Untold Stories of Anthem

Patamon
|
Lore
|

Untold Stories of Anthem

Hidden and Untold Stories within the World of Anthem

“While it's easy to lay blame when feelings are hurt, you owe it to yourself to take a step back and examine the situation. Feelings and viewpoints are subjective, and it is important to note that your reaction to something, while real, may not be actually be about the person you are angry at. Realizing and admitting when you are not objective is the first step to mending fractured relationships, and your relationship to the world in general.”
—From “How to Apologize” (Cortex Entry, Library, Popular Art)

This is not a usual lore or story related article that I write for Anthem Enclave, or rather now, The Enclave.

There are a lot of things Anthem did wonderfully as a game, and many things it left unsatisfactory. Just so we are on the same page, originally, Anthem was not going to be a “looter shooter RPG,” but a survival-based RPG where crafting played a major role.

This article is not about highlighting those aspects. It is, but a thank you to those who stuck around until the end through Anthem’s thick and thin, and to those who were expecting changes to the game, be it in the story, lore, cosmetics, or gameplay. Because there will be no more updates, I think this will help provide closure (even if a little bit) to those who were hopeful and believed in a genuine future for the game and the franchise as a whole.

Throughout Anthem’s update releases, there was a strong community of Data Miners who would find nuggets of hidden gems within the game. You might have seen images of various Armor Packs, Vinyls, Materials etc. long before they were released in the Featured Store, because of our friendly Anthem youtubers and content creators in their videos or articles. We all received these images because of this Data Mining community. Just like that, there were lore, story and gameplay elements that were data mined. Everything I’m about to tell you, is obtained through in-game files, from release until the final update 1.7.0 (the one released on February 25th, 2020) which was also around when Anthem’s Data Mining halted.

Disclaimer: I also want you to know that none from the community, including myself, modified any files. We don’t do that in Online games, no. We just went through the files for information so that we could hype ourselves and our fellow freelancers.

In this article, I want to focus on the content Anthem was going to have likely in the future, the content cut from the game, and the content hidden within the game for reasons beyond our control or need-to-know. These include story elements, cut content, hidden lore, masked gameplay features, and unreleased cosmetics. I’m a lore and story buff, and I call myself an Arcanist and Bard sometimes, even though I’m a Freelancer. So, most of the focus will be on those two features. But fear not, I will also tell you of the other missing features that could have made it into the game had the circumstances been different. After all, for a game that lacked enough end-game content, there must be a reason for it to be 80 GB as the total file size, right?

Note: Now, this article is for your information only. So, I don’t want you guys to be rude to the developers. They had their reasons for why these things could not make it into the game. Not everything can be included, tough decisions must be made, and time plays a huge factor. Developing a modular system such as a video game is a monumental task, and keeping it operated once the project ends is even tougher—things change; that’s the reality we live in. So, please be kind to the people who made the game, they put their hearts into it, trying to do the best they could.

Brace yourselves. This is a very long article—with well over 6000 words, because it is necessary to help you understand some of the woulda, coulda, shoulda of Anthem, and why it was also infeasible most times. So, I am going to divide the article into several sections to make it convenient for you.

Again, please be kind, we are all humans and trying our best.

I would also say spoiler alert as most of you would not have seen or read about these things:

   1. Hidden Gameplay Features and Enemies

   2. New Javelins and Cosmetics

   3. Missing Lore

   4. Untold Story Elements

   5. The Acts

   6. New Strongholds and Cataclysms.

   7. Conclusion

Hidden Gameplay Features and Enemies

There were several gameplay features hidden inside the current game files. These include additional melee weapons for each javelin (with the same animation but different damage types), new masterwork/legendary gears and component names (At least 11 for Ranger, 8 for Colossus, 8 for Storm, 11 for Interceptor). There were also additional weapons that weren’t released, and these include Pyrrhic Victory, an Assault Rifle, and Gawin’s Vengeance, an Autocannon, which you may already know about. Ultimate Abilities were supposed to have their own combat slot. There were even icons to represent them.

New unseen UI elements were also created, to show the enemy or ally factions when outside the walls, but they were never added to the game. There were also several weapons from the Art of Anthem, that made it into the game (several Echoes of Reality weapons), and some more that didn’t. If you have ever read the Anthem Prima Guide, you could see mini maps of Strongholds and each Sub-Region in it, and these were also never added to the game.

There were new named enemies, Chimera forms of existing enemies, and fauna. These include Gazicks, Mantikars, Phiranix, Xagulars, Frostback, Spider Scout, Ice Titan, Outlaw Overseer, Dominion Special Agent etc. (too many to list). I don’t know if models for all of them were ever made in the studio, but their names exist in the texts and game files without models. Some of them have concept art in the Art of Anthem. There were also many, many named enemies (who served as expedition mini-bosses). Indeed, Ice Titans or Frost Titans were supposed to form inside the Shaper Globes during Icetide 2019, just like some of us had thought or expected (see image below), but they never made the final cut.

[Ice Titans’ Folder in the Game Files]

There is also the mention of “Guild Home.” It is unknown whether this was a physical space within a server for each guild or just a list of people with whom you could chat or discuss, outside of your javelin. I personally think it was a hub, like Launch Bay but without javelins. Guild invites could also be created in-game rather than using the Anthem App alone. There would be at least 2 NPC’s called Dakota and Amice who helped with guild matters. Guilds would also have special vendors. Of course, Guilds would have their own Guild Logo, but their presets found within the game.

[Some Guild Features in the Game Files]

There was also a personal home for the Freelancer inside Fort Tarsis and a personal strider outside the walls (that a lot of us ended up entering accidentally during early times of the game, thanks to a bug). There are several lines that indicate the existence of a home. Don’t know who says these:

   • Welcome home! I think Dax wanted to see you, by the by.

   • Welcome home! Owen stopped by to remind you to go see him.

   • Welcome home! I think Faye was looking for you a moment ago.

   • Welcome home! I think Haluk wanted a word when you got back.

   • Welcome home! All the fort cyphers are gossiping that you found the lost tomb of Tarsis.

   • Welcome home! You just missed the street sweeping crew! The Sentinels are tidying up like it's a party.

Additional options in the communications wheel included you saying, “Strong Alone”, while another person in your team could reply with “Stronger Together” or vice versa. (I would’ve loved to see this).

Now, I don’t know how the game files work because I’m not a game developer, neither do I know how Frostbite Game Engine really works. What I can safely bet, is that they were either prevented from being activated because they were incomplete (which means the devs were still working on it), or there was a plan to release them slowly over the course of time by improving or adding to these features. There is also a third option, where these were added to trick the Data Miners and information seekers. But I really don’t think that’s the case because it would truly be a waste of their own time when they could be developing additional content and fixing issues.

New Javelins and Cosmetics

There has been at least one new javelin’s identity within the game. It was called Paragon and placed along with the 4 javelins available to the player. The javelin didn’t have any model even when I tried to open, but had placeholders for head, torso, arms, and legs, it also had slots as you can see from the image. This was from as early as late 2019. I’m sorry to say, but it wasn’t the Paladin that the screenshot showed in one of the blog posts of Anthem’s rework.

Each Javelin had a unique back story with NPC’s talking about and giving information about the javelin and introducing them to you. Zoe was for Ranger, Yarrow for Colossus, Matthias for Storm, and Tassyn for Interceptor. As a matter of fact, voiced dialogues exist in the game files.

[Paragon, the Fifth Javelin for the Players Found in the Game Files]

Fyi, Lancer is Ranger and LegionOfDawn is Javelin of Dawn. I’ve seen their models and can confirm. Don’t know about the two kind of Storms. One of them has model of the Freelancer’s storm. The other only had textures. There is also a separate model of Monitor javelin, that was found along with other enemies.

[Anthem’s Extensive Cosmetics]

Cosmetics have played a major part in keeping Anthem’s appeal. There were several new vinyls, armor packs, and materials that were named (way too many of them to list) and haven’t been seen in the game. There are Grandmaster armor packs and unrevealed armor packs for javelins, whose armor part images exist. Not sure about their models or if/when they were going to release them at all. There were also plenty of player banners that were never given away, but their images existed since the very beginning.

Also, the tutorial helmet is the true Ranger MK2 helmet. The current one is (the helmet of Ranger MK1) cool enough for them to have made it as the default.

Missing Lore

Believe it or not, Anthem has a compelling lore that actually rivals Dragon Age and Mass Effect. I’m not talking about the main story, which is adequate at best, because it is very short. The problem is, to understand the lore you must try to piece them together. Not just from the game expeditions, cortex entries, and NPC conversations, but also other tie-in media including the Anthem Prima Guide, the Art of Anthem, Anthem Comic, Anthem Conviction, and the Short Stories in the Anthem Website. Otherwise, things can get confusing. (This is how it is done with other BioWare franchises as well).

[Patamon’s Proud Collection of Anthem’s tie-in Physical Media]

Example 1: If you have visited the Tombs of the Legionnaires and Tarsis, you can see statues of Ranger-like javelins in the tombs. But during the time of the Legion only larger precursors to Colossus were invented (you can see several effigies all across the map). So that means either information has become Chinese Whispers or Telephone, or these tombs were constructed much later, or reality itself has changed without people even realizing how—an unknown cataclysm possibly stood victorious.

Example 2: Before update 1.6.0, the skies were clear and not permanently cloudy. At night times, two moons were visible in the sky (Blue and Red), revolving around Coda—you can still see them above the Fort at night, but not in any other game mode. There are several instances (in cortex entries) of there being only one moon (the blue colored one), and other times, there being two moons. So, the red moon must have come through a cataclysm or another reality changing event has taken place.

Example 3: Nowhere in the game is there a mention of the name of Anthem’s planet as Coda. It shows up once in the short story Bountiful Hunt, and once (the very first time) when the previous Narrative Director, Mr. Cameron Dayton, confirmed on Twitter, or during the Cyphers’ Twitter conversations (Yes, there were twitter conversations between Cyphers that most people don’t know about, kind of like an ARG. It was really fun but wasn’t marketed well enough for people to know they existed. You can still see those conversations on twitter).

Example 4: Nowhere in the game or anywhere else have they mentioned the different Eras before the Legion Victorious Era (L.V.), or how the Paladins became the Dominion or how they survived by founding Sundermark, other than the Anthem Prima Guide.

I could give plethora of examples as I have read every available and unobtainable cortex entry within the game or through the files. But that will just take more space. If you ever want to read the individual Cortex Entries (lore pieces in the cortex) outside the game, you could visit the Anthem Wiki. I have made every entry I could find available in it, if it was revealed in-game within my cortex. There are well over 1200 different cortex entries that can be obtained in game by collecting notes, finishing missions, completing challenges, and obtaining combat items.

There are, however, cortex entries that can never be obtained in-game no matter what. It could be because of bugs (like the one that prevents the Tyrant Mine entry and Sev’s mail associated with it from showing up), or because of other unknown reasons.

There are lore entries for all weapons (guns), and epic or lower rarity gears and melee weapons. The entries for Masterwork and higher for gears and melee weapons, aren’t in the cortex for unknown reasons. I haven’t found anything for the components and masterwork melee weapons, but the masterwork gears actually have lore entries that are hidden and cannot be unlocked. There are also entries for combat items that cannot be obtained in-game.

Example 1: Garred’s Hammer (an Upgraded Railgun) As the Legion of Dawn's Chronicler, Garred often claimed his words were his most effective hammer, because a well-timed comment could tear through the toughest armor. This armor-piercing gun was designed to honor Garred's literary skills. Like writing, it is easy to pick up, yet takes a lifetime to master.

Example 2: Reaper’s Onslaught (another Upgraded Railgun) While the blueprints for the Reaper's Onslaught were lost long ago, Heliost Engineers took inspiration from its legend. According to The Volume of Tarsis, this railgun was the favorite weapon of Verithan and Felux before their falling out. This version of the Reaper's Onslaught rewards lancers skilled at hitting enemy weak points.

Example 3: Pyrrhic Victory (an Upgraded Defender Assault Rifle): A Regulator by the name of Sandrik Calon was noted for his sense of fair play and justice. All who dealt with him knew he would drive a hard but honest bargain and expected the same in return. The day the outlaws delivered the bogus chimeric compounds is a dark moment in Regulator lore. Sandrik swore he would recover his money and he set out with his son and five of his most trusted associates. They caught up to the outlaws and Sandrik got every bit of his money back and more. But it cost him his son's life and those of his two closest friends. He never smiled again. And he put one of these rifles up on his wall to remind him of his "victory."

These missing lore snippets actually make it easier to understand what happened in the past and how many types of battles people had to fight to survive on this unforgiving planet. Some even give away reasons as to why certain items were created in the first place. There are at least 100 (truly, a lot more) of these entries that cannot be obtained without Data Mining.

I could write a thesis on Anthem’s lore if I wanted to, because that’s how ornate and Daedalian it is.

Untold Story Elements

Before the current story we got as our campaign, the original story was different, and it had choices that impacted the game and the story. Most of the current story is derived from this old version, and perhaps that’s the reason why it feels so disconnected with each progressing mission. The Monitor would also have been more fleshed out.

Also, by the way, if you don’t know this, the default Freelancer is supposed to be Female, that was always the vision of the team. You can find details on this in the Art of Anthem.

Example 1: The original lost Javelin of Dawn was not Tarsis’ but her husband Garred’s, and his was the ultimate sacrifice. It was his tomb that we were to find. Tarsis was still the most revered hero, but she never died. However, she was made the first empress of the nation by those that were called the Praetorians. The Praetorians were changed to Sentinels in the final version, and you know what happened to Tarsis in the current story. This one paragraph gives so much exposition about how much Tarsis cared for Garred, which is not the case in the final story. The line was supposed to be delivered by Tarsis herself through a ‘hologram’ during an unknown mission.

   • Helena Tarsis:  Garred was my world. Without him by my side, I would not have had the courage to stand up to my oppressors. I would not have had the courage to fight for my freedom. I would not have created the Legion of Dawn. Without him, none of us would be here today.

Example 2: You, the Freelancer, actually had a name (or a last name)—North. After finding a shaper machine required to silence the cenotaph, you had the option to give the machine to the Monitor or destroy it. They completely removed the choice aspect and made the Freelancer nameless.

   • CINEMATIC END: The Monitor steps out and fires at the explosives, triggering them. North throws herself out of the way as huge chunks of stone rain down from the ceiling. A few moments later, North crawls back to her feet from under a cloud of dust, looking around for the Monitor.

Example 3: Additional cut content show that people like Praxley (the guy from the 2017 reveal trailer) had a significant part and dialogs within the game. This was completely cut, or possibly held back for a future update/Act. These are some of the stuff I found, but there are a lot more:

   • TEMP: Praxley—a man who helps run the settlement—is looking through the mess on his desk for something, moving around books, etc. He picks up an object.

   • The Freelancer: A chimera? Praxley, have you seen what those things can do to a settlement?

   • TEMP: Praxley laughs, maybe gives North a friendly punch on the arm or a teasing salute (or whatever feels good).

This also hints on multiple hubs, which was finally reduced to Fort Tarsis.

An Example of Choice: There were several binary choices that would help progress the story. Keeping them would have given the game a better re-playability value, unlike the current version.

   • PLAYER CHOICE: The player chooses to let The Monitor have the power source or destroy it. If the player destroys the Power source, the room floods again and the player swims out. If the player lets The Monitor have the power source, more Scars spawn in.

   • CINEMATIC: The door slams shut and the room begins to fill with water. North must solve a PUZZLE with The Monitor to drain the room.

   • CINEMATIC: The player chooses to destroy the power source. Water blasts into the room flooding it rapidly.

Personally, I prefer and like the namelessness of the Freelancer in the current version. Mostly because it felt like I, myself was doing those tasks, unlike other franchises’ protagonists such as Hawke, Inquisitor, Spirit Monk, Ryder, or Shepard, where it felt like I was controlling a character.

There were lots and lots of places, people, and puzzle that we never get to see, such as Cassidy and her base in Third Hope, tesseract puzzle, etc. (Too many to name; probably were going to be future content). Or the Festis Crumble from Antium, or the Fustava Pie from the Fustava Bakery in Heliost, that makes the best pies! I could go on and on and on about them.

The Acts

Originally, there were 3 acts planned. We got about 95% of Act 1 content, which was Echoes of Reality. Skill trees would have been the remaining 5%, but they never made it into the game, even though there was a very basic form of it hidden away (including ways to re-spec them using coin) and replaced with equivalent inscriptions on combat items. The Weekly Stronghold Challenges became Seasonal Strongholds during Icetide. Acts 2 and 3 never made it, thus keeping Anthem’s story permanently incomplete.

[The Original Acts of Anthem that would have Completed the Whole Story]

Cut Content from Act 1:

Act 1 began in March 2019 as planned, but the Echoes of Reality cataclysm was delayed because they could not catch up. Act 1’s underlying theme was Might.

   • There were additional events inside the cataclysm, with these additional Valkyries as the secret bosses: Valkyrie Elin, Valkyrie Gostav, Valkyrie Halsten, and Valkyrie Freja.

   • There was also supposed to be a battle with Vara while she was in her javelin.

   • There were additional items that helped endure the storm such as items that gave you resistance to specific damage types, additional thruster time, ability to fly while carrying objects etc.

   • There were these musical pieces called Chords (these are not the same as the other name for Inversions used in the PTS version of Echoes of Reality). Chords, when activated, helped alter the cataclysm. In fact, there are lines by Faye that state that the Shapers did exactly this when creating Coda and everything in it before abandoning it. And, when all the chords were played, the Freelancer would change the reality.

       ◦ Faye: That's three chords now. How's it feel to mimic the Shapers?

       ◦ Faye: Six chords played. Vara won't be able to keep control of the Cataclysm much longer.

   • Some more hilarious dialogs were cut. Here’s a couple of them:

       ◦ Herschel: Kit, sing that song I love. The one that makes us cry.

       ◦ Herschel: I swear, if you hadn't saved my life once, I'd have you stewed for dinner.

Act 2:

Act 2 was going to be all about scars and why they worship the Shapers. Act 2’s underlying theme would have been Resolve.

   • In the cut content from the original story, Liatrelle (Tarsis’ best friend and the one who followed the path of resolve) came up with a plan to defeat the Urgoth. She wanted to find a Shaper Relic called ‘The Verse’. This relic would be used to stop the Heart of Rage in the present day of 468 L.V. The Verse eventually was changed to the Dawn Shield.  (We were never told how exactly the cenotaph was silenced, except for a mundane explanation of Faye connecting with the Monitor and knowing everything about the device hooked to it.)

   • In the original, there are also implications that Liatrelle went to find the Verse in a jungle, found it, and then fused with it. She very likely became a Luminary somehow (not an Escari type of Scar, but a different type of Luminary). These lines are mentioned about her, by some of the NPC’s:

       ◦ The Scars see her as some kind of god, a Shaper reborn. They believe she is immortal and gifted with supernatural abilities.

       ◦ Not necessarily. Liatrelle vanished in what later became Scar territory.

   • A similar plot would have been uncovered in Act 2, because in the final (current) story, Liatrelle vanishes once she completes her preparations. The Scar territory mentioned is Blackshore (previously called Lakeshore before the Scars invaded it).

   • There is also a mention of several elder escari, who were probably going to do something sinister. (Have to give the writers credit for coming up with these prodigious sounding names):

       ◦ Occixus the Countless (Found in Up, Up, and Away)

       ◦ Avarix Thousand-Mandibles

       ◦ Malith the Poisoned Hive

       ◦ Pravux the Hungering

       ◦ Veternus the Plague

Act 3:

Act 3 was going to be more Legion of Dawn stuff and the Urgoth. Act 3’s underlying theme would have been Valor.

   • This is what I speculate would have happened: The Freelancer (you) is technically like a manifestation of General Tarsis. With that, you would be founding a new Legion of Dawn that you would lead. While the Urgoth come back to the South to recapture Bastion, there would be a huge war against them.

   • Currently, the Urgoth are fighting the Dominion at their Northern border. So, the Dominion would completely have had to have been eradicated, or Urgoth somehow found the way to use Ember and the Gateway connection to the mind, using which they would create their own Gates, Javelins, Mechas and other technologies to reach Bastion.

   • This also means people from all factions would have had to unite again.

I know, a lot of you complain that the Story of Anthem (the campaign) is not interesting enough. And that is true; it’s very short. What we have received was only a third of the game. I usually compare this to Dragon Age: Inquisition until you reach Skyhold, when people ask me. With the remaining two acts, and additional side stories (like, what happens with the Auspex), strongholds, and cataclysms, it would have become the whole story.

It is unfortunate we will not get to see what would have happened and how the story would have concluded.

New Strongholds and Cataclysms

Data Mining showed the existence of at least 9 strongholds, by number. Most of you did not know what the other 5 would have been. The 5th one, however, was confirmed to be Longfall Ruins.

With 3 acts, there would have been at least 3 cataclysms, plus, likely their seasonal variations. Since each cataclysm is different, each of those would have introduced new gameplay mechanics, new story content, new cosmetics, and new enemies and bosses.

[Current Total Strongholds and Cataclysms in the Game Files]

The 5th Stronghold: Longfall Ruins

Weren’t we all excited when Mr. Christian Dailey announced the new stronghold concept of Longfall Ruins? I sure was, because I already knew in 2019 that Longfall Ruins was going to be the 5th stronghold, and it would finally get a release.

In-fact, the whole story and dialogue (text only, not voiced) of this stronghold already existed in the game before the update 1.6.0 was released. Shocking, I know! Then why did they not release it? Obviously, they began the process of rework instead of favoring adding more content. Anyway, what’s done is done.

Since we’ll probably never get to see the light of the stronghold, I want to give the summary of the story, which actually takes place immediately after the Echoes of Reality cataclysm ends. The way this stronghold would have worked is that you would go lower and lower until you reach the final boss.

Longfall Ruins Story:

Longfall Ruins takes place in the ruins of an ancient settlement called Longfalls. People from far away came to see this incredible larger than life waterfalls—hence the name Longfalls. Time passes, and the place became ruins because of a cataclysm. The reason why we know a lot about the ruins even though most of it is decimated, is because a Chronicler came here on an extended vacation and catalogued them. Cyphers could sense the cataclysm brewing, luckily everything was archived, but the cataclysm persisted, and Shapers know what it ended up creating.

When Vara sent out her Spear Battalion to capture all the Dominion Lackeys of the Monitor, some of them escaped. You know one because you, the Freelancer, captured and brought him to Mr. Casey Hudson, aka Grandmaster Adams, when completing the Tip of the Spear mission. The other person who escaped was called Commander Reaves.

Now, Reaves is a common family name in the northern regions, the Dominion lands. Since she no longer is a part of the Dominion because she followed the Monitor, she has become an outcast, essentially an outlaw. (Yes, this was going to be an Outlaw stronghold, mostly… shame we won’t get to see it).

After an investigation, Corvus found out about a Shaper Relic under the bottom of a reservoir in Longfalls. Reaves wants to get this Relic so that she can regain the lost trust of the Dominion. Corvus contracts you and Faye to retrieve that relic.

(I personally believe this relic is ‘the Verse’ that I mentioned in Act 2, but its name is not revealed.)

The Freelancer reaches Longfall Ruins with a squad, they appreciate the beauty of this place. But Sev being Sev, tells them to hurry up.

When the Freelancer reaches the entrance, there are Scars occupying the area (that’s why the concept art showed Scar constructions). After defeating the scars by exploding the entrance using bombs, the Freelancer would go inside the ruins. But Reaves had already entered the ruins before the Freelancer (indicating some kind of a deal with the Scars).

[A Longfall Ruins Concept Art]

Faye picks up Outlaw chatter several times throughout the expedition, and that is how you find out what’s going on with Reaves. Opposite to the Sunken Cell where you go up and up, in Longfall Ruins, you go down and down inside deep waters; there likely were several hidden caverns like the one in Tyrant Mine. Then you face a grounder used by the scars, which is probably what Reaves gave them as a part of the deal. (And where would Anthem be without trying its best to stop us from flying!? This also explains why in the Conjunction Up, Up, and Away your flight stops when you face Occixus the Countless in tier 3; this conjunction was probably a part of Act 2 like Longfall Ruins Stronghold.)

Moving further you encounter Reaves’ second in command called Lieutenant Jorgen (Very likely an Elementalist). You defeat Jorgen, outlaws, and more scars, who have jammed up a mechanism that prevents you from moving further. Once all the enemies are defeated, you would be able to activate the mechanism. Upon its activation, something else opens up for Reaves, so she is still ahead of us. There are no more Outlaws, but only Reaves.

When the Freelancer and squad finally reach Reaves, she is either inside a Shaper Construct to disturb the relic or hiding herself inside it, while the real stronghold boss comes out. The Freelancer defeats the Stronghold Boss, silences the construct/relic and collects it for Corvus. Unfortunately, Reaves escapes through a Gate. But before going, she threatens the Freelancer by saying that she will find them.

[Longfall Ruins Final Boss in the Game Files]

Final Boss: The Stronghold’s Final Boss was named Anzu Engineer in the game files. There was nothing in the folder, but there is no other Anzu mentioned as an enemy anywhere. This boss was most likely created by the Shaper Relic through the cataclysm.

The closest hint on what it was, is a line used by an outlaw who mentions a poem about fangs and flying death. There is only one creature that fits this description—Mantikar. But Mantikar is not known to be an Anzu as of now, it is just a Fauna, or a Chimera if corrupted by Shaper Energy, so it could possibly be something else.

Also, the Freelancer has this dialog just before reaching the final boss arena: Faye? Are we getting closer to the relic? And whatever crunchy, acid-shooting, fire-breathing monster it might spit out.

Either way, this stronghold’s boss was going to be a never before seen enemy and completely novel.

If the development would have continued, there would have been changes made in the stronghold’s story, which is obvious. But since there is no more development, this is all we have.

Conclusion

“Actually, that trial took two years to get through.”
-The Freelancer

All these features indeed tell that the developers had planned to get the content out quickly, and this is how their ‘Pile of Sand’ methodology worked—first, creating a good chunk of the base content files that make the gameplay early on as a skeleton, while adding the vital organs and adequate muscles to keep it structurally alive. Next, replacing with or adding new/better bones to the skeleton and hiding/removing the fractured ones through updates; including additional muscles while hiding/removing the unwanted ones and replacing them with newer muscles with even more updates. Finally, repeat the process. In theory, it should work. But plans might not actually work in reality, for a myriad of reasons. And I really don’t know how many years’ worth of contents’ skeletons were in the game files, because there was so much stuff that I couldn’t understand…

Do not fret that these features never made it into the game. But be happy that you got to have a unique experience. There is nothing we can gain from feeling despair; just think of the good times you had when you enjoyed the game. I hope you understand I did this because we were all seeking closure. I haven’t any ill intentions with what I have written. Even till the end, Anthem actually had a small, but a tightly knit community (which still exists). I’m happy that I got to know the people in it and be its part. That’s why, I wrote this article for them.

But I genuinely wish I never had to write this article, because I really hoped for a favorable outcome, even though the chances were always going to be 50%—either a yes or a no to the development. It was particularly tough for me to write this article, because I had spent so much time uncovering the secrets, both in-game and through the game files, and all additional tie-in media. When they revealed the news of ending the development of Anthem, it felt like a good friend whom I had known inside out, had died in an unexpected plane crash. Never before had I devoted so much time on a game and its lore (and I probably never will again).

In the end I want to say one thing I learned about Anthem: If you want to enjoy its story, put yourself in a private session and play it like you would play any other single player game. At its core, Anthem is still a BioWare story driven game. Not only will you appreciate what little story it has to offer, but also understand how and why the lore of Anthem is so rich and compelling.

Thank you for reading this until the end. I hope you enjoyed.

To the BioWare Developers (i.e., the Shapers):

I’m sorry if you disapprove of this article. My intention was to provide closure to anyone who had invested time in Anthem. Please know that I’m grateful to you for creating this exotic world—each little intricate detail in the world design, every gameplay mechanism, all the animations, the minute changes in facial expressions, the amazing music, the perfect sounds, even the smallest of hidden lore snippets spread across the map, made Anthem special for me. I haven’t experienced something like this in any game I have played before.

It’s quite poetic how Anthem’s development ended. Like how General Tarsis sacrificed herself for the future of humanity, Anthem was sacrificed so that other BioWare games and franchises could have a future. But if there’s anything to learn from Anthem’s story, it’s that eventually, the world will need its General Tarsis again, and Tarsis will need her Legionnaires. And for that we’ll be prepared. So, someday, I hope we all get to revisit and fly throughout Coda in another form. Know that there will be Freelancers waiting to explore and enjoy it.

Thank you. With a final flight, and for the last time—I implore you to prove me wrong on this being the last—Strong Alone, Stronger Together!

Patamon
Arcanist-Bard-Freelancer Patamon, keeper of histories, stories, and lore in the Anthem Wiki is always ready to talk about Anthem and Coda!