"Anthem" and the new Bioware


Video Games

The Exchange

2 people marked this as a favorite.

So first gameplay footage of Anthem, the newest Bioware offering, is now avilable. The snippet, which Bioware used to make a first impression with their game, focuses heavily on two elements: open world exploration and multiplayer (in the form of small group co-op).

More and more, it seems to me as if Bioware is reinventing itself in a way that alienates their traditional fanbase. I can certainly say that what I loved about their older games was the awesome focus on story, setting and characters, all told through a tight and well planned narrative with tons of dialogue and tactical combat with group management.

With every successive game they released, I watched in horror as these elements faded - sometimes to be replaced by different ones I don't like nearly as much, and sometimes simply to remain as muted versions of their former glory. In ME3 dialogue has been so overly simplified that you'll be hard pressed to differentiate conversations from slightly interactive cut-scenes. Dragon Age Inquisition did away with group management (you can still technically control your group members but the interface strongly encourages you to control a single character in each combat encounter - trying to play Inquisition like I did Origins was a complete nightmare of frustrating camera angles) and introduced a large open world instead of the well scripted and more contained areas of the good old days. Mass Effect 4 I know is mostly meh about pretty much every single element other than combat.

And now here comes Anthem. It looks to have a cool setting and some pretty fun gameplay elements, gorgeous graphics and many other likable things. But the choice to highlight multiplayer really scared me - I feel it's a safe bet that like me, a great number of Bioware friends *prefer* the solitary game experience over playing with friends, letting ourselves soak into the story and character we built for ourselves rather than being taken out of the experience by constantly chatting with troublesome *actual* humans.

Bioware is losing me here, and that is a real downer since some of their older games fit so perfectly and neatly to what I want out of a video game that they felt too good to be true.

Anyone here who feels like me? Or am I perhaps reading too much into the released Anthem footage?

Sovereign Court

I think you are on to something. My guess is that Bioware/EA are reading tea leaves that lead them away from designing games you like to appeal to a wider audience. A shame, but you will probably need to find your game experiences elsewhere.


My games-of-choice are pretty much the same as the OP, and I have noticed the same trend too. My suspicion is that Multiplayer games sell better/more, and have more opportunities to increase sales based on word-of-mouth (getting friends to play with). Like Pan, I don't see this going away. My hope is the CDProjectRed (The Witcher crew) and Bethesda (Fallout, Elder Scrolls Series) stay strong with the kind of single player games I love.

The other possibility is to look at crowd-sourcing sites like Fig and Kickstarter. Though not everything works out, games like Pillars of Eternity and Divinity have come out of these efforts and have been well-received. They play more like Neverwinter Nights than DA: Origins in terms of graphics, but have the kind of story-focus/plot+combat emphasis that the OP mentioned.


I feel ya LS, Bioware used to blow my mind, now, I rarely even check up on what they are doing.

Alas and alack for the days of single player story driven awesomeness.

(i own and enjoy Divinity, lets me play with a friend a continent away, yet avoid much of the WoW stuff that I dislike, no offense to those who enjoy that franchise.)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Just watched the trailer for Anthem, I missed it the other night when EA did their presser. To me this just looks like a Destiny/Warframe clone. Heck the descriptions of owning a bunch of exosuits with unique play styles just shouts Warframe.

I have thought since they introduced the multiplayer piece of ME3 that Bioware would probably start putting more and more emphasis on that side of things. Never did play either ME3 or DAI multiplayer. I felt that the concept was tacked on to those games and probably should have been it's own thing instead of an extra mode in what are other wise story heavy single player games.

I like having co-op style games that I can play with my friends, but I also have begun to miss the single player focused story games that used to be the norm. Bethesda and Bioware were the bastion of those type of games for a while but it looks like the prevailing wind of market forces are shifting that.

The Exchange

I guess I feel obliged to give a shoutout to Telltale Games, who don't have the RPG elements I love in the old Bioware games (tactical combat, leveling up and so on) but have extremely strong stories, characters and settings.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I think it's clear that the old BioWare is dead. EA is extremely risk-averse and just wants to crank out games that are similar to everything else, and they see enormous, big-budget single-player-focused RPGs as not a good return on investment. Hence each successive BioWare game since the takeover in 2008 has seen subsequently fewer and fewer RPG elements.

There's also been a mass-exodus of BioWare personnel from the company. Some of them formed Stoic and made the spectacular BANNER SAGA, others have joined Bethesda and Microsoft and gone on to do other stuff. Very few people from the KotOR era are still there, and almost none from the BALDUR'S GATE era.

Ironically, since they are more hardcore RPGs, the DIVINITY: ORIGINAL SIN games actually do have a genuine and very innovative approach to multiplayer that is really interesting and forward-thinking.


The games, they are a changin'...

Ah Baldur's Gate and BG2, Throne of Baal, now THOSE were games!

I am still playing that now and again, when I need to you know, become a hermit :)


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Lord Snow wrote:
So first gameplay footage of Anthem, the newest Bioware offering, is now avilable. The snippet, which Bioware used to make a first impression with their game, focuses heavily on two elements: open world exploration and multiplayer (in the form of small group co-op).

My wife & I watched the clip together. She actually introduced me to post Baldur's Gate Bioware games. Her first words at the end summed it up for both of us: "So.... where's the story?"

Her greater analysis was more damning, in that she pointed out - quite rightly - that the preview didn't introduce any characters, it introduced four players following a script. Role Play Games are called that because the players take on the role of a character in the story, not because they adopt an in-game mechanical role - otherwise Battlefield 1942 would qualify as an RPG just as much as Anthem.

It feels more like a mash of Destiny's style statement and Borderlands' drop-in coop.

And no narrative.

Lord Snow wrote:
More and more, it seems to me as if Bioware is reinventing itself in a way that alienates their traditional fanbase. I can certainly say that what I loved about their older games was the awesome focus on story, setting and characters, all told through a tight and well planned narrative with tons of dialogue and tactical combat with group management.

I'm gonna have to vehemently disagree with you here, having played... pretty much every Bioware game except Andromeda. And replayed some recently.

Regarding the focus on story, setting and characters, they managed a steady improvement from Shattered Steel through to Dragon Age: Origins.... and no, Baldur's Gate was not and is not a holy grail of gaming, it's just a notable improvement over its predecessors. In terms of character development and story; Jade Empire/KotOR/ME/DA:O beat it hands down.

ME2-3 and DA2-DA:I commentary:

Despite the immense success of Mass Effect 2... it is also perhaps the primary culprit for the SNAFU that was ME3. The reasoning is simple: As fun as the gameplay and juicy character moments were, it was a mass of great side-quests glued to a complete derailment of the overarching plot. ME3 then had the near-impossible challenge of trying to do what ME2 needed to do (but didn't) and then also be the conclusion... and they didn't pull it off.

Not that I don't think that the ending to ME3 was still the project leadership setting fire to the franchise to try to ensure that EA would never ask them to do another one.

As for Dragon Age 2... I liked it. It wasn't as good as the first one, and I felt they really, really wasted a lot of potential in the setting, but they focused on telling a character-based stories (like ME2) and trying to capture lightning in a bottle a second time. Unfortunately, while ME2 got away with having a flimsy plot, DA2 didn't. The recycling of resources didn't help.

Though honestly, Isabella, Aveline and Varric remain some of my favourite Bioware characters.

Dragon Age: Inquisition was a solid return to form in story-telling, and actually did a tremendous job of justifying Dragon Age 2, as it tied together many of the loose plots and bits of lore into a distinct and thoroughly enjoyable narrative. And then built on it with the DLC. I was seriously hoping that Andromeda would be basically Inquisition-in-Space, with a similar focus on characters and story but a different setting.

Sadly, I was disappointed.

With regards to tactical combat, I think you're making some faulty assumptions.

  • Shattered Steel was a mech simulator.
  • Baldur's Gate I and II were tactical party-based RPGs, as was Neverwinter Nights to a lesser degree, because they were based on D&D which is a tactical party-based game.
  • Knights of the Old Republic was using Saga Edition Star Wars mechanics (aka D&D in Spaaaaaaaaaaaaace!), and followed a similar philosophy.
  • Jade Empire was an excellent roleplay game in a custom setting, and used beat-em-up mechanics, with the player largely controlling a single character.
  • Mass Effect is (to me) one of the best games I've ever played, and is a Bioware RPG... which happens to use shooter mechanics.
  • Dragon Age: Origins returns to more of the NWN/BG style gameplay, but in a unique setting. A bit of a "return to what sold well" style of game. But still great.
  • ME2 follows on from ME1, only streamlining the mechanics to be more in line with convention FPS games... and skimping on a meaningful plot (but having great characters).
  • Dragon Age II focused more on a single-player style of game, and generally tried to emulate Mass Effect II in feel (fast-paced action-focus, rather than pause-and-play tactical game).
  • TOR is an MMO. Nuff said.
  • ME3 was a continuation on from ME2... sort of.
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition was basically following DA2 gameplay, but with a portion of the tactical options put back in, if somewhat clunkily.

The tactical aspect of their games is not a linear increase or decrease, but rather a function of what they were going for at the time. Calling it a hallmark of a Bioware game is... not justified.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hunh, guess I'm the only one excited about Anthem? I like the setting and art style, and really like the 3rd person over the shoulder interface (I loath FPS).

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Lord Snow wrote:
Anyone here who feels like me?

Kind of, but luckily, there are so many other great RPGs out there that fit my bill way better than what Bioware is doing, that I feel no need to be too sad about the development. I still can enjoy newer Bioware games for what they are, though I'll probably miss out on Anthem, because so far, it doesn't seem to be my cup of tea.

Sovereign Court

Watched the trailer and cringed terribly at the HIP dialogue.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Its already been said, but my Bioware is dead. The writing was clearly on the wall with the rushed DA2. Any coincidence the founders decided to bow out about the same time? Think not.

Luckily for me, I get immense replay value from my games. Hell I am still playing fantasy general and master of orion.


Just a nit: KotOR was published in 2003. Star Wars Saga edition was published in 2007. Of course, there were earlier d20 Star Wars games.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Sissyl wrote:
Just a nit: KotOR was published in 2003. Star Wars Saga edition was published in 2007. Of course, there were earlier d20 Star Wars games.

Fair enough. I kinda skipped Saga personally, and went straight from WEG to FFG. Probably better to say "KotOR was based on a D&D 3.0 derivative" and leave it at that.

Black Dougal wrote:
Its already been said, but my Bioware is dead. The writing was clearly on the wall with the rushed DA2. Any coincidence the founders decided to bow out about the same time? Think not.

To take my own turn at nitpicking... but they bowed out after the release of ME3.

DA2 I could forgive. It was clearly stretching resource use to absurd levels, and the core story was... weak... but I could see what they were trying to do, and there is a kind of logic behind focusing on smaller character-driven stories rather than vast world-shaking plots, especially after the success of ME2.

And DA:I did a pretty good job of picking up the pieces and hammering them into a cohesive goal again.

The main issue is that the Bioware label... isn't homogeneous. Each office will function as its own unique entity, and produce different games of different quality.... which is much the same as my experience in Engineering as well.

The DA:I Team? I'd buy more of their stuff.

The ME3 team? Not interested.

The ME:A team? Blegh.

The Exchange

Quote:
The tactical aspect of their games is not a linear increase or decrease, but rather a function of what they were going for at the time. Calling it a hallmark of a Bioware game is... not justified.

I'll admit that I only played the Knight of the Old Republic,Mass Effect and Dragon Age games - from that perspective, the older the game is, the more it is focused on managing your whole party and sequencing special abilities with tactical positioning.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.

You mean less accessible to stupid people xD


1 person marked this as a favorite.

@ Black Dougal...you are not the only one still playing Masters of Orion, love that game!

(or course, I still play Diablo 1 and 2, Darksun: Shattered Lands and Wake of the Ravager, Baldur's Gate the full saga, Menzoberranzan, Icewind Dale I and II, Ravenloft: Strahads Possession and The Stone Prophet, etc etc. I am in a PC game time-warp, what of it? :P )

I really should get the first Dragon Age though...not like it's going to break the bank at this point, by the power of GOG.com!


Hama wrote:
You mean less accessible to stupid people xD

I would say less stupid people and more non-bandwagon riders. The games they put out were very similar to one another, and if you didn't like one, you probably wouldn't like the others.

The Exchange

Freehold DM wrote:
Hama wrote:
You mean less accessible to stupid people xD
I would say less stupid people and more non-bandwagon riders. The games they put out were very similar to one another, and if you didn't like one, you probably wouldn't like the others.

Yeah, if I have one gripe with old Bioware is how much they relied on a single template for each of their stories.

Grand Lodge

I actually liked the Anthem trailer from a gameplay standpoint. The "player" dialogue was terrible true, but the gameplay looks like a vast improvement on the Destiny/Warframe style of game imo.

That said, I do miss the older style Bioware games, but times change.


Money, Money, Money.........MONEY


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yup. ME:A's reception, the industry swing towards loot boxes and microtransactions etc all mean that things look bad for single-player games, at least story-focused linear ones from big publishers.

There will be publishers that keep pushing them: Bethesda won't ever stop making big open world RPGs because that's their thing. They may have to reconsider what to do with their sub-studio games, though. Doom, Dishonored 2 and Prey all under-performed, despite spectacular reviews. I don't think any of them bombed as such, but their performance in each case was disappointing. Evil Within 2 really did bomb on launch, which is a lot more concerning. Bethesda rely on their secondary studio games to keep things ticking over during the long waits between actual Bethesda Studio games (we're probably 2-3 years from the next Bethesda game, which is presumably Starfield or whatever it ends up being called, and 6-8 from the next Elder Scrolls, and maybe 10-12 from the next Fallout). I wonder now if they're going to be tempted to use the sub-studios to start cranking out games in their big franchises and nothing else? How Wolfenstein II does may factor into that decision.

I also suspect Rockstar will keep doing them, both because they already have a healthy online mode and because the Housers are frustrated scriptwriters. I do wonder if GTA6 will effectively be a big bolt-on for GTA Online, so it will have a new city and story but it will also expand GTA Online from GTA5. That would be a cross-pollination of the two fields.

But I can't really see Blizzard ever doing a big, story-focused WarCraft IV or StarCraft III given their current focus. Valve have already abandoned their single-player games like Portal and Half-Life in favour of multiplayer (which is why I suspect we'll see a Team Fortress 3 or Left For Dead 3 long before they revisit any of their SP universes). For BioWare it looks like Mass Effect has been put on ice and Dragon Age 4 will be their last chance to impress with a SP game (although there'll almost certainly be a strong multiplayer mode as well).

Fortunately there's a few other companies cranking out successful single-player games like Creative Assembly and Firaxis, and the Kickstarter and indie scene is thriving quite well. Phoenix Point, Wasteland 3, Pillars of Eternity 2 and BattleMech are all great-looking games with a SP focus coming out next year (or early 2019).

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Werthead wrote:
Fortunately there's a few other companies cranking out successful single-player games like Creative Assembly and Firaxis, and the Kickstarter and indie scene is thriving quite well. Phoenix Point, Wasteland 3, Pillars of Eternity 2 and BattleMech are all great-looking games with a SP focus coming out next year (or early 2019).

In the end, that's the important thing. There are still quite some SP titles out there and who cares if they are by AAA publishers or smaller companies as long as the game is good. Sure, I miss those games that Bioware published when they where at their best. But as long as basically every month a game gets published that I'd love to play, I don't miss them too much.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I thought Deus Ex Human Revolution was a great sequel and look forward to another addition. However, they did add a multiplayer hacking game that I didn't put much attention to. Seems like a few times SP and multiplayer can coexist without costing overall quality. Though I think its a difficult task to manage.

Bethesda's take. Seems like they are going strict SP and delegating MP to MMO(s)?


It’s part of EA’s cycle of buying developers, sucking them dry if everything good, and discarding their lifeless husks once nothing remains.


is juggling his life between being a high schoolstudent and being Spider-Man. Be that as Download free bollywood movies
Download free bollywood movies</a> it may, when Wilson "Boss" FiskThe Lion Kinges a super collider, another Spider-Man from another measurement, Peter Parker,accidentally ends up in Miles' measurement. As Peter trains Miles to turn into a betterSpider-Man, they are before long joined by four


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

How is Anthem, I've been meaning to get a new game.


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
captain yesterday wrote:
How is Anthem, I've been meaning to get a new game.

So catastrophically badly received that it's allegedly put Dragon Age 4 in jeopardy... I'd buy pretty much anything else.

Liberty's Edge

Still bad after its been out this long? EA/ Bioware has'nt fixed the issues?


They've practically given up on the game. Look for Yong Yea vids on Youtube about the entire debacle. If Dragon Age 4 doesn't perform well EA will claim another victim in the long list of developers they've bought, forced to create a game outside its wheelhouse and killed.


If I remember right, Anthem has totally removed its roadmap. Frankly, they didn't spend enough time actually making the game - there's almost no content, updates have been slow, power is totally arbitrary, and they specifically went and removed everything the community actually found fun (like better drop rates).

They spent literal years working with the Frostbite Engine to try and get it to work for their game - mandated by EA, because it's "easier" to have just one engine - and spent well under two years actually making the game. No centralized vision, no real director, and no good gaming structure. Plus lies to the community. Anthem has some nice ideas, but the execution is absolutely awful. A recent check found more people watching Mario Party on the Wii U than watching Anthem. It's so dead you might not even be able to find people to do missions with.

So, uh, yeah. Get pretty much literally anything else. Warframe, maybe, if you want to pilot a robot suit and do cool stuff.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Rednal wrote:
They spent literal years working with the Frostbite Engine to try and get it to work for their game - mandated by EA, because it's "easier" to have just one engine

Unless that engine is the devil incarnate.

Community / Forums / Gamer Life / Entertainment / Video Games / "Anthem" and the new Bioware All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Video Games