Anthem’s Original Story Sounds Much Better Than What We Got

BioWare's original backstory for Anthem sounds like the premise for a much better game.

Anthem Original Story BioWare

The Art of Anthem (as spotted by PC Gamer) features an extensive and fascinating backstory for the game that is quite different (and arguably more interesting) than the one we got in the actual game

Based on the information shared in that book, Anthem was originally going to be based on a group of human colonists who crash-landed in a very bad part of space. These survivors had to battle against the elements and some considerable odds as they used the ruins of their ships to form their first homes and other structures. While those ships were an important part of the original story, they seemed to have disappeared entirely during development.

“Survivors would have to settle, survive, and somehow thrive on a harsh and dangerous world,” Anthem art director Derek Watts writes in the book. “These ships were only in that first iteration. We took this quite far along before we switched to what Anthem would eventually become.”

It gets better. Originally, Anthem‘s Javelins were “utilitarian suits for space travel that then had to be repurposed for battle on a dangerous world.” In fact, the team even talked about using parts of the scavenged ship to upgrade your suit (thus giving them more of a narrative purpose).

Ad – content continues below

The enemies in this version of the game sound much more interesting, too. On top of doing battle with aliens that inhabit this region, you would have also battled other human and alien explorers who crashed in the area. 

Sadly, there’s no word on why we never got this version of the game’s story. Watts notes at one point that “the art team was very passionate about [the premise]” but that “we needed to adjust it to give the IP more depth and flexibility.” We honestly have no idea what that means. To put it another way, we have no idea how the version of Anthem we actually got offered BioWare more depth and flexibility than the earlier concept.

One sadly popular theory regarding what happened suggests EA got involved at some point and encouraged BioWare to turn what sounded like more of a survival-based RPG concept into something a bit more loot shooter friendly and, well, generic. There’s nothing to support those claims at the moment, but the rough history between EA and BioWare in recent years might hint at what happened to this interesting vision.

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