There’s a lot of mystery to discover in Bioware’s Anthem

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I think it’s human nature to want answers. To never be satisfied with what we know, as we seek to obtain more knowledge. It’s probably why we love a mystery, especially if it’s one that can be solved. What people hate though, is the obtuse. That’s probably the reason why Destiny’s initial story fell so flat in its original incarnation, as it offered little to no resolution at all and instead relied on vague lore to detail its world.

Something that Bioware clearly wants to avoid with Anthem. While the game actually hews closer to Lost Planet and Iron Man in its construction, its story still has that Destiny influence, focusing on mystery and exploration to flesh out its narrative. A narrative that players will find more concrete answers to, the deeper they go.

“Anthem is framed in an unfinished world. The gods, who in creating the world, something happened to them partway through that. No one knows what happened, but they left behind these ancient relics and the world and the landscape itself is unfinished. It’s active, it’s unfinished and all the stories that happen within Anthem, occur in that world,” lead producer Mike Gamble said to Game Informer.

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In the world there are different factions who have their own lore and thoughts on exactly what this means, where we came from and where the enemies came from and all that kind of stuff. There’s a lot that we don’t know as the player, about the Shapers and what their intentions were and where they came from. And they weren’t necessarily a precursor race, they were the creators.

We don’t know if they lived on the planet, we don’t know if they were there, why they were there. And again that mystery is really core to the story of Anthem. There’s a lot of mystery out there, that you’re just waiting to dig in and pull apart and discover.

“I guess from that setup, and maybe this is too nonsensical, is how would they know that their world is unfinished? Wouldn’t it just be normal for them, in that sense? Could our world be unfinished and we just have no idea? It’s a really interesting question. I think a lot of this from the zen perspective is that it’s the storytelling that people do to explain what’s happening around them,” executive producer Mark Darrah added.

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People are living in a world where these things are turning on and causing not just destruction but actual creation, so they’re interpreting that as being an indication that this was a world that was in the middle of being created. Maybe the actual purpose was something different and this was always the intended endpoint, but humanity has actually interpreted as exactly that, which is ‘no no somebody much bigger and stronger than us was creating these things and for some reason stopped in the middle and just left everything, just left their tools scattered about’.

One snippet of information that we do have? Our actual role in the world of Anthem, as Javelin-piloting Freelancers who happen to be the line between humanity and extinction. “You are a Freelancer. The Freelancers are a group of like-minded individuals, they’re part of the reason why the world is a little less dangerous,” Gamble explained.

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You’re not a chosen one

They go on odd jobs, they help out, they do different things to kind of hold back the bay of the dangerous world. When the game starts, they’re kind of going through some tough times. The order of Freelancers isn’t as respected as it should be. They had a huge history, a great past that isn’t really carrying them forward anymore. So you have something to prove, and the game starts out with that.

You’re not a chosen one, you’re a group of many. Of course great things are happening around you, but you’re not a specific person with a specific purpose. Things happen in the story of the game that kind of thrust you into a great adventure. The Dominion are your primary nemesis. The Dominion are a human faction to the north who are militaristic and fascist, looking to dominate humanity on the world.

I like that. Just me, a regular fella in incredibly heavy handcrafted armour, doing his job and presumably finding himself way in over his head when the story of Anthem kicks into high gear. So far, Bioware’s latest title doesn’t look revolutionary but it does look like an unbelievable amount of fun on a very large bun. February 22 can’t get here soon enough.

Last Updated: June 21, 2018

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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