Bioware’s Casey Hudson describes the early development process for Anthem.
Anthem looks very different from the kind of game that Bioware would ordinarily make. On one hand, the studio is known for making story based role playing games with defined and well developed characters, strong choice and consequence mechanics, and player driven romances. On the other hand, Anthem has… none of that?
So it’s a bit unnerving when you realize that, after the failure of Mass Effect Andromeda last year, Bioware’s future may be riding in no small part on this one game. That said, it does sound like Bioware has worked very hard on making this the most appealing game it could be. Even the pitch process had multiple pitches by the studio, Casey Hudson has revealed in an interview with Game Informer.
“We had people from all around BioWare and throughout the team pitching ideas,” Hudson said (transcript by WCCFTech). “We did 20 or 30 different original [pitches] during the first pass. We’d all go off, and you’re inspired by something […] and you’re, ‘Hey, I think I know how everything should be” and you write that all out and you pitch it. It’s really interesting, because […] you get a value system around what you like and what feels right, but then you start to say, ‘We liked this one part of [this pitch], but the rest of it didn’t work, but we like this other thing and the two sit really nicely together.’ That was the process we used to get off of the blank page.”
On one hand, it’s good they iterated on the game so much- on the other, it worries me. It sounds like the kind of process that something completely created by focus testing and design by committee might end up like, competent but soulless- and soulless is not something Bioware is associated with, or what Anthem should be. I hope my misgivings turn out to be unfounded, and Anthem turns out to be great when it launches next year for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.