In 2009, a young South African director named Neill Blomkamp made headlines with the socio-political and science-fiction themed blockbuster, District 9. Most well known for his short films, Blomkamp has made a name for himself in Hollywood as a promising science-fiction director to keep an eye on. Apparently Electronic Arts and Bioware have been doing exactly that, as they recently worked with him to produce the live-action Anthem Conviction trailer.
Anthem is an all new massively multiplayer online (MMO) action role-playing game (RPG) where players assume the roles of Iron Man like Javelins in a bid to save the world from an unknown evil. Not much is known about the narrative in the game, and this is where Blomkamp’s new trailer comes into focus. Playing out like a live-action short film, the Anthem Conviction trailer offers our first narrative glimpse at what might be in-store for gamers who choose to purchase the game.
The world of Anthem is one that is in constant turmoil. A planet that was meant to be created by the Shapers. A mysterious group of supernatural beings who wanted to build this world in nine days, but vanished after three. No one knows what happened to them or why they disappeared. All that remains are magnificent world shaping devices and instruments that continue to cause the world at large to morph and violently reshape itself.
What is left of humanity lives within Fort Tarsis. A massive stronghold that was built after humanity rebelled against the oppressive alien race known as the Urgoth (the alleged native beings of the as yet unnamed planet). Interestingly, neither sapient species has a history of the Shapers. Thus enhancing the intrigue of Anthem’s elusive narrative.
The live-action Anthem Conviction trailer begins with a shot of a young woman being discovered by a Freelancer – individuals who leave the walls of Fort Tarsis to gather supplies and offer protection to its citizens. It then shifts to a mother and child talking about the history of the world, with several nods to the Anthem of Creation, the Urgoth and Freelancers. The visuals in the trailer are sublime, and look similar to James Cameron’s Avatar (2009). Replete with lush vistas, interesting geology, a stupendous amount of visual detail, and an interesting ecology of fauna and flora. Overall, they do a wonderful job of showcasing the game world that EA and Bioware have forged for gamers.
The young woman in question is easily the most intriguing aspect of the Anthem Conviction trailer. Not only has she survived in the wilderness on her own, an apparently unfathomable scenario, but she is also the apparent focal point for an as yet unnamed villain. Well, ‘assumed villain’ given how he was torturing someone for her location.
Making her even more enigmatic are select scenes that showcase her interacting with some kind of unusual vortex. One that gives way to a vision of her in white with blue paint adorning her forehead. The visuals are reminiscent of the Child-like Princess from The NeverEnding Story (1984), and lead me to believe that she might be ‘the key’ to understanding what happened to the Shapers. A point given even more credence when the narrator utters “The Anthem [of Creation] swims through your mind. It knows you… it knows us all”.
The Anthem Conviction trailer is superbly well done. In addition to being visually spectacular, it offers just enough to whet the appetites of gamers, like myself, who are very interested to learn more about the world that Anthem has to offer. Questions elicited include: Who exactly are the Shapers? What happened to them? Who is this mysterious woman? What is the Anthem of Creation and where exactly do the Urgoth and humanity fit into their grand plan? All of these questions, and more, are a subsequent result of Blomkamp’s outstanding vision of the game.
Judging from the Anthem Conviction trailer alone, and under the assumption that what has been shown can be included as canon, I must say that I am incredibly excited to begin playing the game. To be honest, I would be happy for Blomkamp to helm a television series or movie in the same vein.
Regarding the game, there are currently two editions of Anthem available for pre-order. Each of which will only be available to play from 22 February 2019. Unless, of course, you have EA Access or Origin Access. Those who do, will be able to play the first 10 hours of the game via a trial phase. Gamers with Origin Premiere will have full access to the fame from 15 February 2019 – making the subscription rather attractive at this point in time.