Anthem Aims to Balance Storytelling and Multiplayer Better than Any Other Game, Says BioWare
Players should expect a very different sort of BioWare game when they dive into Anthem. Previous BioWare titles, including Knight of the Old Republic and the Mass Effect and Dragon Age series, focused on deep plots for solo players. Instead, Anthem promises to focus on the multiplayer experience as they have in Star Wars: The Old Republic. If you’ve played that game, you’ll know that BioWare has managed to weave strong stories through their multiplayer experiences. Nonetheless, doing so remains a difficult task. Two of Anthem’s producers recently discussed the team’s attempts to make the best story exprience in multiplayer history.
In an interview with US Gamer, executive producer Mark Darrah discussed how BioWare maintains its emphasis on storytelling in Anthem. Fans of Mass Effect and Dragon Age know that the games’ universes are what bring players back for more.
“I think what we want people to understand is, while Anthem is a very different game from games that BioWare’s done before, there’s still storytelling at its heart,” Darrah explained. “It’s still about characters, it’s still about getting to know people in the world and that we’re telling story through this new way of, what we call ‘Our World, My Story,’ which is about going out into a shared world where story things happen.”
Players will still have a central hub of operations: Fort Tarsis. As we learned at PAX West, Fort Tarsis gives players a spot to learn more about the world of Anthem. Players progress the narrative through their actions at the central base. That feature feels very much in line with BioWare’s previous titles. Darrah himself summed it up succinctly.
“Your true storytelling agency happens in Fort Tarsis where those choices live and you have that single-player, more player-driven narrative experience.”
Also in the interview, lead producer Mike Gamble mentioned the difficulty of balancing multiplayer action and BioWare’s trademark storytelling. Even with plenty of success in The Old Republic, Gamble mentions it’s been a tight rope to walk.
“It is a hard problem to solve,” Gamble confessed. “It’s like how do you do a multiplayer game that has cooperative at its heart, but also still be able to tell a great story? And you know, I don’t think anyone actually nailed it yet. I think we probably have a pretty good shot at coming out of the gates and being able to do it. But it takes intentional design from the very beginning.”
A lot of games have stumbled for trying too much and yet not having enough content at launch. Striking the balance between the team’s two stated goals would certainly earn a lot of loyalty. Thankfully, the team is keeping the story tight rather than branching out in every direction. By staying focused, BioWare will embrace quality over quantity when crafting their plot. That could–and should–help Bioware become the first team to pull off their desired feat.
Anthem launches for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on February 22, 2019. The game’s demo drops three weeks prior on February 1.
Are you happy BioWare is paying attention to the story? How do you feel they will balance the two halves of the game? Let us know in the comments, and follow DFTG on Facebook and Twitter for more gaming news!
Drew Weissman230 Posts
Drew is a freelance writer for DFTG. He's the former Managing Editor of Haogamers and has been published in the Chicago Tribune and The Paragon Journal. He also edited the novel Three Brightnesses and Artist Journey: Rachta Lin (2016 and 2017 editions).