PAX West 2018: Anthem shuns content paywalls, lockboxes while embracing ‘reactive storytelling’

    
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More information from BioWare’s Anthem presentation at PAX West this weekend has continued to roll out, bolstering the gorgeous trailer and potentially worrisome story-related statements from Saturday.

Executive Producer Mark Darrah has doubled down on earlier revelations that Anthem will not embrace lootboxes of any sort. It will have “cosmetic stock” in the cash shop, but everything there will also be acquirable in-game. Do note that as in a typical MMORPG, some of the best weapons and gear will be gated to four-man “raids” – their word, not ours.

Maybe more importantly, BioWare says it won’t be locking any of the game’s content behind paywalls, in the interests of keeping people together to “experience the same stories.” Post-launch content updates and DLC will likewise be free-to-play.

As for the storytelling itself – BioWare’s “reinvention” of multiplayer narrative – well, that’s not just for Anthem and Anthem alone. BioWare says to expect similar “reactive storytelling” in future games, “whether it’s Dragon Age or the other one that starts with ‘Mass’.

In case you missed it, here’s the PAX trailer again in all its glory:

Source: VG247
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MrNastyButler

Meh, we’ll see. Nothing is really impressing me each time I look at this and about the only reason I’m keeping track of it is that I’ve gone to love and be curious about Bioware games. I’m not overly interested in a Destiny clone game, but I’ve enjoyed a enough of the past products of the company that I’ll give it a look when it’s released. If enough of youtube reviewers I enjoy, and play styles match mine, like it, I’ll give it a go.

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squid

Do note that as in a typical MMORPG, some of the best weapons and gear will be gated to four-man raids.

…..

Mitzruti
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Mitzruti

4 man… raids? that’s not a raid dood. that’s a single group.

Xijit
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Xijit

LoL, I count 1 single comment here that isn’t talking out of its ass.

What they are describing is 90% exactly the same marketing / DLC / business plan that Titanfall 2 had … Every content update was free, the DLC packs were 100% cosmetic, and that game was phenomenally successful in both player retention (it still has 1k~ players on at most hours of the day) and sales.

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thirtymil

EA predicted 9-10 million sales for Titanfall 2, it sold 5-6 million. I think it sold well, but I wouldn’t say it was ‘phenomenally successful’, at least not by the standards they were using. Battlefield 1, in comparison, sold over 15 million.

Xijit
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Xijit

Maybe I am just biased because the game has had an exception run on the PS4 … Still, selling 6 million copies when shipped along side bith BF1 and COD is pretty good, especially when I know for damn sure the gamg cost way less money than either of those two titles did.

Plus I know that the community has had zero problem buying the “DLC” skins and paintjobs, so it could aslo be that TF2 made up for it with after market sales. EA has repeatedly stated that when all is said and done, they were not disappointed in the title (and you do not shut down an internal studio just to buy out someone who’s last game you view as a failure).

But whatever the arm chair executive analyst-ing may guess at about the games performance, there is one big fact: both BFV & now Anthem have ditched the “Season Pass DLC expansions + micro transaction item unlocks” format that has been EA’s staple since BF2, and are now using TF2 / Respawn’s format.

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Vorender

Option 1: Yes
Option 2: Also Yes

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Sana Tan

Press X to Doubt

Xijit
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Xijit

dude … wrong game / wrong company.

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Armsman

You mean Bioware (well EA) aka the same company who said prior to SWToR launch:

– SWToR will never go ‘free to play’ (and also claimed that yes, they were fully aware of the state of the MMO market at the time of SWToR’s launch).

– SWToR will NOT be cutting back/laying off Developers post launch so they c an continue to deliver new content.

A few months post launch SWToR did both (IE announced it would be going F2P; and also that it was downsizing development staff – an d that “all MOS do this…” <— which is usually true but again they pre launch specifically stated "we won't be doing that…")

So, yeah, sorry. Game companies say A LOT of stuff pre-launch. But given BioWare/EA's track record of follow through; color me unimpressed by any promises they make pre-launch.

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Archebius

As for the storytelling itself – BioWare’s “reinvention” of multiplayer narrative – well, that’s not just for Anthem and Anthem alone.

I think we’re seeing more shades of “single-player RPGs are dead” with this stance. Yeah, a shift away from overarching heroic narratives to more episodic missions makes DLC easier, but – in my opinion – it makes for more stagnant storytelling.

Dragon Age and Mass Effect did tell a single main story, and they told it well; while that structure isn’t flexible, it’s also coherent and emotional. Some of Destiny’s lore is cool, but the missions never had any real impact, and frequently didn’t feel like they were adding up to anything except better loot.

Story isn’t why I wanted to play Anthem in the first place, and I struggle to believe that they’ll make it a particularly emotional experience. But hey, make it a good game, and I’ll play it anyway.

Just don’t try to tell me that this is going to make for better storytelling.

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Michael18

While the trailer is full of PR nonsense, I gotta say it’s beginning to make the game look interesting, imo.

If they just clone Destiny, but add deeper story/lore with a better presentation within the game, then this could become a very entertaining game.

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thirtymil

The difference is Bungie have had a lot of experience at perfecting shooting mechanics, and Bioware haven’t.

It’s the same as with SWTOR – Blizzard had a lot of experience perfecting the tab-target MMO, Bioware didn’t.

I don’t know who is pulling the strings at Bioware (I assume pressure from EA) but what you don’t do if you want to guarantee a decent product is pull people from the skills they’ve been working on in order to learn something new and hope they pull genius out of the bag first time. And it seems like first time is what they need to avoid death-by-EA.

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Ben Stone

Blizzard have made a single tab target MMO? How have they had more experience? Overwatch was also their first online shooter. The difference was that Blizzard paid attention to what had come before and polished it into something marketable, rather than introduce anything groundbreaking.

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thirtymil

Blizzard had 7 years experience with that single MMO by the time Bioware came along and thought they’d compete with SWTOR.

Overwatch is Blizzard’s competitive PvP FPS, I was referencing Bungie’s co-op FPS Destiny 2 which is Anthem’s closest competitor. Bungie have been making FPSes for 17 years.

You’re right in that Blizzard have done similar, very successful forays into new genres, but Blizzard’s history is as a very flexible company with the capability to develop. Bioware doesn’t have that history and there seems to be a strong consensus that Bioware isn’t even the company it used to be (see the Mass Effect Andromeda reception, for example). True, they may pull something good out of the bag – I just think it’s unlikely.

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Ben Stone

Yes, but Blizzard didn’t have 7 years experience when it came out and decimated the existing crop of MMOs. Contrary to what you might hear in Barrens chat, WoW was not the first MMO. It came out strong and outcompeted established games as Blizzards first foray into MMOs. SWTOR and Bioware failed at that.

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thirtymil

Given everything you’ve just said is pretty much covered by my comment above, I’m unsure as to what point you’re actually trying to make now.