Since day one of its gameplay reveal, BioWare’s Anthem has been a hard sell for players, be it for those who hate EA’s implementation of loot boxes, or those who want a traditional story experience. Even if the monetization and story experience turns out to be just fine, the development team is also paying attention to what other multiplayer titles are offering in terms of post-launch support.
Speaking to PC Gamer, however, the team is looking at more than just free post-launch story DLC. It wants to foster a communal kind of story-telling among its fans, similar to what Fortnite has got going on currently.
Executive producer Mark Darrah explains it pretty well, saying, “Well, one problem that we’ve had with BioWare games is there’s a real reluctance to talk about what you’ve experienced because of the feeling of spoilers. But when you look at something like Fortnite, there’s this very shared communal storytelling going on, like with the purple cube or the missile or the meteor showers. People share this experience because they know everyone saw it. That’s what our world actually gets us. What we’ve never had before is the ability to have a shared experience we can all talk about and have storytelling on this communal level.
“We can have one of the characters you’re already interacting with be like, ‘Oh, you know I heard about a big purple cube!’ And then you show the big purple cube, and then the big purple cube moves, and then oh my God, the big purple cube is whatever the hell the big purple cube is going to be.”
“And we can do that without the players waiting for five, six, three, four, whatever months for massive DLC,” said lead producer Michael Gamble. However, Darrah notes that while seasonal content is on the agenda, he also feels that the game needs more than that.
“So we definitely are planning to do some seasonal content, bigger stuff,” he said. “But then I think we need something more than that. I think what Fortnite, what Epic has done that others maybe haven’t figured out, is that they have seasons—big 10 week-long things—and then within that they’re like, we’re just going to sprinkle in something on top of that.
“What then you see is a lot of developers are missing is that second level of thing. They’ve got the season and they hit that cadence. ‘We do five things a year, six things a year.’ But they don’t have that extra little bit of spice, and that’s what Epic has figured out.”
Interestingly, Gamble notes that the studio has a “full plan.” “Potentially even a third layer,” he says. “We understand completely that as time goes on people’s interest in things will drop off and then the only people you’ll be able to get back are the ones who are super hardcore in the game. We don’t want that.”
Anthem is out on February 22nd 2019 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC. The demo will go live on February 1st 2019 for EA/Origin Access subscribers on Xbox One and PC, but PS4 players can pre-order the game to also take part.