Your Story: A Brief Look

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Mike and Sabine XSplit from combat gameplay for a brief taste of Fort Tarsis

On November 29th,Level Designer Sabine Rosgren and Lead Producer Mike Gamble sat down to show us a little bit about how our story will start, as well as how we can spend some time with our crew and the people of Fort Tarsis. You can watch the stream here, but please note that they were experienced technical issues with XSplit, a program used to broadcast live streams, as well as some issues with their internet. Issues aside, lets get started with some of the cool things we were able to take away from the broadcast!

 Owen staring longingly into our eyes, wishing we had seen him in a cutscene before internet issues plagued his emotional introduction. Owen staring longingly into our eyes, wishing we had seen him in a cutscene before internet issues plagued his emotional introduction.

Taking A Stroll

We started the stream right after a cutscene that was unfortunately interrupted by the issues. We find ourselves inside of the Freelancers Enclave with Owen having directed us to head to the Forge, a place in Tarsis where we can speak to our mechanic, Zoe (pronounced Zoh), as well as change our gear and customize our looks, but more on that later. Mike and Sabine began to walk from the Enclave to the Forge, stopping briefly in front of a statue of a woman holding what looks to be a bronze sculpture of a Moravian Star (thanks to Anthem Insider for helping me figure out the name). Mike picks up a book, that when hovered over says has a prompt stating “Add to Cortex”. The assumption here is that the Cortex is the name of Anthem’s Codex, where lore and information about the world is stored. “That is a Cypher statue. Cyphers are what Owen is. Basically the ones that are in communication with us during missions, just a contact point in general between activities as well,” Sabine stated after Mike asked what the statue was for. As we know from previous discussion, Cyphers are a Javelin Pilot’s eyes and ears. They telepathically link to their pilots and provide, in gameplay, AoE marker data as well as aiming reticle data. Sabine also stated that Cyphers are really rare in our world.

Moving on, Mike walked up some stairs and through a set of double doors that opened up into Tarsis’ Market. This is where you’ll be able to meet with vendors at their stalls and buy/sell items. We were also introduced to the Sentinels again, the “fantasy police” of Tarsis as Mike liked to call them, much to Sabine’s dismay. Mike also pointed out that it is important to note that they are in Javelin suits. “Fort Tarsis is where Sentinels have their stronghold, and we’re right now, under their protection,” explained Sabine, as we got to take in some of their light blue color scheme.

 Cypher Statue in the Freelancer Enclave. Cypher Statue in the Freelancer Enclave.

 Standard Sentinel Javelin protecting the Fort Tarsis Markets. Standard Sentinel Javelin protecting the Fort Tarsis Markets.

We were then taken through the marketplace where we saw a little bit of activity. “This is at a part in the game where Tarsis is still, it’s a little bit down on its luck.” We were able to see a few stalls in the center of the market, with others being set up near the outskirts of the area. Mike takes a quick detour and stops to take a look at Prospero, who is a vendor in the game. Sabine told us we would get to know him a bit more through the game. Something I wanted to point out in speculation was the helmet resting on the table behind him. On the forehead area of the helmet, there is an icon of an upside-down triangle and a skull in the middle of it. This reminded me of the symbol that we saw in the 2017 reveal trailer when we were first stepped out of Fort Tarsis. Could this indicate that Prospero will be a vendor for some Elder Game activities? Or maybe a vendor for some sort of bounties? Ben Irvo’s official reply is “You’ll have to wait and see”. I will now take the tinfoil material off my Javelin, and we can continue with our Tarsis tour.

 Prospero’s table of wares. Prospero’s table of wares.

 Skull symbol from E3 2017 reveal. Skull symbol from E3 2017 reveal.

A short trip through the market, and we finally reach the Forge, where Zoe is waiting for us. However, it wasn’t yet time to talk to her. Mike and Sabine took a quick look around the Forge and market outskirts, before looking towards the sky and showing some scaffolding. “Oh hey, what are those?” Mike asked. “We call them the Strider bays. That side right now is just a scrapyard part.” Mike took a quick walk back to where we first met the Sentinel guard to get a better look at the Strider docked at the bay, then turned to a set of yellow doors. “Through these doors, a bunch of amazing grandeur and awesomeness exists. Basically the other half of Tarsis, plus more.” We weren’t able to see it firsthand, but we were told that there is a bar, courtyard, and other areas that will be shown in greater detail in at a later time. From there, to the left of the Forge, we were shown the Vault. It is our inventory throughout the game, showing us what we have collected and allowing us to scrap down items we no longer need for secondary materials. After almost spoiling yet another Cortex item, Mike gave Sabine a break and made his way up a set of stairs next to the Forge, where we see two people (NPCs) talking about their latest run into the open world of Anthem. The banter between Jones and Franklin is just a small side conversation you can overhear, but the way Mike spoke made it feel as if they were at the very least going to be around for several of those types of moments every time we come back to the fort.

 Jones (Right) and Franklin (Left), talking about their latest exploits. Jones (Right) and Franklin (Left), talking about their latest exploits.

 The Freelancer’s Vault, your in game inventory. Who is that mystery woman in the back? The Freelancer’s Vault, your in game inventory. Who is that mystery woman in the back?

A Time To Roleplay

Making their way back to the Forge, the team had prepared a small clip of a conversation with Zoe to show the flow of how we will be conversing and roleplaying with the characters of Anthem. We transition to a night time market place, where we presumably have just returned from a mission. “Look who’s back in once piece.” says Zoe with her Irish accent as our Freelancer approaches her. “Zoe! Did you expect me back in more pieces than one?” The conversation continues until we are left to make our first choice. Anthem’s conversations are binary, meaning you are able to make one of two choices at certain points of the dialogue. You pick these by holding left trigger or right trigger on the controller, and whatever the PC equivalent will be once those controls are revealed (possibly just a click). It’s obvious that our Freelancer and Zoe have some history at this point. Our character seems to be somewhat confident and reckless, and Zoe knows this, commenting on our definition of “nothing too crazy” being “Scars, beasts, relic-based nonsense.” The conversation itself isn’t anything spectacular, but gives us a quick look at the dialogue choices system, and gives us a bit of insight into our relationship with the person we are talking to.

Sabine stated that she didn’t want to show too much more at this point, teasing the previously mentioned bar and courtyard areas. “There are couple of stories that will tug at your hearstrings, a couple of stories that will just make you smile, and a couple of them that just makes me want to come back from the mission, just to see what they will continue as.” The stream was supposed to continue into some Interceptor gameplay, as well as an updated look at the Lost Arcanist mission, however due to technical difficulties, the team decided it was best to cut the stream short and come back at a later date to show the uninterrupted. “As soon as we possibly can, were gonna get back in front of the camera and show you guys how the Lost Arcanist mission has been changed over the last little while. We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from the fans.”

During a very brief Q&A about Tarsis, which you can find at the bottom of this article, Mike “accidentally” triggered a cutscene at the Forge. Owen appears at the Forge in a hurry, stating that the Freelancer had contacted them to meet at the Forge. Our Freelancer has no idea what he is talking about. “I didn’t send any….Where did everyone disappear to?” The camera moves to show the area behind Owen which was a somewhat busy market place. I assume it is supposed to be empty, but NPCs were still wandering in the background, possibly just a bug from the early alpha build. “We needed to speak in private,” we hear a voice coming from the Forge’s platform. “My name is Tassyn.” A blonde haired woman in a fitted, red, military dress uniform with the Corvus insignia on her chest is standing behind us with a Sentinel as security. The conversation plays out to lead us to the Lost Arcanist mission, and is much better experienced than read. The only issue from the stream was that there was an echo during the cutscene, making it hard to hear everything fully. The voice over work and animations were significantly more impressive here than what we have previously seen, a promising indicator of interactions to come.

 Our first encounter with Tassyn and the Corvus. Our first encounter with Tassyn and the Corvus.

 Owen excitedly leaves to prepare for your new mission to find Mattias Sumner. Owen excitedly leaves to prepare for your new mission to find Mattias Sumner.

As indicated by the Corvus symbol, Sabine tells us that Tassyn is our contact to the Corvus faction, and this is the first mission she will be giving us. She is respected and a little bit feared. The stream concluded with a bit more Q&A. Mike was happy with the build behaving, but apologized for the streaming issues they were having. “Next time we do this, we’ll bring some other guests on as well. We’re gonna showcase a couple missions, and Ben Irving has promised to talk about progression and loot at some point in the future,” stated Mike, as the stream came to a close. While we unfortunately weren’t able to see any new combat, it was a really information filled tour of the various aspects of Tarsis we’ll be able to see when the game is released. Technical issues aside, what did you guys think of the stream? Do you guys think you’ll spend a lot of time in Fort Tarsis, or blast out into the world without a care? Feel free to discuss in the comments below Freelancers.

Q&A

Throughout the stream, there were questions and answers from the community. Instead of dotting it throughout the article, we’ve gathered them here for you to see one by one:

  1. Will Fort Tarsis evolve throughout the years as we play Anthem?

    • Tarsis will evolve throughout the game as you make decisions. “We have big plans [for the future]” – Mike

  2. Will you have books and things to read to get lore, or is it sort of a codex type system to find all this stuff?

    • It’s kind of a combination of the two. You can pick up books and scrolls and notes, that are part of the codex.

  3. Is Fort Tarsis subject to Shaper Storms at all?

    • Not right now, but Tarsis will change. “We don’t want to talk about it right now.”

  4. Can our choices cause the extinction of those poor little Grabbits?

    • “Why would you want to do that? No. No. I don’t want that to happen.” – Sabine

  5. Could your decisions in Fort Tarsis affect co-op play? I.E. Could my decision and my friend’s decision that is different lock us out of playing together due to making different choices?

    • No, your choices affect your instance of the Fort, but all missions will be available for all players as to not split the playerbase.

  6. Do we have any chance to align with the factions in Fort Tarsis?

    • All factions will have benefits and unique rewards for helping them out.

  7. Will there be a way to check end of missions results in Fort Tarsis or at the end of missions? I.E. Kills/Damage Taken/Damage Dealt/Etc.

    • Not in Tarsis no. After a mission you will see the end of expedition screen that will resolve your loot, xp, and other information. Behind the scenes we have a lot of information to push player challenges. We will definitely talk more about that as we approach December (like a week or two :P).

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