Anthem: Interview with producer Scylla Costa

Anthem: Interview with producer Scylla Costa

Written by Sean Cahill on 1/24/2019 for PC   PS4   XBO  
More On: Anthem

The VIP demo of Anthem comes out this weekend, BioWare and EA’s ambitious MMO Shooter that promises to pack a punch for those who want the next big challenge when it comes to a social game that promises a challenge. I was a part of a media event that took place at Electronic Arts HQ in Redwood Shores, California, and as part of the event I had a chance to sit down with the producer of Anthem, Scylla Costa for an interview. Here’s what he had to say to us in regards to our Q&A:

Gaming Nexus: At the beginning of the event today, it was discussed that BioWare took a few risks with Anthem. What do you think is the biggest risk and how do you see it paying off?

Scylla Costa: It’s the first time we’re doing a new IP in many years. We’ve created the Mass Effect and Dragon Age IPs, but that was ten years ago. It’s always a big risk when you’re creating a new IP because there is no right or wrong and you don’t know what the reception is going to be. It’s not like you go and see what the press and consumer said about it and say ‘Let’s improve those areas’ and go from there. The second risk is trying to look ahead five years. We didn’t have Fortnite. Twitch was just starting! The way consumers play the game now has changed over five years and we have to try and look ahead as to how consumers approach a game. We wanted to create an open world game that you could play with your friends, friends of friends, or by yourself.

GN: What was the biggest challenge when this project started?

Costa: Creating the new world and character inside of the new IP. It’s a game that has a lot of verticality and gamers look at the game and think they know it, but it’s completely different when you put your hands on the controller and fly for the first time, it’s new!

GN: I have crashed into many walls at this event today!

Costa: Or that too! But the first time you start hovering and bouncing off the ground, it’s very different. So we wanted different abilities and to have those superpowers available for all players.

GN: With all the projects you've done, how does this rank against others in terms of personal fulfillment/achievements?

Costa: Anthem is at the top of my list right now! I’ve worked on Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3, Dragon Age, Mass Effect Andromeda. When I worked on those games, the IPs were already established, so creating a new IP meant starting from the beginning and building it from the ground up. It’s difficult, but it’s really rewarding when you see people playing it and having fun with the game.

GN: The gaming world has its fair share of MMO-style games, whether it be RPGs (FFXIV), Adventure (ESO), Shooters (Destiny). What separates Anthem from all the other options out there?

Costa: I think the verticality in the game, the ability to change your suit and class whenever you want once they’re unlocked without losing anything. If you want to play a Colossus as a tank, you can do that, but you can also play it as a ranged character to do damage. The versatility that we offer with the javelin suits and allowing you to play as you want is what makes it special.

GN: Do we know what kind of free space will be needed to install and download the game? Will there be an implementation of standard weekly patches or updates that we've seen in past games such as World of Warcraft?

Costa: Interesting that you mention that MMO because we have the Bioware team that worked on Star Wars: The Old Republic. We have those teams working on the live service for Anthem, which means they have the experience working with MMOs. I’m not concerned about the live part of the game. We don’t know what the size of the installation is just yet because we don’t have the overall final product but the team will be looking into patches and updates down the road and how to handle them.

GN: We've seen what happens with a lack of endgame content to other games. How has BioWare/EA taken steps to make sure there is enough content once the main story is over?

Costa: The first thing we’re doing is that we’re already working on that endgame content and we have multiple teams working on the content after we go live. Without giving away spoilers, we have a road map for the content. What you can expect is new areas that you can explore with your javelin as the game progresses and the world is very dynamic. It will change due to different factors. Weather will have an effect on how you play, such as having rainfall giving you a longer time to fly because it keeps your suit cooler. The game will always be changing.

GN: Will we see a weekly or monthly reset of quests, challenges and instances?

Costa: We expect the players, when they hit the level cap of 30, they are going to start having what we call rolling horizons. There will be daily, weekly, and monthly challenges for players to receive recipes for blueprints to constantly improve gear and customize it. The harder the quests, the better the rewards. You can also get some of the weapons by going through the strongholds or doing freeplay and coming across resource materials. There are also contracts that agents will give to you that are going to range from common to epic and the rewards will vary based on the difficulty.

GN: Is the social aspect the most important driving force behind Anthem?

Costa: When we started development, we wanted a game that you could jump in and play with your friends seamlessly. Creating an open world where it’s easy to join and everyone can change up their roles based upon the quests and missions is the important thing.

GN: Can you give us an idea of how long the content involved with the main story is?

Costa: This is really hard for me to answer because it depends on players and how they play. The way we have the critical path right now, it requires not just the main missions but you have to sometimes play freeplay in order to move along. We are making the players try everything to help immerse themselves overall, but it’s very hard to put a number on the content. We want you to find different things to do! It will be easy to do the side quests and, as long as you’re having fun, that’s what we want.

GN: What about special quests for items, holiday events, limited time events?

Costa: Oh you can expect different quests and events based on holidays. For lack of a better term, we have packages or drops of contents that will happen. During these holidays, we will change them up and they may look independent at first, but you’re going to see that these packages, without spoiling anything, will have far more than just the items you get to them.

We want to thank Scylla Costa for sitting down with us during the Anthem Capture Event at EA HQ. Please check out our full length article regarding the impressions of Anthem itself for more information on the game.

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.

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About Author

I've been writing about games and entertainment since 2006 after starting out at Xbox Ohio.  Since then, I have made the jump to Gaming Nexus and have enjoyed my time here.  I am an avid gamer that has a solid old school game collection that includes the likes of Final Fantasy games, Earthbound, Gitaroo-Man, MvC2, and a whole slew of others.  I have a primary focus on Xbox/PC games and PC peripherals and accessories.  If you ever want to game against me, you can look me up on XBL with the gamertag GN Punk. View Profile