Sex, Romance, And Faction Wars In Dragon Age Inquisition

By Nathan Grayson on June 23rd, 2014 at 7:00 pm.

Once upon a time, videogames were really horrible at depicting romance and sex. Plot twist: that time is now. Dragon Age: Origins, however, holds the dubious distinction of having some of the worst sex scenes in gaming, not to mention many relationships that ended in BioWare’s patented(ly pernicious) “give gifts until sex falls out” method. On the upside, the developer has been promising much more robust romance options for Dragon Age Inquisition – much more so than in Dragon Age 2, even – but it hasn’t offered much in the way of details. I asked producer Cameron Lee, and we took a ride on the loooooove train – by which I mean we mostly talked about Saints Row IV and also animal genocide in Inquisition. Also I saw Inquisition’s E3 demo and I… have some concerns.

I think I’m optimistic about Dragon Age: Inquisition? Kinda? I will say this much: from a moment-to-moment gameplay perspective, it makes Dragon Age 2 look puny and toothless, like a muscular street tough picking a fight with a (deceptively intelligent) baby. It is, BioWare confirmed to me, the biggest single-player game it’s ever done in terms of landmass. It also has the most potential party members.

It mostly looks fine. The tactical combat stuff? Fine. At E3 I was most impressed when our presenter had to topple a dragon, a process that – unlike many other encounters I saw – actually necessitated more than simple auto-pilot hack and slashery. The tactical pause/plan option was used liberally, bringing the action a halt and allowing the player to move the camera around and issue orders to individual party members. At one point the presenter even used a haste spell to slow down time for everyone except the party, then targeted individual limbs on the dragon in an effort to (literally) hamstring its movement. That was neat. There was a lot of fairly mindless flailing at other enemy types, but the dragon’s raw, scaly brawn required at least a little clever brainery to overcome.

So that was fine. And the big, rocky, semi-forested open area I got to see was fine. And the dungeon area was fine (and also slightly more tactical). And the characters were fine, if largely bereft of notable (let alone likable) personality aside from an archer girl who a) rescued herself from being chained up in a dungeon by b) breaking a man’s neck with her legs and c) seemed to do some Valiant I’ll Hold Them Off final stand sacrifice at the end of the demo. Her personality was “badass,” which was good because otherwise she had no personality. It just felt like a Band Of Fantasy Characters. But you can’t really judge character from a 45 minute demo session. At least, not in a sprawling RPG, you can’t.

What worries me about Dragon Age: Inquisition is that every time I see it, I come away with a dispassionate “yep” instead of a saliva-spewing “yesssssssssssssss.” The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt makes me go “yesssssssssssssss.” So does realizing I actually had an extra bag of peanut butter pretzel mini-sandwiches the whole time. What worries me even more is that I always end up markedly more interested after chatting with its developers, like all the ingredients are there but somehow they’re not swirling together in the pot.

I don’t know yet, but after a thoroughly OK showing, producer Cameron Lee and I discussed elements and systems that made me spit out my peanut butter pretzels and go, “Well why didn’t you just show that?” Case in point: the World Master system, which the demo offered a tiny taste of with hunting. Basically, if you kill a lot of the same animal in an area – harvesting their skins for armor, their spines for jump ropes – their population will procedurally decrease. But that’s only the beginning of a much larger dynamic system that also ties into large-scale factional conflicts. Lee explained:

“We have the World Master system, which flows into everything from creatures to NPCs to bandits. The player has, for example, driven out a particular faction from an area – based on decisions and actions they take – and another faction may move in and take their place.”

“There’s a whole area in the game – it’s one of the highest level areas in the game, we kind of designed it for people to play after they finish the story – that’s kind of a pitched battle. So you and your party come through and push the enemy back and back, further througout the whole area. And from that, the village that’s nearby changes. Maybe there’s more merchants on the roads and stuff like that, which then affects the in-game economy as well. It’s quite a complex and dynamic system.”

That actually sounds really neat, like someone got a little Mount and Blade in my Dragon Age – and definitely not in a bad way. And on the point of character personality, Lee further soothed me with sweet, sweet words. There’s a whole new dialogue system, it turns out, and it is, much like World Master, rather dynamic and reactive.

“Characters are even more fully fledged than they were in Dragon Age 2,” he claimed. “They have much stronger goals and personal ambitions and personalities. Characters have stronger interactions now as well. Fans have always loved the interactions between followers now, so we made them much better. Hopefully you chuckled when you saw that little conversation when we were riding through a village, when [Iron] Bull is like, ‘I want to throw Sera over the front ranks’ and stuff like that. I love that bit.”

“At some points you can interject into those moments of follower banter. We’ve got this new dialogue system. We’ve still got the original, but now we also have a real-time thing. You can walk past people and they’ll start talking to you, and the dialogue wheel pops up, but you’re not locked into it. So you can walking away or go into it. When you’re running through the wilderness and your followers start talking to each other, the wheel might pop up, and you could say something like, ‘You know what? Sera? I want Bull to throw you. See what it looks like, guys.’ So you can be more involved with characters and their interactions.”

It’s not a revolution by any means, but it’s a smart step into less rigid territory. Speaking of rigidity, sex. If you think that was the least subtle transition in the history of the written word and bumpy, jiggly bits, think again. Dragon Age’s sex – especially in Origins – has been defined by awkwardly doll-like characters and simple, often gift-oriented build ups to, as a Sim would put it, the woo-hoo moment. Rigid. Apparently, however, things will be very, very different this time.

“They’re more nuanced,” said Lee, “so it’s not like Origins where you keep giving gifts to get their approval rating up and then you can snog ‘em. It’s more about how have you interacted with this character, how have you achieved your goals, and in what way does that affect your relationship with this particular character? So it’s far more nuanced.”

I brought up the Liara relationship from Mass Effect 3, how it was less of a starry eyed space opera love affair and more of, well, a relationship. As in, with ups and downs and people being kind of passive-aggressive and shitty to each other sometimes. Lee said we should expect to encounter even more variety along those lines in Inquisition. ”It’ll feel a lot more like that, more involved. But it also depends on who you pick. Each of the different characters will have different preferences in terms of how they behave. They’re different characters, right?”

Inquisition’s relationships will not, then, be a linear trudge from “how do ya do” to “is it suddenly Game of Thrones in here or is it just me?” Nor, hopefully, will the characters be strangely lifeless mannequin Barbie doll creatures from planet Eeeeeeeugggggghhhh.

“Some games do sex very poorly not just from a visual aspect, but in terms of how they use it and who it’s targeted for,” Lee admitted, a flash of determination suddenly in his eyes. “We don’t want to do that. We definitely don’t want to do that.”

Encouragingly, he cited Saints Row IV – a game that parodied BioWare’s time-honored traditions quite aptly with its central area and ability to insta-romance, er, anybody (robots included) – as a positive influence. But there was something to that, something real. Romance doesn’t always have to unfold slowly. Sometimes it’s spontaneous, given freely, or entirely meaningless. Just a silly one-off. No single approach is more valid than the other, and BioWare wants to keep that in mind for Inquisition.

“Oh yeah, you could bang anyone,” he chuckled. “I did laugh a lot. I really enjoyed Saints Row because it was a fun experience, you could do whatever you wanted. And it had humor. It wasn’t afraid to poke fun at itself and everyone else.”

“My favorite [romance option in Saints Row] was Kinzie. I was like, ‘Damn right, girl. Get ‘em!’ I think in Inquistion you’ll see more variety in that sense. It won’t just be long, linear arcs. But it’s also still more personal, about the people involved in the story.”

Yes, but can we romance the dragons?

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70 Comments »

  1. Leb says:

    I am playing the Witcher 2 right now and I find the way it handles sex hilarious.. walking in on one of the most important and powerful sorceresses in the world spanking her nude female apprentice.. then turning around to notice you and going “yes yes Witcher I have been working hard on saving the life of our dying leader.”

    • tomimt says:

      Yeah, CD Projekts approach to game sex is straight up pulp literature fantasy. Nothing wrong about it as such, but it does at times, especially in Witcher 1, have a certain Pokemon feel in it, with collectable cards and all. Gotta catch em’ all.

    • lizzardborn says:

      True to the source material.

  2. Artea says:

    The World Master System sounds like a fancy word for some basic stuff that’s been in RPG’s for ages.

    The romance bits sound…ominous.

    • DrMcCoy says:

      I also remember reading many articles on MMORPGs that tried something like the World Master System and failed to hilarious effects.

      I don’t quite remember which, though. But what stuck in my head is that such a system is very easy to exploit and doomed to fail. The real world is just too complex to be put in simplistic game world rules.

      • adam.jutzi says:

        I believe the new Everquest is planning something similar.

      • Qazi says:

        Realm of the Mad God had an early, early build where the players reduced the realm down to nothing but gelantinous cubes, because they used something simliar to this system to repopulate the world and the settings were miscalibrated.

      • Great Cthulhu says:

        Ultima Online tried it, but took it out when it turned out that the players were killing things faster than the virtual ecology could keep up with.

      • grom.5 says:

        Dunno if somebody gonna throw stone at me, but it is actually used in Wakfu, a MMORPG. You also have a political system where the prince/governor/whatever can raises taxes, forbid to kill some plants/monsters and send bounty hunter for trespassers.

        I don’t know too much as I don’t play it, but from what I heard, it works pretty well. Or at least, it gave a solid ground for discussion and action
        http://amakna.enjin.com/forum/m/3813713/viewthread/6104829-idea-maintain-ecosystem

        Also, No NPC at all in the game.

  3. Bobka says:

    I love it when RPG devs say that their game will be complex, dynamic, reactive, organic, etc. And then I hate it when it almost invariably turns out they were lying, plans got changed, or they just couldn’t get it to work.

    Best of luck to Bioware in getting something working! I really hope they succeed.

    • Xyviel says:

      I agree, it’s hard to take these kind of announcements seriously. Too much has been promised and failed to deliver in the past.

      Show us, don’t tell us. We want to believe!

  4. AngelTear says:

    I don’t think that sex scene was bad. I actually think it was fairly good as far as uninteractive videogame sex scenes go, with all their “I want to show you a sex scene but I can’t show you actual sex or nakedness”.

    It’s the dialogue that was terrible.

    • yonsito says:

      The dialogue was truly terrible.
      But what bothered me the most was the “witch gone wild” achievement.

  5. bleeters says:

    Consider me cautiously optimistic, in the sense that whilst Bioware games tend to scratch my rpg itch more than other games in the genre, it’s been a good few years and three games now since I was genuinely satisfied with one. Dragon Age 2 wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t quite there.

    And whilst I’m open to the idea of concept art being exactly that, I can’t help but look at how the elf went from dark skinned to pasty white with a degree of eyebrow raised suspicion.

  6. Solidstate89 says:

    But still no playable Claudia Black Morrigan!

    • Arglebargle says:

      If Claudia Black was voicing a neuter golemn, that’d be the character I’d romance, just to hear that voice….

      • Solidstate89 says:

        She’s one of the main reasons Farscape was such a great show. That, and Ben Browder was absolutely fucking hilarious in his role as Crichton.

  7. Wulfram says:

    The World Master stuff sounds kind of grindy and pointless to me. At best it’s a random encounter table with a few swaps depending on events.

    Also, the gift spam was only a thing in DA:O. And talking about “build up to the woo hoo moment” is kind of misleading considering the woo-hoo moment tends to be more or less in the middle. And DA2 doesn’t show any sex scenes, anyway, unless you’re from the Victorian age or something. But, eh, you’re more accurate than most Bioware romance critics I guess.

    Though I wouldn’t expect much depth or non-linearity. Romance is never going to have much resources. Liara was different simply because it was dealing with an established thing, which isn’t going to apply in DA:I. Though I didn’t think Liara’s romance did especially well with it anyway, since for half the game I was wondering if the thing had bugged out on me since there wasn’t really much sign of any romance.

  8. jack4cc says:

    This is somehow the part of da that worries me the least, after all it’s not a dating simulator but a rpg.

    • Zenicetus says:

      One might argue that the RPG concept could include dating, but yeah… this is the least of the things to worry about.

      I’m much more worried about how generic and boring the whole DA series is. It has a “design by committee” feel. It could use a stronger vision for the world they’re creating, in both the look of the graphics and the story lines. I’m also worried about whether the tactical combat will be fun or too arcade-like, and how smoothly the camera and controls will work (mouse and keyboard dammit!).

      Bioware will do its “romance” thing regardless, and it won’t suck completely. It won’t break new ground either, because you can’t do that in a game this expensive to make and market.

      A cynic might even argue that pre-release hype about the romance options is just smoke and mirrors to distract from what else is going on — or isn’t — in the core game.

    • AngoraFish says:

      Heaven forbid that dating might be a Role that one might like to Play in a Game about playing a role.

  9. rexx.sabotage says:

    All of RPS exists solely as a funnel to collect fuel for the massive bitch-powered mega-drill.

    The real question is,

    “What are they planning to do with it?”

    • Lars Westergren says:

      I’m sure there are going to be lots of eye-rolling and vitriol as usual since the topic is Bioware and especially when it comes to relationships/sex. I’m not automatically against sex/relationships in RPGs, if it is good writing it adds to the game, if not it detracts.

      Despite not liking Mass Effect series at all and being ultimately disappointed in DA2 despite a good start and some great characters, I’m still cautiously optimistic about DA:I. I like what I’ve been shown so far. Divinity, Wasteland 2 and Pillars of Eternity will hopefully scratch my itch when it comes to challenging strategic combat, choice&consequences and mature plots, so I’m not averse to some gorgeous AAA vistas and more operatic plots. And gay/female friendly is a plus. Never mind the haters, Bioware.

      Edit: That was supposed to be a reply to the news post itself, not to rexx.sabotage.

    • grom.5 says:

      Their drill is the drill that gonna pierce the heaven ! Or EA… Or Ubisoft for the latest fashion maybe ?

  10. Ender7 says:

    I still think this game will be meh at best. This isn’t the bioware of old that made games out of love for hardcore (RPG) gamers, this is corporate eaware that makes games out of board rooms that goes through a checklist of trendy things for the dumb casual crowd. The fact that the game is still using the horrible dialog wheel is enough to avoid it for me. I want to have deep interaction dialog with many multiple choices and branches like the old RPG’s like fallout and planescape torment, not this new stupid dialog with only three choices of good, neutral, sorta bad. There is also the fact that mike (“press a button and something awesome will happen”) laidlaw who was lead on DA2 and wants to turn RPG games into dumbed down action games is working on DA3. Along with David Gaider who is way more interested in shoving his personal political views into every game instead of creating fun games is also on this team. When you have two separate developers (one begin gaider and another being someone else) on two separate interviews both say “Some people will accuse us of some sort of putting a gay agenda into DA3″ before anybody even accuses them of anything, then that means they ARE pushing some sort of political agenda into the game.

    They can promise whatever they want, but words are cheap. If they had all this awesome stuff they they said, they would have shown it. I am pretty sure this will just be a slight upgrade to DA2 type game and everything they promise will be nothing more but more lies and PR spin like they always due. I mean, if they cannot even excite you on the demo they showed which is supposed to wow you, that probably means it is the same throughout the whole game.

    • Wulfram says:

      There are plenty of people who’ve already accused bioware of pushing a gay agenda in DAI. Though they’re just idiots on forums who Bioware would be better off ignoring.

    • zerosociety says:

      Well, when their vocal critics call having visible and playable gays in games an “agenda” maybe they do have an agenda. Perhaps that agenda is to not be horrible human beings? Call me crazy.

      Which, I know, is obviously incompatible with hardcore RPG gaming.

      • Ender7 says:

        It wasn’t playable BI characters that was the problem, it was the HORRIBLE way it was done. Making EVERY NPC character bi is stupid and lazy design. They should have had some that was strait, bi, or gay, but not all. It has been a while but I think DA:O did it well, but I am not sure, it has been too long since I played. I know DA2 was flat out horrible with it. The problem I have with Gaider was that he accused EVERYONE who did not like DA2 of being a homophobe and was just in flat out denial that the game was horrible for a host or reasons.

        • bleeters says:

          Right, because the four bisexual characters in Dragon Age 2 literally consistituted the entire cast and there was no one in the entire game other than them. Dare I ask how adding seperate (if largely similar) romance paths for both genders is ‘lazy’? Because it sounds like more work than just making them available for one gender only to me.

          But then as everyone knows, no more than two people of a given non-hetero sexuality can ever occupy the same social circle at any one time, or Asgnoth the Relentless awakens from his millenia of slumber and devours all that exists.

          • green frog says:

            Yeah, I find it odd that of all the ridiculously unrealistic and player-centric tropes developers use in video game worlds, some people fixate on the horrible crime of making NPCs bisexual so that a player character of either gender can romance them.

            I know that in demographic terms, we bisexuals are a relatively rare breed, but I really fail to see how having multiple bisexuals in a game is damaging in any way to said game. Maybe I’m wrong, is it exclusionary? Are monosexuals feeling left out? Maybe I’m just being selfish here. But somehow I doubt it.

          • iridescence says:

            I hate when characters of any sexual orientation just throw themselves at you like “OMG! I know there’s a war going on and we just met 10 minutes ago but you complimented me so I need to have sex with you right now!” At least The Witcher bothers to explain in the lore why it happens unlike Bioware games. Making characters bisexual is worse for me, not because I have anything against bisexual people in real life, but just because it means yet more “romantic” dialogue” for me to wade through. I’m fine with romance in a game if done well but can think of very few examples of a game where it is actually done well.

          • bleeters says:

            @iridescence

            Fair enough, and I’d mostly agree. But for me, that’s less a problem with bisexuality and more with how Bioware generally handles dialogue and romances. As such, I wouldn’t say ‘make less bisexual characters!’, I’d want better implementation of dialogue systems and more fleshed out and realised romance subplots without the usual ‘we just met and this is crazy but you said I was pretty a while ago and now my approval is now above the arbitrary required threshold so let’s have sex’ thing.

            I mean heck, SWTOR drove me up the wall with its romances most of the time (because flirt lines tended to replace other, not-flirt lines sometimes by two out of three, reducing my ability to respond to characters platonically) and that game had, until a few months ago or so, no s/s romances at all let alone bi ones, and still has zero actual companions that are such. That’s just Bioware not doing it very well. I’d prefer they just did it better than took away options.

  11. Shooop says:

    RPS’ coverage of this disaster waiting to happen is nothing compared to the nearly constant stream of hype PC Gamer spews from EA’s feeding tubes.

  12. zerosociety says:

    That all bodes very well if it plays out as described. Taking cues from SRIV is honestly great news. I’m very much looking forward to this more than I am the Wticher.

  13. Shooop says:

    The hype train rolls on undaunted by the sure disaster awaiting it.

    • green frog says:

      Hype train? What hype train? There’s been pretty much an atmosphere of skepticism at best around here since the moment this game was announced.

      But if the game does actually turn out good and RPS gives it a positive review, I do so look forward to all the inevitable flailing and whining angry accusations that will be thrown at RPS saying they’re a bunch of dirty liars and sellouts riding high on EA BriberyBux, and fervent vows to take their ball and go home and never read RPS again.

      That whole spectacle’s always fun to watch every time RPS gives an even mildly favorable take on a game that wasn’t popular among the grumps in the comments leading up to release.

  14. RedViv says:

    Ah, the good old responsiveness in RP problem. It’s really rather hard, showing off delayed decision outcomes and non-instantaneous world reactivity within a single trailer, or a relatively short gameplay video. They condensed that into the sales blurb, also present in pretty much every trailer, of every action possibly having massive consequences for entire regions of the world, or the world itself, but that tells the viewer absolutely nothing of how it actually plays out.

  15. Jimbo says:

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will be better.

  16. Zekiel says:

    I hope Inquisition will be good. I don’t really trust anything Bioware say since the whole “Mass Effect 3 ending won’t just be something dumb like pressing one of three buttons” hilarious debacle. Sorry perhaps its bad form to open that can of worms.

    Re: the ME3 Liara romance… I thought it was fantastic when I played through for the first time, romancing Liara. Then I replayed with a different character romancing someone else… and discovered that most of the scenes I thought were “romance” scenes with Liara (e.g. the time capsule thing, the sharing memories thing near the end) actually happened even if you weren’t romancing her. That was a real disappointment – Liara was just Bioware’s “main NPC” for the game and whatever Shepard you played was destined to have a deep relationship with her. I *like* Liara, but the lack of reactiveness saddened me (and made the experience in my first playthrough feel less special, retrospectively.

    Anyway…. I hope Inqusition is good.

  17. Arglebargle says:

    Well, they better have done some serious work to upjump DA:I. Just playing the demo for DA2 kept me from getting it, and the general tenor of complaints about that game puts it in my ‘wouldn’t play it for free’ column.

    And that sort of fallout rolls downhill: I know I haven’t bought a Bioware game in a long, long time.

  18. DrMcCoy says:

    I wish you would press those BioWare people more on how there should be a Linux port. And a proper native one, too, not a wrapper.

    • DrMcCoy says:

      Thinking about that a bit, I kinda wish RPS would embrace GNU/Linux and Mac OS X more. Talk about multi-platform releases, nudge devs about that, etc.. Where all PC players here, no matter the OS, no? :)

      • AJLeuer says:

        I’m with you. It would be great to see Dragon Age: Inquisition come to Linux and OS X. Couple problems though. First is that, so far, Frostbite has only been developed for Windows. EA have talked about porting it to OS X, but I’m not sure if they’ve made any progress on that front. Bioware want to release DA:I on the Mac if it can be done (they’ve done so with all the previous titles), so maybe that will encourage EA to put more resources into porting the engine. The problem with getting a Linux port is that I haven’t heard EA so much as pay lip service to Linux gaming. Most of the PC devs and publishers who have shown interest in releasing on Linux lately were following Valve’s lead. EA don’t want anything to do with Valve, and won’t release any of their new games on Steam. Given that Steam is the only real distribution platform on Linux right now (no Origin in sight), I think a Linux release is unlikely.

      • InternetBatman says:

        I look forward to linux news in general. My next PC will likely be a linux box; the vast majority of games I want are coming on linux anyways.

      • joa says:

        Linux completely lacks performance in the graphics department. Their way of writing graphics drivers is “nice” maybe from a design point of view, but for users it is very poor. All the graphics APIs, like OpenGL and DirectX, are mapped onto a generic API called Gallium, which then talks to a userland driver. And then the userland driver talks to a userland library. And then the userland library talks a kernel driver. Finally, the kernel driver can talk to the card. That’s 7 context switches.

        A nice abstraction perhaps, but performance is extremely poor. On Windows, DirectX talks directly to the kernel which talks to the card. In the future, on Windows with shared virtual memory space, userland will talk directly to the card. Not possible with the Linux architecture.

        • DrMcCoy says:

          Sorry, but that’s not really true at all.

          Gallium3D is an alternative graphics parts that’s currently part of Mesa (and its state tracker doesn’t really support Direct3D; that was an experiment currently abandoned). The binary blob drivers from Nvidia and AMD don’t use Mesa at all. And even with Gallium3D, it still uses DRI.

          Performance isn’t really the problem. In fact, Valve have stated multiple times in the past that their games run faster on Linux.

          The actual problem. something that’s been discussed in the last few months, is that the OpenGL implementations by the different driver vendors are too splintered and un-unified. Which could be fixable if they would all stick their head together (hell, they are all members of the Khronos Group) and organized things better.

          • DrMcCoy says:

            And exactly these discussions and examinations are things that would fit neatly into RPS, I think.

  19. Shadow says:

    I demand more than “fine” from a game which demands 60 dollars from me.

    We’ll see how this goes. I’m not really holding my breath.

  20. LuckyLuigi says:

    Anything makes Dragon Age 2 look puny and toothless.
    Pre-ordered Witcher 3 right away, but I’ve lost the faith in Bioware. We’ll see after it is released but from what I’ve seen so far, I’m not impressed.

  21. Ny24 says:

    Maybe it is a bad sex scene with shitty dialogue in comparison to today’s games but it was 5 years ago. I found it to be pretty awesome then, since it was one of the first games who even offered such an option. I’m looking forward to the new Dragon Age, the second part was solid fun and the new one looks solid. I think the mentioning of the witcher every time is redundant. I know it’s there and it’s a game but it is different, does different things and you can surely enjoy both.

    • Grygus says:

      I was starting to think that I was the only person who liked Dragon Age: Origins just fine, romances included. I had fun. BioWare stumbled in the last ten minutes of Mass Effect 3 and in the obviously-too-short development cycle for Dragon Age II, but otherwise I’ve liked most of their stuff and plan to play DA III. I hope it’s good, and I hope the people in this thread find a game they like, if such a thing is even possible.

      • green frog says:

        No, you weren’t the only one. Dragon Age: Origins was actually quite popular and well received before it became fashionable among some to retroactively disown BioWare’s entire back catalog as punishment for their recent struggles.

        In case anyone forgot, RPS declared Dragon Age to be Game of the Year (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2009/12/24/the-games-of-christmas-december-24th/), and then one of the greatest games of all time (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/?p=50933#dragonageorigins), so if the Hivemind now considers Dragon Age to be a mediocre franchise, that’s a very different tune than what they were whistling just a few years ago.

        • Harlander says:

          They thought DAII was so bad it more than obliterated the goodness of DA:O.

          It’s like how the ending for ME3 soured everyone on the whole series, retroactively.

          I dunno, I’ve not played either of those sequels :p

  22. Myrdinn says:

    They did write up some half decent romances in Baldurs Gate 2. But I guess the characters being little sprites prevented them showing more physical stuff.

  23. The Ultimate Clone of The Ultimate Warrior says:

    Mass Effect 2 was the game where Bioware really started disappointing me. They just seemed to scale everything back. Simplify that which didn’t need to be simplified. Although I respect their drive for gender and sexual equality in their games. They don’t seem to take as many risks in terms of plot, character or gameplay design.. I’d love to see this game do well but I’ve been burned by the broken promises of Bioware since ME2, and I’m still bitter over ToR going free to play after I saved a not insignificant amount of money to buy and play it.

    Either way, I’ve ended up with free pre orders for both the Witcher 3 and Dragon Age Inquisition so I’ll be trying both when they come out and It’ll be no great loss if either or both turn out to be lack luster.

  24. green frog says:

    Honestly I’m finding the whole online BioWare hate train / CD Projekt hype train pretty tiresome at this point. I mean yes, Witcher 2 was a better game than Dragon Age II, obviously. Yes, I’d have to say I’m personally more excited for Wild Hunt than for Inquisition, along with everyone else. But why does it have to be either/or? The video game world just isn’t big enough for both games to be successful? What’s the point of this whole artificial war where we have to make judgmental comparisons at every turn before either game is even out?

    Besides, it seems like it’s gone past the point of fairness. Like BioWare and CD Projekt could show the exact same damn trailer and people would snark or squee based solely upon which logo was presented at the beginning. We’re so eager to criticize the awkwardness of Dragon Age 1′s sex cutscenes that we’ve seemingly forgotten all about Witcher 1′s tacky collectible sex cards.

    Everyone makes mistakes. I understand that BioWare have disappointed a lot of people with their last few games. But I’m still saddened that when even a developer as accomplished as BioWare takes a few stumbles, some people seem more eager to kick them while they’re down than to hope they get back up again. Let’s give BioWare a chance here.

    • Pixy Misa says:

      The thing is, there is no sign from BioWare that they understand what went wrong with Dragon Age II. No-one there seems to understand what made DA:O a great game and DA2 a mediocre one (and a terrible, terrible sequel). It might be EA’s corporate firewall preventing any good news from getting out, but the public statements suggest there’s a critical lack of awareness at every level. I hold out no hope of Inquisition being even mildly interesting; I’ve pinned my dreams on Pillars of Eternity and the new Torment game for now.

      • bleeters says:

        I did find the two DA2 dlc missions to be a marked improvement from DA2′s base, at least. If the rest of the game was like that I would’ve enjoyed it much more.

    • Volcanu says:

      Because sadly that’s the way it’s always been in the world of games. For some reason everything has to boil down to some form of binary tribalism. See console wars/ fanboyism.

      In much the same way, one day the weight of internet opinion will turn on CD Projekt Red and all of a sudden they’ll be the worst developers ever.

      Now having said that, I share the sentiments that the Witcher III looks to be the more exciting prospect and it’s true that the Bioware of old has withered and died (BG 2 is probably my favourite game of all time) – but they do still have something to offer I feel….it’s just they dont really make proper RPGs anymore.

      Anyway, in short I’m looking forwards to playing through the Witcher III for a (hopefully) lavish, interesting open world, DA:3 for the whole nu-Bioware “I’m off on a quest with this motley crew I’ve been bonding with” thang and Pillars of Eternity for a big dose of good old fashioned exploration, deep dialogue and proper RPG trimmings. Hopefully all will be good, and I’m sure all will be bringing something different to the table (most excited for PoE though…)

  25. kament says:

    Yeah, DAI presentation wasn’t as exciting as it could be. CDProject played their cards with more style—they’ve managed t o show pretty much all their new features I was expecting to see (except maybe diving and sailing). It was great to see Geralt hunting, jumping, climbing, etc—and all of it was part of coherent whole.

    DAI presentation was rather disconnected in comparison—a bit of running and sightseeing without clear purpose, a bit of fighting and a dragon. They talked about how they’d unlocked new movements but didn’t bother to show them. They talked about how you can get anywhere, but never so much as stepped off the beaten path.

    I get it that a party-based RPG is just way more complex (and difficult to show off) than full action game with one hero man (or witcher, whatever), but dammit, BioWare. Why couldn’t you have shown a little more passion for your work?

  26. DigitalSignalX says:

    Optimistic as well, everything sounds great except for the notion of peanut butter pretzels. Yuk.

  27. somnolentsurfer says:

    Um… Was the ‘archer girl’ actually Leliana from Dragon Age Origins, and not actually a new character at all? Looks quite a lot like her in that video…

  28. adeptacheese says:

    new dragon age game is shit, has sex shoehorned into it. news at 11.