Neil Blomkamp released his live action short for the EA/BioWare game Anthem today. It’s a glorified movie trailer for a movie that will never exist.
There. Wasn’t that exciting? Instead of a complete story vignette or prequel as many video game shorts often are, this gives us bits of scenes that supposed to be from the big blockbuster movie of Anthem that’s playing at a cineplex in an alternate universe that probably doesn’t have an Anthem video game. In that universe, EA/Bioware are a major movie studio. Whether it’s going to do boffo box office remains to be seen. It hasn’t opened yet. It’s probably up against Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 starring Daniel Radcliffe and a grizzled Miley Cyrus on opening weekend. Look, alternate universes are weird, okay?
Anyway, back to our universe with one of the worst timelines where Trump is still president and Brexit is still happening, we can guess from this trailer what the story of Anthem the game is probably going to be. Bioware has a tried-and-true formula for all their RPGs after all.
Looks like we have a world of slavery and inequality, and eventually, some people broke away. Slavery is bad and slavers are evil. I always kill slavers in Bioware games. And then rob them blind. Always loot everyone and everything in a Bioware game. They never seem to mind even when they’re alive.
So we have what looks like a free city where the good guys hang out in, and it’s an odd multicultural design mix of Middle Eastern with some Western motifs. There’s some orphan, probably with amnesia with mystical powers. There’s always some kind of mystical power that someone is going to unlock in a Bioware game.
You are probably going to play a nameless unknown in the game. You start with almost the powers of a sheet of Kleenex. You are a blank slate and you can give yourself a silly name if you like, and you’re really secretly Someone Special. You will grind your way up to become the quasi-messianic savior of the world after you collect enough points to level up your iron man suit and weapons.
Along the way, you will get a rag-tag cast of supporting players you get to talk to and choose dialogue options to make friends with. They will all have side missions for you to do for them, which will probably entail going someplace, pressing buttons and then shooting things. Then you go back to your buddy who has grown closer to you for having done them that favor, and they will give you an upgraded bit of armour or weapon. Aren’t friendships in Bioware games grand? They’re like gift dispensers.
Alas, there won’t be any romances in this game. You don’t get to pick the guy or girl you think is hottest and keep pushing the right dialogue choice until they kiss you. It’s almost not a Bioware game without a romance, but who really wants to watch digital puppets bump against each other? And since all the hub scenes where you interact with your buddies are in first-person, it’s going to look really weird if you try to kiss anyone.
Instead, you’ll have to be content with buying cosmetic items like colors and patterns for your iron man suit, and bigger guns each time you upgrade. Apart from the romance part, Anthem is probably like pretty much every Bioware game. It’s been like this from the beginning, from Baldur’s Gate to Neverwinter Nights to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic to Jade Empire to Mass Effect to Dragon Age. It was even the same for that Sonic the Hedgehog game for the Nintendo DS that Bioware made that, for some reason, nobody ever talks about anymore.
You can decide whether you want to play it when it comes out on February 22nd.