After several years of producing games like the Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises, gamers have come to understand what they can expect from Bioware when it comes to downloadable content. However, with the upcoming title Anthem, Bioware looks to change things in a big way.Anthem Executive Producer Mark Darrah explained to CinemaBlend at a PAX West press conference this morning that, due to the way the game is being developed, its post-launch content can be more dynamic than what's typical of BioWare. While we didn't get too many details about Anthem's actual DLC roadmap, Darrah explained that the entire narrative can be less "trapped" thanks to a more focused set of objectives.
If you look at what we've done with DLC in past games, story DLC, is they have to essentially treat the characters as they're trapped in amber because you can play that usually at any point in time. Because of the way that we're going to release story and additional character moments in Anthem, we can continue to evolve the character forward in a way that we haven't done before.
Darrah revealed these details at an Anthem press conference during this weekend's big PAX convention. Anthem is BioWare's big push into games as service, which pretty much every developer/publisher under the sun seems to be gunning for these days. The difference is that most of those other developers don't have the same pedigree as BioWare, who are used to making massive games with sweeping stories and oodles of content.
The big difference here is that Anthem will launch as a standard game and, much like Destiny or an MMO, additional content will continue to roll out over the coming years. Sure, they've done long runs of DLC in the past for games like Dragon Age, but that old model typically saw a chunk of content released every few months, primarily focusing on new stories to explore.
With Anthem, BioWare will couple those standard story drops with an ongoing stream of additional content. Expect weekly events, seasonal occurrences and potentially even smaller doses of story content to be fed into the game constantly rather than exclusively through big DLC.
But since Anthem's objectives are more focused, Darrah explained that the team can now get more creative with their new story content. Since the DLC in older games could be played at any time, they had to be wary of making big changes that impact the world. If you play DLC that destroys a town, for instance, but you need to visit that town later in the campaign, it's going to seem pretty odd when you have to revisit it later and everything has returned to normal. Since Anthem is a continuing, dynamic game with extra story being delivered at key points, Darrah said BioWare has more freedom to make those extra stories just as impactful as the standard narrative.
If you go and you play a piece of [Dragon Age] Inquisition DLC Sera's Sera and she's kind of almost more like generic Sera because maybe you're playing this piece of DLC halfway through the story, maybe you played it at the end, maybe you've done the character arc with her, maybe you haven't. Here, because these characters are on a journey and you're guiding them through that journey, you know where they're going to be more clearly than we have in the past. That lets us do more continuing evolution in the world with these characters.
Rather than getting DLC for Anthem that continues the story, Bioware is looking to make sure that the DLC continues your story. We'll get to see how all of that shakes out when Anthem finally launches on Feb. 22 of next year.