After ten years (Dragon Age, 2009), BioWare plans to release a new IP, and they had trouble during development.
A French website, Jeuxvideo made an interview with Mike Gamble (lead producer), Ben Irving (lead producer), Mike Darrah (executive producer), and Jonathan Warner (director). „The first big idea was heroic combat. As a superhero you’re always moving forward, you dive into action and do amazing things. The question was then what was superhero enough in our eyes without breaking the game. We found the answer in the first month of working on Anthem’s concept: player-controlled characters must be able to fly. Everyone loves it and it’s one of the oldest dreams of humanity. The reason why chose flight is because it’s at the core of the superhero fantasy. If you want to feel like a superhero what’s the most important thing? Flight! The possibility of going at high speed and see things from a bird’s eye point of view. Therefore we had to successfully make flying work and started to focus on it from the very beginning,” Gamble said.
„It is something we wanted from the beginning, but we fought with it at some point because we were scared that people might miss loot. In a ‘shooter-looter’ players are always looking for loot. The flight ability is extremely dangerous in a videogame because players could use it to ‘break the game’, go off the limits defined by the level designers, or use it to avoid zones and thus miss an opportunity to get loot. Combat designers, level designers and motion designers all had to work together to make sure they would create a flight ability that was fun and harmless to the game,” Warner added.
„There were so many problems. We had a lot of talking about blocking flight during combat, but it ended up being pretty boring because flying was too cool. After that, we thought about enemies being unable to attack at long ranges, which created behaviour where flying was making you win the fight instantly. Then we had to put some limitations on flying time to make the game work. Several iterations of enemy behaviour were made with more range and more ways to put you down in order to force you to think and play more tactically,” Irving said.
„I think that flight is one of the big things that set us apart because it allows us to think the world in a different way. Instead of considering the space as a flat surface we consider it a volume in which you can freely move. The game becomes more interesting at every moment, you are constantly making small decisions like ‘Where do I fly? How do I go there?’,” Warner added.
So BioWare had to use a limiting solution in combat with flight. Anthem will get a VIP demo between January 25 or 27 for those who pre-ordered or have an active EA Access/Origin Access/Origin Premier subscription. The game will launch on February 22 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.