There’s been what some might describe as a distressingly low amount of new information lately about Anthem, BioWare’s co-op game about flying around in powerful Iron Man-style suits of robotic armour. Back in May, the developers said they were going “back to the drawing board” for their planned overhaul of Anthem, which met with tepid reviews when it initially launched nearly two years ago. Fortunately, there are signs of life in the form of a new devblog that provides some insights into what an Anthem 2.0 might look like, at least from the character build perspective.
In an update titled ‘Javelin Gameplay & Builds‘, BioWare studio director Christian Dailey explains how the Anthem team is approaching the redesign of Anthem’s Javelin progression systems. The post is careful to point out that everything in it is very much in the work-in-progress stage, but it’s nonetheless encouraging to see such a fundamental rethink of how Anthem might be rewarding its players when eventually it emerges, reborn.
One of the chief complaints Anthem players had with the game as it originally launched, Dailey says, was that Javelin builds simply weren’t satisfying. BioWare has been looking to solve that, and one idea it’s concepting is based around Javelin-specific skill trees.
Dailey says that increasing the Pilot Level figure over the course of the game simply hasn’t been a satisfying measure of players’ progress, and skill trees may help fill that gap by providing permanent ability unlocks for Javelins. As you gain experience with a particular Javelin with this progression concept, you unlock new abilities for that Javelin, which you then can use mods to further personalize.
Each Javelin skill tree would eventually unlock all the ‘baseline’ active and passive abilities, triggered abilities, and stat boosts for that Javelin, at which point you’d be able to pick a specialization. Each of these would have its own advanced skill tree, which in turn would provide more upgrades and abilities specific to that specialization.
That’s not all: Dailey says the Anthem team is considering replacing the existing components system with a new system of artifacts. Currently, the idea is to have a unique artifact for each Javelin, and that these will all be upgradeable into something that leans into the distinct “class fantasy” of that suit. “These Artifacts would change in appearance, depending on what parts you equip”, Dailey writes. “There’s also an opportunity to allow for more interesting decision making. The parts you equip would contribute to a powerful passive ability generated by the Artifact.”
Dailey closes the post with a heartfelt thanks to both the player community and his fellow developers, who he says “continue to bring a passion and enthusiasm each day to make the game we all love better.”
We don’t know when we’ll be seeing the relaunched version of Anthem, but we’re encouraged by the direction BioWare’s thinking is taking it.