Anthem: Beta, system requirements, and everything we know so far

BioWare's Anthem game is a shared-world shooter that promises to blend thrilling group combat with a compelling personal story—oh, and you're basically Iron Man. Since it was first announced at E3 2017, Anthem has stood out thanks to its gorgeous graphics and punchy combat, but there's still a lot of questions left to answer.

When does Anthem release? What are Anthem's system requirements? When does the Anthem beta start? Here's everything we know so far, including details of the story, combat, and loads more.

When does the Anthem beta start?

On January 25, the Anthem demo will be available for Origin Access Premiere subscribers and anyone who pre-orders Anthem.

On February 1, the Anthem demo will be available for anyone to try. These aren't stress test betas: They're demos meant to give you a taste of the full game.

BioWare has noted that the balance for the demo will be significantly different from the final game. The economy will be altered, you won't be playing through intro tutorials, and other changes.

What is the Anthem release date?

Anthem's release date is February 22, 2019.

After initially being slated for a Q4 2018 release, Anthem was delayed to this year. Those who subscribe to Origin Access Premiere, which costs around $15 or less per month and gets you access to a big vault of Origin games, can play Anthem early, starting on February 15, 2019.

What are Anthem's system requirements? 

Anthem's system requirements are as follows.

Anthem minimum system requirements

  • OS: 64-bit Windows 10
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 3570 or AMD FX-6350
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics card: Nvidia GTX 760, AMD Radeon 7970
  • GPU RAM: 2 GB
  • Storage: At least 50 GB of free space

Anthem recommended system requirements:

  • OS: 64-bit Windows 10
  • CPU: Intel Core i7 4790 3.6 GHz or AMD Ryzen 3 1300X 3.5 GHz
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • GPU: Nvidia GTX 1060/RTX 2060, AMD RX 480
  • GPU RAM: 4 GB
  • Storage: At least 50 GB of free space

What is the latest Anthem news? 

As we get closer to Anthem's release date of February 22, 2019, more and more information about the game is becoming known. More recently, Bioware has started releasing a series of videos that breakdown Anthem's various systems, story, and combat mechanics in a way that's much easier to digest and understand. The first of those videos released on January 17, but you can check Anthem's YouTube page to see more. 

What is Anthem? 

Anthem is an online multiplayer RPG shooter similar to games like Destiny 2, Warframe, and Borderlands 2. Set in a science fiction future, players take on the role of a freelancer piloting an Iron Man-style exosuit called a Javelin. Alone or with three teammates, players will complete missions, explore a seamless open world, customize and level up their Javelins, and challenge difficult endgame bosses.

Here are a couple of major points to be aware of:

  • Anthem can be played singleplayer or in a team of four, but always requires an internet connection.
  • Anthem does have a branching story, but not to the degree you might expect from other BioWare RPGs.
  • You cannot romance non-player characters, unlike in Mass Effect and Dragon Age.
  • There are microtransactions but they are strictly for cosmetic gear.
  • All future story missions will be free for all players.
  • There is no PvP at launch.
  • Every group activity will have built-in matchmaking, so you don't have to worry about trying to find a squad even for Anthem's more difficult group experiences.

What is Anthem's story? 

Anthem is set on an post-apocalyptic Earth-like planet shaped by mysterious progenitors using a mystical tool called the Anthem of Creation—only they forgot to turn the damn thing off when they were finished. For thousands of years, the Anthem of Creation has been humming away, mutating and changing life while humans struggle to survive against a growing number of enemies like The Dominion. As a Freelancer, your mission is to help the residents of Fort Tarsis live another day while undoubtedly discovering the secrets of the Anthem of Creation along the way. 

How does combat work? 

Anthem's combat is group-centric, third-person shooting while piloting a flying Javelin. Players choose to use one of four Javelins that each have their own unique abilities and style, though they're free to swap between them outside of missions. It's best to think of these Javelins like typical RPG classes. Each of the four Javelins has two customizable gear slots, an ultimate ability, and a support ability they can use in battle. Like Destiny 2, enemies will frequently drop loot that'll increase the power of your gear and offer new abilities in addition to traditionally leveling up from experience points.

Here's a brief rundown of each Javelin:

  • Rangers is a jack-of-all-trades that can wield all but heavy weapons and can use various grenades and a wrist-mounted launcher to deal extra damage.
  • Collosus is the tanks of the group and can use heavy weapons but lose access to lighter armaments. Its special ability uses long-ranged artillery and rockets.
  • Storm is the glass-cannon mage, using two types of 'seals' to cast elemental damage abilities.
  • Interceptor is the rogue, darting in and out of combat using melee weapons to deal high damage to unsuspecting enemies.

One unique twist on Anthem's combat is combos that deal massive damage to enemies if used properly. Many abilities in Anthem can deal different types of elemental damage, and groups of players can coordinate which elemental type their special attacks do. Then, in combat, players can trigger these abilities one after the other to perform combos that devastate enemy ranks. 

What kinds of activities are there? 

Like Destiny 2, Anthem will feature group- and solo-friendly activities like dungeons, raids, and open world missions. When not exploring the singleplayer hub of Fort Tarsis, the open world of Anthem uses dedicated servers that supports up to four players at any one time. You can either join as a group or matchmake with strangers.

Exploring the world without an assigned mission objective is called Free play and functions similarly to Destiny 2 in that group events will randomly spawn at various locations that reward loot and experience points should you complete them. Players can also discover bits of lore about the world and story.

Anthem's story is progressed through Missions that you can play alone or with a team. These are scripted encounters that'll take you to various destinations as you learn more about Anthem's world, characters, and back story.

Strongholds are your typical dungeon-style experience and require a full team of four to complete. Here groups will challenge much more difficult enemies and monsters in exchange for more valuable loot. Strongholds only take 30 to 45 minutes to complete and aren't integral to the story. 

Where can I learn more about Anthem? 

We're closely watching Anthem and reporting on all the news as we get closer to launch, so checking out our latest Anthem stories is a good place to start. From there, Anthem's YouTube and Twitch pages both have extended developer streams that go in-depth on all of Anthem's features. Finally, executive producer Mark Darrah has been answering fan questions about Anthem for months now, and it's worth crawling through that thread for some insightful bits of information.