The Confusing Backstories of the NPCs in Anthem

BioWare have always been known for crafting character-focused RPGs, with extensive world-building and an amazing amount of NPCs who are affected by your actions in the game. At this point, many players tend to assume that any upcoming game from the publisher will feature most of these, if not all. However, with its upcoming release, Anthem, it seems like BioWare is taking a different direction.

While it’s clear that the publisher wants to focus on single-player RPGs, following a pre-PAX presentation, it’s not entirely clear what the game is going to be like, or if it’ll be enough to satisfy fans of their previous games.

Since it’s going to be a multiplayer game, it was always going to be a bit of a mystery as to what the function behind NPCs will be. In contrast to most other RPGs, Anthem will have static NPCs, whose sole purpose will simply be to sell objects and/or initiate quests. While that mightn’t be too much of a surprise, what is surprising is that they won’t react to how you approach missions, even if they were the one to start the mission.

According to a new Gameplay Features video, the game will be “a reinvention of personal narrative in a multiplayer game.” And that’s set to have some major implications throughout the game. The biggest of these is the introduction of a hub. Essentially, this is where most – if not all – of the NPCs will stay and interact with the player.


However, from what was revealed, these interactions are extremely limited. Conversations are only sets of two choices. These are not “yes/no” but they seem to be generally opposite tones. The outcomes of these choices affect your relationship with these characters, and the visual arrangement of the area around them, but it’s unclear what else happens due to them. From what I’ve seen about the game so far, it doesn’t look like it’ll be too much, aside from cosmetic changes.

Anthem -
The hub area of Anthem. Source.

BioWare has also confirmed that decisions won’t affect the story in any capacity, and it seems like that carries over into NPCs, and they won’t create or lock content. So, players won’t have to worry about making decisions. So far, it’s starting to look like the game will be similar enough to Destiny in that capacity.

That being said, however, BioWare has said that vendors won’t simply be there just to buy and sell goods; they’ll also be able to give players their backstories. However, it’s unclear as to whether or not they’ll be giving missions based on that backstory.

It also seems like players will have little control over their own characters backstory; this mightn’t be too much of a surprise, as fans of Jade Empire can attest. Players will have limited character creation options, such as gender, but won’t have much beyond that. Their backstory will already be set in place for players.

Based on what we know, it’s unclear how exactly NPCs will work throughout Anthem; it seems like BioWare is taking them in one direction, while also taking them in another direction, which may make them suffer. Because of that, it’s up for debate whether or not players will be satisfied with them once the game is released.

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