Yeah, that’s definitely true.
(I’m not too familiar with BioWare games, but are you referring to SWTOR by any chance?)
Reading up more about it, Anthem started development right after BioWare Edmonton finished Mass Effect 3. So it’s been in the works for a long time now.
BioWare is known primarily for one thing: well-crafted, branching stories. Through series like Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and Knights of the Old Republic, the studio has carved out a lucrative niche of making choice and character-driven role-playing games.
On the surface, BioWare’s next game, Anthem, looks like it goes in a completely different direction. It’s a shared online world, where players can team up to take on missions and gather loot, Destiny-style.
But the studio doesn’t see it as a drastic departure. Instead, BioWare looks at Anthem as a way to fix one of the problems with massively multiplayer online games — namely, that they rarely have a compelling story to dig into.
“It is solvable,” BioWare general manager Casey Hudson says of making a narrative-driven online experience, “but you have to design the game from the ground up to deal with that.”
Also, there’s this:
Hudson says that the idea of being able to respond quickly to players was another big reason BioWare wanted to pursue a game like this. It’s something that’s not really possible in a single-player RPG.
As an example, Hudson mentions Garrus, a Mass Effect character who became so beloved that fans started clamoring for the option to romance him in the game. “We built that into the next game,” explains Hudson. “It’s just that it took us two years to have the opportunity to do that.
In Anthem, we can get a sense of what people want. We can plan something out for two months from now, but plant a seed right now. That’s a lot of real-time interaction with fans we want to have.”
This kind of narrative freedom is also one of the reasons why BioWare decided to build a new property from scratch.
The studio already has access to two beloved science fiction universes with Star Wars and Mass Effect, but it was easier to build an expansive world for players that could regularly change without the baggage attached to those franchises.
The action-oriented gameplay of Anthem was another reason to start something brand-new. “There were things we wanted to do with our next game that we knew we couldn’t do with either of those two licenses,” Hudson says of the decision.
There are some interesting points made, but it’s going to take a damn lot of convincing people after the development catastrophe that was Andromeda (Jason Schreier’s article on this is fantastic) and now this which most perceive as a Destiny clone by EA.
I’ve even seen a few people saying that CD Projekt Red should just take over the Mass Effect series.