squad forms Anthem

With Anthem's launch fast approaching, folks who typically play epic shooters solo might want to make some friends before Feb. 22. According to BioWare, squad-based action is where the game shines brightest.

In a recent interview with Official PlayStation Magazine (via Game Rant), BioWare's Thomas Singleton spoke to the game's sctructure and the fact that, while solo paly is absolutely an option, players who work together as a team will get the most out of Anthem.

As Singleton puts it, "Working together as a unit" is encouraged in Anthem, and folks who decide to tackle the missions solo probably won't find the sci-fi epic as rewarding. He put an emphasis on the team dynamic on display in the game, something you simply won't experience if you don't team up with some friends.

Going the obvious route, this reminds me a lot of Destiny, a game Anthem has already drawn many comparisons to. While most of the in-game activities can be tackled solo in Bungie's similar games as service offering, playing as a fireteam beats at the heart of everything from story missions to Strikes, Raids and beyond. Players are supposed to work as a team, making the game's most challenging experiences a bit more manageable and, to bring in Singleton's term, rewarding.

What's interesting about Anthem is that it's coming from a studio known for making big single-player experiences. Whether we're talking about Mass Effect or Dragon Age, BioWare's heavy hitters typically team up the player with a handful of AI companions and then lets you go take on the kingdom or galaxy all by your lonesome.

Anthem, on the other hand, has been pitched from the very beginning as a game focused on team play and, more recently, BioWare announced that the player won't be able to call on AI companions to help out in the field. That would be a heck of a lot of math to crunch under the hood in an online game and, again, that's not the experience they are trying to deliver. Instead, you're supposed to step into your Javeline exoskeleton, join a couple other players and get to bashing skulls as a team. The game at least scales to the number of players on a squad though so, again, playing alone is still an option.

Here's hoping that folks don't ignore all of this info and still go into Anthem expecting it to be Mass Effect in a different setting. BioWare is bending over backwards to make sure folks understand that this game is geared toward team play, so it would be a shame to see a repeat of Bethesda's Fallout 76. Putting aside any discussion about that game's quality, folks sure were upset to learn it wasn't basically Fallout 4 online, even though Bethesda made it clear early on what fans should have expected.

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