas are explored in first-person, and are where you’ll interact with NPC characters and Anthem dialogue choices – which will not lock you out of any missions, don’t worry – and experience the more traditional story-led aspects of Anthem. It’s still unclear how longer single-player segments will be reconciled with the desire to jump straight back into mission with friends, however.
Fort Tarsis is your single-player hub in which you can pick up missions, track your progress, and speak to NPCs. You can also find items that reveal more of the context and colour of Anthem’s world, and there’s the Vault, the place to store weapons and items.
There are Anthem we know BioWare are considering that won’t be available at launch, however: Anthem’s player trading won’t be ready straight away but, when it is, Fort Tarsis will be your trading hub. This won’t be between players right away but lead producer Mike Gamble admitted at PAX West that it could be something added to the game at some point.
One mechanic that BioWare has introduced is the ability to save particular gear loadouts that can be quickly swapped out during combat situations. In other words, Javelins can adjust to different styles of battle easily and efficiently. This, however, won’t apply to the ultimate for each Javelin which will not be interchangeable at launch.
Acting like classes, Javelins are the exo-suits worn by Freelancers and they can be customised in the Anthem Forge. There are four different types and are unlocked periodically. Be wary of how much heat your Javelin builds, though; overheat and you’ll stall and fall. Thankfully diving into water or flying through a waterfall will cool you down instantly. The Anthem Javelins are:
- Colossus: this tank-like mech uses a taunt to attract aggro before blasting enemies away with heavy weaponry.
- Ranger: an all-rounder, the Ranger is a strong choice for solo gameplay.
- Storm: this mage-like Javelin is better-placed in the air as it sprays elemental damage.
- Interceptor: this nimble mech can chain dodges and melee moves to run rings around targets.
You can own multiple Javelins and they can all be customised with different gear, weaponry, cosmetics, and paint jobs, including a suit of N7 armour for Ranger. The Javelin customisation options even extend to the kinds of materials are covering each area of the suit. Customisation items can be earned as mission rewards, found as loot, or crafted.
As you can see in the image of the Legendary Volt Rifle above, each Anthem weapon has a names, level, and rarity. The rarity scale works in ascending order from common to uncommon, rare, epic, masterwork, and legendary.
The rarer the item, the more inscriptions it’ll have. You’ll get at least one of these passive perks from uncommon rarity and above, but the most exotic weapons and gear will have five. Inscriptions are an important means of customising your Anthem builds: you’ll want to shape your loadout around your playstyle and especially tough battles.
But what if you get the wrong inscription on the right weapon, or vice versa? Rather than the weapon rolling of Destiny 2, Anthem’s crafting is your solution. During your game you’ll have a chance of finding blueprints to build weapons over and over until you get the combination you’re looking for.
However, if you want to craft higher tier version of that gun, you’ll need to complete certain challenges. For instance, that could be sufficient kills with that weapon. You gain crafting materials by salvaging weapons and items you don’t need, and by picking them up from the world’s flora and fauna. With time, you’ll be able to craft the rare version of the your favourite weapons kitted out with some boss-bashing bonuses.
A big question that should be asked about any online game is, what happens after the game and its story have been finished? In this case, the endgame will be characterised by raids, (aka Strongholds) which form the bulk of the Anthem endgame.
So, how do they work? As we’ve seen in endgame content in the likes of Destiny 2, Anthem’s Strongholds are aimed at players who have completed the story and want to continue building their skills and customising their Freelancer. These tougher missions are very tough to solo, but they give you the chance to get elite gear and bragging rights. Also, Strongholds will scale in difficulty based on the number of players in a squad.
We also know that there’ll be Legendary Contracts. This is a rarer and tougher version of normal contracts, which are smaller missions you can acquire from humanity’s different factions. These shorter expeditions will award more exotic and powerful loot, so don’t miss them when they crop up.
Anthem is a “science fantasy” game according to BioWare, with the studio’s general manager Aaryn Flynn drawing comparisons between it, Star Wars, and the Marvel universe. “You see a lot of amazing things happening,” he explained, “but we don’t worry too much about why they’re happening or how they’re happening, the science of it. Mass Effect is more our real hardcore science fiction IP, this one is much more about having fun in a lush game world that really sucks you in.” In short, don’t expect scientific justifications behind every fantastical thing you see on-screen.
Anthem is set on a planet abandoned by the gods. These masters of creation – known as Shapers – left their massive tools behind when they fled. Mechanically, the planet works as an open world, with colossally huge environments. It’s lush and vibrant, with a tropical rainforest feel. Huge trees, rivers, and rock formations greet you on the surface before you dive into deep blue water to subterranean caves.
BioWare has kept much of the game’s narrative under wraps, but they have claimed that Anthem will “solve” storytelling in live multiplayer games. We’re not convinced that BioWare have managed to design a story that remains strong with repeated plays based on what we’ve played, however: we think the best anecdotes will be written by you and your co-op friends.
Regardless, the story goes that once the gods departed their unfinished world, monsters and other big bads filled the void, forcing humanity into their walled fortress, Fort Tarsis. Your job as one of Fort Tarsis’ Freelancers will be to protect the humanity and the effects of the ancient and abandoned Shaper technology.
Related: Team up for the best co-op games on PC
This tech is millennia ahead of anything humanity can understand, but your enemies – a human faction named the Dominion and an alien faction, the Scar – are both trying to gain access to the world-shapers. Freelancers are their own tech faction in the Anthem universe and you won’t be able to leave and join others.
We know BioWare veteran Drew Karpyshyn was working on Anthem for some time. If you don’t know his name, you’ll no doubt be interested to hear that Karpyshyn was the lead writer on some of the studio’s most beloved games. His pen was behind the scripts of Mass Effect 1 and 2 and Knights of the Old Republic. Seems like there’s a chance for Anthem to have a decent plot, then.
Once you’ve polished off the story, there will be story-focused Anthem DLC that will be entirely free. At PAX West 2018, executive producer Mark Darrah explained how the team didn’t want to divide its player base between those who would pay for DLC, and those who wouldn’t.
Anthem system requirements
The Anthem system requirements aren’t too surprising based on the upcoming closed alpha. Now we have the official requirements, including the minimum level. Here they are:
- OS: 64-bit Windows 10
- CPU: Intel Core i5 3570 or AMD FX-6350
- RAM: 8 GB System Memory
- GPU: NVIDIA GTX 760, AMD Radeon 7970 / R9280X
- HARD DRIVE: At least 50 GB of free space
- OS: 64-bit Windows 10
- CPU: Intel Core i7-4790 3.6GHz or AMD Ryzen 3 1300X 3.5 GHz
- RAM: 16 GB System Memory
- GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1060/ RTX 2060, AMD RX 480
- HARD DRIVE: At least 50 GB of free space