Concept art pieces for the Anthem reboot show off new locations and classically-styled pirates

    
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Concept art pieces for the Anthem reboot show off new locations and classically-styled pirates

All we’ve heard about the upcoming reboot to multiplayer robo-suit shooter Anthem is that it’s going to take some time to get done. Since then, the Twitter account of BioWare Austin studio director Christiean Dailey has been pretty active, sharing a number of concept art pieces of the game in progress.

The artwork includes an extremely piratical pirate who looks ready to do all the piracy as well as one of the pirate hangouts, a very pretty landscape shot (even though it’s in portrait mode), and a unique looking settlement. These posts are interspersed with a couple of informational bits as well, including word of new factions and confirmation that another dev blog is on the way in the next few weeks.

For those who don’t remember, Anthem was rumored to be facing a complete overhaul in 2019, which was then confirmed by BioWare’s Casey Hudson, though this reboot isn’t being called 2.0 or Next. And while these recent updates aren’t exactly bloated with details, it at least does look like the concepting phase of Anthem’s refresh is continuing apace.

source: Twitter (1, 2, 3, 4) via VG247

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Greaterdivinity

Even with the pandemic slowing things down, I was hoping that we’d be seeing more than new concept art after 2+ months of them tinkering around. Like, some broad strokes of what they’re looking at rebuilding vs. reworking etc. This seems to be the first real communication that I can find since the reboot was announced in May, but I guess it’s still an improvement over their prior communications so there’s that : |

Leo
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Leo

I had thought this was just quietly canceled…

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Malcolm Swoboda

The base game definitely was, earlier this year with only news that they’ll cycle events.
But the ‘2.0/Next/whatever’ never was and they gave reminders every so often about it. They’re just not going to invest into marketing until there’s something to actually show (or is that too optimistic of them? it might be).

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Anstalt

Like others, I feel that these reveals are focused in the wrong direction, and it’s improvements to the gameplay / meta-game that we’d like to be hearing about.

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Ironwu

Seems to me that they are focusing on the wrong stuff. I don’t recall anyone calling out Anthem for not having pirates or enough locations. It was all about the game play, missing features, poorly implemented features, bad UI, and so forth.

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Malcolm Swoboda

Its absolutely true that gameplay other than many core combat concepts is what more people are needing to hear about. But it’ll be 2+ years since the original release and you can be damn sure that people won’t show up in 2021+ to grind the same places with just the same enemies and same story as we’ll be in a post-insert-mega-next-genish-title world. If the refresh was for this year I might agree, might, but if they’re taking their time then there must be new content as well. Quite a bit of it if possible, and they have a better handle on their pipeline.

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Arktouros

Seems like throwing good money after bad.

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Malcolm Swoboda

Anthem probably made great money at start, no? Then the next quarter hit and reality sets in that this Live Service title was set for a not-very-slow death. Seems that they just want to fix that part, as they already got the 2019 launch figures.

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Arktouros

Great money is often times defined by a profit ratio which is hard to know since we rarely know the budget that went into making of a game. For example they reported $100m in revenue for Anthem’s launch but that’s going to offset 7 years of game development that went into the game. Their live service earnings afterwords were absolutely trash. Compare this to something like APEX Legends which earned $93m but that was all in live service earnings as a free game which also help bolster their player count and keeps the game alive (free players are content for paying players).

The entire purpose of a live service game is to keep people playing and coming back, not just sell an upfront box title to recoup costs. Giving the same people even more money in the hopes they can maybe rescue the game just seems like a questionable business move to me. They likely could have spent that same capital elsewhere and get a bigger return than continuing to bet on a losing horse.

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Malcolm Swoboda

I know they didn’t succeed at their overall agenda, I’m just wondering if they more or less made up dev costs (or at least think they have the potential to), and now they have a structure that they’re rather work on at lower cost than putting another $10s+ of millions into another longer-term dream. Its a cheaper attempt at succeeding at what’s going on in the industry lately, in aims that works out better than last time, instead of putting so much on a totally new and expensive project that could end up already outdated to industry trends in the 2020s.

I’m speaking nothing to the quality of the game. But I will now – its pretty shite, it hasn’t succeeded, and one wonders if doing anything with it is at all worth it.

I think its a questionable move as well, I just include positive questioning in with the negative. I’m not saying that initial revenue makes it all okay – only that they might have the modeling that paints a better picture than many of us observers often assume. Might help that just as sports titles are never assumed to be relevant past a year (of high profit), Bioware branded titles, even Anthem, might never be assumed in the models to succeed at long term service. Anthem could even be a dud, but if its a cheaper dud to potentially revitalize than invest much more money in for a 2020s (non DA, non ME, as both have single player ‘baggage’) new IP again, the gains could be said to outweigh the risks and costs. And on some level, there’s prestige to account a bit for. Just as FFXIV ‘needed’ to fix itself to help better ensure the series is a money maker, EA may err on ‘needing’ to fix Anthem so the reputation doesn’t dampen all sorts of other marketing (this may also be a future reason to return to Mass Effect at some point, as they want some actively profitable IPs regardless of a single tepid entry; its just more extreme a case for Anthem).

Leo
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Leo

there is also the marketing budget which could have easily been millions of dollars for a game like this

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Kevin Smith

So are they going to try and sell this as a new game? They kinda screwed over those that bought into the first iteration. Wouldn’t surprise me to see them say sorry you have to repurchase this to play it now.

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Malcolm Swoboda

To try to guess, I’ll say that:

  • its a ‘new game’, maybe sold at less than a new AAA price, and either severely discounted or free to Anthem owners before a certain date they’ll clearly state (though annoy some with its suddenness, but its over a year past release already)
  • it’ll be built to support paid expansions, something the original may have had more difficulty planning to shift to with an already anemic playerbase
  • it’ll be built for more uh, acceptable and modern versions of cosmetic purchases
  • a ‘new’ game means they can’t only resell the limited space they made for the original, this is no Realm Reborn scale here but the ‘same old’ for variety. In some sense, there is a reboot, though we don’t know whether its a full restart or they ARR it and refresh what’s existing or its a main-line sequel that tries to ignore needing to play the first game like Destiny 2
  • if they’re showing concepts now, that probably means some things are starting to be set in stone and they’re past only concepts right now. It’ll be 2021 release earliest, 2022 if pushed back through that may interfere with other releases (Dragon Age, potentials of Mass Effect, etc). A 2+ year gap ‘between games’ does mean they’re going to try to sell SOMETHING, the question is how they treat legacy players (and payers) who actually have the wish to play something better, longer, but not feel like milked fools in doing so