Anthem leader promises more focus on storylines

BioWare says it’s focused on delivering a big story for its next game Anthem, acknowledging that the developer ought to have spent more time on narrative in its last game, Mass Effect Andromeda.

The Electronic Arts’-owned studio’s general manager Casey Hudson delivered a blog post earlier today, in which he talked about the heightened importance of story.

Hudson has spent much of his career at BioWare, working on big role-playing games including the original Mass Effect trilogy. Following a stint at Microsoft, working on HoloLens, he came back to the company last summer, following the departure of previous general manager Aaryn Flynn.

In his blog post, Hudson wrote the following:

When I returned to BioWare last summer, Mass Effect: Andromeda had just been released and there was a significant movement among players asking for a story DLC that would answer questions surrounding the fate of the quarians. As you know, we were not able to deliver story DLC for Andromeda—this was as frustrating for us as it was for players, and it was something we knew we had to solve in future games.

That experience ultimately became a defining moment in refocusing BioWare’s mission. 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. And our games must be designed to continue delivering new stories and experiences, in an ongoing relationship with players in the worlds we’re evolving together.

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 will be unlike anything you’ve played, but if we do it right, it will feel very distinctly BioWare.

Anthem is an open-world, multiplayer science-fiction RPG in which characters wear mechanized combat suits to battle monsters. The game was first unveiled at E3 last year and will be launched on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One. Although originally tagged for release in 2018, it’s expected to be launched some time in 2019, as the company labors to salvage some of its damaged reputation, in the aftermath of Mass Effect Andromeda.

That game failed to meet the expectations of both critics and fans. It was plagued with severe animation bugs at launch, which adds credence to reports that development was rushed. Plans for downloadable content, including new stories, were scrapped.

Hudson also wrote that he hopes to use the blog to keep fans updated with “stories about development as we head towards the launch of Anthem.” He added: “Next time I’ll talk more about how our updated studio mission is helping to focus our work on Anthem and the games that will follow.”

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