It turns out that Anthem was known by a different name during its earliest days of development. According to an extensive report on the development of Anthem (and its many problems) published on Kotaku, the initial team that worked on Anthem referred to the project as Beyond.
Actually, it turns out that Beyond was much more than just a mere working title. The game’s earliest working title was actually “Dylan.” In the earliest days of Anthem‘s development, the team chose Beyond because it represented exactly what they wanted to do with the game (both in a grander sense and in the idea of leaving your fort to venture into the world beyond). They apparently went so far as to print t-shirts with the name Beyond on them.
Around the time that BioWare was ready to formally announce Beyond at E3 2017, though, EA informed the studio that it was going to have to call it something else. EA simply felt that it would be too difficult to secure the rights to the name Beyond. At that time, BioWare moved on to the name Anthem, which was apparently one of the other titles they had tossed around when deciding on the game’s name.
The only problem was that Anthem apparently didn’t mean anything. One person who spoke regarding the game’s development even notes that some on the team felt frustrated that the game’s new name simply didn’t make any sense. Whereas Beyond was based on what the team was already working on, that same team had to find a way to incorporate the name Anthem into the experience.
What makes all of this so much more interesting is the fact that we had previously learned (via supplemental material) that Anthem was originally going to be about a group of human survivors who crash-landed on a hostile alien world. The original pitch for the game involved players actually having to survive in that world through both combat and resource management. Some on the team went so far as to cite names like Darkest Dungeon, Dark Souls, and Shadow of the Colossus when describing some of the original version of the game’s larger ideas and mechanics.
So, essentially, you could argue that Beyond was actually a different BioWare game that we never got. However, it would be more accurate to say that ideas in Beyond were rolled into what was eventually called Anthem.
Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014.