Anthem Is Bioware’s Next Step in Game Development
Some would call BioWare an impending victim of publisher EA’s schemes. The concern stems from the studio’s latest project, Anthem, which many long-time fans believe to be a concept borne out of EA’s chasing the games-as-a-service train. If you ask Bioware, however, the new multiplayer co-op experience represents an evolution of the studio’s forte.
Over the years, BioWare has been iconized as a champion and innovator of the single-player campaign. Part of that has to do with their storytelling prowess, a penchant for interweaving great gameplay and narrative. Anthem seems like a business decision inspired by EA, which has left many fans cynical on whether or not it will offer the traditional BioWare ambiance. It’s a shared-world shooter, not an RPG, but game director Jon Warner calls it a “continued evolution” of the studio’s expertise.
“If you look at BioWare games on a spectrum, from Baldur’s Gate to Neverwinter, and Jade Empire to Knights of the Old Republic, to Mass Effect and Dragon Age, you’ll see that the games have always been about evolving our technique and storytelling…” Warner said in an interview with Gamesindustry.biz, “so the way that we look at it, Anthem is not a departure, it’s the continued evolution of our craft and our technique.”
“I think once players get their hands on it and dive in they are going to find a world that is well realised and full of rich characters that you’re going to want to get to know, and you’ll be the hero of your own story, and honestly that is the heart and soul of a BioWare experience.”
Warner then commented on the studio’s commitment to helping players settle in their gameplay worlds. The core of that is generosity, making fans feel comfortable enough to keep coming back.
“[There’s] two big principals there: one is generosity towards our players,” he explains. “We never ever want people to regret spending time with us, or spending money with us, and that’s something that’s really important to us as gamers and as creators.
“The other one is providing experience that is engaging… being able to inhabit a BioWare-style experience over a longer period of time is something that is very interesting for us, so that sense of engagement and wonder, and trying to provide continued reasons to re-engage, is also a principal that guides us.”
Anthem is scheduled to release for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 on February 22, 2019. Expect a major marketing push in the months leading up to launch, which shall provide us with additional updates. Stay tuned.