EA and BioWare’s Anthem comes out next month, and it’s no secret fans of Mass Effect and Dragon Age are concerned about the developer’s shift to focusing on multiplayer. Although the community has largely accepted the Destiny clone will most likely be a boring grind, gamers are incredibly worried about the multiplayer-focused model being forced onto BioWare’s single-player franchises. Unfortunately, the nightmare may become a reality as Dragon Age 4 seems destined to feature multiplayer.
Reported by Gearnuke, BioWare are seeking a franchise technical director who has “experience developing multiplayer games”. This isn’t too surprising considering both Mass Effect 3, Mass Effect: Andromeda, and Dragon Age: Inquisition all contained a multiplayer mode. However, while a co-op or mindless horde mode are attachments that can be ignored, fans might need to brace themselves for online bleeding into the traditionally single-player narratives.
As noted by TweakTown, at PAX East 2018, BioWare execs Mark Darrah and Mike Gamble mentioned how Anthem’s online-based storytelling could become a key part of established franchises like Dragon Age. The Anthem model would allow the developers to implement a live and consistently updated ‘hub’, as proposed by Darrah:
"One of the things we've really done in Anthem is focus a lot of attention on Fort Tarsis [the in-game hub world]. [With agents and their interactions] it's the primary place of reactive storytelling. As a result we've pushed Tarsis further than we've ever pushed any of our hubs before.
"It's a more reactive space, a space that feels more living and alive, and I think going forward in future Dragon Age games or other games that you're going to see that reactivity, that depth, in our hubs that we've really been able to bring out in Anthem."
Dragon Age 4 is still years away, but the last thing the series’ fanbase wants is for it to be an online game with a live and always updating ‘hub’ world. Mass Effect and Dragon Age are popular single-player RPGs because they allow players to escape reality and bond with well-written, fictional companions. Fans don’t want to be playing in an online ‘hub’ swarmed with annoying gamers.
BioWare’s newest instalment in the Dragon Age franchise was prematurely announced at Geoff Keighley’s 2018 Game Awards. While you have every right to be worried about it potentially adapting Anthem’s online model, you might also need to be concerned about it repeating Mass Effect: Andromeda’s biggest mistake. As for Anthem, BioWare and EA are struggling to convince us it’s anything more than a grind with gameplay that resembles Mass Effect online and Destiny.