After a long period in which it was difficult to really define what Anthem really is - beyond it feeling like EA's answer to Destiny - Bioware's multiplayer shooter is finally starting to come into focus and it looks pretty decent.
Anthem's return at E3 2018 was just as spectacular as its debut a year earlier, and last week, Electronic Arts posted a full 20-minute gameplay video of the latest demo - with developer commentary, no less. Presented in full 4K, the firm shared a source quality version of the asset with us, allowing us to take a closer look at the game's Frostbite foundations, and compared to other EA titles using the tech, we're witnessing a use of the engine quite unlike anything else we've seen before. Developer BioWare isn't talking about performance targets, but the sheer intensity in detail, and the integrity of the open world suggests that this will likely be a 30fps game on consoles - and an interesting counterpoint to the 60fps heroics of Battlefront and Battlefield.
BioWare's ambitious Anthem was the highlight of EA's E3 2018 press conference - although that was hardly a tough bar to clear. We gained our best look yet at BioWare's shared world full of jetpacking players in mechs, angry monsters and mysterious god energy - but some BioWare fans watching felt like the gameplay shown did not align with their own, personal expectations of what a BioWare game should be.
As a 'one more thing' closing zinger for the Microsoft E3 2017 media briefing, the reveal of BioWare's Anthem is hard to beat. A highly polished six-minute gameplay demo - or 'vertical slice' - the code is said to be running on Xbox One X hardware and it looks simply incredible. But from The Witcher 3 to Watch Dogs 2 and Destiny, we've been burnt before by preview teasers that exhibited noticeable downgrades when final code eventually hits stores. Armed with a pristine 4K capture of the trailer direct from Microsoft's on-site media riser, we set out to answer the question - is this the real deal?
The Xbox One X is going to be a beast. Amazing specs. Amazing look. Amazing tech chatter, a lot of which went over my head. It's built around power, compatibility, and craftsmanship, according to Kareem Choudhry, Xbox Director of Software Engineering, on stage at Microsoft's E3 press briefing, and somehow, it's a magic trick too, because it fits in the smallest box - the smallest Xbox - Microsoft has ever offered. Just look at how powerfully dinky this thing is, like an elephant squeezed into a service elevator. A controller leans insouciantly against one edge of it, and that insouciant controller pretty much towers over the machine. True 4K textures! True 4K assets! Enhanced visual fidelity, isotropic filtering and faster load times on the games you already own! Enough of this blather. Kareem is a man in a hurry. Let's see, he says, what this monster can do.