BioWare is working hard on upcoming title Anthem, and according to the studio's General Manager the game is going to deliver something unique to players. Anthem was initially revealed by the developer back at E3 2017, hot off the heels of the disappointment of Mass Effect: Andromeda, and showcased something very different from the kinds of games that earned BioWare its great reputation.
In short, Anthem looked closer to the likes of Destiny than its acclaimed franchises such as Dragon Age and Mass Effect. The brief moments of footage showcased a title that looked multiplayer-heavy, without the kinds of plot and character-driven intricacies that BioWare is so well known for. It certainly looked impressive, but some fans were concerned about the direction that BioWare was taking, particularly given that the game's development was clearly prioritized over the BioWare Montreal-developed Mass Effect: Andromeda.
However, GM Casey Hudson has been able to give an update on Anthem itself, and the BioWare boss suggests that Anthem is more than just a simple aping of those multiplayer-heavy games. In a post for BioWare, Hudson gave a brief outline of where Anthem sits, suggesting that the game will be different from anything seen before. "It will be unlike anything you’ve played, but if we do it right, it will feel very distinctly BioWare," said Hudson.
In part, Hudson suggests that this attempt comes down so some of the lessons learned from the failure of Mass Effect: Andromeda. The GM stated that the ill-fated sequel changed the mission statement of BioWare, saying "we need to delight players with new experiences and innovation, but we must stay focused on the importance of the world, character, and storytelling elements that players expect from our games." In short, this then trickled down to the gameplay elements of the developer's new game. "It’s in that spirit that we are working through production on Anthem – a game designed to create a whole new world of story and character that you can experience with friends in an ongoing series of adventures."
It all sounds extremely positive, but some players may still be waiting to see exactly how Anthem operates before jumping on board. After all, 2017 was a year of debate for video game narratives; BioWare owners EA stated that no-one played single-player, story-driven games anymore, although the fact that so many popular and critically-beloved games were exactly that put paid to that line of thinking. As such, there's still a bit of hesitancy about how Anthem will work.
At the very least, it's good that BioWare seems to be taking its time over the game. The title was pushed back to a 2019 release in January, which at the very least means that the studio wants to make sure it gets it right at launch. If BioWare is able to deliver something truly different, then the wait will be worth it.