Anthem is Electronic Arts' highly-anticipated new role-playing franchise, currently on track for a February 22, 2019 debut. While extensive gameplay demos have outlined what's to come, we still have a lot to learn about the title.

If you can't wait for launch, the promise of early access lies ahead for select gamers. Details on these gameplay sessions are now beginning to surface, with steps to prepare for their arrival. We've broken down what to expect from Anthem "pre-launch demos," how to play, and their scheduled release.

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Anthem: Everything we know

What to expect from Anthem demo

The word "beta" is frequently used in video games as a blanket term for pre-release game access. These versions are from the later stages of development, though can simply be an early slice of the final product. While often valuable for network stress testing and last-minute refinements, they're mostly seen as a method of last-minute marketing. EA is being somewhat transparent for its intentions for Anthem's tests, angling them as "pre-release demos." Anthem Lead producer at BioWare, Michael Gamble, confirmed the demo is "not a beta or an alpha," rather framing it as a slice of the final product. As seen for similar games like Destiny 2, expect early missions and restrictions on player progression.

Mention of multiple "demos" has been made, indicating several tests are on the horizon. BioWare is focusing on one session for now, but expect multiple chances to play in the coming months.

Furthermore, Gamble has clarified "tests that are coming before" the demo, which likely focus on testing in an alpha or beta state. We expect these to be available only to a small subset of the public, through some form of invite system.

How to sign-up for Anthem pre-launch demos

While Anthem's pre-launch demos are likely some time away, EA has discussed several ways players will gain access. Those who preorder the game can ensure participation, while other methods exist too.

Anthem preorder demo access

The main way to guarantee access to Anthem demos is via a preorder at a participating retailer. Preordering any edition of the game grants "VIP access," although specifics on what this entails are unclear.

The most common version of Anthem is the game's "Standard Edition," which provides access to the base game for $59.99. Alongside demo access, preorders will receive "The Ranger Legion of Dawn Armor Pack," a legendary weapon, a founders player banner. Physical disc-based copies for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC are stocked at GameStop. Alternatively, digital licenses are stocked at the Microsoft Store, PlayStation Store, and Origin PC store.

A premium-tier Legion of Dawn edition is priced at $79.99, which locks down additional content aims at franchise fans. Buyers will receive the complete set of Legion of Dawn Armor Packs for all four classes, alongside a legendary weapon, Javelin gear attachment and a copy of the soundtrack. Preorders will once again be paired with the Founders player banner and access to the pre-launch demos. Phsyical disc-based copies for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are stocked at GameStop. Alternatively, digital licenses are stocked at the Microsoft Store, PlayStation Store, and Origin PC store.

Anthem EA Access/Origin Access demo access

As announced at PAX West 2018, Electronic Arts is also expanding access to subscribers to its in-house subscription services. On Xbox One, players will need to have an active EA Access subscription tied to their Microsoft account, which is priced at $4.99 per month or $29.99 per year. On PC, you'll need an active Origin Access or Origin Access Premier subscription, which starts from $4.99 per month.

While those anticipating Anthem may see value in preorders, EA Access and Origin Access are ideal for those undecided. Alongside the demo, you'll gain access to free EA games, store discounts, and other service benefits. However, with Sony seemingly against EA Access, PlayStation 4 owners will need to stick to preorders for guaranteed access.

Anthem free newsletter demo access

If you don't want to lay down cash, you're not excluded from the demos. EA is promising "a chance to play" to select users who sign-up for the official newsletter.

Details on your access as a free user are somewhat unclear. Footnotes specifically reference "a chance to be selected to play in a pre-launch Anthem demo," in the singular form. With multiple tests seemingly planned, your access could be limited to a specific session or timeframe. If you want to play as much as possible before launch, preordering is currently the way to go.

To register for the Anthem newsletter and enroll in demo opportunities, follow the steps ahead:

  1. Visit Electronic Arts' Anthem page.
  2. Scroll down to Sign up to Anthem news at the bottom of the page.
  3. Provide the required personal details.
  4. Fill the checkbox to consent to future marketing.
  5. Click Sign Up.

A confirmation email will now be sent to your inbox, with future updates expected in the forthcoming months. For the latest details on the demo, also be sure to return to this post.

Anthem demo release date

As announced at Anthem's PAX West 2018 panel, the game's first pre-launch demo is set to debut on February 1, 2019. This leaves just three weeks until Anthem's scheduled February 22 street date, meaning access won't last for long.

You may receive the chance to play even early via the alpha or beta, but details are still very scarce. Anthem executive producer at BioWare, Mark Darrah, has stated early invite-only alpha tests will "probably" take place in 2018, with firm details expected soon.

Step into your Javelin

As Anthem's release nears, we'll be sure to update this article with the latest details on its demo. In the meantime, the game is available for preorder starting at $59.99, ahead of its planned February 22, 2019, release for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows PCs.

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Updated September 2, 2018: We've updated this guide with the latest details from PAX West 2018.

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