No Reused Levels: Details Of Dragon Age 3 Emerge

By John Walker on April 11th, 2012 at 12:30 pm.

So they SAY.

Rumours are flying that Dragon Age 3 might be something more like the sequel to Dragon Age we’ve been hoping for. After Dragon Age 2 came out feeling more like a side-project, BioWare have dropped some hefty hints that they’re looking to redress much of that in an unannounced third game for the series. At a PAX East panel, as spotted by Eurogamer and recorded by Gamespot, Dragon Age developers discussed what a hypothetical game might contain, were it to exist, which it currently doesn’t, but obviously does. It’s to be a far more varied game, with new locales, and decisions that carry over from previous games.

Beginning their talk with a disclaimer, Mike Laidlaw explains that they’re talking about ideas, not specific products. Which is to say, because the game is unannounced, they’re working under the rather odd pretence that by not saying its name, they’re not announcing it’s in development. It’s in development, but they want to stress that everything is “work in progress”.

Having asked for feedback on DAII, the strongest messages in the voluminous replies was that players wanted BioWare to stop reusing levels, feature decisions that matter, and to once again allow equipment for followers.

Regarding the first matter, they loudly promise, “WILL DO!” along with a pledge to stop putting wheels of cheese everywhere. With suggestions of more open, varied, and interestingly, “French” locations, an avoidance of Kirkwall and an acceptance that DAII was ludicrously claustrophobic, suggests a lot of new environments and variation coming soon.

When it comes to decisions that matter, they emphatically agree, and the big news is that those decisions will include those from previous games. What those are they’re considering to be spoilers at this point. But there are also suggestions that the player’s decisions will have a much more meaningful impact on their experience, and the direction in which things head.

And yes, there will be equipment for followers. I mean, I guess it was weird that it was missing, but of all the things to make the largest fuss about it seems low on the list of issues with the second game. That’s clearly not the case for a lot of players, and the jacked up, cos-playing PAX audience seemed to be rather in favour. It means your party can look how you want, which, er, I guess is nice? The dolly dressing features may even extend to changing colours and materials.

You can watch the full ten minutes about this here:

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280 Comments »

  1. Was Neurotic says:

    …and a crap ending too, presumably. /ho ho

  2. Eddiestrike says:

    No thanks, bioware.

    Mass Effect 3 was the end of our relationship.

    • Aemony says:

      Pretty much this. With the Dragon Age franchise destroyed, the Mass Effect triology ended (and horribly, as well) and SWTOR a major disappointment I see no reason to care about BioWare anymore. I am especially not interested in DA3 since BioWare have repeatedly said that they will not go back to the DA:O formula. The current track they’re on seems to be a Skyrim-inspired sort. No thanks, I’m happy with my Elder Scrolls and Dragon Age catering to different flavors, thanks, I’m not looking for a hybrid of the both.

      • DarkFenix says:

        Indeed, I haven’t really spared Bioware a thought since completing ME3. They’ve comprehensively destroyed all their IP’s and have precisely nothing to offer me anymore.

        • Phantoon says:

          Not that I don’t support your boycott, but I doubt you’ll stick to it.

          Like one fourth of the people in the “official” MW2 boycott group were playing it the moment it was available.

          • Prime says:

            Don’t be such a negative pants. Some people out there are perfectly capable of sticking to their principles AND saying so on the Internet.

          • InternetBatman says:

            If ten percent of people who bought DA2 boycott DA3 and a quarter of those don’t buy it the publisher loses $700k from retail sales or between $1 – 1.5 million for DD sales.

            Don’t think of it in terms of boycotts and oaths. Think about it in terms of word of mouth and customer disinterest. There’s a reason DA2 started off with higher sales than DA, but sold less than half the number of copies in the first ten weeks. Also, if people aren’t excited for your game and they wait for it to hit $20, you’ve lost 2/3rds of the revenue from that customer.

          • Johnny Lizard says:

            Alternatively you could wait to see what sort of reception it gets on release, and base your purchasing decision on that.

          • aepervius says:

            O ye, of little faith.

            Maybe some will not stick to it. But you have no indication that the person here saying they will boycott or buy cheaper will not do it. Indeed I would say at this point, there is a slight bitterness which will stick for a long time against bioware.

          • shadeedge says:

            I think the difference is that the MW2 boycotters were wanting specific things in the game and didn’t get them – but the underlying game was still appealing enough that they mostly (and hilariously) bought it.

            Whereas in this case, it’s not that I or others are making some kind of principled (or whatever) stand. We’re just no longer convinced that Bioware will make a game that we’ll want. On the basis of Mass Effect 1, I bought ME2 the day it came out. On the basis of ME2, I preordered ME3. On the basis of ME3…. i’m pretty much back to where I was at the start.

          • TsunamiWombat says:

            While I tend to agree (heck, I swore i’d uninstall ME3 and not touch it again, then resurgence came out…) I CAN honestly say without any nerd indignation (nerdignation?) that I feel absolutely nothing for DA3 after the fiasco that ME3 was. And this is from one of those strange gibbering mutant people who liked DA2

          • FriendlyFire says:

            I absolutely loved DAO, ME1, ME2 and 90% of ME3. However, DA2 and the last 10% of ME3 (IE the most recent stuff they’ve done) has turned me off. I didn’t even buy DA2 and am glad I didn’t.

            Unless critics rave about the game being “a return to form” for Bioware, I will be skipping this new game. I don’t trust them and they will need to do a lot of convincing to make me change my mind. I never close the door entirely – I know that game developers are entities and thus can change. I’m just sceptical they can change so dramatically in such a short time.

          • aDemandingPersona says:

            Well, Bioware is releasing the augmented ending to ME3 for free… Which they could of easily charged for, and which I expected them to. This free DLC they are releasing is a pretty good way of making nice with the community I think.

          • noodlecake says:

            Meh. Even though the majority of people who post on pc game sites seem to have decided to hate on Bioware, I think they’ll still sell enough to push forward with their games and keep implementing fresh ideas. There’s no way they’ll ever go back to the old stale Baldur’s Gate/Icewind Dale or KOTOR gameplay with anything because it’s dated. I’m certainly going to buy their games. They’re incredibly well made and fun despite the odd flaw. I enjoyed the mass effect series much more than I enjoyed Baldur’s Gate (although that was great fun too!).

            There are plenty of smaller companies rehashing all that overdone old school RPG stuff you all like so rather than moaning about Bioware’s new direction why not just buy games made by other companies? I like the new movie style epic adventure feel to their games and I also like the less linear old games too. I don’t think I have ever played a bad Bioware game. I was let down by the end of Mass Effect 3 but it was still extremely fun and very well done up to that point.

          • systemic says:

            Mass Effect fans are not like Modern Warfare fans. BioWare won’t earn another penny from me either. This article is a perfect example… why did they need to be told not to reuse levels? They didn’t… they knew it and ‘got caught’. BioWare is just a business these days… any desire to make great games has long gone.

          • systemic says:

            I think BioWare will be in for a surprise when DA3 sales are lower than predicted. While it won’t sink them (by any means), I think there there are a LOT of fans who are just over it and won’t even download the demo. They’re just burned their fans too many times and too severely… despite the fact that 90% of ME3 was good (but not as great as ME2 imo), that last 10% just hurt too much.

            You know the saying “It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”? Well, that’s bullshit and I think the ‘burned’ would rather miss out on mediocre titles than give BioWare the satisfaction that what they’re doing is ok. At the end of the day, any time you support a developer who makes shite, then you’re incentivizing other developers to do the same. I see no reason to support BioWare’s journey into sub-mediocrity.

        • DK says:

          Bioware still has one IP they haven’t ruined – Shattered Steel. I pray to all the gods there may be they never realize they still have the rights to it, because there’s no way in hell they wouldn’t ruin that too.

      • Deano2099 says:

        Why not just wait and see if it’s any good or not? If you’d had the slightest bit of patience and waited a week after ME3 came out you could have seen all the fuss about the ending and not bothered.

        Likewise if this comes out to mass acclaim with everyone declaring the it the greatest RPG ever, you’re not going to go ‘nah I’m not buying it because ME3 sucked’ – because if nothing else, that just gives the impression to Bioware that they need to make more games like ME3 and less awesome games.

        Right now I want to make some snarky comment about how no-one is demanding you put money down before the game is out, although Bioware probably will do if you want a certain character or something.

      • The Almighty Narshe says:

        This opinion is probably going to make me unpopular, but……..I enjoyed DA2 and thought the ending of ME3 was fine *quickly hides behind desk to escape the flames.

        Yes, the constant recycling of areas was annoying, but every bit of the Deep Roads in DA1 was so similar that they might as well have recycled the same rooms anyway, and let’s not forget how long was spent in the deep roads in that game. Also, I think the combat was improved in DA2, and I prefer a speaking main character to the silent avatar of DA1, although I acknowledge that is a matter of taste. I think DA2 would have been received far better if they’d called Dragon Age: Kirkwall instead of Dragon Age 2, but it’s only huge mistake was being too different to DA, as well as some lazy level design, hardly worth boycotting a sequel which could strike a perfect balance between the high points of both preceding games.

        And as for ME3, I honestly don’t understand the fuss about it’s ending. Loads of games / films / books end without wrapping up all plot threads and explaining everything, and tbh ME3 did explain and wrap up quite a lot. Again, it was SLIGHTLY disappointing that the choices made in the 3 games didn’t have a massive effect on the ending, but they obviously wanted to avoid the problem of having to decide which of a series of wildly different endings would be considered canonical for an inevitable new game set in the ME universe, which would of course annoy all the players who had a completely different ending. Frankly, I think this is understandable, I think overall the ME trilogy has been a massive achievement for Bioware, and I can’t wait to see what they do next, and all you angry internet people should stop whining :D

        tl;dr Stop whining, nothing is perfect, get over it.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Since I skipped Mass Effect 3* and Dragon Age 2**, I avoided getting burned in the first place. So from my perspective, if they learn from the mistakes of those two games they stand a chance, however slim, of making a new Dragon Age game that doesn’t suck.

      Unless it’s an Origin exclusive, which means that it will suck by definition and I won’t be getting it because I don’t use Origin.

      *That is, even if ME3 was on Steam, I decided to wait because of the mess they made of ME2, and I had a hunch that ME3 was going to be an even bigger mess. And then I was right. So I wouldn’t have bought ME3 even if it was on Steam.

      **DA2 was on Steam, but I didn’t buy it because it was even worse than ME2.

      • sybrid says:

        I’m basically in the same boat as MadTinkerer – I didn’t buy DA2 at launch and when I saw the negative commentary around it on the net I skipped it, and I decided to wait on ME3 because of the day 1 DLC crap and then decided to move it from “wait” to “probably skip” once the fan reviews were out and I heard the ending was an incredibly disappointing asspull decision-o-tron (and the last thing you see is a pop up telling you to buy more DLC. Stay classy EA/Bioware).

        So, given my wait and see approach has been working for me so far, I’ll wait to hear from fans before I buy DA3, but I’d definitely consider it. I haven’t actually been burnt by either DA2 or ME3 so I’m quite willing to at least give Bioware the chance to prove they won’t screw up DA3. I could see being pretty angry if I were one of those day one purchase or pre-order Bioware fans though.

      • malkav11 says:

        But Mass Effect 3 actually more or less fixes a lot of what’s wrong with ME2. The RPG systems are less granular than in ME1, but they restored meaningful decision making in character power builds and equipment (and there’s much more equipment variety than in ME2). The combat is admittedly still cover based with regenerating health, but the health is segmented now and only regenerates per segment, and the enemies are much more varied and lively, meaning more thought is required and moving around during combat is a must. Planet scanning is present but far less time consuming and annoying (and it turns out that because all it affects is the ending and that not to any meaningful extent, you can skip it entirely!). You may not get to use all previous party members, but you get to spend meaningful amounts of time with them and they contribute in key roles to the plot. Etc.

        And yes, the ME3 ending is horrible. But it’s 5 minutes of an otherwise quality game.

        • ChromeBallz says:

          ME3 is an awesome game. I had such a good time with it.

          However, the ending is important because it’s what all the games have been working up to, hence such a bad ending as the current one sours all the previous games, however good or bad they are. The biggest sin of the current ME3 ending ( and actually, most of the story before aswell) is that choices don’t matter at all, unlike what has been promised ever since the first game. Every single choice in ME1 and ME2 has been wittled down to a number, nothing else. There are only very slight deviations in the actual content as far as choice is concerned.

          The problem here is that Bioware wants the cake and eat it too – They want players to have freedom of choice, but they also want everyone to experience all content. It’s very obvious to anyone that both are mutually exclusive, unless the only choice is in what order you want to play the content, however, Bioware has focused so much on the latter that they completely lost sight of the former.

          If they found out about this issue, and if given the chance by EA, ME3 would probably have ended up as the best game ever made. As it stands, the potential is there but the execution is weak. While the game is incredibly good, the ambition and potential completely overshadow what’s actually there.

        • Commisar says:

          I know, but there are SO MANY butthurt idiots on the Internet spewing out drivels about Bioware. They are saying that the know they messed up with DA2 and that they want to make D3 alot better. But no, most of the comments here are people saying that because of either DA2 or the ME3 ending, that Bioware is not the WORST games company out there.

          • Archonsod says:

            I enjoyed ME3 and DA2. But then I long ago wrote off the internet as being populated largely by drooling imbeciles, so spent my time actually playing them instead of trying to read the semi-literate whining about it not being 1995 or whatever the idiots were complaining about this time.

          • Grygus says:

            The fans should never have had to tell BioWare that extensive re-use of areas, exclusively wave-based fights, and less customization on companions were bad ideas. They should know that. Pledging not to do the things they did in DA2 is like me going to my boss and saying, “so hey I get that you don’t want me smoking weed at work anymore. Okay, WILL DO!” Should he give me a thumbs up and be all happy to hear that, or should he continue to view me with suspicion since I have shown extraordinarily poor judgment?

            People don’t talk much about the ending of DA2, but it was horrible from a story standpoint, and with Mass Effect 3 also having a terrible ending from a story standpoint, I’m not sure I want to see how they will wrap up DA3. “Ho ho Flemeth is actually Morrigan is actually some elder mage from the Tevinter Imperium we’ve never heard of, and the whole thing was just a dream the Maker was having! Didn’t see that coming, did you Internet!? We’re so clever!”

            I don’t hate BioWare, but my interest in their games has definitely sunk from “must have on day one” to “I only kind of care, and have no plans to buy unless the Internet explodes with Portal-level joy.” I don’t think that’s being entitled or mean.

      • SexualHarassmentPanda says:

        I resisted buying Dragon Age 2 initially, but PC Gamer gave the game a 94% saying it might be one of the best RPGs of all time.

        Guess who is no longer subscribed to PC Gamer? This guy.

        • InternetBatman says:

          I stopped reading PC gamer reviews after that. The cognitive dissonance between my impressions and theirs was so large that it was clear something had gone wrong with their review process.

          • Apolloin says:

            I think their money-hat must have slipped down over their eyes.

            Seriously, the question of how much a 90% review costs at PC Gamer is one that has often been an amusing conversation. I seem to remember that the UK version sold theirs once for a night in a hotel room with a cute PR girl.

          • noodlecake says:

            Nope. You’re wrong. It was a very good game. Just not a hugely amazing RPG.

      • soco says:

        @MadTinkerer,

        How do you get in my head and steal my thoughts and history? I was writing a post before having read yours and it was almost a quote.

      • mouton says:

        “Bla blah Steam uber alles blah blah Origin sux”

        It is games that are important, not what brand their installer is. Feel free to rally under your pointless banner, I will just play games never paying attention what service they are on.

        • S Jay says:

          Until you get banned for saying the banner would look prettier in red and cannot play the game you bought. :)

        • shadeedge says:

          Yes, indeed; after all, all services are the same, with the same benefits, maluses, terms of service, game rosters, prices, deal frequency and quality, setup time and ease of use, performance, stability, history, protection………

          I mean, so I assume. I don’t pay attention to the services I sign up for and pay money into.

          • mouton says:

            There are differences and differences. Neither Origin nor Steam hamper the actual game experience like, say, UBI always-on DRM. Unless they cross that line, all the differences between services are tertiary details to me – even if they are holy truths for legions of fanpersons.

          • shadeedge says:

            I suppose we’ll have to agree to disagree, then (or agree to mock each other’s disagreement, I guess, as a holy truth legionnaire). There’s considerable importance to me in whether to use a gaming service such as Steam or Origin beyond simply whether they muck around with the actual game experience or not; i’ve named a few of them, but to pick out a few, i’m pretty concerned about what games they actually have, whether the service in question works well (and easily) with my system (which is a seperate factor from how well the games work), how much I might have to pay (including deals).

            They don’t really seem like unreasonable, entrenched, fanboyish opinions to me. But I suppose they wouldn’t.

        • Commisar says:

          yeah, a good game is a good game, no matter where it comes from.

    • Khemm says:

      I remember Dragon Age being advertised as a “spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate” and to be honest, DA1 almost achieved that goal. Then DA2 came along, and suddenly all the “BG inspired design philosophy” was abandoned.
      I then realized that Bioware that once made BG2 is gone for good.

      • NathanH says:

        There’s pretty much nobody left now from BG2, is there? Gaider and Kristjanson are there, but just writing (I think they used to do other stuff too). But no Ohlen, Knowles, Martens. They were all on DA:O, but not DA2. I think they were the important people for BG and DA:O.

        • Bhazor says:

          Well Martens does appear in DA 2 credits but only as a “special thanks” reciever.

          Calling Gaider “Lead writer since Baldurs Gate 2″ is very suspect. According to the credits of Amn he was one of five writers under Martens.

      • Unaco says:

        I dunno if there ever was that mythical Bioware. BG and BG2 and ToB where amazing… fantastic… brilliant. And then there was NWN… great idea and concept, but horribly, horribly flawed. Then KOTOR (not the worst thing to come from the Star Wars franchise). And then the big budget, cinematic, Sword/Gun and Conversation RPGs, ME and DAO and their sequels. I gave up 1/2 way through them both (not even 1/2 way with ME).

        The situation with Bioware reminds me of DJ Shadow, and the ‘fan’ reaction to his 2nd and 3rd studio albums. Entroducing was his 1st album, and it was great… very unique sound, received very positively. His 2nd album was Private Press, and on release it also was received quite positively. Except for a group of fans who complained… it isn’t Entroducing, it’s nothing like Entroducing, it’s a different sound to Entroducing. Then he dropped his 3rd album (not as critically successful as his first 2)… and the complaints continued… It’s not Entroducing, why didn’t you go back to the Entroducing sound, we told you we wanted another Entroducing. At this point, Shadow responded to them, and asked “Were you ever fans of ME, or were you just fans of Entroducing?”

        I think I realised, I was never a Bioware fan… I was a Baldur’s Gate fan. Nothing they’ve done since has ever grabbed me as much as BG did, and I realise now that they never were trying to make BG again.

        • S Jay says:

          I loved KOTOR

        • Wizardry says:

          Yeah, pretty much this, though I don’t know what your analogy is all about.

        • mckertis says:

          “Then KOTOR (not the worst thing to come from the Star Wars franchise).”

          Depends on your angle. It definitely was an okay-ish game, but in terms of efficiency in use of the franchise it was the least Starwars-y game ever created.

          “The situation with Bioware reminds me of DJ Shadow”

          I hereby crown you the new king of obscure references.

        • terry says:

          Endtroducing was really good.

        • Craig Stern says:

          Great analogy there with DJ Shadow. The Outsider was a tragedy.

        • Acorino says:

          I LOVE The Outsider! Well, one half of it…the non hip hop half…

        • noodlecake says:

          Why would they make another game like Baldur’s Gate? That would make them one trick ponies? Why is it that with games people don’t like change. They want the same product over and over with a different skin. They basically want the band Oasis in music form, releasing the same album over and over with different words. Surely it’s better to be like Radiohead and make every album as unique as you possibly can.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      Umm… ME and DA are made by 2 separate studios…

      I’m curious how many people are going to avoid Generals 2 because of ME3. :D

      • Phantoon says:

        Bioware = Bioware.

        They both made Dragon Age and Mass Effect.

        • Raiyan 1.0 says:

          The BioWare group consists of six studios: BioWare Edmonton, BioWare Austin, BioWare Mythic, BioWare Montreal, BioWare Ireland, and BioWare San Francisco. ME and DA are handled by different studios. The name ‘Bioware’ doesn’t really mean anything now – it’s just a marketing brand. Generals 2, for example, is being made by Bioware Victory, and that studio never had anything to do with RPGs.

          • ChromeBallz says:

            The brand name is very important however in the public eye. People see Bioware on the box and they will assume it’s made by Bioware. That it’s actually different teams in the same company does not matter to them, nor does it matter to Bioware or EA – This is intended to give titles a certain weight simply by putting a brand name on them.

            Brand recognition is the name of the game. If EA or Bioware wanted to make it clear that different people make the games, they would have used different developer names. However, both want to ride on the success of the Bioware brand previously, hence they call some new studios “Bioware” so people will buy the game, thinking along the lines of “it’s Bioware, it must be good”.

          • The Sombrero Kid says:

            both mass effect & dragon age were made 2 different teams based in Bioware Edmonton, the original Bioware Studio.

          • RakeShark says:

            Just because it’s “Made in China” does not mean the company behind the product cannot be blamed.

    • ulix says:

      So your “relationship has ended” because after giving you 20-30 hours of stellar entertainment (in the form of ME3), you had 10 rough minutes together and got in a fight?

      That’s what I call commitment.

      I mean sure, girlfriend, our relationship was great and all, the sex was amazing, we generally had an amazing time… but these last 10 minutes really got on my nerves, so I’m leaving you…

      • TsunamiWombat says:

        That last 10 minutes of our amazing relationship involved her stabbing my dog and burning down the house we built together. So fuck her and she better respect the restraining order

        • Apolloin says:

          Exactly. It’s like promising to build your little girl a house on the homeworld only it turns out that it’s a brothel and the bitch better have your money.

          Screwing up the last ten minutes of an epic franchise is NOT like screwing up ten minutes somewhere in the middle that you can grit your teeth and just plough through. A lot of people like ME2 but can’t STAND one or two of the characters – it’s still pretty easy to swallow your bile and just goddamned do Jack’s loyalty quest. Even if you want to just slap her about a bit.

          Frankly I’m surprised that Bioware are surprised that the fanbase revolted over this. The whole damn point of Mass Effect is that it’s aspirational and that it allows you to choose from one of two extremes – Paragon and Renegade. An ending that doesn’t address this is always going to fail in the eyes of the majority of the fanbase.

          I get that some liked it whilst others who didn’t weren’t terribly bothered by yet another game having a terribad ending. That’s nice and we DO need those people to point out that not everyone is up in arms about this to lend a sense of perspective.

      • shadeedge says:

        I’d say it’s more like me meeting a guy, getting to know them, getting on well, establishing a relationship, everything going swimmingly, he pops the question, and then on the day we’re due to get married he sleeps with the bridal party, turns up in sweatpants and vomits in the font.

        They didn’t just muck up “ten minutes”. They mucked up ten minutes of climax; ten minutes the entire series had been building up to. And they mucked it up in such as way as to negate those things which I valued and which I built that relationship on – it doesn’t matter if Mr. Mass Effect did lots of nice things to prove his loyalty; he slept around on the wedding day. It doesn’t matter if choices were respected and taken into account in ME3; the endings condense, nullify, and reshape those choices into other, only just revealed, scenarios.

        That’s the problem, though, to be fair, not everyone who dislikes the ending feels the same way. It’s not just a bad ending, it’s an ending which undermines the entire thing.

      • Ruffian says:

        Well I would hope your relationship with a big faceless game corporation, would be fundamentally different than the sort of relationship you would have with a girlfriend. Now if your girlfriend was a hooker….then maybe you could make that parallel.

        • TsunamiWombat says:

          So in this metaphor would that make a handy DLC or how does this work? I suppose you could argue it’s very similar to buying a game in that your not actually buying the other persons genitals, just a licence to use them.

          Whatever, it’s still cheaper than buying new/getting married.

    • Commisar says:

      Haters gonna hate….. The LAST 5 MINUTES of ME3 RUINED THE WHOLE SERIES!?!?!?!

    • Fumarole says:

      Mine ended with DAO.

    • schnitzeljaeger says:

      Mine with DA2 – probably the last game I bought unseen.

  3. CaspianRoach says:

    I’m okay with some of the levels being reused, what infuriated me to no end is the fact that the enemies constantly spawned out of thin air in ludicrous amounts and oftentimes behind your back. Made tactical planning completely irrevelant and turned the combat into a mash-em-up.

  4. Runs With Foxes says:

    Player agency = playing dress ups.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Yeah. I didn’t get that either. Why spend so much time on how armor looks? It was a stupid mistake to not let you switch them between party members, not something that’s deserves five minutes of discussion.

  5. Drake Sigar says:

    Zero interest in this. They are really gonna’ have to work their butts off to even appear on my radar.

    • Ninja Foodstuff says:

      They will!
      Just look at what they’ll have:
      • More integration with Facebook!
      • Multiple endings that change with a “dragon infestation” rating, which adjusts with EA’s share price!
      • Futile attempts to copy Skyrim’s success, failing miserably because they boil it down to “lots of open space with nothing happening”!
      • Romance a dragon!
      • Cover-based archery!
      • Improve team members with BiowareBucks!
      • Characters you really care about, because they whine a lot!
      • Millions of hours of play, featuring branching dialogues, based on the bizarre “wiki” model Wizardry mentioned somewhere!

  6. AMonkey says:

    So basically all the “features” Bioware thought were good in DA2, will be changed back to the way they were in DA. Apparently we should be applauding this. Either that means DA2 really was a terrible game, or RPG features that have existed for 20 years, are amazing.
    I might care about this game if not for Biowares horrible history for the last few years.

    • nasenbluten says:

      Both, DA2 was a terrible game and all these features were common 2 decades ago.

      Also why party members became “followers” is beyond me.

      • Dariune says:

        Couldnt agree more! Party members, with full player control, is far better!

      • InternetBatman says:

        Because members of a party implies that all of the members have degrees of equality and agency, where Hawke is a personal power fantasy. If they didn’t like the word party they could have changed it to teammates or squadmates.

      • MadTinkerer says:

        “DA2 was a terrible game and all these features were common 2 decades ago.”

        That’s a good point. The best parts of the “RPG formula” were codified in the late 70s to early 90s. Then publishers became big and decided they had to dictate to the people actually making the games what Marketing Buzzwords needed to be turned into Features they could put on the back of the boxes. Because good gameplay doesn’t sell games, Marketing (the adjective, the verb, and the noun) does.

        And wow, it was about two decades ago that all started? Already? It seems so.

        Meanwhile I know a guy whose Stockholm Syndrome is so bad he actually thinks all this large publisher everything-must-be-Marketing-designed-AAA-or-it’s-crap attitude is a good thing. And *shudder* DRM is a non-issue. But that’s okay, because I have my dozens of Indie titles to enjoy with the money I save not buying EA/Activision/Ubisoft games.

        Also, this way I can easily afford to give Tim Shafer $100 for the Super Awesome version of the Untitled Adventure Game. So in that sense I hope EA keep bungling things just as badly as they have for two whole decades. :)

    • Tanthius says:

      This a million times

    • Phantoon says:

      Man I said the same thing about the gameplay changes from ME1 to ME2 but people love their cover shooters, I guess.

      • Jeremy says:

        I still thought ME1 needed to change though, it was this weird and terrible version of a pseudo-shooter. Unfortunately, they tweaked it into a shooter and not into a tactical game.

    • Wizardry says:

      More like 35 years ago.

  7. Svant says:

    Not reusing crappy enviorments wont help the crappy combat, stupid quests, shitty controls etc… but thanks for trying.

  8. Bluerps says:

    I never understood what Bioware and EA were thinking when they made Dragon Age 2. I mean, I get that they want to make money – as much and as fast as possible – but what they did to that game was extreme.

    Maybe it was a test. “Let’s try reusing locations. If they swallow this, we can do it in every game from now on.”

    Anyway… a new Bioware game is still something that makes me excited. I liked DA2, despite its many, many flaws, and ME3 was simply amazing – the ending is crap, but that didn’t ruin the game that came before it, for me.

    • RaytraceRat says:

      lately it looks like EA is testing how far they can push the players and still get them to pay for the games.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      I don’t really understand why people hate DA2′s reused locations so much when ME1 did it to a far greater degree and is the greatest game ever.

      • Bluerps says:

        Because in ME1, locations are only reused for the side missions, and those aren’t terribly important. Someone who plays only the main plot missions never sees a reused location.

        Also, DA2 has other severe problems, like the combat design.

    • meatshit says:

      What they were doing was trying to pump out a big budget RPG in under 18 months. The reused maps, the enemies spawning out of nowhere and the disjointed and rather thin plot are all fairly obvious results of DA2 being a rush job.

    • Apolloin says:

      Every game that has extensive 3D environments ALWAYS runs into this problem. It’s why shooters are about 8 hours nowadays.

      What usually happens is that you plan out a decent length game and then you start making it. Along the way you realise that you really underestimated how long it will take your art team to actualyl deliver the finished environments and, faced with the choice of dropping environments or releasing the game to an audience of Morlocks sometime in the 40th century, you cut.

      Your fifteen hour game dips below ten hours and you hope nobody notices.

      The DA producer has gone on record as saying that once they worked out how much they were going to have to cut so that DA2 would hit its release window they found out that it was going to be CRAZY short. He had to make the choice between massive reuse of environments or just cutting out all the sidequests and so forth and he thought that the fanbase would be less disgusted by environment reuse than a game that was about five hours long.

      I happen to think he made the right decision, personally, given that it’s clear the decision to delay the game to create more environments was obviously not one that EA would allow.

  9. Cryptoshrimp says:

    I hope it’s true. I really wanted to like DA2, and any improvement from that would be lovely. Or just revert back to the DA1 formula but cut the deep road out, because -really-…

  10. RandomGunnerGirl says:

    DA3, with all new features that were old before we removed it from DA2 !

  11. WhatKateDoes says:

    Jessica Merizan. Bioware nerd-rage deflector shield.

    Or so they think.

    My nerd-rage is still at maximum capacity, thank you very much.

  12. Tuor says:

    Yeah, whatever BioWare. Your lips are moving, but I can’t hear what you’re sayin’. And frankly, I don’t care anymore.

  13. Dariune says:

    I think its highly unlikely i will get this. I genuinely dont think Bioware are capable of making good games (IMO obviously)

    Great that they are adding more varied locations though i will believe it when i see it.

    Great that they are adding eqippable characters though to what extent with what effect on the game? From recent history i am thinking not a lot.

    The combat in DA2 was terrible, the storyline below average (Though it did have potential), the mechanics horribly dumbed down and ineffective, the enemies generally dull and the characters very wooden.

    Oh and everything was too “Awesome”!

    As i said, they may make a few fixes but i still think they will take the easiest route they can in development and that means few decent choices with dull gameplay mechanics.

    Sorry Bioware, got no time for you.

    • ulix says:

      So ME3 wasn’t 20-30 hours of pure amazingness, marred by 10 minutes at the end?
      Even 99% of the people bitching about the horrible ending (which includes myself) admit that the game, up to that point, was absolutely stellar.

      • Apples says:

        I liked ME3 but if I’m honest with myself… Tuchanka was stellar. The rest of it was sort of, well, not great. Legion’s motivations and death were nonsensical and contradictory. Thessia was dull, though it had some nice visuals, and I thought we’d moved past “click various objects to progress” in gaming. The teammates they chose to let you have were lackluster (I’d throw Vega, Liara, Tali and Kaiden out of the airlock if it meant I could keep Legion, Mordin and Wrex), partly because they obviously wanted certain popular characters to have heroic and moving deaths so they couldn’t fight with you. I turned the combat to narrative because I instantly got bored of shooting Cerberus dudes for 20 minutes per mission. It had too much of Shep whining about her feelings, and often after a main mission I’d just feel sort of depressed and wanting to turn the game off, not feeling motivated to continue. Maybe that’d be great in another game but for an action-filled sci-fi pastiche, not so much.

        So no I won’t admit it! I am the 1%!

      • Stellar Duck says:

        ME3 was 25 hours of pretty good games with a few high points though my fears started to grow early in the game when they suddenly found out that there was this super duper weapon wot nobody ever heard about befor. For me I spent most of the time thinking that at least it was better than ME2 (though sadly Cerberus hadn’t died in a fire between games) but a far cry from ME1. And then the ending happened.

        I mostly sort of enjoyed ME3, sure. But the deus ex machina in the ending actually cast the entire series in a bad light for me. I can’t, I suspect, bring myself to replay any of the games again. After all, what’s the point? I know it’s gonna end with a Macguffin hunt followed by a deus ex machina. A literal one at that.

        So, no, I wont admit that. It was 90% of an mostly alright game marred by the 10% that ruined the series for me.

        Edit: and amazingly they managed to make the side missions even more dull as well as the scanning shit. The Mako might have had some issues, but it got worse in every game. I did NOT enjoy flying out to random planets to find some random shit to give to some random guy on the only mission hub in the game. Add to that that the quest log was so enormously terrible that I didn’t even know what I was supposed to be doing half the time.

  14. Faceless says:

    That panel was a joke. Although the idea that BioWare is listening to fan feedback is a nice notion, the fact they are incredibly selective with what they read doesn’t help them at all. Out of all the 2800+ posts, they managed to single out negatives which were eradicated from RPGs in the 90s?

    • Sirbolt says:

      Exactly what i was thinking. Fallout 1 had all this and now it’s somehow innovation? “Hey, we’re trying to make our franchise not be a steaming pile of shit”, and the crowd goes “woooooooo!!!”

      • methodology says:

        that video made me sick… I’m thinking that’s how bioware thinks all their fans are like, just screaming idiots that wooooo at the thought of more customizable outfits and french locales. They’re so far in their own worlds now.

        • Apples says:

          To be fair they hire fanfiction writers and people who type like 14-yr-old girls on their own forum, so when their employees are screaming idiot fans what can they do but pander to more screaming idiot fans?

          (time until angry fanfic writer responds to this comment – 5 seconds)

          • NathanH says:

            They’re probably too busy writing a threesome between Hawke, Warden, and Shepard to respond angrily.

            I’m constanty impressed that Bioware manage to release games that I really like, given their fanbase! I’m willing to forgive them DA2, everyone makes mistakes…

          • Phantoon says:

            Honestly, it’s like being a victim of abuse. Bioware fans don’t know where else to go, so they keep crawling back, despite themselves. I mean hell, look at Nathan’s post.

            I can’t fault the fans for burning themselves over and over- it’s all they know!

          • Apples says:

            That is the problem, isn’t it? No-one else makes ‘guns n conversations’ games or ‘moral choice’ games with the same production values. If ME4 came out tomorrow for £60 and it opened with a cutscene of Mac Walters and David Gaider mooning me, I’d still buy it because what else can I do if I want that kind of game?

          • NathanH says:

            It’s even grimmer if you like party-based RPG combat. At least for choice’n'consequence we’ve got things like Deus Ex and Witcher providing some high-budget alternatives. For party-based RPG combat with high-budget icing, you’ve got DA:O which does a pretty good job, and then nothing else, and not even the hope of something else, really.

          • Volrath says:

            Wait another year. You’ll have a proper turn-based party cRPG in the form of Wasteland 2.

          • kud13 says:

            And Shadowrun

        • codename_bloodfist says:

          Makes two of us. I particularly enjoyed the bit where he says something along the lines of “It’s great to leave the Internet and enter the real world. It’s much nicer here.” At this point I’m sincerely wondering if he’s pushing the PR, which would be giving this lot too much credit, or genuinely thinks that a bunch of fangurls and fanbois gurls with cardboard swords glued to their backs represent the “real world” in any even remotely genuine manner.

    • Bhazor says:

      Well if they didn’t selectively pick responses they’d spend most of the time answering “DA2 raped my Dad”.

      To be fair it isn’t there most insulting PR video… thing.

    • InternetBatman says:

      The presentation and fans reaction to it did stink, but the fans were a bit harsher in the question portion.

      No one mentioned combat though, or their responses were edited out.

  15. phylum sinter says:

    I really do feel for Bioware, as developers they must be in a tricky situation, with more publisher-imposed variables than most developers have to maneuver just to get their games out the door. Nobody handles success well, mind you.

    This could all be in my imagination of course, and they could be the sole proprietor of their own recent missteps. Romantically i believe we’re in a world where world class developers are latched to world’s worst big publisher (okay, maybe 2nd – Ubisoft, natch), where they are constantly at odds over the direction of everything, and the constant din of ‘monetization and long-tail profits’ echo over the less ominous cries for a more accessible but still deep gameplay experience.

    I hope that, regardless of how they get there, that DA3 will be better than 2. I’m on the fence as to whether it will be. Making the world bigger and more varied is a step, but i think the core gameplay needs a complete rewrite (from DA2). They ought to just pretend DA2 never happened instead of looking to it to see where they could improve.

    Bioware has gotten so much venom from the fans lately, they seem to be taking it all to heart, maybe the experience will roll right into a more fan-aware dev cycle for DA3.

    Fingers just barely crossed.

    • Sirbolt says:

      Sorry to say, this is probably in your imagination: “I always chuckle because we are EA, we’re BioWare — we’re both, and we still have huge autonomy in terms of what we do,” co-founder Greg Zeschuk recently told Eurogamer.

      • PositivelyGreg says:

        What would you possibly expect him to say? “Yeah, you know, I have to chuckle because EA really is one bad Madden season away from not being anything other than BioWare… and that’s why they ride us so hard to make profits. They got nothing else, other than publishing deals. They’re thoroughly creatively bankrupt, are desperately trying to find a path by imitating competitors’ revenue streams like WoW subscriptions and Steam, and if we don’t do everything they say then the shareholders get to cook and eat Ray.”

        • phylum sinter says:

          Yes, that is about the tone i’d expect from them in interviews right now. No, of course not publicly… Only Japanese devs seem to be bold enough to openly criticize their publishers (Capcom and Tecmo, usually).

          My fingers remain barely crossed about this, regardless of all the crap people are throwing at Bioware. I still believe that they’re capable of making awesome games – i’m really enjoying the MP of ME3 right now and though DA2 was probably the worst game they’ve made i still played it all the way to the end. I think the thing developers the size of Bioware are most in danger of is losing their direction – because of the scale of their games – it must be an incredible amount of work to keep a detailed universe from becoming totally bland. Too many cooks spoil the soup, but the customer demands such amazing soup!

  16. Ian says:

    I didn’t mind companions having their own unique, unchanging armour set(s, in some cases) but I would have liked if those were slightly customisable. Or were altered by different things, like how you spec them, etc.

    If that makes sense.

  17. Cytrom says:

    Yeah… their main story writer, and the lead designer of DA:O, are gone (amongst other key talents), while EA remains.

    I’ll remain very skeptical until i play at least a VERY solid DEMO (yes a demo is a must) of any future bioware product.

    ME3 was awesome overall (minus the ending), but the gameplay, the exploration, the rpg mechanics, everything about that game was super mediocre. The fantastic story and already estabilished lore carried that game, turning an average, extremely linear shooter into something truly epic. Dragon age 2 was a disgrace, and they ruined my KotOR sequel by turning it into an mmorpg.

    Reviews are worthless when it comes to EA games, so i’ll need solid personal experience to further support them.. but even then there’s a chance I’ll just ignore it, because i want to see EA burn.

    • Phantoon says:

      They’re less than useless- if they were merely useless, you could just ignore them. But they’re entertaining in how ridiculous the scoring is, that you just want to know.

    • ulix says:

      Their main story writer that worked on ME is gone. Their main story writer for the whole DA franchise is still there, he even sits there in the video.

      • codename_bloodfist says:

        Admittedly, the story was never the strong point of either Dragon Age. The characters were kind of nice though, but then along comes Anders, and does he want to give me kicks and be my steady chick
        and give me pick of memories.

    • Tael says:

      I don’t know what you understand under “main story writer” but their Lead Writer for Dragon Age was always David Gaider. I also think there were several high ranking designers on DA:O, including David Gaider of course, probably changing over the years.
      Also it doesn’t make much sense to complain about DA3 if the gameplay was your main concern in DA2 and Mass Effect 3 and this is exactly what they are going to tackle (including story-variability).
      My main concern is not so much the gameplay and world design that they are going for but the writing style of David Gaider. I recently replayed DA:O and I think it’s just not very well written. Morrigan might have emerged eventually as a recognizable character but she was very shoddily and shallowly written, as was most of the dialogue in that game. Many of her pointless disapproval ratings would be unthinkably stupid for a character in one of the Witcher games and created a lot of confusion over how to interpret her evilness/stupidity. Even if a sort of naivety and inexperience is part of her character, they could have brought that out much more elegantly than by using this as an excuse for unsubtle design.

      But I’ll still follow this with interest, as I think they can only get better, and as much as I preferred DA:O in principle, I don’t think they were ever far below it in writing quality. I thought the Qunari episode in DA2 was rather good. My interest in what they do with the setting has in fact only increased over time.

  18. Unaco says:

    I’m sensing a lot of negativity here, especially in the comments. It’s not good people… you’ll get ulcers. Really, if you’ve got nothing nice to say, and you no longer care about DA or BioWare, maybe you shouldn’t say anything.

    • rocketman71 says:

      What’s with the “stop complaining” attitude?. Complaining accomplishes a lot, and maybe by saying “bullshit!” someone at Bioware will finally take notice and they’ll stop the fall.

      Naaaaaaah, they can’t take EA’s foot off their head even if they wanted. But I’m not going to stop complaining. They already fucked up their two main franchises. The least they could do is listen us complain about it, since the games aren’t worth what we paid for them.

      • stahlwerk says:

        But isn’t the gist of that presentation (and statements towards future ME3 content) that they do indeed listen to feedback from their users? Continuing with complaints in reaction to that will send the dumbest signals in face of this declaration of good will.

        • Fincher says:

          Feedback on the development of DA2 on the Bioware forums by legitimate, willing Bioware fans was labelled as trolling and resulted in bans and thread locks on a daily basis. Bioware failed to listen to the concerns of their fans when it mattered, it was a PR disaster.

      • Unaco says:

        I’m not saying “stop complaining!”. If you’d bothered to actually read my post, instead of just knee-jerking and taking offense, you’d see that. Constructive criticism is fine… It’s the people coming along, posting something negative and then claiming they don’t care, that I’m getting at. If Bioware is dead to you, and you’re not invested in them and their games anymore, and you’re not interested in what they’re doing, then there really isn’t much point telling everyone that, is there? If there were, every article about every game would have the comments filled with 9 people saying “not interested” to every 1 actual, constructive post.

        • SiHy_ says:

          Woah there everyone! Calm down y’all, you’ll give yourselves a hernia.

        • sneetch says:

          Does that mean that you’re going to be taking your own advice, Unaco? I mean your posts on the Dark Souls thread were pretty much as bad as the all negative, non-constructive criticisms you’re speaking against here.

          I don’t think anyone, interested or not, should buy the game… Released on PC 1 year later than on consoles? Don’t buy it… show PC gamers won’t be pushed around, that we won’t come begging for scraps from the master who beats and mistreats us. When the sequel is out, and it’s released at the same time on consoles and PC, then buy it.

          • Unaco says:

            Taken out of context there Sneetch, nice try. I explained that post if you bothered to actually read. The OP had said that everyone should buy the game, even if not interested, which I couldn’t agree with. That was a counter point.

            And how is that post not constructive, anyway? If I’d just said “F*** these guys! I don’t care about this game”, then that wouldn’t be constructive. Instead, I posited a way that could get the intended message across to Namco/From Software. I’ve said, I’m hella interested in that game, and, barring any absolute disaster with the Port, I’ll pick it up. But I can still criticise them, constructively, for not treating the PC with parity to the Consoles.

          • sneetch says:

            Oh, I wasn’t being 100% serious in my post, but if you weren’t so quick to seek offence, you might be able to see that I was simply pointing out that you yourself seem to be doing what you complain about, regardless of your motivation or intentions.

            You say you were providing a counterpoint and you call it constructive criticism but what you actually did was call on people to boycott a game because the developers initially thought that PC gamers wouldn’t be interested in it and regardless of the fact that when they become aware that there were PC gamers interested in it they made plans to bring out a PC version. How terrible that they didn’t bring it out at the same time as the console versions for a market that they thought was not interested in it! They can’t do right for doing wrong. You clarified your position several hours later (I missed those posts) and while I’m sure that it wasn’t just a knee-jerk, negative reaction born out of hurt it sure looked that way at the time.

    • Fincher says:

      Didn’t realise we were in a classroom, Unaco. If you don’t want people to talk critically, and rightfully so considering Bioware’s recent performance, I’m sure we’d all be willing to smile and welcome their next big seller.

      This isn’t the Bioware community forums.

      • Kandon Arc says:

        You’re right. Some people actually like Bioware here.

      • Unaco says:

        I’m not against criticism. That’s fine. Engaging with the subject and posting something constructive shows that you’re still interested in it. But, why bother posting something along the lines of “I don’t care any more!”… or several paragraphs followed by “I don’t care any more!”? I think those people do care… otherwise they wouldn’t have clicked the link and posted a comment.

        • Fincher says:

          I don’t like praise unless it’s constructive.

          We’re not trying to encourage a kid to ride a bike, Unaco. We’re dealing with a corporate entity, and although Mitt Romney would have you believe corporations are people, they aren’t.

          • Unaco says:

            And what… the best way to deal with a corporate entity is to post on RPS comment threads that you don’t care about their games and they are dead to you? What do you reckon that will achieve?

          • Milos says:

            While you are out there changing the face of the industry with your refreshing insight, the rest of us are stuck commenting on RPS.

        • methodology says:

          it’s like complaining about people that use the word “literally” to exaggerate a comment.

          • Unaco says:

            People like that are dead to me. Reading their comments is worse than finding dog muck on my shoe. They are terrible idiots, and they make me want to believe in God just so they are delivered unto unspeakable tortures after their deaths. Which I hope are slow and agonising.

    • fionny says:

      Are you not complaining about complaining? kthxbye.

      • Phantoon says:

        Out of Unaco, this makes actually no sense at all, in any way.

        “Other people are negative! Let me show you how to do it!” is the only way I can rationalize this.

        • apocraphyn says:

          Indeed. These kinds of comments are always completely ridiculous and unneeded. At least the comments Unatco was demonising were on-topic, even if they were just complaining – they’re illustrating their disillusionment with Bioware as a company. Changing your argument half way through and claiming “it’s just the people who say ‘but I’m not bothered’ or ‘I-I don’t really care’ that are annoying me!” doesn’t fix anything, it just makes you seem like even more of a muppet. It’s semantics. Ignore the bloody comments, don’t start whining about them.

          But of course, this is just as off-topic for even addressing Unatco’s foolishness. *Ahem*

          I’ve not liked the route Bioware have been headed down for the past few years, and I long for the day that they release quality titles such as Baldur’s Gate once more. But with the last three or four games they’ve released, they’ve completely severed any trust that I once had – I was someone who may very well have considered pre-ordering their titles beforehand, but not any longer. They’ve burnt a hell of a lot of bridges. (but it’s totally cool, I don’t care or nuthin’)

          • Unaco says:

            Light hearted complaint about people claiming they don’t care, then spending 5 minutes caring about how they’re telling us they don’t care = demonising? Yeah, OK (<- sarcasm by the way)

            Plea for actual, substantial comments, rather than "I don't care!", "They're dead to me!", "Wah Wah Wah!" = foolishness?

            Like I say, I'm not complaining about criticism (and the majority of the comments here are fine with me), as long as it's a comment worth reading (which the majority are). But I just don't see the point in coming along and saying "I don't care", if you have nothing other than that to add. And so I criticise those sort of comments.

            Oh but look… you resort to personal insults, so I doubt you’re actual capable of engaging you disingenuous buffoon.

          • Kandon Arc says:

            Thing is Unaco, only 2 comments before yours were saying “I don’t care” without an explanation. The majority were saying why this wasn’t enough to recapture their interest. You would have been much better served by individually calling out those you felt were being non-constructive rather than denigrating everyone on the thread.

          • Unaco says:

            So… Now I’m “denigrating everyone in the thread”, am I? Even though I was quite specific about the type of comment I was criticising (“if you’ve got nothing nice to say, and you no longer care about DA or BioWare”)? Fine… if people want to take offense when none was intended, and when the comment wasn’t even directed at them, they can go ahead.

            And I didn’t want to go through each comment I thought was silly and pointless (btw, I counted about 4 prior to my post) and respond to them individually, because that’s when (I find) arguments and the like occur. I thought a general comment, saying “If you really don’t care, there’s no need to tell us all” would have been better. How wrong was I, huh?

        • Unaco says:

          Like I say, I don’t mind negativity and criticism, as long as it has a point and some substance.

    • Nick says:

      Hypocrite.

    • aepervius says:

      Ulcer are generated by pylobacteria, not by worry.

    • Shooop says:

      Or maybe they can go ahead and express their disappointment at how something they liked before has been falling behind quality expectations lately since it is a forum about video games?
      Or perhaps you are the new moderator of the internet forums who now gets to decide who gets to say what?

      Oh, what’s this? Speaking of complaining…

      I don’t think anyone, interested or not, should buy the game… Released on PC 1 year later than on consoles? Don’t buy it… show PC gamers won’t be pushed around, that we won’t come begging for scraps from the master who beats and mistreats us.

      Right, so how’s that new “No complaining!” rule working out for you?

  19. SiHy_ says:

    Wow, from reading the comments Bioware, the darling of the industry when Mass Effect 1 came out, seems to have lost a whole lot of support since they signed with EA. I guess I didn’t realise quite how much until I saw this announcement of their potential new game being met with such disdain.

    • InternetBatman says:

      You’re only as good as your last game and they’re 1 for 3.

      • SiHy_ says:

        I was about to say that I’d take your word for it since I’ve never actually played a Bioware game but it seems I have. I had no idea that Bioware made MDK 2. Nothing like a bit of eradiated toast!
        Still, very true about being only as good as your last game. Shame that the business people often destroy all the efforts of the creative people (I’m assuming that’s what happened to them, I admit I have no real idea what happened).

      • ulix says:

        If they’re only as good as their last game, that would mean 99% pure and utter awesomeness with 1% shittyness toward the end. I could live with that.

    • Shooop says:

      Once EA takes the helm, everything changes.

      DICE used to be a respected developer, now they’re just another “Follow CoD’s lead!” group of clowns.

  20. InternetBatman says:

    The lack of equipment was annoying, really annoying, but a minor variable. They didn’t discuss in the slightest how your choices would matter.

    They didn’t even mention the terrible combat system. It was described as “slower combat” and “tactical view” of the minor things that passed and were dismissed by the panel lead. That’s not the problem. Beyond the terrible view, there were giant health bars, a serious paring down of the number of moves, explosions that didn’t hurt your party members, boring lack of variation in combat, etc.

  21. rocketman71 says:

    Someone made the perfect comment on that video:

    Wow! I’m super excited about all these new features! Equipment for party members, armor changes people’s appearance and decisions that actually matter! Is there a release date yet? I have a feeling 1992 is going to be the best year for RPGs yet!

    Of course, after ME3 we now know that “decisions that actually matter” is a lie.

    Bioware == dead to me.

    • ulix says:

      Because all the decisions you took in ME1, ME2, and ME3 greatly affected the story of ME3 in a way that no other game really has done before, with tons of variables (and only in the end were these decisions, that DID have a great impact on the story until that point, neglected)?

      Just asking.

  22. aliksy says:

    DA2 had better combat than DA:Origins, other than the weirdly spawning enemy waves thing. It also had good intraparty banter, and I really liked how the dialog you picked shaped your protagonist’s personality.

    It’d be nice if they got to Deus Ex/Alpha Protocol levels of branching paths and decision making, but I doubt it.

    Besides, it’ll probably come out as an Origin Exclusive with annoying DLC. Screw that.

  23. HermitUK says:

    Not sure I could bring myself to replay DA2 to create a save file to import, but if DA3′s more like DA1 then I’d be interested.

    Might wait to see what fans think of the ending first, though.

  24. bitbot says:

    Sorry, but they’re gonna have to do a lot better than that to make me a customer again.

  25. Vayl says:

    This seems kinda surreal to me, making a big deal about listening to the fans, that they will not reusing levels, or having choices that actually matter, isn’t this what a normal good game should do? Hyping the usage of different environments in 2012 is a bit on the retarded side.

  26. Zepp says:

    i jeszcze Ci dupa pęknie / ho ho

  27. Advanced Assault Hippo says:

    I sometimes fear the sheer awfulness of DA2 somewhat covered up the fact DA1 itself had problems of its own. It seems to get a free pass with its sequel taking all the flak.

    Didn’t actually feel DA1 was a classic by any means, but how can that ever be discussed properly when DA2 splurged its crapness over the gaming world?

    • methodology says:

      I was thinking the exact same thing. Somehow da:o has become the shining beacon of holy rpg’s when it was a steaming pos compared to bg2.

    • Wizardry says:

      You’re absolutely right. It’s amazing how Dragon Age: Origins will probably be considered a classic when, after completing it, I realised it was one of the most boring CRPGs I had ever played (and I’ve probably played 150+).

      • Stellar Duck says:

        I admit that I’m guilty of this. I had a ton of issues when I first played DAO, but in the end I liked it well enough I suppose. But I did have issues.

        Then DA2 happened and it was so awful that in my mind DAO suddenly seemed like a paragon of good design. It’s a position that I’ve been slowly readjusting again and I’m starting to remember why I was annoyed with so many things in DAO again. Though that’s mostly due to ME3 being even more awful than DA2. I think ME3 was the final nail in the coffin. I’ve disliked Biowares direction ever since KotOR and this was the final straw.

        I think it might be time that I admit to myself that I was never a fan of Bioware. I was a fan of Baldur’s Gate and I can’t keep fooling myself about it. (I also didn’t like Neverwinter Nights)

        Edit: I should also add that while I’ve often found myself disagreeing with your somewhat hard line stance on RPGs, Wizardry, I find my self in agreement with you more and more. It’s a strange world.

        • Wizardry says:

          Indeed. I’m a Baldur’s Gate fan and not a BioWare fan, but it took me a while to separate the two. It probably happened when Jade Empire came out and confirmed that BioWare was primarily a console developer.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            I guess it just took me a lot longer to learn that particular lesson. Part of me keep wanting the next Baldur’s Gate (figuratively. I don’t need a new BG as in the series).

            And really, in the last couple of years I’ve started to realise that that game might well either exist or be made. Just not by Bioware. So I’ve started to cast my net a bit further when I look for RPGs to play.

            Any thoughts on Avernum? I noticed it was on sale on Steam. And yes, I’ll shamelessly pump you for any information you might care to give. :D

          • Wizardry says:

            I dunno. I have it installed on my computer but I haven’t done much other than walk around and kill a few things after the beginning of the game. I can’t really tell you if it’s any good but it’ll probably be worth the gamble.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            Thanks! It’s much appreciated.

            I think I’ll look into it, but probably wait a bit with actually buying it. I just bought Legend of Grimrock on a bit of a whim. As if I needed more games in the pile I need to play. But Avernum is on my watch list at least.

          • Wizardry says:

            Damn. I read that as Avadon for some reason (his newer game). I’ve played the Avernum series! They are pretty good in my opinion and I definitely recommend them. I do prefer his old Exile games though (which Avernum was initially a remake of), but you’d probably have to be used to 80s/early 90s style PC RPGs to get into them easily. The Avernum games are a little watered down in my opinion, but are still miles better than pretty much all AAA CRPGs produced in the 00s.

    • xsikal says:

      No question. DA:O was mediocre at best. It’s only in comparison to the utterly rushed shoddiness of DA2 that the first game has suddenly been seen as ‘good.’ As I never played DA2, I’ve never thought of DA:O as more than ‘just okay’

      I did not buy DA2 because:

      (a) I read user reviews (and not just critics’ reviews, since I’ve lost all faith in their ability to be objective with Bethesda or Bioware games)
      (b) I realized that DA2 was aimed at a different audience.
      (c) Even DA:O, which was ostensibly targeted at gamers like myself, was a far cry from BG2, whether because of the story or the dull world or the writing or the combat.

      I did not buy ME3 because DA:O and ME2 were disappointing, and DA2 was reportedly awful.

      At this point, any Bioware game gets a 2-3 month waiting period before I think of buying it… enough time for all the hyped reviews to die down and more objective evaluations to come about.

  28. whexican says:

    Spend more time fleshing out the game. Really that’s the key thing. If your going to try to pump out a new game every few months then your going to deliver water downed experiences that will most likely generate negative responses from your customers.

  29. Cytrom says:

    Hahaha, before watching that video, an ad for the Witcher 2 Enhanced edition came up… so much better than anything Bioware has produced in the last 4 years, and amazing customer support as well. Cd project red is great.

    • Acorino says:

      I wonder why they didn’t go the Enhanced Edition route with Dragon Age 2. It certainly would have brought them some good will and additional sales. CD Projekt doesn’t do the free additional content just out of kindness after all.
      Oh well, I guess it still seems too suspiciously altruistic for EA, the paymaster…

  30. bill says:

    What happened to the days ofeveryone complaining about Oblivion and comparing Bethesda unfavourably to bioware?

    • Cytrom says:

      EA happened, and Bethesda learned from their past mistakes and improved their game.

      • RedViv says:

        Clearly, Skyrim is superior and improved, with its much greater guild quests, acknowledgement of player actions, rich variety of characters, deep lore connections,…

        • Hoaxfish says:

          fairly certain there was some quote about Bioware saying they want skyrim’s audience (in the same vein as “we want CoD’s audience”)

          which is personally, counter-productive when their products are arguable different ends of the scale.. and it also implies they aren’t happy with their own audience.

          • RedViv says:

            Personally, I would love to see Dragon’s Dogma shooting both companies in the *sigh* knees. It will probably lack “cinematic storytelling” or whatever people will call it, but the mechanics, battles and open world, all these look almost too good to be true.

  31. Kandon Arc says:

    The thing that baffled me about the reused environments is that they got a load of criticism for ME1 having the same buildings for every side mission and addressed it in ME2. Do they only have a memory of a couple of years?

  32. NathanH says:

    I get the impression that they kinda realize that DA2 was a bit shit in many areas, and this is as far as they can publicy go. From their work on Mass Effect they seem pretty good at sorting the ignorable criticism from the constructive criticism, and pretty good at working out when their changes aren’t great and need tweaking (streamlined inventory in ME2, for instance).

    • Cytrom says:

      And removing exploration completely… people didn’t like the mako missions in ME1, thus the solution: remove it entirely with no substitute, or attempt to make it better.

  33. f1x says:

    A good start for Dragon Age 3 could be to actually write a good history with a good narrative

    I mean, the narrative for Dragon Age 2 in “we are trying to be Tarantino in a fantasy world here, with this flashbacks, the dwarf (without beard yes..) telling the history to a supposedly unknown important characther (a bad chance that they missed there), the episodic narration which contains many pieces of a puzzle that should fit at the end (but didnt),
    what happened is in the end I didnt care at all, because there was actually no real plot, no structure, only “look at how much we know about storytelling Lolz”

  34. Maxheadroom says:

    I dunno what they could do now to pull me back in. It’d be like them announcing there’re making a new Police Acadamy and saying “Dont worry, THIS one will be as good as the first one!”

    I’m really not arsed anymore, It’s like that ship has sailed, Know what I mean?

  35. Apples says:

    They’re going to have to do a lot more work than this to get themselves out of the laughing stock position they’re currently in. I mean jesus, this is stuff that should be elementary RPG design (decisions that matter, customisation, varied levels) – not things that a AAA game studio should be credulously presenting to a worshipful crowd as if they were innovative and brilliant. Pathetic. Bring back the early 2000s please, everything was downhill from there (this is not even nostalgia speaking, I played most ‘classic’ games much later than they were released)

  36. RedViv says:

    Clearly vowing to remedy past mistakes is bad and makes one appear like a filthy liar. Oh internet, you wonderful place.

    • methodology says:

      It’s like BP promising to use more colorful oil for future spills.

    • Llewyn says:

      I think* the problem is that for the most part Bioware have refused to acknowledge that they made significant mistakes in DA2, and have at times insisted both that the decisions they took were what players wanted and that player approval levels were sky high. In that context, yes, this sort of backtracking might only continue to make them look bad.

      On the other hand, acknowledging past mistakes, apologizing for them and promising not to repeat them would be an entirely positive thing.

      Of course, this positive thing would still be twisted by the wonderful citizens of the ‘net…

      *And I might well be wrong; I lost interest in DA2 before I even finished DA:O and have probably missed many aspects of the post-release drama.

      • RedViv says:

        Looking at all that has happened to DA2 and been stated by Bioware already, we can assume that DA2 is the result of two big NO!s of development.

        First, it was rushed out after a far, far shorter time than the previous game, leading to a lack of polish to hide two of the greatest underlying problems of, well, probably every single Bioware game. Those being decisions that are flavouring, and not altering, the game world, and heavily repetitive combat segments.
        Additionally it prevented most kinds of retouching the world would have required with the kind of story Bioware were trying to tell, leading to the recycling of levels and the lack of change in the surroundings during a whole decade of political and social turmoil.

        The second big NO! was trying to counter the first one with sprinkles of stuff that marketing research and surveys and stuff showed “players” would be interested in. Adding the decision import known from their other current big franchise led to more detractions rather than enrichment of the events. Heavily action-favouring combat was something most players immediately disabled (and the poor console gamers had to wait for a patch even), the ridiculous concept of the “Awesome Button” killed in an instant.

        Concluding, looking at the panel video and interviews with Bioware employees after DA2, the only thing we are truly missing is an outright “Sure, we messed this up big time, and we were terrible in our treatment of our property and our consumers.”, but oh the poor shareholders, they would be scared if someone they put money into would say that.

        tl;dr: bad business practices have likely caused way more bad design than would have occurred naturally, and admitting that is a business risk in itself

        Go indie!

        • Llewyn says:

          Actually, lots of businesses far bigger than EA have found it to be a very effective strategy. If you’ve been getting things wrong, and know your customers (or potentially, your former customers) know how badly you’ve been getting it wrong then it’s often better to be open about that, and to be detailed about your plans to change things.

          Too much is made of shareholder interference by RPS commenters. Largely, shareholders don’t give a shit what businesses do or how they communicate so long as they deliver constantly growing returns.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      How beauteous the pitchforks are. Oh brave new online world, that has such people in it.

    • Kandon Arc says:

      Well they said they would stop reusing levels after Mass Effect 1 so there’s that. I think it’s more the case that people don’t feel they should praise the re inclusion of standard RPG features.

    • JackShandy says:

      Trashing the previous game and saying the next one will be actually good is a common practise, and makes you look bad.

      See: Peter Molyneux.

    • InternetBatman says:

      “It did some things good and some things bad” is a pretty tepid acknowledgement of past mistakes. This entire presentation was about fixing the easy flaws that never should have been there in the first place.

      The systematic ones like boring combat system that thinks players are stupid or dialog and gameplay being two separate entities that barely intertwine were ignored.

  37. Kadayi says:

    Seems like they are taking on board the feedback in a constructive fashion. Looking forward to further news down the line. Albeit like a few I’m disappointed with how ME3 panned out, I think it’s important to understand that the DA team and the ME teams are separate entities.

  38. MOKKA says:

    I get the feeling that this is going to be something like a modern day version of the ‘new coke’ and ‘classic coke’ thing from the 80s.

  39. Velvetmeds says:

    “feature decisions that matter”

    Like DA2 and unlike DA1 then? Okay. People’s opinions sure are consistent

    • Apples says:

      Sorry? What decisions, exactly, mattered in DA2? Was it the one where you can side with the mages or templars and then fight them both anyway? Was it the one where you can basically agree with the whats-its (it’s been a while – the big horned guys, y’know) about what a shithole Kirkwall is and then fight him anyway? The ones where you can be a complete dick to your companions and they’ll still follow you around for no reason? What decisions? When?

      Or was it the one where you can choose what to do with the really cool masked horn-dude and he just dies because god forbid they include an interesting character. Make way for kawaii elf-waifu merrill instead. I am inordinately upset about that one sidequest.

    • Asuron says:

      Or the best one where Merill needs a magic knife or whatever to fix this magic mirror. You decide to not give it to her and wham she fixes the mirror anyway.

      God so many stupid moments like that. Don’t bother giving us dialogue choices if you bloody well don’t want to follow through on them. I mean jesus RPGS from over a decade ago understood this, how is it Bioware didn’t

    • InternetBatman says:

      In DA:O at least your decisions affected the ending. In DA2 the major plot points happen regardless of your choices, and the ending pretty much stays the same. There are so many egregious examples to pick from, but the worst are the final boss fights. You have to fight the head mage regardless of whether or not you support him, etc.

      • Lars Westergren says:

        >In DA2 the major plot points happen regardless of your choices, and the ending pretty much stays the same.

        Yeah, in that respect it felt very JRPG – like.

        “You….like, me, don’t you Cloud?” ->Y/N
        “No.”
        “Tehee, you are such a kidder. I love you!”

  40. caddyB says:

    I do like dressing up my party and main character.

  41. MrStones says:

    God Bioware leaves me conflicted these days.

    I won’t right off a studio for something they’ve yet to release (though their no longer a “purchase without reviews” company) and hopefully they’ll learn some lessons but mainly going to be interesting to see how they walk the internet opinion tightrope between pandering / listening to their fans

    • Hobbesian says:

      After ME3 and DA2 I generally won’t trust reviewers when it comes to Bioware either. I shall try an extended demo (perhaps, courtesy of a torrent tracker, IN THEORY /biowaretalk) and THEN decide if Bioware gets my money.

  42. Asuron says:

    While it seems nice, these are pretty much the surface issues. its not really dealing with the real of problems that stem from the gameplay design and writing.
    Like take for instance the combat, it was designed around fast combat( Not a fan of it anyway) but the waves and way it was setup made it longer than any of DA:O s battles.
    Sure you could nitpick the stupid anime combat animations or wave combat or repeated locale, but I don’t think that’s really addressing the problem

    It’d be like removing Jar Jar from the prequels, its just a surface issue, its not the actual problem. Almost makes me wish RedLetterMedia had studied games on the same level as movies, because their type of critical analysis is really needed to expose these problems.

  43. Oozo says:

    I guess I just am not a proper citizen of the INTERWEBS, but I’d like to give this whole thing a positive spin: I like to remember that a lot of what they wanted to do with DA2, or at least claimed they wanted to do, had potential.

    A more personal story instead of “Save Your World 101″? I’d dig that. No world-spanning travelogue, instead a focus on one place, but over a longer period of time? Sounds exciting!

    Unfortunately, the demo really was enough for me not to buy it on day one, and the reviews pointed out clearly that all of those things were not implemented at all, or handled poorly. So, I did not buy DA2 in the end.

    If, however, they decide to innovate, but take time and money to do so properly, I’d very much like to play Dragon Age 3. A second chance? I’m still willing to give them that.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      >A more personal story instead of “Save Your World 101″?
      >a focus on one place, but over a longer period of time?

      I really liked those two things too, Oozo. Let’s be not proper interwebs citizens together.

      And I did buy Dragon Age 2, though I never finished it. Ultimately I thought it was too much focus on combat (combat which was grindy, repetetive, and in repetetive locations). I couldn’t explore the city in my own way and at my own pace, like I could in, say, Baldur’s Gate or Fallout: NW. I could only be sent on small bite sized “combat missions”.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Idea vs. execution. BioWare don’t get any points for trying to do something that could have been good had it been executed completely differently.

      Like the city. I *love* a good urban setting in a fantasy game, like the old Lankhmar AD&D books, or Shapeir in QFG2. Kirkwall was awful and boring and empty and lacking any kind of personality. There’s a kernel of a good idea somewhere in there, but the end product is so far from that, it’s pointless to laud BioWare for what might have been.

  44. jezcentral says:

    I think they are listening. The DA2 Legacy and Assassin DLC were cases in point. A lot got fixed there.

    Except the influencing of events, which you won’t get in DLC.

    Yeah, I bought the DLC. I enjoyed DA2. *looks around defensively*

  45. Nick says:

    That video is pretty much unwatchable.

  46. Nameless1 says:

    OMG…how th hell can they have the courage to continue with this IP after that GARBAGE of DA2.
    F-u-c-k o-f-f Bioware.

  47. The Sombrero Kid says:

    Modern Bioware have no interest to me, I don’t believe the people capable of making Kotor or the first mass effect are even still at the company, never mind which part of ‘Bioware’ they might be at.

  48. aepervius says:

    Too late for me. Bioware squandered their trust I had in. Now if DA3 comes, I will almost certainly wait for a lot of review, then that people finish it, and even then get it month later after price drop as punishment for DA2.

  49. daphne says:

    Happy news. Though I have to say that I did not mind DA2 at all, as opposed to the majority of BioWare fans, it would seem. Complaints regarding its ending were, with the exception of “choosing a side meant nothing!”, even more alien to me. And I’m someone who’s finished Origins four times and supported the shitstorming the ME3 endings caused.

    Frankly though, I would have been happier to see something like “less generic itemization!” in addition to the three bullet points outlined in the video.

  50. netizensmith says:

    I’ve not played DA2 and never will. I’m pretending it didn’t happen. DA3 *needs* to be DAO2 basically. There has to be a proper PC version, just like the first game and I need to be able to program tactics for the whole party so that I don’t have to do anything during battles except pan the camera around and watch my team decimate anyone who stands in their way. No need for any graphical improvement either, just a decent story. Oh, and Morrigan.

    • Drinking with Skeletons says:

      DA2 had tactics, and I thought they worked as well as in Origins. Was there something worse about them?

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