EA has said BioWare's ambitious and visually impressive new IP Anthem will be the "the start of maybe a 10-year journey for us" - echoing the decade-long publishing deal Activision signed with Bungie for thematically similar series Destiny.

Talking on the Xbox Daily Show during E3, EA vice president Patrick Soderlund said (from 1:41:30 onwards): "[Anthem is] a social game where you and your friends go out on quests and journeys. It's a game that we've been working on for almost four years now. And it's a game that - once we launch it next year - will be the start of maybe a 10-year journey for us."

Anthem was announced properly at this year's E3 but was first talked about - as a new IP in development at BioWare's HQ in Edmonton, Canada - back at E3 2014. It being a shared-world shooter - a massively-multiplayer online game of sorts - means EA and BioWare will need to invest heavily in building a live online service as well as in building the game itself. In other words, Anthem is a bigger undertaking than a next Dragon Age or Mass Effect game.

How Anthem's development will impact development of the next Dragon Age, if at all, remains to be seen. Remember, the Mass Effect series has reportedly been put "on ice" following the weaker release of Mass Effect: Andromeda earlier this year.

Anthem was shown in greater length during Microsoft's E3 press conference as a showcase for the powerful, and expensive (450), new Xbox One X console. Digital Foundry has already analysed Anthem's Xbox One X reveal footage to assess whether it was genuinely running on Microsoft's new console.

Regarding Anthem's performance, Soderlund said: "I pushed the development team and told them a lot of these open-world/shared-world games sacrifice fidelity because it's a technical problem. But I challenged them and said, 'Let's think about this in a way where we don't sacrifice fidelity and we can basically get to the same level of fidelity, or higher, as you would in a secluded map but in an open-world map.'

"It took time to get that done, but with some smart investment in technology, some smart design and an incredible art team, we got there. I can firmly say that I haven't seen any open-world game that looks as this, ever, which is what we wanted."

It may read like there's a word missing in the sentence above but that is what he - verbatim - said.

"It's been exciting," he added, "tough. I'm happy that we can finally show it to the world. It's an important game for BioWare, it's an important game for EA as a company. It's an important game for me personally - I've been very invested in this; it's what motivates me to stay in this industry and push as hard as I can for it."

The potential payoff for EA with Anthem, if Destiny is anything to go by, could be huge. But then Anthem also has Destiny 2 to contend with, albeit a year later.

Anthem is due autumn 2018 on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Destiny 2 will be released this September on PS4 and Xbox One, then a month-and-a-half later on PC.

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Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.

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