Admit it, during that first Anthem trailer you were hoping to flirt with a mech.
Whether it’s a Destiny-clone or not, Anthem should be a lot of fun. The action gameplay seems solid, the jet pack looks fantastic, and BioWare is promising years of story content. That said, Anthem will feature one major break from past BioWare games: you cannot romance fellow NPCs.
That’s not to say Anthem won’t have relationships, just that they’ll be social in nature instead of sexual. “There are no romances. There are friendships,” lead producer Mike Gamble told Game Informer. “Some of the stuff we did with Mass Effect – the Citadel DLC specifically – there was a lot of friendship moments. You and Garrus sitting up, shooting – that kind of stuff, we want to lean into that. The romantic stuff, we’re moving away from that for Anthem.”
The online reaction is divided, surprising no one. On the one hand, writing strong character relationships is one of BioWare’s greatest strengths, so dropping romances is an odd decision. At the same time, BioWare is known as “the romance action-RPG” team at this point, and trying something different may be a good thing. And if the finished game still depicts a solid, character-driven story, it may not make a difference in the end.
Besides, it’s not like those romances helped Mass Effect: Andromeda sales, right?
For what it’s worth, there are risks to this approach. BioWare’s romance options have typically been a great way to attract new players who typically wouldn’t play video games. If Anthem drops flirting in pursuit of a more general Destiny-style audience, it could backfire by pushing away a committed fan-base.
And let’s be clear: if Destiny 2 had romance options, fans would have just eaten it up. They’d probably do nothing but flirt with Nathan Fillion at the Farm all day long. And so would you.
Anthem launches for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on February 22, 2019.