When Anthem was first announced last year, I was really excited because it looked cool and Bioware was behind it. But, as Bioware presented more of the game, it became apparent that Anthem was going to be unlike any previous Bioware title. Instead of being a singleplayer narrative-heavy RPG, it would take after the likes of Destiny and The Division, a shared-world cooperative game with elements of RPG’s and MMO’s, but not to the full extent of either. That alone says a lot about this game. You’re meant to adventure with friends and enter instanced zones or dungeons to gain experience and gather colorful loot to beef up your character. And in the demo that was presented at E3, there was no mention of NPC party members or even recurring side characters for you to bond with, a staple of Bioware RPG’s. The focus was entirely on how much this game was going to be like Destiny(Which, considering the popularity of Destiny, it makes sense that EA would want to cash in on that.), and it’s a type of game that has yet to wow me because they’ve all been consistently mediocre. You might disagree, and that’s fine, but it’s clear to see where the focus was during development(multiplayer) and what the main purpose of the game is(wringing every last cent out of customers via microtransactions.).
I’ve never been the biggest fan of multiplayer-centric games, and I always get depressed when I think about how great the game could have been had it been singleplayer. That being said, this new interview with Casey Hudson, who returned to Bioware last year and began overseeing Anthem, has gotten my hopes for Anthem up at least a tiny bit. In the interview, or rather a statement he made, he mentioned that Battlefront II’s failure helped Bioware refocus on a game that is a distinctly Bioware product. He goes on to talk about how the story, characters, and world are all important and that that’s what makes a Bioware game. So it sounds to me like, if there was any deviation from the Bioware trademark, he’s corrected it since he took over and the incidents that have occurred since have only strengthened that desire to be Bioware, to do what they do best. He still talks about the game as the ever-evolving experience that these MMO-lite games are, and how players will help them ultimately shape the world, but that’s in conjunction with the Bioware seal of quality.
That puts me at ease and makes me want to see more, to see the proof that this is the next big Bioware RPG, but hopefully one I can get into without needing friends.
Side Note: Before anyone mentions Mass Effect: Andromeda, the story of that has been on the net for a while. Bioware Montreal, a newly minted studio that had only previously worked on Mass Effect 3's multiplayer, spent 2 to 3 years prototyping tech that never made it into the game and ultimately built the game in 18 months, resulting in all the technical issues and other shortcomings it got bashed for. The animator who could have turned things around for Andromeda’s animation issues, Tal Peleg, wasn’t brought in until close to the end of development, which explains why the biggest scene he worked on, Cora’s sex scene, was probably the best animated scene in the entire damn game. He is now working on Anthem.