From branching narratives to its new style of storytelling, BioWare have spoken a great deal about narrative in Anthem. But while the story has been the focal point of games made by BioWare for as long as anyone can remember – from Baldur’s Gate and Knights of the Old Republic to Dragon Age and Mass Effect – with Anthem, things are looking very different.
Due to its very nature as a shared-world co-op shooter, rather than an epic character-centric RPG like most other BioWare titles, the talk surrounding Anthem ever since it was first announced has been, first and foremost, about its mechanics, its moment to moment gameplay, about the systems that will be in place.
According to Anthem’s creative director Jonathan Warner, that is a very refreshing change- being able to talk about their upcoming game in terms of how it will play rather than in terms of what story it will tell (for the most part) isn’t something BioWare gets to do too often, and the studio seems to be enjoying that.
“It’s very refreshing, it’s invigorating,” Warner told GamesTM (October 2018, Issue 2015). “And usually, when you talk about a Mass Effect or a Dragon Age, people invariably end up talking about the plots or the points, and it’s very refreshing, when people talk about Anthem, they talk about flying or fighting monsters, or the gear, the Javelins, and it’s been a great opportunity for us to put gameplay first.”
Warner says, however, that in spite of that, things such as storytelling and world building are still very important to the studio, and, as a result, to Anthem.
“It’s very important to us that we create immersive worlds, where you can have companionship, and where you get to be the hero of your own story,” he said. “I think those elements are very much intact with Anthem. We’re adding things to it, we’re adding these interesting social storytelling elements to it. But, those moments, that companionship and strong characters, those are very much there.”
Anthem launches on February 22, 2019 for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC.