It probably won’t have lightsabers or giant slug mobsters, but BioWare’s upcoming action-RPG, Anthem [official site], is going to be more like Star Wars than Mass Effect. “Science fantasy” is how BioWare Edmonton general manager Aaryn Flynn describes it in a recent radio interview.
It’s in a genre we call science fantasy, very much like Star Wars, very much like the Marvel Universe, where you see a lot of amazing things happening, but we don’t worry about why they’re happening, or how they’re happening -- the science of it. Mass Effect is more our real hardcore science fiction IP, this one is much more just having fun in a game world that's lush and exotic and really sucks you in.
Elsewhere in the interview, Flynn talks about the impetus behind making a multiplayer game. While multiplayer modes have popped up in several BioWare games, this is the first time it’s been front and centre. It’s a product of BioWare growing up, says Flynn.
Ever since I’ve had two sons, I’ve always wanted a game I can play with them, and so this is my chance to build a game I can play with my two sons together. We like to play games together now, and I know a lot of the folks, the men and women at the studio, are finding themselves in that life situation too, so it’s sort of an evolution of the studio -- as we all get a little older, a little more mature, this represents a chance for a lot of us to build that game we can play with our families.
Though Anthem is full of big alien beasties and folk traipsing around in power armour, Flynn notes that a lot of the team’s inspiration is drawn from personal experience and the communities they belong to.
We've had folks who have moved into Canada, who are immigrants, and so often those stories find their way in. We have those folks who are from smaller communities, and those stories make their way in. We have LGBTQ members, and those stories make their way into the games. And so it all comes from your personal experience, the writers, the designers, the artists, they all want to put into the game things they've admired or experienced in their lives.
Now that we’re a couple of weeks removed from E3, and I’ve had time to recover from watching yet another multiplayer demo full of fake buddies, I find myself more intrigued by Anthem. I have zero sons to play games with, but I’d still love to see what a studio traditionally focused on single-player, lore-heavy RPGs can bring to an area currently dominated by games like Destiny.
Anthem is due out in autumn 2018.