I have some issues with always-online shooters that I really hope EA deviates from with Anthem and the ex-Visceral Star Wars game.
Lack of Story
If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about a handful of the latest co-op focused, always-online shooters, it is they’re often missing an intriguing dialogue. The Division for example — the game offers a beautifully realized world with so much detail in the environments, and even the initial premise of the game was enthralling. However, after they plopped you into the large open world, the storyline and character development came to a grinding halt. In other words, all the focus then shifted to the co-op and gameplay elements. Don’t get me wrong, gameplay should always be a focus — but when it comes to incredibly realized video game worlds like The Division and Destiny, and soon to be Star Wars and Anthem; I want more in terms of storytelling.
We know very little about the ex-Visceral Star Wars game that was being led by Uncharted writer/director Amy Hennig. All signs are pointing to her no longer being involved with the title, which speaks to just how much the game has shifted from a linear story-driven title, to a shared-world shooter. All we can hope is that Hennig is somehow still involved, or they use the skeleton of her script and make something great from it.
Bye Bye Mass Effect, Hello Anthem
It’s been confirmed that beloved Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, and Knights of the Old Republic writer Drew Karpyshyn is working on Anthem — so that gives me hope that we’re in for something special. I’m curious how much the game will dive into character relationships and character building. Being that has been BioWare’s m.o. Since conception. It will be one hell of a punch to the gut if the game fails to impress in terms of having memorable characters like past BioWare title have.
I’m going to use The Division as another example; sorry, it’s probably the game I’ve played the most in the shared-world shooter genre. Another issue I hope EA avoids is making the game difficult to enjoy for fans who like to play alone, or just only like to play only single-player games in general. A lot of the EA’s/BioWare’s fans are upset with them because the company is completely moving away from the single-player, story-focused, narrative choice genre, in favor of the always online co-op shooter genre. Do I have a problem with it? I’m not sure yet, I think it’s possible for BioWare to succeed in catering to both types of gamers.
Assuming the storyline and characters is a focus of EA’s Star Wars project and BioWare’s Anthem (if not, that’s a whole other issue), as long as I can pause my game (in some fashion) at any time, not lose progress mid-way through a mission because of internet connection issues, and don’t have my odds stacked against me while playing alone, I can see it working as a fantastic traditional single-player experience. Those three issues are what I experienced while playing The Division. As someone who primarily plays single-player games, I found Ubisoft’s always-online shooter to be extremely hard to enjoy because of those minor annoyances. I know it sounds kinda petty, but with my lifestyle, it’s hard to have a dedicated 45 min to an hour of uninterrupted play time. Whether it’s my kids or other adult duties, I just couldn’t enjoy it no matter how hard I tried.
Well, that’s some of the things I hope EA will avoid with Anthem and Star Wars. I’m curious what you think though. Were you sad about the EA Star Wars news? Do you think Anthem looks awesome? Leave all your thoughts in the comments section below!
Brett Medlock is a senior editor and a lead on video production here at Enthusiast Gaming. He’s obsessed with action-adventure games, platinum trophies, and K-pop. To hear more about how lame he is, follow him on Twitter @brettnll