Anthem: Telling A Story In A Multiplayer Game Is A Hard Problem To Solve, Says BioWare

BioWare talks about how its reconciling storytelling with multiplayer.

Posted By | On 16th, Sep. 2018

anthem

A lot has been said of Anthem and how it is a vastly different experience from what you usually expect from BioWare. Where their games up until now have been singularly story-driven single player experiences, Anthem instead is a multiplayer shared-world shooter- but that doesn’t mean BioWare are no longer focusing on story anymore.

Mark Darrah, who is serving as the game’s executive producer, recently told US Gamer in an interview that though it’s a game with a focus on multiplayer instead of single player, it’s still an experience that emphasizes storytelling, characters, and world building.

“I think what we want people to understand is, while Anthem is a very different game from games that BioWare’s done before, there’s still storytelling at its heart,” Darrah said. “It’s still about characters, it’s still about getting to know people in the world and that we’re telling story through this new way of, what we call ‘Our World, My Story,’ which is about going out into a shared world where story things happen. But then your true storytelling agency happens in Fort Tarsis where those choices live and you have that single-player, more player-driven narrative experience.”

Mike Gamble, lead producer on the game, also chipped in, talking about how balancing storytelling and multiplayer gameplay is a tough feat, something that similar shared-world games haven’t really accomplished so far, but something that BioWare intends to do with Anthem.

“It is a hard problem to solve,” said Gamble. “It’s like how do you do a multiplayer game that has cooperative at its heart, but also still be able to tell a great story? And you know I don’t think anyone actually nailed it yet. I think we probably have a pretty good shot at coming out of the gates and being able to do it. But it takes intentional design from the very beginning to split out, ‘Okay this is how you’re going to do your missions, and this is how you’re going to do your character building.'”

Anthem seems to be going for an approach where the two are very clearly divided, but that said, it does seem like its choice based systems will be much less emphasized than in previous BioWare games. For instance, we know that there will be only two dialog options for the most part in the game, and that it won’t have a heavily branching story. However, it’s ideas of continuous post-launch storytelling, similar to something like Fortnite, for instance, are certainly intriguing.

Anthem launches on February 22 next year for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC.


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