I’m not shy in admitting that Anthem is a game I’m really interested in as it follows other games like The Division and Destiny by combining third-person action with some RPG style elements. So when I heard this bit of news back in December, I certainly raised an eyebrow in confusion.
For those who may have missed it, Anthem developer Thomas Singleton was interviewed by Official PlayStation Magazine about the upcoming shooter. What he said grabbed headlines from many of the big sites and everyone else in between. Here’s the line:
“This is launching a new IP for EA, for BioWare, and we’re super proud of it. We’re excited because we’re bringing connectivity and co-op environmental gameplay to the game along with great storytelling and that’s rarely done. We’re pushing team dynamics, that’s where the game really begins to sell. Where the product shines is playing as that squad, you’re working together as a unit to go and conquer various missions. If you want to play the experience solo that’s your option, it probably won’t be as rewarding, you won’t have that team dynamic. The game will scale based on whether you’re by yourself or playing with three other people.”
So yeah, that’s a bit interesting, especially for typical lone wolf players like myself. I mean, I get it. Anthem has been developed with a team dynamic in mind, but I can’t help wonder what he’s referring to by saying it won’t be as rewarding as a solo player. Is that just his opinion because he prefers playing with others or is the game really going to be not as great by yourself?
(Editor’s Note: This revelation is a little surprising as I felt like I knew what I was getting into having recently participated in the closed alpha. While I wish I could discuss it with you, I’m afraid I’m legally obligated not to. I mean, I don’t want to end up like that other guy after he posted content from the closed alpha online.
On some level, I think I understand the secrecy. EA may be a little gunshy about showing things off too soon, thanks in large part to the disastrous weekend that Mass Effect Andromeda had before its release, likely hurting sales and consumer impressions. Remember all the memes and screenshots that flooded the internet following that early access?
Thankfully, EA is planning on more pre-release tests as well as dedicated demos so players may be able to answer this question for themselves before having to plop down full asking price for the retail version.)
After seeing that line, I immediately thought back to the first year of Destiny 1, which is a perfect example of being two different games based on how you play. Playing that game by yourself ultimately felt a bit hollow as nearly every mission played the same way. Fight your way to a thing and then defend that thing against waves of enemies. If you died, you had to start that end segment all over again. Most missions lacked matchmaking so if you didn’t have a dedicated group, you were stuck by yourself. Needless to say, the game got frustrating at times and I guess you could make the argument that playing solo wasn’t as rewarding. Not having the option to call in backup like you could in games like Monster Hunter: World or The Division was certainly annoying. I like to think those games learned a thing or two from Destiny.
On the flip side, those complaints I had largely went away when playing with other people. While the mission structure stayed the same in a group, the game didn’t feel as tedious to play thanks to being able to be revived mid-mission by a teammate. Not only that, interacting with other people helped break up the monotony.
I have to imagine that Anthem won’t be following that archaic system and will be more forgiving with matchmaking made available if you do want to squad up. By and large, I enjoyed my time with The Division and both Destiny’s mainly playing by myself, so I have to imagine Anthem will likely follow suit as well. Still, seeing a comment like that by a developer before release is not typical.
If you’re a lone wolf style player, does seeing a comment like this give you pause?