BioWare would use these smaller, more experimental games as testbeds for ideas.
BioWare has reached the peak of AAA development with its upcoming Anthem, a shared world multiplayer shooter with microtransactions, created over a many year-long development cycle on EA’s own proprietary engine. But it looks like they want to make smaller, more experimental games as well- presumably because those will let them take more risks, creatively speaking.
This wouldn’t take the place of their big AAA games- I assume EA wouldn’t let them stop working on that, and I assume BioWare wants to keep working on major big games anyway.
“It’s incredibly important [to stay diversified],” said Mark Darrah, speaking to Game Informer. “We have a team working on Dragon Age now, and I think it is incredibly important that we don’t become one note.”
Bioware’s Casey Hudson jumped in, noting that the way the industry is going at this point, especially with games like Hellblade and A Way Out allowing players to have close to a AAA experience, without necessarily having to invest in a full scale AAA game, means that BioWare might be able to do something similar in the future. Something like a “short film”, which they could use as a testbed for future ideas as well.
“I think some of the things that are coming, just in the way that we’re doing things in BioWare, and EA, and the way the industry is going, I think it is starting to afford us the opportunity for us to do some things that are more experimental,” Hudson said. “I would like for us to get to a place where, yes, we’re working on our next big thing, but we’re also getting the equivalent of short films out there. That’s a lot of fun. There’s a lot of people here that have ideas that they want to get out, without waiting for the next big thing.”
Hudson added that this would also be a good move from a business perspective- BioWare can get some of the ideas it is gestating out there quicker, and it can see how people respond to them, incorporating them into their major projects, or scrapping them, accordingly.
For now, though, all hands are on deck for Anthem, which launches next February for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.