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Anthem’s “reactive storytelling” will influence the next Dragon Age and Mass Effect

Whether you like it or not, Anthem's live storytelling could feature in Dragon Age 4 and Mass Effect 5.

Anthem characters

According to Bioware, the style of “reactive” storytelling the studio are employing for Anthem will influence how it handles the next Dragon Age and Mass Effect games, and will probably cross over to those titles.

Anthem’s lead producer Michael Gamble spoke at PAX West this weekend, where he described the storytelling techniques and structure Bioware are going for. The single-player area Fort Tarsis will utilize what Gamble calls “reactive storytelling,” and there’s also the new live service model the studio is using for Anthem – which allows the team to input new stories whenever it wants. If Gamble has his way, both storytelling methods will appear in Bioware’s future games, including Dragon Age 4 and Mass Effect 5.

“For Anthem, where we’d all like to see us head, is the ability to tell new great stories throughout the years, throughout the months after launch,” Gamble said at PAX, picked up by VG247 and clarified by the producer in a tweet today.

“We can say, okay, now we’re going to expand the storyline for one of those Agents, or now that certain points in the game world have happened, this changes the relationship, this changes this character, this changes the type of missions for certain characters. Or even we add new characters, we add new Agents. We can do all that and Anthem gives us the tools to do all that.”

Gamble also says, “I hope that future games, whether it’s Dragon Age or the other one that starts with ‘Mass’, continues to utilise this kind of storytelling.”

He also said that Fort Tarsis, which will be a single-player area, will be the “the primary place where we do the reactive storytelling” Bioware has planned. “We’ve pushed Tarsis further than we’ve ever pushed any of our hubs before. It’s a reactive space, a space that feels more living, more alive.”

He then adds “you’re going to see that reactivity, that depth in our hubs that we’re bringing out in Anthem” in the next Dragon Age, “or other games.” We’re not sure why Gamble is so unwilling to say ‘Mass Effect,’ but since it’s no secret Dragon Age 4 is coming a new Mass Effect is probably a long way off, if it’s even in production at all.

Bioware thinks they’ve “solved” the issue of storytelling in multiplayer games, and this form of “reactive” storytelling may be the way they do it. If its successful, then it looks like Anthem may shape the future of Bioware’s games.