BioWare makes big games. From the days of Baldur's Gate through Neverwinter Nights, KOTOR, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age, it's always been about big, sweeping tales of epic, world-saving heroism. The upcoming Anthem promises more of the same. But in a recent interview with Game Informer (opens in new tab), general manager Casey Hudson and Anthem executive producer Mark Darrah said the studio would really like to take on some smaller-scale projects too.
"I think some of the things that are coming, in the way that we're doing things in BioWare and the way that EA is working and the industry is going, I think it is starting to afford the opportunity for us to do some things that are more experimental," Hudson said.
"I would like to get to a place where, yes, we're doing our big next thing, but maybe we're also kind of doing a few experiments. I want to get to where we can kind of do the equivalent of getting short films out there to people and saying, 'Hey, we got a bunch of things we want—creative ideas we want to get out. And so try this piece and have a look at this thing.' And kind of see what people like."
Darrah echoed Hudson's desire to become more experimental in the future, saying he believes that triple-A publishers can "start diversifying the scale of their games" in the future—"making big things, that are big, huge experiences, but also maybe starting to deliver some smaller experiences that are intended to be consumed more quickly."
"I think there are things that people can do in the indie space that are kind off limits in the HD space, just because people's expectations rise with, not just the budgets but with the studio," he said. "I think there's middle ground. I've heard it called 'triple-A indie,' which is that sort of high production value, but still smaller scale, smaller budget."
Hudson cited Rockstar Table Tennis as an example of a major studio making a smaller, kind of off-the-wall game, and Ubisoft has done similar things with games like Blood Dragon, Valiant Hearts, and Grow Home. Before BioWare can even think about trying something like that of its own, however, it likely needs Anthem to be a big hit. We spoke with Darrah about that game earlier this month at E3.