Beyond the concept of looter-shooter of what the current build of Anthem has turned out to be, was an overly ambitious attempt to create a new genre of survival-based game. Bioware aptly called this concept Beyond.
In the distant future, humanity would venture out in the abyss of outer space, setting out to find a new place to call home. But this would not be a story with context if that was all there was to it. While voyaging through the interstellar space, the spacecrafts encounter what is colloquially known as the Bermuda triangle of space.
Unfortunately, the larger than life ships would break apart and crash land on a nearby planet. The planet was hostile, uncannily similar to Earth but dangerous by a thousandfold. The larger crashed ships would eventually be converted to large cities, while the smaller ones became small settlements. People would convert escape pods into their houses.
The planet itself would be as beautiful as Coda, the one in which Anthem takes place. People would encounter dangerous environments, fauna, and flora. In fact, when more ships crash landed, they could be seen in the skies as red shooting stars—the debris burning through the atmosphere.
Now… hold on a minute… why does this seem familiar? Have we played a game where we survived a treacherous region in the cosmos as we journeyed away from Earth, while trying to find a new home? The answer you are looking for is Mass Effect Andromeda.
By this time, the concept of Beyond was scrapped from Anthem as it would be very much like the Mass Effect series. So correctly, Bioware decided to keep Anthem in a science fantasy setting, somewhere in between the sci-fi Mass Effect and the fantasy Dragon Age.
The rich customization is borrowed from Dragon Age Inquisition. It is improved by adding more cosmetic customization options than any Bioware game which has ever made it out of production. On top of that, Anthem also holds many surprises and references to a lot of past Bioware games.
There is one concept from Beyond, other than the hostile world, which Bioware preserved for Anthem: Exo Suits. In Beyond, the exo suits would be made using scraps from the fallen spaceships. The Javelin exo suits in Anthem are made from the limited resources found across the world, including embers.
While the story of Anthem had gone through several iterations, they eventually settled for an overarching quintessential story, where the hero finds out about a bad guy and stops him from destroying the world. The story, although, could have been longer to give its characters more depth. This doesn’t mean the story is poor, or the characters exist simply for the sake of it.
Each mail you receive, each cortex entry you unlock, each conversation you have with the characters, flesh them out. It indirectly exposits the rich lore (which by the way, if you have gone through it like me, is overwhelming—as expected by a new intellectual property). And in time we would have gotten more of them.
But now, we wait for the NEXT iteration of Anthem—be it a completely new game with a new storyline or a better remake of the current one. What is known is that Bioware is not known to retcon its lore, especially the lore established in an entire game.
However, it is to be noted that given how the Anthem of Creation can cause reality to decay, create new reality, or even alter the existing reality, any retconned lore would still remain true and a part of Anthem’s lore. Kudos to the writers for coming up with this brilliant Chekov’s gun.
We’ll revisit the hidden lore elements and stories in the current Anthem build as time progresses.
Next time, The Anthem of Creation.
• The Art of Anthem
• The Art of Mass Effect Andromeda
• Anthem Cortex Entries