Also, it's possible that - thanks to the wildfire-like way that negativity can escalate across social media - Bioware might be in for a rough ride, and they'll struggle to escape the stink of failure. Once bad news gets locked in, turning it around can be like trying to smuggle a fully-grown narwhal through customs.
I don't even know what that means.
Suffice to say, following the flaccid response received by Mass Effect: Andromeda, Bioware needs another flop like it needs a bum in its face (not a good thing, despite what some of you perverts may think). This is despite the fact that bugs in new games are no big surprise anymore. I mean, name a triple-A game in recent memory which hasn't required a patch in the first few weeks of release, or been beaten with the shitty stick on YouTube.
These games are so huge, so complex, that - especially when you throw in the added unpredictability of making it an always-online multiplayer nonsense - you can't really blame developers for failing to prepare for the unexpected. After all, they're only underpaid, overworked, sleep-deprived, humans struggling with the pressure of having to meet unrealistic market expectations.
None of this is a surprise. What is a surprise to me, however, is that Anthem is even getting so much attention in the fIrst place, and I can only assume it's because we're being told this is the first big release of 2019. A nude in a nudist camp is no surprise and doesn't stand out. However... a nude in a supermarket (unless it's a nude supermarket) will have all eyes on him.
Look, I get that Bioware is a company with a following. I get that this is Bioware moving somewhat outside of the genre they've typically focused upon. But what I don't get is that anybody is remotely interested in this game, which looks - to all intents and purposes - like Destiny, but with flying.
Wooooh! Yeah! Gimme some of that delicious more of the same!
I've not bothered trying to play the Anthem demo, but I've watched videos of other people playing it. If I wasn't aware that this was a new game, then I would've thought it was one that had already been out a year or two.
A MMO shoot 'em up where you fight bullet sponge monsters in return for finding neat equipment and weapons set within an intricate world full of lore is literally the most unoriginal sort of game you could make right now. And yet Bioware and EA have done exactly that, and the only reason I can assume this game is still being released is because it was set in motion after Destiny proved a massive hit, and before Destiny 2 failed to achieve the same sort of buzz.
They probably thought they could make a fortune off of loot crates until Battlefront 2 walled-off that avenue - by which point Anthem was too far down the road.
Fortnite and PUBG, for better or worse, are where it's at now - one tailored for a more casual, younger audience, and the other for the hardcore crowd. By contrast, Destiny 2 and Anthem feel archaic. Indeed, the dark, claustrophobic-looking "open world" of Anthem feels like just more of the same forests, mountains, and caverns that we seem to get in every open world game these days.
Furthermore, the game's Javelin suits - the robotic eco-skeletons that players wear - are about as uninspired as you could imagine. They're literally the default "person-in-a-robot suit" design - quasi-Iron Man-like, with then usual glow-y bits, and exactly the mix of character classes and weapon bolt-ons that you would expect.
It's not enough. None of this is enough. It's tired and lazy. I don't even fault the team working on it - I blame those at the top who just want to try to surf what they perceive as a zeitgeist wave, rather than trying to stand out. It's a game driven by the bottom line, rather than creativity.
Everything I've seen thus far about Anthem screams "generic". I hate saying that, because it's clearly had an enormous amount of time and money and skill invested in it, and to dismiss it as "generic" seems almost cruel.
And yet... that's exactly what it is. The USP seems to be that you can fly for limited amounts of time, but everything else appears ripped from Destiny's playbook, with a bunch of Mass Effect-style cut-scenes and wandering around slapped atop it.
I don't want that. I don't want to feel like I'm playing the same game over and over and over. For all its faults, Fortnite at least is bright, colourful, and welcoming. It very much brought its own personality to the genre.
By contrast, Anthem just looks like the kid hanging around with the playground alpha, Johnny Destiny, emulating his mannerisms and dress sense. Oh, and occasionally the bigger kids will ask Little Anthem to do that trick he can do, and Little Anthem will duly fold his eyelids inside out, and everyone will laugh, and for a moment he'll feel accepted... but that's the extent of what he brings to the clique. One trick. One new idea. Everything else seems borrowed or stolen or appropriated in a bid to fit in and be liked.
And get this: even Johnny Destiny is on the way out. He's in sixth form now, and the kids in the younger years think he's a bit boring. Yeah, he used to be cool, but fashion moves on. Everyone's hanging around with Johnny Fortnite now. He does funny dancing, but he's so un-selfconscious, and somehow you can't hate him even when he tries to dab.
Maddeningly, I've even read articles that struggle to make the case that Anthem won't simply be a Destiny clone, but once they get past the flying mech suits, they're into minutiae like "no self damage!" and "no PVP!". That's just splitting hairs, like trying to sell a new model of car that's exactly like an old model of car, and your main new feature is a special cup holder that can hold up to THREE DRINKS.
Enough now. Anthem - and all you other games with your one-word names and your sci-fi armours and your forested alien worlds - your day is over. Everything has its time, and yours is up. Find us new ways to get us excited about games rather than playing to same old songs again and again and again. Give us games where the ideas surprise us, not the same peddling of stale tropes and gameplay.