Update, June 13: BioWare has clarified that it does want romances in Anthem, but they’re not part of the immediate plan.
It doesn’t look like Anthem will contain the same level of narrative depth or romance options as BioWare’s other major titles. Yet the studio’s still open to having some old-fashioned banging in its co-op shooter - it’s just not it in the current plans.
BioWare’s Casey Hudson said that while the team has been saying no, “the nuance is, of course we do want relationships. [Anthem is] just more in an action genre of storytelling.” That’s in contrast to the expectations of “mature-rated storylines” from previous titles like Mass Effect and Dragon Age.
“Of course, like with other games, we just want to see how people respond to that, and then we can build more," Hudson says. He then gives the example of Mass Effect’s Garrus, who started life as “a kind of birdlike concept art” before becoming one of the best-loved characters in the series.
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“It turned out that people loved Garrus so much that they wanted romances with him,” Hudson tells VentureBeat, “so we built that into Mass Effect 2 and people loved it. That same opportunity exists here. If people really like a character and they want to spend more time with them, want a relationship with them, that’s definitely in the cards for the future.”
This follows an an Ask Me (Almost) Anything thread on Twitter earlier this week, where Anthem’s executive producer Mark Darrah suggested that your actions in-game may not have the same effect as they had in games like Dragon Age.
Darrah was asked whether there were points in Anthem where choices during missions affect the story, drawing on a particular example from Dragon Age: Inquisition. In response, Darrah said “on a mission, you’ll focus on the action as opposed to conversational branching,” suggesting that Anthem’s story won’t have meaningful narrative choice within its missions.
Darrah does say that “your actions and the missions you do MAY affect things,” and also that “the conversation and interactions you have with people in your HUB will DEFINITELY affect their lives.”
On a mission, you'll focus on the action as opposed to conversational branching— Mark Darrah (@BioMarkDarrah) June 11, 2018
That said, your actions and the missions you do MAY affect things
The conversations and interactions you have with people in your HUB will DEFINITELY affect their liveshttps://t.co/hmtroIkISl
That suggests that narrative choice will impact on the game as a whole, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to change how individual missions play out.
Darrah also tweeted that there "will be relationships" in Anthem, "but not romantic ones." He goes on to say that "the relationships we are focusing on are ones around companionship and camaraderie of heroes."
You can check out a gameplay trailer for Anthem below:
The Anthem release date is February 22, 2019. We don’t know much about Anthem’s story just yet, but EA claims it will “solve” storytelling in live multiplayer games. We’ll see if that’s true, but for now you may just want to boot up an old Dragon Age game instead.