Even though Anthem is still quite a ways off from launch, fans have been getting plenty of new information thanks to a panel held at PAX West in Seattle, Washington this past weekend. In addition to a new trailer focused on the game’s story, new details were presented detailing the dialogue system, post-launch plans, and an introduction to the many faces players will be interacting with along their journey. However, a small detail mentioned at the convention has raised a bit of controversy in the community, prompting BioWare to clarify its stance on live service elements.
With Anthem set to offer new story content months and years after launch thanks to its live service elements, lead producer Michael Gamble briefly mentioned how he’d like to see future titles from BioWare, namely Dragon Age and Mass Effect, utilize this kind of storytelling, rather than the old ways of telling small bits of story through expansion packs. Unfortunately, this comment has been met with trepidation as some outlets and members of the community have begun to assume that BioWare is positioning its future games to mirror what Anthem is doing, or becoming online only experiences.
Anthem is a specific thing that’s unique from our other IPs in many ways. What carries forward is what we learn about game design, which is a constant evolution.
— Casey Hudson (@CaseyDHudson) September 4, 2018
To ease the rising tensions, BioWare general manager Casey Hudson clarified a few topics on Twitter with regards to upcoming projects. Essentially, BioWare designs each game from the ground up based on what the game should be, rather than following a specific and general template. So in this case, each IP retains its own identity with only the experience and knowledge that BioWare developers learn from backend systems being carried across all of the projects. So while fans shouldn’t expect to see flying suits of armor in future Dragon Age games, perhaps offering story-based DLC for free is something that could become standard going forward for BioWare.
In addition to free DLC and a shared, open world experience, Anthem is also changing up BioWare’s traditional focus on dialogue and character interaction. Previous games have been known for lengthy, branching speech selections when talking to various NPCs, with many choices typically influencing the game’s story on some level. Anthem, however, is giving players simpler conversation choices when talking to various NPCs, typically resulting in a yes or no selection with no real moral implication. With Anthem being a shared-world online experience, it’s likely that having major and impactful dialogue choices just weren’t possible.
Anthem is scheduled to release on February 22nd, 2019 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.