Tons of new information on BioWare’s upcoming action-RPG Anthem has been released, including a release date for the games demo and a brand new trailer emphasizing one of the core features of Anthem, the games narrative.
The trailer, titled ‘Our World, My Story’ focuses on character interaction and the consequences that can happen in the games overall narrative. We see shots of the in-game cast of characters -all done entirely in first person – and some interactivity with them in the main hub of the game, Fort Tarsus. The trailer touts a “richly personal narrative where your choices have consequences,” although to what extent was not shown in the trailer. All story-related DLC after the games launch will also be released free, adding onto the games lore and narrative for all players to enjoy.
After the launch of the trailer, Anthem’s executive producer Mark Darrah revealed more information regarding the games narrative structure for the public at a press briefing at PAX West. One interesting change is that Anthem will contain no dialogue wheel, and instead focuses on binary choices by giving players two dialogue options each time they need to make a choice.
The justification for this is two fold, according to Darrah. The first is to reduce choice paralysis and eliminate ‘false choices’ that are often seen in-game dialogue, where multiple options lead to the same lines or conclusion. Missions are also not locked out based on your choices, so players will be able to experience the games breadth of content despite narrative decisions. The second reason is their targeted audience. “We are talking to a different audience,” executive producer Mark Darrah says at a press briefing. “An audience that isn’t used to these kinds of decisions in conversation. We wanted it to be simpler, but we also didn’t want to present you with any false choices, where it’s like ‘here’s three choices that lead to the same place.”
To compensate for this, BioWare is focusing heavily on all forms of conversations in-game, including a change to their ‘bronze conversation’ system. Bronze conversations were often interactions with minor characters that were not given the same treatment as more substantial dialogues, such as the zoomed in camera for multiple NPCs in Dragon Age: Inquisition. BioWare is instead working to build every conversation in Anthem to have the same impact as big-ticket choices with quality cinematic presentation.
Conversations also provide Cortex entries through dialogue. As you speak with some characters, panels of information will appear in the upper right corner of the screen, providing new lore information on the fly as dialogue progresses. This provides the player quick, in-game context for exposition delivered through dialogue, allowing for a quicker understanding of the in-game lore.
BioWare also announced a VIP Demo for Anthem, which will start on February 1st of 2019 to anyone who pre-ordered the game or for EA Access members, getting nearly a full month of game time in before Anthem even launches.
“The demo is a demo,” lead producer Mike Gamble says, according to PCGamesN “It’s not a tech test, it’s not a beta that comes out three weeks before the game where ‘your feedback’ – like, no, it’s ‘this is the game and we hope you love it,’ and at that point that’s really what we’re showing.”