Anthem's lead designers, including Bioware General Manager Casey Hudson, took the stage to dissect Anthem. On top of showing off more of the gameplay, the studio revealed the game's early 2019 release date.
Bioware reinforced the "living" element of the game's shared open world. The world constantly changes, and events such as dramatic weather storms occur at the same time for all players. Despite the multiplayer premise, Bioware stressed that delivering a rich narrative is the primary focus. To achieve this vision, safe havens across the world of Anthem will serve as a kind of instanced hub where the decisions players make cause changes and growth unique to each player's game.
On the subject of story, Anthem take place on a world left unfinished by the gods that shaped it. For unknown reasons, the gods abandoned powerful, world changing tools, some still active, leaving them scattered across the planet. These godly objects and their functions cause discord in the force called the Anthem of Creation. Since the world is incomplete and in dissonance, it has fallen victim to an array of violent storms and is inhabited by monsters. Thus, Freelancers, the pilots behind the Iron Man-esque suits, called Javelins, wear their armor to survive the harsh environment.
Javelin's are also a necessity for battling malevolent forces that seek to weaponize the forces shaping the world. These were only hinted at briefly during EA's presentation, but we know they're called The Dominion. The conflict of the story seems to be based on the forces of The Dominion having discovered a way to weaponize the Anthem of Creation. Which... seems bad? We'll have to wait to find out more!
Javelins come in four classes. Rangers, Colossus, Interceptor, and Storm. Each have their own special traits and players aren't tied to a single class. Depending on the situation, Anthem allows players to choose the best suit for the job. This also allows flexible strategy in deciding squad make-ups. Javelins can be customized with various colors and patterns, letting player create a look that suits them or their squad. Cosmetic items will be for sale (presumably costing real money), but Anthem contains no loot boxes and players won't be "able to purchase power" according to Bioware.
Up to four players can taken on Anthem cooperatively, but the game can be experienced entirely solo. However, Bioware warns that Anthem's dangers become tougher for those who face them alone.
Pre-orders are now open. Players who jump in early receive a VIP demo access and an in-game Founders Banner. Pre-ordering the standard version unlocks a legendary weapon the Legion of Dawn armor for the Ranger Javelin. Those that spring for the Legion of Dawn Edition receive the titular armor packs, a gear attachment for the Ranger, and digital soundtrack among other extras. Look for Anthem on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC via Origin.