One Of Dragon Age’s Big Influences? Planescape Torment

By Nathan Grayson on August 31st, 2013 at 11:00 pm.

Like our fair, occasionally fire-breathing John, I also recently saw Dragon Age: Inquisition in action, and – against all odds – I came away very impressed. Dragon Age: Origins was a very important game to me for a number of reasons, and the crazy thing is that BioWare actually seems to *get* why its return to fantasy’s pointy eared realms made people like me chant(ry) its name to the high heavens. There’s action-y stuff in Inquisition, sure, but also plenty of tactical options (TOP-DOWN VIEW YEAH) and yummy conundrums to scramble my moral compass. But it wasn’t until I spoke with lead designer Mike Laidlaw that I really began feeling good about Inquisition. His favorite game? Planescape Torment. And, if Laidlaw is to be believed, the Black Isle classic’s influence is strong in this one. 

It’s the end of an already grueling first day of PAX, and Mike Laidlaw is slumped back in a hotel room recliner. He looks like a man who’s been thrashing around in quicksand all day, only to sweat out all his strength and resign himself to a looming end. These conventions might be about play, but they’re also a whole, whole lot of work.

But then our delirious discussion meanders onto the topic of Planescape Torment, and Laidlaw positively lights up. He bolts up in his seat as he explains:

The big thing Torment brought to the table was a lot of solutions to problems – really cool solutions.

“Our goal with characters is that you should love them or hate them, but never just be like, ‘Yeah, whatever.’ That’s why, when I think back to my personal favorite – Planescape Torment – it’s an amazing game. Part of what made it so amazing is that the characters who surrounded the Nameless One were such extremes. It’s like, so what’s up with Ignus? Well, he’s on fire and in pain all the time, so most of his dialogue is, ‘AHHHHHHHHHH.’ Then there’s the wisecracking guy who’s a skull and threatens to bite you. The succubus who tries to focus on her poetry. It’s just like… wow. And of course, it’s a setting that allows for that kind of rampant extremism. So I loved it!”

Admittedly, if you looked at the two games side-by-side, you wouldn’t necessarily know it. Dragon Age dresses in prim and proper fantasy garb while Planescape Torment slips into gnarled, otherworldly skin and acts like its magnificent eccentricity is as normal as a stroll in the park. And sure, Planescape’s personality is utterly brilliant, but it’s hardly all that defines it.

“I mean, we’re not gonna have a Modron wandering around in Dragon Age,” Laidlaw qualifies. “It won’t fit the world. But we can still look at our characters and say, ‘Are they intriguing enough? Do they offer wildly different perspectives?’”

Perhaps even more exciting, however, is the prospect of choices heavily inspired by Planescape’s exceedingly multifaceted approach. That, claims Laidlaw, is the real meat of this Dragon Age-Planescape sandwich, and he’s quite happy to offer variety and choices with real consequences – even if that means many players won’t see a fourth of the game on their first playthrough. He continues, growing ever more animated:

“The big thing Torment brought to the table was offering a lot of solutions to problems – really cool solutions. Not everything was fighting. Oftentimes being persuasive or having certain stat checks might take care of it. It was like, ‘I have a wisdom stat of 25, so let’s shortcut the entire ending.’ I really like that kind of stuff. It also did a great job of acknowledging the path you chose in the game.”

“That’s something we’re trying to explore more deeply. You know, it’s one thing to make a choice. That’s fine. But what about the aggregate of your choices? What’s the long-term effect? And occasionally saying, ‘Well look, there’s this really cool scenario, and not every player’s going to see it.’ But as developers, we’re trying to get more efficient in our work because it lets be more like, ‘Not everyone’s gonna see this. That’s cool. That’s not a problem. That’s not wasted money. That’s awesome.’ Our goal is that it’s a significant amount showing a big degree of exclusivity. A quarter or so.”

Long after Planescape’s heyday, Laidlaw thinks that approach has actually become even more relevant due to the advent of social media, YouTube, and the like. We share everything now. It’s unavoidable, so why not have something unique to share?

“I think that’s a big thing we’re coming more to terms with as people put so much time and effort into social media and email and FAQs and everything,” he says. “There are no secrets in gaming. And if that’s the case, I think part of the joy is from having a friend who’s like, ‘Did you see this?’ And you’re like, ‘No, I didn’t!’ That’s as thrilling as seeing it. That’s something we’re getting increasingly comfortable with. I don’t want it to be a weak experience if a person didn’t do X and Y. It should be complete. But understand that sometimes – even if you never replay it – you’re probably gonna hear about it. And you’ll feel so much more satisfied by the fact that you made a choice, and something very different happened.”

“I think Planescape paved a really big path on that front.”

And yet, even beyond that, there’s more to be extracted from Planescape’s suddenly popular crypt, but Laidlaw’s not quite ready to commit. Despite already looking really nice, Dragon Age: Inquisition is still pretty early. Things like stat checks to create new dialogue/choice options and a much bigger emphasis on non-combat solutions sound tantalizing, but there’s still a lot of work to be done before anything’s set in stone.

“We’re going to be looking at more non-combat solutions,” he replies when I ask about the above possibilities. “My general rule with Inquisition is that unless I have it locked down, I don’t really want to talk about it. I’d rather under-promise and over-deliver. So it’s a direction we’re heading in, but I’m not ready to talk details.”

But he’s certainly trying, and that’s a very admirable pursuit. Planescape Torment’s legacy will live on no matter what, but there’s no hurt in spreading the wealth.

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154 Comments »

  1. seruko says:

    after ME3 and DA2 I just don’t buy it.
    And I certainly won’t.

    • Lord Byte says:

      I’ve never liked any of the Dragon Ages, where Planescape Torment dared to tread new ground, buck the trend, create interesting characters that grew (=/= LEVEL) and do away with the typical fantasy tropes, Dragon Age did the exact opposite. It went the safe way with typical bullshit fantasy fare, silly fetch quests, one-dimensional characters and useless titilation. It made me puke… (and I’ve tried playing through it twice). The only good bit is the unique quest depending on your character choice.

      • Ender7 says:

        That is why I am looking forward to the new torment game, hopefully it will follow in its predecessors step. What I am less looking forward to is project eternity, even though I did back it, they waited near the end of the kickstarter to tell that it is a (very) generic fantasy setting with elves, dwarves..etc. They mentioned PST when they pitched it so I had hoped they were going to experiment with something new, sadly they are playing it (too) safe. If there wasn’t such a drought of RPG’s I might not have been so eager to back it. It should still be good, but I am sooooo sick of elves and dwarves which just seem to be reskinned humans to me with pointy ears and short people. I would like to see a game where there are other sets of new unique playable races. One day….

        • tormeh says:

          I did the same mistake, but I reckon it’s my fault. They did mention Baldur’s Gate and some other generic (but good, I hear) stuff, but all I heard was “PLANSCAPETORMENTPLANSCAPETORMENTPLANSCAPETORMENT”.

          My fault :(

      • Zekiel says:

        I think that’s a little unfair. Dragon Age’s setting may be a bit generic, but there’s no way Morrigan and Leliana were one dimensional characters. I think there’s some of the best RPG NPCs ever in fact. While they may not be as original in concept as Dak’kon or Fall-From-Grace, they are really interesting. A social darwinist witch who is also completely naive about contemporary society?

        • Bluestormzion says:

          I daresay it’s even unfair to compare characters in any other game to those two. Fall-From-Grace, I think, is one of the most layered and intriguing characters I’ve ever encountered, and that’s a conclusion you can come to the first time you talk with her, before you begin to learn of her backstory and origins and everything else. Planescape: Torment’s characters and themes will simply never be topped. That said, I do like that they’re inspiring people to make better characters in other games.

    • mouton says:

      Such declarations are grimcool, but your risk having to deal with serious cognitive dissonance, if it actually turns out to be excellent.

      • Emeraude says:

        I don’t know, Bioware talks a lot, but they rarely deliver. If ever.
        Personally wrote them off when they released Jade Empire, and they have never given me any indication that they had changed for the better.
        They’re just that huge studio making games in a genre I love, and for which, alas, I am quite certainly not the target audience.

        Saying you’re a fan of something, or that something is a big inspiration for you, implies very little.
        Ed Wood was a huge fan – and claimed inspiration from – Orson Welles. For all the good it did his crafting.

        • HidingCat says:

          You really have a bone to pick with BW. Perhaps their games are not meant for you. I think I’ve liked just about every game of theirs except NWN (base campaign) and BG2: Throne of Bhaal. Didn’t dare try DA2 judging from the reviews. Oh, and I haven’t completed ME3 yet!

    • steves says:

      I would be ok if this game got close to original DA, that would be…alright.

      My hopes are not high though:

      “so what’s up with Ignus? Well, he’s on fire and in pain all the time, so most of his dialogue is, ‘AHHHHHHHHHH.’ Then there’s the wisecracking guy who’s a skull and threatens to bite you. The succubus who tries to focus on her poetry. It’s just like… wow”

      Erm, yeah, ok. Totally getting what PST was all about right there.

      Oh, Bioware…

      • drewski says:

        To be fair, I’m not sure a casual interview at the tail end of a long day at PAX is quite the place for a half hour deconstruction of each of Planescape: Torment’s various characters.

        • Ringwraith says:

          Besides, if you were going to describe these characters to someone else who knew nothing about them in a single sentence, it suffices.

    • Oasx says:

      Can someone explain to me why there is such a hate for ME3? I played it a few months ago for the first time, and kept waiting for the moment when it would turn crap, but it never did, sure the ending(s) were not the best, but other than that it was a great game.
      I have only played it after it was patched with a new ending, but i still don’t get how an ending could be so bad as to dislike an otherwise great game.

      • Jimbo says:

        You really had to see the original ending to believe it.

      • Emeraude says:

        It’s not crap, it’s terribly mediocre, as most – if not all – modern Bioware games.

        The problem I’d mainly comes from Bioware’s failure to live up to their own promises/marketing bullshit (depending going how charitable you happen to be).
        People invested their time in a trilogy of games that promised to carry over and make their choices matter. And then it didn’t come true. To add insult to injury the very end just totally and willfully ignored all your choices and did its own thing (this more than its Deus Ex like “pick a switch” was the aggravating problem the end posed; salt in the wound).

      • Fiyenyaa says:

        ME3 to me was a great game with a terribly dissapointing ending.
        Now, I think the ending came out worst for people who were like me; i.e. people who really liked the characters and the world, and didn’t *really* care about the over-arching plot.
        I mean I thought 3 was the best game mechanically speaking, but I think the reason the internet blew up over the endings was because games (especially games where you can customise your character) and then have well-liked characters make the player invest much more in what happens than a film or book. You play the ME series for dozens of hours all told, you make all these decisions as the character who you essentially are within the paradigm of the game, then the endings (no explicit spoilers here, but still – careful) really don’t reflect that in any meaningful sense where the previous games were full of winks and nods about what you’d done previously.
        I’m happy to accept a weird non-explanatory ending in a film, but if I’d been watching that film for dozens of hours and controlling the actions of one of the characters in it? That gives you a much deeper connection I think.

        • Jimbo says:

          I’d argue that having a terribly disappointing ending precludes a game from being great.

          • maximiZe says:

            Also mediocre to downright terrible writing in an RPG does.

          • Corb says:

            oh please, you sound like one of those english majors who rag on Harry Potter claiming that the series is trash because it wasn’t written like the “The Great Gatsby”. The writing in Mass Effect was fine, and ME3 was a solid game and story right up to the assault on the elevator…after that I would agree that the writing fell apart. Most of ME3 was amazing, fun, and well done. Yes the endings were not up to snuff, but that doesn’t mean you should just write off the entire game. Heck, even the tacked on multiplayer was fun!

          • gunny1993 says:

            If ME3 was well written then why did i turn it off about halfway through the story and never play it again? Especially given that I played ME2 about 4 times.

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            Regardless of the writing quality, that’s not a well formed argument. Your premise does not support your conclusion, unless you can also show that the only possible reason for you to stop playing was because the writing was bad.

          • Ringwraith says:

            The main plot of Mass Effect 3 is not great, however all the characters within it, and some of the smaller, not-quite-as-arc-related pieces are excellent.
            Seeing the effect of your previous choices with characters was great, except when it was just reflected by a number on a spreadsheet.
            The jarring thing about it is that the quality is inconsistent, where most of the characters are great, then you get forced into a dumb scenario with Kai Leng, just Cerberus in general, or its MAIN PLOT. Some of these parts feel especially rushed.

        • kament says:

          I played ME-ME2 like a lot, and I wasn’t disappointed in ME3′s ending because of the previous decisions allegedly lacking impact. My issue was exactly with the conclusion of over-arching plot, which made me feel like I felt about Witcher 2 ending: here you go, that’s what this was all about, thank you, don’t forget to buy our DLC. And I got over it, because ah well.

          Sure, I haven’t noticed that my decisions mattered at the end of the day. But most of the decisions had their impact long before the ending, so I didn’t mind. And then I made a speed run and discovered some of the big and little things that game acknowledged, including the Collector base choice.

          I’ll admit I felt terrible about how final it was, but I didn’t consider that a bad thing. Still don’t. Maybe it’s because of that speed run: watching the Earth burn I realized just how optimistic it was the first time around.

          But I think that’s exactly the reason for the Internet to explode. Because if it made me sad and angry, that’s definitely because it was terrible and under-delivered and all that.

          Right?

          • Ringwraith says:

            Though the Witcher 2 has a radically different feel, in that it is very clear you are never completely in control of things, and your actions may have an impact, but they are usually never what you quite expected at the time.
            There’s always a sense you can’t fix everything, though you can at least save something.

            Whereas Mass Effect is more about being able to solve everything, and a lot of decisions having fairly predictable consequences, so when it just throws everything away and says nothing matters it like the rug has been pulled out from under you, and not in a good way.

    • ulix says:

      ME3 was an incrdeible game, and certainly by far the best game in the ME series. Sure, the last hour or so sucked, I’ll give you that. But the 20-30 hours leading up to it trumped anything in the other ME games. In terms of story, setting, meaningful choices, and of course gameplay.

      The only reason ME3 is being hated on is the (admittedly crppy) ending.
      The other 95% of the game were stellar.

      • Ringwraith says:

        Except some of the really dumb stuff with Kai Leng. There’s some serious issues with cutscene failure in some of his appearances in a game where they put in optional QTE-things precisely for doing something during conversations/cutscenes.

  2. Gunrun says:

    Is it just me or does this reek of “oh how do we get the old school rpg nerds in on this”.
    It’s going to take a lot more than pandering to get me back on board after dragon age 2.

    • denthor says:

      Yer, wasn’t laidlaw the guy who said that he disliked DA:O, using it as a punching bag when promoting da2?

      I’m not having a bar of it – they can hype it all they want, i won’t be taken as a fool again like i was with da2.

      • Ender7 says:

        Yea, laidlaw said he hated old school RPG’s when he was promoting DA2. Of course, someone should have pointed out that the only reason people bought DO:A was because it WAS an old school RPG.

        I am also not happy that it looks like the solution to everything is to hack and slash your way through it. I enjoyed the old games where you could do crazy things like TALK or find ALTERNATIVE ways to solve problems without it always resulting into a fight..

        • kament says:

          Credit where it’s due, even DA2 did that. You could talk your way through some encounters or find the alternative solution based on your class or character. There still was a ridiculous amount of combat, sure, though playing through Arcanum recently I discovered it’s not something new.

    • Lemming says:

      Yep, exactly what I thought. You only have to look at footage of the game to see what it really is. It just looks like every other action rpg out there except it has some tactical party stuff added that is packaged as a new feature, despite the fact it was present in 1998′s Baldur’s Gate.

    • Bhazor says:

      I have to wonder how much of an influence the seven figure RPG kickstarters had to do with this change of tone.

    • mouton says:

      So, he hypes his own game – it’s his right. When it comes out, we will see for ourselves and verify. Don’t see a problem there.

      Unless you preorder or impulse-buy, that is.

      • Emeraude says:

        And its ours to call bullshit when we think we see it, is it not ?

        • mouton says:

          WYeah, well, we can do it, but it’s kind of like saying “advertisements are biased”.

          • Emeraude says:

            Which can be healthy to hammer repeatedly, especially given how one of the points of advertising is that repeating things over and over gives better results in impacting people’s opinions than actually being right and having the proper demonstration of it.

          • Corb says:

            Calling advertisements “biased” doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of that giant turd covered can of worms.

  3. KikiJiki says:

    All aboard the hype train, choo choo!

    Seriously perhaps instead of just namedropping they could show something that actually reinforces and/or illustrates that the pr speak isn’t bullshit.

    • Grape Flavor says:

      Hype train? What hype train? RPS commenters largely despise BioWare. If anything it’s a hate train, barreling down the tracks full steam already.

      Personally, I’m going to take the same tack the writers are, stay at the station and wait for the finished product before making up my mind one way or another.

      • KikiJiki says:

        Sir, you are being sarcasmed

      • RProxyOnly says:

        I took it that the ‘hype train’ was Biowares creation, not ours.. and the invitation to board being aprobos the ‘news’ release.

      • kament says:

        RPS commenters largely despise BioWare.

        And so strong is their passion, that they can’t help but comment profusely every damn time there’s an article on BioWare’s exploits, mostly rehashing the same complaints over and over again. Just couldn’t let it go, poor sods.

  4. Chicago Ted says:

    What can change the nature of a franchise?

    • Horg says:

      1) Nothing. A franchise is a franchise is a franchise.
      2) DIE HEATHEN SCUM! (initiates combat)
      3) Belief. Whatever you believe in. (requires Wisdom 25)
      4) Some sort of Facebook integration and intrusive DRM?

      • JFS says:

        I liked my RPGs better when there weren’t brackets telling you the outcome after the dialogue choices.

    • Corb says:

      By owning a successful peg hole franchise in the shape of a circle and trying to cram the other currently square shaped franchise into that circle.

  5. 2helix4u says:

    Oh man I can’t wait for Bioware to try and copy the crazy characters, they were going for Whedonesque crazy in DA2 and it was terrible. I’m genuinely excited to play this game to laugh at it. Bioware and Blizzard both hit the “so SO bad its good” mark perfectly.

    • Grygus says:

      Interesting. I am not a fan of Dragon Age II, but the characters were something I thought the game got mostly right; certainly all of the high points were character-related for me.

      • ffordesoon says:

        Yeah, a good alternate title for DA2 would be “Six Great Characters In Search Of A Plot, And Also Anders.”

        There were some lovely character moments in DA2. It’s just such a muddled mess of a game that nobody remembers them. I particularly liked Isabela and Aveline’s relationship.

        That they’re heavily influenced by Joss Whedon is in little doubt. I’ve never quite grasped why that’s supposed to be a bad thing, though. Well, unless you don’t like Joss Whedon’s work. But I’ve seen plenty of Whedon fans knock Bioware’s games for being Whedon-y, and I’ve never gotten that. It’s like saying they’re trying to be Tolkien. Well, who isn’t?

        People like Tolkien, and people like Whedon. That a bunch of people who make nerdy things are fans of things that a lot of nerds like and borrow liberally from them can’t be shocking, surely? “An interactive synthesis of a bunch of TV shows and movies you liked” is a pretty good concept. Unoriginal? Sure. But originality is not and has never been the point of Bioware’s work. They are entertainers and genre enthusiasts first and foremost, and always have been. And they are usually pretty good at that job.

        To me, the “copying Whedon” knock is an excuse to avoid more substantive criticism. It’s like saying something is “pretentious” or “for hipsters.”

        • xsikal says:

          In my opinion, it’s a bad thing because they are a lot less capable than Whedon. So, it’s not just a Whedon knock-off, but it’s a badly written Whedon knock-off.

          I tend to LIKE Whedon, although he sometimes gets a tad precious with his squees and what-not, but that doesn’t mean I want to play a game written by people trying to ape his style with a fraction of his talent.

        • Sharlie Shaplin says:

          If their goal was to make people feel something about their characters, they succeeded with me for Anders. I have never been one to want to intentionally hurt anyone, but Anders character made me want to murder him. I hated that idiot with a passion.

        • drewski says:

          “Six Great Characters In Search Of A Plot, And Also Anders.”

          Heh.

        • InternetBatman says:

          I like Whedon a lot, but he has a bunch of problems. His plots are frequently full of holes or ridiculous contrivances, full of fanservice and the occasional Mary Sue, there’s a fairly black and white morality, and his characters will break characterization to deliver a cute line. In short, it can be heavy on dialogue and it can be light on everything else. Don’t get me wrong, I still like it, but it’s fairly decent writing that struggles to escape the problems of the fanfic it draws from.

          The problem with Bioware, particularly in DA II, is that the writing style does not fit the media. The willingness to breach common sense and past characterization is far more evident when it’s the players choices that are being broken, and it leads to railroading, something that doesn’t happen in more passive media. It also mostly lacks the occasional brilliance of Whedon to pull it together, especially the comedy. Also, now that everything is voice acted, sometimes actors can’t pull of their lines (male shepard, Hawke).

      • mouton says:

        That’s actually typical of post-EA Bioware. Both DAO and ME1-3 had their issues, sometimes quite serious. But in every game, characters were at least trying to be rich and interesting.

  6. InternetBatman says:

    Count me among the skeptics. They don’t have the ambition to make a setting like Planescape.

    Dragon Age was a decent RPG, but the setting just isn’t ambitious enough, funny enough, or weird enough to match the infinity engine games. Dragon Age 2 made it clear that they’re far more content to do bargain bin Whedon stories in an incredibly generic high fantasy setting then try to make something original or compelling.

    So yeah, put up or shut up. If Planescape is such an influence, will players even be able to read the entirety of their dialogue options?

    • KikiJiki says:

      The setting has little to nothing going for it in terms of originality, cherry picking things from pretty much every other popular fantasy tropes or properties. The Fade itself is about the only interesting thing that differentiates the world, and then you realise it’s just the Realm of Chaos from Warhammer Fantasy.

      It’s a Focus Group setting, with Focus Group games. Appealing to everyone and noone at the same time.

      • DatonKallandor says:

        Yeah this is just a shameless lie. Sure you’re “inspired” by Planescape Torment. Inspired by all the positive PR just mentioning it brings you!
        But actually taking lessons from it? Yeah right – Bioware have shown pretty comprehensively that they’re incapable of learning lessons from good games.

      • Bhazor says:

        Thats one weird thing I’ve noticed in Mass Effect and Dragon Age.
        They do have some genuinely interesting ideas and stories. But they only appear as lore.

        Dragon Age had the Joan of Arc inspired great crusade that turned the whole continent on itself with complex in fighting and multifaceted morality on slavery. The story they told in game was “orc invasion and then a dragon or something”

        Mass Effect had the race war, a galaxy spanning conflict in which the heroes had to resort to genocide and biological warfare to win. The story told in game was “every single precursor storyline”

    • drewski says:

      Again, to be fair, he references Torment as an example of compelling/unforgettable character design, not as an example of a setting DA:I is trying to ape.

      Dragon Age has never made any apologies for being a Tolkien world, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn anything else from what Torment did right.

      • InternetBatman says:

        Setting informs character design and vice-versa. They can’t have a character as interesting as morte or nordrom, because there’s nowhere they could come from. Equally, the tone of the setting doesn’t support characterization experimentation, because it’s too bound by conventions and there isn’t enough metaphysical background (or variety) to provide substantially different content. Also, because the setting is incredibly conventional but not the convention, it doesn’t have a strong enough identity to withstand deconstruction like Star Wars did in Kotor 2, and D&D did in Planescape or MotB.

        I think this is actually emblematic of the key problem with Bioware right now. Setting, plot, dialogue, and gameplay are almost completely separate from each other, barely touching at certain points. This is a problem because the characters act in a way that adheres to the story they want to tell, rather than letting the character abilities and characterization determine the type of story that will be told. They can’t do a Fallout moment, where players talk the master to death or hack into his nuke and kill him, because the characters have no skills.

        • drewski says:

          That’s such a horrifically limited view of what interesting character design is. Jane from Accounting can be a fascinating character if she’s written well enough.

          The point about Bioware struggling to entangle storyline, gameplay and worldbuilding is fair, but that doesn’t mean they need to drop acid* to write interesting characters. They just need to go beyond “lol dwarves it’s a short fat guy”.

          *insert own wacky creativity metaphor here.

          • InternetBatman says:

            Jane from accounting’s story can be interesting if she is given enough agency to perform actions that make sense to her inside a believable setting. I’d honestly be more interested in hearing about how Jane the account was transported to a fantasy world and built up a trade empire through her mastery of statistics and fractional banking then hearing about how Jane is the bravest account ever who found a magic sword and was destined to slay the dark king Maleagor. If it was a completely real setting, it can still be interesting but there needs to be a source of conflict, and that conflict needs to be told in a new way, examined from a new angle. Sticking to trope prevents you from doing that.

            Adherence to convention takes away character agency, and Dragon Age (or really Mass Effect) hasn’t been able to escape it’s conventional setting. It’s not a horrifically limiting viewpoint, it just acknowledges that craft involves innovation and honesty as well as skill.

          • drewski says:

            I disagree. I think there are always new and interesting ways to explore tropes, regardless of how well worn.

            Whether or not the current version of Bioware have the ability to write characters that explore their world in an interesting way is another question, but there’s nothing inherent in the universe barring well written, original characters.

  7. RProxyOnly says:

    After Biowares efforts in recent years they have no right to even mention PS:T, nevermind try to cash in on it by linking their ‘games’ in the same sentence.

    Their arrogance actually turns me, even more (if that’s possible) away from Bioware products.

    As was said quite elogantly above… All aboard the hype train… Choo, bloody, choo.

    • limimi says:

      Lol, well don’t worry – it’s not possible. You just said they aren’t allowed to mention another game, I doubt you could dislike them more if they actually killed your children.

  8. maximiZe says:

    Games being influenced by Torment is technically a good thing, but after Spiders current-day Bioware is the last RPG developer who could pull this off. Shameless namedropping more likely.

  9. wilygrayfox says:

    It’s striking that Mike would say PS:T is an influence in games he designed.

    For instance, in DA2, despite having sided with the mages or having sided with the templars, First Enchanter Orsino does something completely out-of-character so players must be faced with a clunky, pointless boss fight.

    Pretty presumptuous of Mike.

    • james.sponge says:

      I uninstalled that game after seeing what they did to Orsino. The guy was established as a rational voice that sought peaceful solution to the conflict. And after doing that they decide he should just act out of character for no other reason than to satisfy “wider audience’s” lust for blood and action…… somebody should have been sacked for this.

  10. ffordesoon says:

    He said this to someone before DA2, I believe. I’m sure he meant it both times, just as I’m sure plenty of RPG designers at all levels of the industry love Torment. It’s a great game.

    But liking great games doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll design one. If that were the case, every RPG fan in the world with an interest in game design would have made a great RPG by now.

    I’m not saying Inquisition won’t be great. It could be. But loving Tolkien doesn’t mean you can write Lord Of The Rings.

  11. Demiath says:

    I’m not exactly proud of sounding like the fair and balanced individuals frequenting the Bioware (anti-)Social Network, but Mike Laidlaw of all people namedropping a universally acclaimed computer game is perhaps not quite the kicking in of open doors we really need after Laidlaw’s previous game Dragon Age II…

  12. Wombats says:

    “I have a wisdom stat of 25, so let’s shortcut the entire ending”

    If you had a Wisdom stat of 25 you wouldn’t have used that as an example.

    Dragon Age is so generic you may as well be Prince Charming rescuing princesses.
    I think I’ll go play Numenemoomoomnahmnahdoodoodeedeedooera instead.

    • Nick says:

      Yeah, I mean his description of stuff in the game and the characters makes it sound like he hasn’t even played the thing. I smell bullshit.

    • denthor says:

      Rofl, so true. Whilst that example is simply the worst, nothing quite explains the ambiguous choice system for da2. Did anyone enjoy selecting an option only to have their character say the complete opposite to what you felt that choice meant?

    • Frogee says:

      Thank you for that hearty larf.

    • Apocalypse says:

      7 am and you already made my day. Thank you.

  13. DrMcCoy says:

    How dare you shit on Planescape: Torment like that! >:(

  14. ScubaMonster says:

    If by influenced you mean nothing at all alike, well then sure.

  15. Ender7 says:

    Oh, people listening to laidlaws rant? The man is the next peter molyneux, making extravegant claims and failing to deliver. Wait, scratch that, he is WORSE, at least peter tries to put what he promises in the game, this guy just flat out lies. I have to point out that when DA2 was being developed, he flat out says he HATES old school RPG’s. Something about them being too slow and complicated, then he said something about an awesome button in DA2 and I stopped reading at that point.

    I am just going to paste what I wrote on other sites:

    Meh, it SOUNDS good in what they PROMISE, but lets not forget EAware promises are pretty much meaningless considering everything they promised about ME3 and DA2 was a damn lie. Your choices matter? Yea right.

    I would like to believe they have learned their lessons on this, but honestly I do not expect it since the same people who made DA2 is making DA3. Laidlaw who has flat out said he hates old school RPG’s and David Gaider who has made it very clear that he more worried about putting his personal politics into games than actually making a good game, not to mention he blast everybody who did not love dragon age 2 as either idiots or homophobes, not accepting the possibility that Dragon Age 2 was just BAD.

    Oh, and it says that we will STILL use the stupid dialog wheel which means we are stuck with three stupid choices like good/snarky/sorta bad. Dialog roleplaying is very important to me and it seems that is pretty much out the window. I preferred DA:O and other old school RPG’s because I could create MY character and roleplay how I like, I hate playing a fixed character because they never do anything I want to do and usually do stupid things.

    Still, it does not matter, lets review what will happen since its EAware.

    1, Origin exclusive – this flat out guarantees I will never get it. I only buy steam or gog, I will never trust EA on their service nor do I want to have multiple stores with my games scattered all over the place. If EA is not willing to put their games on other distributes besides themselves, then they obviously do not want peoples money.

    2, DLC, large chuncks of the game will be cut out to be sold later, probably BIG FREAKING INPORTANT THINGS related to the story. Motivation to hold off till the complete edition at least.

    3, All roads lead to the same ending or endings with minor to no differences.

    4, everybody is bi, I do not have a problem with the main character choosing which sex he or she is interested. I DO have a problem with the really bad and game breaking way EVERYBODY in the game world is bi in the game. That is very lazy bad writing. Create characters that are strait, create characters that are gay, create characters that are bi. Make it at least more realistic instead of groan worthy.

    5, in game advertisement – expect the game to try and sell you shit as soon as you log in and annoy the shit out of you.

    6, Empty Promises – I expect a lot of the things they promised will not be in the game.

    7, Annoying personality of the main character – It seems that eaware is making every main character a commander shepard wannabe. Its one of the reasons I hate voice acting and prefer text. At least I can create my own character instead of playing the same character incarnated again and again.

    8, Action, Action, Action (wait, wasn’t this supposed to be an RPG?) – I suspect that they will forget its supposed to be an RPG and have just about all the encounters be nothing but hack and slash with the only solution to be to fight your way through it.

    I know this is negative, but I think EAware has more than deserve criticism and skepticism at this point. I really do hope it is good, but I will not hold my breath. At least we can choose races, but will it be anything other than just a reskin and everybody treats you exactly the same, or will it actually matter?

    • MattM says:

      Press a button something awesome happens!

      • RProxyOnly says:

        As someone else stated, it’s no longer awesome.. it has become “Press button for cliche”.

    • drewski says:

      I think you’re doing yourself a disservice by calling Laidlaw answering a question in an interview a “rant”.

      No, sir, a “rant” is what you have done. You are truly a master of the form.

  16. Yosharian says:

    Choice and Consequence

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJJaGSV75y0

    I think this video is relevant here.

    I’m not all cynicism though, I’ve got hopes for this game.

    • aepervius says:

      This guy is spot on on what makes the “choice and consequence! so great in old school RPG. Nowaday it feels so shallow.

    • Prime says:

      Yep, that’s beautifully explained. Thank you for that. Today, Prime has Learned. :)

    • Nick says:

      every rpg dev should watch that.

  17. Eight Rooks says:

    Nope, I’m out, though not quite for the same reasons as everyone falling over themselves in their dribbling eagerness to stick it to EA. I hated Dragon Age: Origins, and thought DA2 – for all its glaringly obvious flaws – was a welcome change from Bioware’s usual dreary, pasty-white vanilla storytelling and clunky, overcomplicated game design. I cheered when they ignored the people who whined about all the improvements in Mass Effect 2 – “Waaaaa, waaaaa, waaaaa, an RPG isn’t worthy of the One True Format unless I’ve got fifty thousand inventory slots carefully sorted by hand, waaaaa” – and I cheered when they actually gave DA2 a story worth caring about, and stopped cranking out the Joseph Campbell-by-numbers. But alas, I guess they can only get away with rocking the boat once every ten years, or something.

    You remember how everyone complained about the DA:O trailer with the Marilyn Manson song, and how woe, woe and thrice woe, it was horribly misrepresenting the game? It really wasn’t. If that’s what we’re getting back – via a man who thinks of Planescape Torment’s legacy as “Oh, wow, game, you so kerrrrrrayzee!” – you can keep it. Not like I’ll be short of other things to play.

    • RProxyOnly says:

      You think the hatred of Bioware comes from being connected to EA?

      There ‘may’ be a grain of truth there, but in general Bioware have done quite enough by themselves to fuck up their rep, without the need of help from others. I know that the reason I despise the company now, when I used to be one of their biggest fanbois back in the day when the phrase hadn’t even been coined, is because of the despicable low quality of their games. I’m not talking production values, any idiot can throw money at a project and that’ll add shinies, it’s the quality, characterisation, originality and depth they are utterly unable to fathom these days.

    • Emeraude says:

      The worst problem with DA2 is that it actually was full of interesting ideas and an utter failure in execution.

      The worst problem with ME2/ME3 is that it showed Bioware has little to no idea how to craft the kind of games they are supposedly crafting, if they think you can perfectly segregate the various gameplay elements that composes a RPG the way they did (especially apparent and glaring in ME3).

      Overall, I’d say the big problem for Bioware isn’t that they’ve been trying to change things, it’s that for one reason or another they just haven’t been good in a long while.

  18. Bhazor says:

    So this is what? The fifth “spiritual successor” to Planescape Torment?
    We’ve got
    Kotor 2 : same thematic depth , Chris Avellone as lead writer
    Project Eternity: same style of gameplay, Chris Avellone as lead writer, seemingly the whole Black Isle crew involved
    Mask of the Betrayer: same philosophical bent, same out there setting, some of the Black Isle massive involved, cowritten by Chris Avellone
    Torment something something: same philosophical bent, same out there setting, additional dialog by Chris Avellone, lead designed by original Planescape campaign setting writer
    Dragon Age Inquistion: Written by a fan of Planescape who thinks its characters “are like wow”

  19. Vinraith says:

    They’d be much better served to go back to the model Origins was built on and try to be a spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate. It’s a better fit for the material, to say nothing of the fact that I’ve always thought it was the better game.

  20. biggergun says:

    >“Our goal with characters is that you should love them or hate them, but never just be like, ‘Yeah, whatever.’”
    So THIS was the goal all along. And here I thought it was writing cheap slash fiction and hoping it would somehow pass for a videogame script.

  21. dan. says:

    Am I the only one who gets Mike Laidlaw and Marc Laidlaw mixed up?

    • Grape Flavor says:

      No, me too. Every time I see his name, I would think, “wait, I thought he worked for Valve?”

      Two people. Mike and Marc. I’ll try to remember that.

    • Michael Fogg says:

      Mike laid low.

  22. Jad says:

    While the characters and how different they are was a great part of PS:T, and the choice and weirdness and all that, for me the most notable feature of Torment was the writing. Not just the quality, which was excellent, but the sheer amount of it. Reams and reams of text.

    And that is what is utterly impossible to reproduce in today’s AAA game’s market, particularly if you, like Bioware, insist on voice-acting everything and making it “cinematic” with the highest production values possible.

    I like reading, and I’ve always thought that the “a picture is worth a thousand words” phrase is frequently misused — the fact that much of the imagery in Torment was written out rather than expensively drawn and animated is why I loved it. The massive amounts of text allowed my imagination to run wild much like a good book does but with the added benefit of being, well, an interactive game. In addition the conversations often went long and meandered down multiple paths and into philosophical diversions that would become tedious if fully voiced out.

    Dragon Age 3 can be influenced by Planscape: Torment all it likes, it will never be the kind of game PS:T was. It’s impossible.

    • xsikal says:

      I’d say that, in addition to being unable to match the sheer volume of writing in Planescape (due to the reasons you pointed out), it’s incredibly unlikely they will be able to match the quality of that writing. Certainly, nothing in their last few games suggests otherwise.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Absolutely this. It’s impossible to make a game of that narrative depth unless they’re willing to pay for VO for 800k words of text.

    • Shuck says:

      Yes, this. Voiced content is hugely limiting. This is also part of why AAA games don’t go for having multiple approaches and large amounts of content that you can bypass. (Which means it’s unlikely to be like PS:T in that way as well.) There’s a great deal of pressure on developers for their games to be 60+ hours (replays don’t count), and it’s not economically feasible to have a bunch of (voiced) content players don’t see in a given play-through.

    • drewski says:

      But again, that’s not what Laidlaw is saying.

    • Lemming says:

      Sadly, it really shows that in pitch meetings for RPGs nowadays the phrases ‘next-gen graphics’ and ‘fully-voiced’ get put on the table first before anyone’s even come up with any story, and therefore anything that follows is hamstrung by those first two provisos.

  23. pipman3000 says:

    bioware should make some game about a zombie who travels the multiverse with his buddy who is like some sort of floating skeleton butt and they like seek out emotionally fucked up people and cure all their problems by banging them and then like shoving them out the airlock of his spelljammer.

  24. Jason Moyer says:

    That wisecracking skull that threatens to bite you is something else, I tell you what.

    • RProxyOnly says:

      Shouldn’t your “I tell you what” come at the begining of your statement?

      • Jason Moyer says:

        I was mimicing the way American rednecks talk (basically to mock the fact that he used Morte as an example of how he reveres Planescape Torment, while telling you nothing that makes the character interesting). I guess it’s a regional dialect thing.

  25. pipman3000 says:

    yo yo yo boyos i’m mc laidlaw and i’m here to say if you like planescape torment then biowares games are the ones you need to play, we’re totally hip like those jive turkeys at black isle who made bomb-ass games like planescape torment, we’re so current with rpg fans today we’re going to use our +5 to wisdom and get ice t to compose our games soundtrack, word

  26. xsikal says:

    Honestly, even DA:O was not particularly great… it was an okay RPG hampered by lousy world building, a mediocre rules system, and Bioware’s continuously worsening companion relationships/romances. I think it gets remembered more fondly simply because its sequel was so awful. The fact that Nathan holds it in such high esteem is obviously his prerogative, but suggests I should probably take anything he says about RPGS in the future with a grain of salt. Regardless, the idea that Bioware could write something (anything) that even approaches Planescape is laughable, based on their most recent offerings.

    I won’t be buying this on release. I also won’t be buying it when the pre-ordained glowing site reviews are released (as pretty much EVERY site gave Dragon Age 2 good marks, even if they’re trying to conveniently forget having done so now). I’ll wait and see what the general public consensus is, then I’ll try a demo, and then, if it still seems okay, I’ll buy it… whenever it goes on sale.

    It’s crazy to me that this is now my attitude, when I used to pre-order Bioware games on the strength of the developer name alone.

    • Emeraude says:

      I think it gets remembered more fondly simply because its sequel was so awful.

      I think it sold well, and is overall positively remembered, because of how famished for that kind of games fans of the genre had been (still are some would argue) at the time of its release.
      So wanting were they, they were eager to support and forgive a lot.

      Which magnified the DA2 backlash. All those people that willingly disregarded flaws while believing the lie that you can “vote with your wallet” got a cold shower when the next game willfully tried to get rid of the things they loved and wanted to support, in favor of chasing another audience.

    • Jimbo says:

      Origins became a much better game after DA2 came out.

  27. drvoke says:

    How cynical can you get? Just because you name-drop one of the most compellingly written RPGs of all time, that won’t necessarily translate into increased sales. Willing to bet the vast majority of people to whom this would be a selling point are old enough not to take you at your word on this. Leave good games alone and just focus on making the bodice-ripper soft core Tolkien fanfic porn for lonely teens you’ve made all that money on. You don’t need me to buy your game anyway. Just tell the teens and man-children they can ‘ship whoever they like (for hot girl on girl elf action!) and the costumes will be extra skimpy and you’ll move as many units as you please. This kind of dishonest pandering doesn’t help you, it’s just infuriating trolling.

  28. Shooop says:

    This is hilarious for all the wrong reasons.

    Just saying you like another game that critics and players alike celebrate as one of the best of the genre means the game you’re working on is going to be like that game? Is that his logic?

  29. TheBarringGaffner says:

    Y’know, if you’re going to pretend your game is based on Planescape: Torment, make sure you have some grasp of the it. Morte and Ignus went deeper than just snarky skull and shouty man, and it’s not like that was hard to understand. Aside from that, this is the same unremarkable PR every RPG has.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Yeah, exactly. His descriptions of the 3 NPC’s he chose to single out are hilariously shallow, and don’t tell you anything about why those characters were interesting. It’s like he knew that people love those characters, and he had to say something about how great they were, then missed the point entirely.

      • All is Well says:

        I was thinking this too. His description makes them seem downright uninteresting and unappealing. In fact, almost everything he says about PS:T seems a bit odd, or out of tune.
        It’s like he likes the game but fails to understand why it was good.

  30. Allafif says:

    What a strange thing to say. If anything, DA:O was desperately trying to be The Witcher.

    • Emeraude says:

      I’d say it was walking in the footsteps of books like A Song of Ice and Fire, following the trend of dark, brutal and unforgiving that many modern offerings of the genre have taken as a mantle.
      With various degrees of success.

  31. drewski says:

    Any slight, tiny influence Planescape: Torment might be having on the designers of DA:I can only be a good thing. They need all the positive influences they can get.

  32. Wedge says:

    What’s that Bioware? Still not making a sequel to Jade Empire? OK then, carry on making boring crap way out of your league to do anything interesting with.

  33. trinka00 says:

    does this guy maybe actually hate us? are interviews like this some sort of passive aggressive release of bitterness upon people who play computer RPG’s?
    is he trying to punish us for not liking Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 3?

    it’s almost like he’s trying to suck every bit of joy out of playing any games, in the guise of affected enthusiasm. like some poison pill or trojan horse of misery and pointlessness. what a depressing interview.

    I had an uncle like this. who resented me, that I was younger than him, and played guitar, loved rock n roll music and was acting like i had hope of life not being a bitter living death.
    and he started doing this thing where he’d try to figure out what bands i might like, what in his head were the ‘hip’, ‘edgy’, ‘too cool for school’ indie rock bands that he hated so much. and he would pretend to like them,
    and this was partly just an excuse to talk trash and belittle them without feeling like a grumpy bastard,

    but it was some weird attempt to try to convince me that nothing i liked was any good, cuz he liked it too. and he hated himself and knew how repulsive he was to the world and especially to me.

  34. jimangi says:

    While I like the idea of things like my character’s charisma or intelligence giving me access to special dialogue options I always find it irritatingly mechanical. I would love it if moments like this could be akin to a dialogue puzzle, where you have to make assumptions about the character you’re talking to and speak accordingly. Kind of like the social augmentation sections in Deus Ex Human Revolution or some of the parts in Mass Effect but, again, less mechanical. I think it would be important, especially given what was said here about having lots of stuff you might not see, to not make it clear to the player how well they had failed or succeeded, to prevent them from just loading a quick-save and perfecting the puzzle.

    • Emeraude says:

      In all fairness: one interesting thing DA2 did, in my opinion: cumulative (invisible) experience in choosing similar answers.
      Say, you choose to threaten some major character, and have been using threats a lots since the beginning of the game, and it succeeds. Try the same thing while having been mostly one for compromise and talking things other, and it fails – your character has been defined as just not the type being able to pull it off by the way you’ve been playing it since the start.

      • jimangi says:

        Ah yes, I remember that now. Sometimes my character would say something sarcy completely out of the blue and I’d assumed it must have been drawing on earlier choices.

      • Dave Tosser says:

        To be fair, this is something Alpha Protocol did better a year earlier. That game, despite being a cover based manshoot with broken stealth and and obsession with the cinematic, was actually a great RPG. There’s a lot of small things like characters remembering how you treated such and such character, or being surprised/disbelieving of your approach to something because it’s not typical of you.

    • HadToLogin says:

      That kind of puzzles only work in some one-save-only games, where you have auto-save right after every dialogue.
      Or if you have iron-will to not restart game after talking.

      I like stat-based talks because that’s quite a big incentive to play completely different character – giving you different play-through etc.

      • Apocalypse says:

        This worked fine in planescape, it was to much dialog to reload each time and you did not notice anyway if you really got the “best” effects out of each dialog.

  35. Pathetic Phallacy says:

    This article has sold me . . . on playing Planescape.

    Now if we could get a remastered release like BG.

    • KillahMate says:

      My PS:T sense is tingling!

      As ever, the obligatory Planescape: Torment patching/modding guide that I obsessively link to in every RPS discussion concerning PST:
      http://thunderpeel2001.blogspot.com/2009/01/planescape-torment-fully-modded.html

      Also GOG have a modified version of the same guide that might be of use if you bought it there:
      http://www.gog.com/en/news/mod_spotlight_planescape_torment_mods_guide/

      This will help you easily and cleanly drag Torment into the Win7 era, including arbitrary resolutions, widescreen, UI mods, ZERO bugs, dialogue corrections, optional restored quest content (not fanfics, but original quests lost due to bugs and budget cuts), optional playability tweaks… This is highly recommended, Planescape was a lot more buggy than people remember. Plus the artwork looks amazing in 720p. There is no reason you should ever play the game without this!

    • RProxyOnly says:

      What? The recent Beamdog BG ‘remaster’?… lol.. No, NOT like that… If that’s the only way we can get one I’d rather wholeheartedly do without.

      BG 1 STILL hasn’t been fixed and They’ve moved on to BG2. Beamdog are lying money grubbing bastards… and will continue to remain so until they fulfill their original promses.

  36. Turkey says:

    It doesn’t really matter what they’re influenced by since every subtle and interesting thing they do is going to get steamrolled over by an overarching save-the-world plot that nobody cares about.

  37. GamesInquirer says:

    It looks like their character modeling has improved a bit.

    Hopefully everything else has, too.

    I doubt the tacticam makes it any less of an action RPG. But it can be a good one.

    Also, you guys can view the full presentation too.

    dailymotion.com/video/x1416so_videogames
    dailymotion.com/video/x141jxb_videogames

    And this direct feed video.
    youtube.com/watch?v=2ky5XbWsbdg

  38. Noviere says:

    Guys, Dragon Age 2 made my parents get a divorce… And like, Mass Effect 3? It killed my fucking dog. It’s why I hate Bioware so much. They basically ruined my life.

    • Emeraude says:

      You missed the point… for now.

      Bioware is leading you toward enlightenment by cutting the strings to your worldly attachments.

      In time you shall understand, and join the Biowdhisattvas….

    • Bhazor says:

      George Lucas didn’t ruin my childhood. Fucking polio did.

  39. Peeveepee says:

    When in doubt, reference Planescape: Torment

  40. surethingbud says:

    You had me at ‘top down’.

  41. vorpal77 says:

    The fact that this developer is mentioning Planescape Torment in the same sentence as Dragon Age 3 is an outrage. This is an obvious sales pitch that is meant to get RPG fans excited again about a franchise that stabbed its fan base in the face and in the back. Dragon Age 2 was not even a sequel to Dragon Age Origins. Anyone who played it would notice more similarities between Mass Effect 2 and and Dragon Age 2, than Dragon Age Origins and Dragon Age 2. So what Bioware did in my opinion was create a game as fast as possible and cash in on the success of Dragon Age Origins. It was a commericalized, dumbed down, abortion of a sequel that still enrages me every time I think about it. It wasn’t just a bad sequel it was a betrayal. Dragon Age 2 was so different from Dragon Age Origins its hard to consider it as a sequel. If this developer wants to regain its fan base it needs to do three things. First appologize for Dragon Age 2′s obvious deception in marketing as a sequel. Second actually create a good sequel based on the foundation of Dragon Age Origins and the things that made it so great a game. And Third stop pushing games where your main character is bi sexual. If you want to have bi sexual or homosexual content thats fine. Make it a setting in the options menu or DLC. I don’t want to worry about clicking on the wrong dialogue choice or having uncomfortable situations because my same sex characters are hitting on me. This is supposed to be a fantasy game not survival horror. Its no wonder me and my friends call Bioware Bi(sexual)-Ware because its the only game where all the characters swing both ways. Although this may sound homophobic a little, I want to point out that I said make it a setting in options that way everyone can enjoy their own experience. More focus on a good fun game less focus on machinima porn please.

    • All is Well says:

      I agree making everyone bisexual isn’t really a good game design practice, but that’s because I think it doesn’t make for very good character building – it makes the game’s characters seem more like sexual wish-fulfillment machines rather than people, which is what they’re supposed to be, after all.

      But removing the ability to have sex with characters of your own gender?
      First of all, you, as a player, are always in control over when and with whom you have sex. I can’t remember any Bioware game where an NPC approaches you for sex without any prior activity from the player. Setting aside the potential problems of reinforcing the belief that sex happens whenever YOU want it, this means that unless you actually want it to, you probably won’t be approached for sex from anyone of your own gender, in the current state of things.

      Second of all, actively introducing separate settings or game modes or whatever for a homo/bi/hetero experience is not at all warranted simply because you feel uncomfortable when confronted by other sexual preferences than your own. I really wish you would at least reflect on whether or not your attitude really is reasonable, because homo- and bisexuality are, in fact, perfectly normal and not disturbing in any way. I realize it can be uncomfortable when someone you are not sexually attracted to propositions you but, as stated, you are in control, and furthermore this doesn’t seem to be the issue here – you seem upset specifically because you’re encountering homoeroticism. Insisting that it’s okay as long as you don’t have to see it doesn’t make it any less homophobic.
      Well, maybe a little, but not much.

    • drewski says:

      “And Third stop pushing games where your main character is bi sexual. If you want to have bi sexual or homosexual content thats fine. Make it a setting in the options menu or DLC. I don’t want to worry about clicking on the wrong dialogue choice or having uncomfortable situations because my same sex characters are hitting on me.”

      No offense, but too bad. Games need to be more mature than “HETERO CONTENT ONLY PLZ”.

    • Shieldmaiden says:

      “This is supposed to be a fantasy game not survival horror.”

      It’s okay, it doesn’t sound a little homophobic, it sounds massively homophobic. The door is that way, would you kindly use it?

      • Dave Tosser says:

        Picture James Sunderland’s Silent Hill, only replace the sexual repression with juvenile homophobia. You wander around a foggy American town and step into what you think is an abandoned flower shop. Only it’s not. It’s a gay bar. For gays.

        Jaaaaaaames
        Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaames
        I want to do gay things with you Jaaaaaaames
        Gaaaaaay things

        Or at least, I think that’s how it’d go. I never finished Silent Hill 2. Must’ve been all that hidden homoerotic propaganda.

  42. equatorian says:

    Wow, Mike, Planescape characters being memorable because they’re extreme? That’s missing the point so far you shouldn’t even be trying. You’re trying to say that they’re memorable because they’re gimmicky and the gimmicks are extreme enough to please us. That’s not the case, and it doesn’t bode well for DA3.

    Ignus wasn’t memorable because he was on fire and saying ‘AAAH’ all the time. He was memorable because he’s a terrible monster, and it was you who did it to him. You turned him into a mad, psychopathic monster. And there’s nothing you can do to save him. All the choices you’re allowed in your interactions with him is to revel in it, to be repulsed by it, or to regret. Grace wasn’t memorable because she’s a succubus who tried to focus on her poetry. She’s memorable because she is a person who’s trying her hardest to fight against her own nature and try to be ‘better’, with ambiguous results. Morte….well, yes, being a sarcastic skull IS memorable, but if you think that’s why he’s one of the most fondly-remembered companions in RPG gaming, you probably haven’t played the game or have your comprehension of literary themes is so low that you shouldn’t try to bait us with it.

    They’re not flat-note extremes. They’re nuanced allegories for real things.

    I like DA2, unlike most people. I liked what it tried and failed to do, and I liked its attempt aside from the reused dungeons. But there’s no denying that the approach to characters is not Planescape’s approach. The characters were meant to be fun, their issues were right in your face, and your interaction with them is limited to agreeing or disagreeing, just the two.

    I like DA2 and it was entertaining. It never asked me what could change the nature of a man.

    (Answer : being possessed by a spirit of Justice crappy plot railroading, apparently.)

  43. Hidden Thousand says:

    Characters in P:T did not need gifts. And they did not seem to consider Nameless One the bestest of leaders and generally awesome.
    I liked how they all had different pasts with the protagonists, saw him differently, cared about him or did not really care; all in all, they could pretty much hate the guy but still follow him. And it was great!
    You can’t have a party where everybody loves the Hero, – this is not what world-saving is like -_- It is okay to argue to your fellow adventurers and have different opinions on things, which cannot be quickly fixed by gifts. Ack, those childish options of giving and giving stuff in case your follower is not about to tell you all his/her secrets right away! Bad, bad.
    Could you make Ignus like you? May be offering him presents to earn forgiveness?
    How about Vhailor? I remember being very careful talking to him, because I had a strong feeling that any moment he might find my next phrase offending and start killing. So there were topics we didn’t discuss, and it seems not entirely a bad thing to me. It made that suit of armor a much more living person than a sissy assassin fond of leather.

  44. Urfin says:

    This man needs a good bit of torment to go with all his bullshit.

  45. Shodex says:

    “Sir, people are being skeptical about Dragon Age 3!”
    “It’s called Inquisition.”
    “Sir, people are being skeptical about Dragon Age: Inquisition!”
    “Why?”
    “Because Dragon Age 2 was shit.”
    “Right. Well we need to make it sound like something they’d enjoy.”
    “Should we make the gay romances harder to avoid?”
    “No… No… why don’t we list Planescape: Torment as an inspiration? People liked that game.”
    “Isn’t it a little late in the project to find a new inspiration?”
    “Not at all.”
    “So is Dragon Age 3 going to be anything like Planescape Torment?”
    “It’s called Inquisition.”
    “So is Dragon Age Inquisition going to be anything like Planescape Torment?”
    “Not at all.”

  46. soaponapope says:

    that’s great to read. the old forgotten realms games and in a way Fallout 1+2 are the standards by which I have compared every isometric title since. they’ve been getting less complicated with every iteration, which in some ways is good, but for old time players who are fond of the deep satisfaction from finally figuring out which spells to put in your book to defeat a particular area. or whether or not to rest. or whether or not i should consume this scroll or use it to bail me out. Planescape Torment getting a shoutout was cool. my fondest memories are from Baldur’s Gate 2, plus the expansion which added an entirely new tier of spells Level 10 Spells or whatever with meteor shower and so forth. Neverwinter Nights, I think, was the last game to be considered largely an improvement- if only in a few areas- to its predecessor. After that it started to become simpler and simpler. I remember from screenshots and video before DA:O release made me think it was going to be an isometric game like Baldurs Gate, NWN, Planescape Torment or Icewind Dale. when i picked it up and began to play and saw it was more action arcade-ish i was really disappointed. though as time went on i managed to set aside nostalgia and came to appreciate the new take, same with DA2. it’s true that it’s a tradeoff: nostalgia and the satisfaction of finally finding a combination of party members, gear, spells committed to spellbook (mage) or memory (sorcerer), and pre-fight pep like traps and buffs, after spending hours upon hours of raging and dying. however what DA lost in complexity it regained, I think, in accessibility, which I think, was a good move. just like going from BG to NWN to DAO, I learned to appreciate the refreshing elements of the game, and I suspect this eill be the case with DA3