Posts Tagged ‘BioWare’

The best thing about Neverwinter Nights was its persistent worlds

NWN

At 19, I was a mess. I was missing all of my classes at university, arguing with my girlfriend all the time and I’d managed to get thousands of pounds in debt. All I wanted to do was check out. Neverwinter Nights got me through it. It wasn’t the lacklustre single-player campaign, or even the long list of phenomenal mods — it was the persistent worlds.

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Neverwinter Nights Enhanced Edition: improved graphics but backwards-compatible with old saves and mods

nwn-enhanced

My three main memories of the original Neverwinter Nights:

a) exasperating various Bioware devs by doggedly creating an all-Dire Badgers module in the editor during a studio visit
b) my boxed copy INCLUDING ACTUAL CLOTH MAP being stolen by a jealous middle manager at a former workplace
c) playing co-op with Jim and Kieron, formerly of this parish, and sometime contributor Dan Griliopoulos, who rather complicated proceedings by attempting to murder every NPC we encountered.

What I am saying is that 2002’s Neverwinter Nights was one of those games that embeds itself into your life in various ways, for years. And now it’s getting the spit’n’polish treatment for a semi-remastered release. Read the rest of this entry »

Celebrate Mass Effect turning 10 with some animation facts

punch

To celebrate Mass Effect’s 10th anniversary (crikey!), animator Jonathan Cooper, currently at Naughty Dog, has shared 10 animation-related facts about the game on Twitter. There are a lot of interesting titbits, like the mo-cap being filmed on the same sound stage as Gone With The Wind, or Cooper being inspired by Ricky Gervais’ Extras when it came to picking the close-up camera style for conversations, but nothing beats the story behind Anderson punching Udina in the face. Udina was a worm, so it’s a popular scene, but probably not with the actor playing Udina. He actually got clocked on the jaw. It happens to the best of us.

Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition is the next Bioware remaster

nwn-enhanced-edition

We won’t have full details until a bit later today (noon PST/8PM UK), but here’s the headline: Bioware’s 2002 RPG Neverwinter Nights is next to receive Beamdog‘s Enhanced Edition treatment. What do we want to see from a tweaked and modernised take on Bioware’s first foray into 3D RPGs, and whose revered modding tools launched a legion of player-made adventure modules?
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Mass Effect: Annihilation is a tie-in novel that will reveal the fate of the Quarians and Elcor

elcor

Mass Effect Andromeda was so tremendously dull — just read John’s Andromeda review — that it appears to have killed off a whole franchise (or at least put it in a coma). While I absolutely don’t think it earned a sequel, it is a shame that there are so many story threads left hanging. Like what the hell happened to all the other aliens from the Milky Way? Well, we may not be finding out in a game, but Mass Effect: Annihilation, a spin-off novel, will fill in some gaps when it appears in June next year.

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Dragon Age lead designer Mike Laidlaw leaves BioWare

BioWare veteran Mike Laidlaw has parted ways with that RPG rabble after 14 years. He was co-lead writer on Jade Empire, a lead designer on the first two Dragon Ages and the creative director of Inquisition, and did a little design on Mass Effect. Laidlaw announced his departure last night with a tweeted statement. He doesn’t explain why he’s away but I suppose it’s not our business. What’s next? Well, for starters, a lot of Twitch and Twitter. Read the rest of this entry »

Mass Effect: Andromeda getting no singleplayer DLC

The singleplayer side of Mass Effect: Andromeda [official site] is now officially as done as it’ll ever be, as BioWare have confirmed they have no plans for more singleplayer patches or any singleplayer DLC. Multiplayer additions and events will continue but Andromeda’s singleplayer is complete. Given that it was a disapointing new start for the sci-fi RPG series, that doomsaying rumours have circulated for months, and that the studio which made Andromeda has since subsumed into another studio, this isn’t much of a surprise. But as BioWare RPGs tend to receive a fair few story expansions, giving up on this isn’t a good omen for the prospect of another Mass Effect game. Read the rest of this entry »

Mass Effect Andromeda studio merging into EA’s Motive

Electronic Arts are merging BioWare Montreal, the spin-off studio who made Mass Effect: Andromeda, into Motive Studios. EA say that “more than ever, we’re driving collaboration between studios on key projects”. It seems that, after Andromeda, the folks of BioWare Montreal are being drafted to work on others’ projects again. Motive, who are also in Montreal, are currently chipping in on Star Wars Battlefront 2 and we know they’re working on something new — supposedly an Assassin’s Creed-ish open-world action game — too. Read the rest of this entry »

Mass Effect lead Casey Hudson returns to BioWare as general manager

Former Mass Effect project director Casey Hudson is returning to BioWare to become the studio’s general manager, coming back from three years in wandering the desert of Microsoft. He’ll replace Aaryn Flynn, who is leaving the studio entirely after seventeen years. Hudson left BioWare in August 2014, after helping lay the foundations of the game that became the Destiny-lookin’ action-RPG Anthem. After several games that haven’t quite clicked, can Hudson get the studio back on track? Read the rest of this entry »

Mass Effect Andromeda ten-hour trial available now

perhaps you can gaze into these eyes for ten hours and discover the mysteries and desires that rest within

If you’ve been holding off on Mass Effect Andromeda [official site], which is entirely understandable whether you’re a fan of the series or not, perhaps a ten hour free trial is just what you need to decide whether the trip is worth your time and money. Previously available to EA Access subscribers, the trial is now open to everyone. It gives you ten hours of play-time, which you can spend in singleplayer (up to the first planet) or multiplayer, and saves will carry over to the full game if you choose to buy it. You’ll need Origin, EA’s digital storefront, and post-trial, the game is currently £24.99.

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Mass Effect Andromeda’s co-op adding batarians

A new higher difficulty setting and, seemingly, batarian troops are coming to the cooperative multiplayer of Mass Effect: Andromeda in a future update. Unhelpfully, Electronic Arts don’t have much to say about either at this point.

They don’t have much to say about anything connected to Andromeda these days. Rumours are floating around that no follow-up is coming and that nor are any singleplayer expansions. That’s all just rumour for now, mind. Anyway, check out ol’ four-eyes here: Read the rest of this entry »

Anthem is closer to Star Wars than Mass Effect

It probably won’t have lightsabers or giant slug mobsters, but BioWare’s upcoming action-RPG, Anthem [official site], is going to be more like Star Wars than Mass Effect. “Science fantasy” is how BioWare Edmonton general manager Aaryn Flynn describes it in a recent radio interview.

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Bioware’s Anthem is an action-RPG shooter looking a fair bit like Destiny

BioWare’s Anthem [official site], the mysterious new game they announced last night but forgot to say anything about, is a Destiny-lookin’ action-RPG. It’s a “shared-world” shooter with cooperative multiplayer, questing, levelling, looting, and all that. That’s the news out of Microsoft’s E3 press conference tonight, where BioWare showed the game off in a seven-minute gameplay trailer. Observe: Read the rest of this entry »

BioWare tease new sci-fi IP Anthem – full reveal tomorrow

BioWare have teased their new IP, Anthem [official site], at EA’s E3 press conference. We know very little about it, but it’ll use the Frostbite engine, it’s sci-fi and it involves POWER ARMOUR. Here’s the plot, based on what I know from the teaser trailer: Humanity lives behind a great big wall, hiding from MONSTERS, and occasionally nipping out in their supersuits to biff those monsters.

Let’s call it Attack On Titanfall then, eh?

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Mass Effect: Andromeda will let spacemen smooch Jaal

Men of space, soon you may hold, thrill, and kiss Jaal in Mass Effect: Andromeda [official site]. BioWare have announced the next patch for their boldly-going RPG, which will expand the character creator options, rework an awkwardly-written trans character, fix some bugs and balance bits, and make Jaal smoochable by both male and female Ryders. It won’t fix Andromeda’s broader boringness but hey, I never expected huge changes from patches. Read the rest of this entry »

Report: Mass Effect is taking a nap

Is this the last we'll see of wotserface, datguy and whozat?

It’s a bloodbath in Old Gamestown today. Square Enix have tragically called a halt to Agent 47’s Hitman career, despite his being at the peak of his powers, and meanwhile Kotaku report on rumours that EA has grounded the Mass Effect series in the wake of frowny reception to this year’s Mass Effect Andromeda [official site]. Word is that the devs have been moved onto other projects instead of the second game in a planned new trilogy. It seems that the Pathfinder cannot find a way forwards after all.
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Mass Effect: Andromeda 1.06 brings boosts and fixes

A new patch for Mass Effect: Andromeda [official site] has blasted off with performance improvements, a few tweaks to cinematics and animations, and plenty of bug fixes. Good news: your robopal has stopped lying about you having new e-mail. Bad news: you can no longer romance both Peebee and Cora or Vetra (not that Andromeda’s romances are much cop). Update 1.06 is now live so let’s go rummage in the patch notes. Read the rest of this entry »

The modders making games more gender-diverse

Hannah just wanted to be a farmer. Not a male farmer. Not a female farmer. Just a farmer that didn’t have to suffer NPC after NPC lumping them into one gender or the other. Hannah’s hopes rose with the release of Stardew Valley, but after jumping into the farming sim they discovered it offered only male and female gender identities, with he/she pronouns to match. As someone who identifies as non-binary, Hannah couldn’t help but be disappointed.

“I’ve almost come to expect little to no representation,” says Hannah. “Being able to play a character that is different from myself is fun and interesting, but playing one true to myself I find is often more fun. It feels more real if you are in the world rather than just an observer playing a person in that world.”

Unwilling to sit idly by, Hannah took it upon themselves to broaden Stardew Valley’s gender diversity, modding the game so that NPCs referred to the protagonist with gender-neutral pronouns and replacing the gender symbols in the character creator with ungendered body-type indicators.

The response from other players was overwhelming. Read the rest of this entry »

New Mass Effect patch: what a difference an eye makes

The first of several planned updates designed to address various criticisms of Mass Effect: Andromeda [official site] landed yesterday, and though it comprises 20 main fixes, one stands out above all else. If the eyes are the window to the soul, then the glassy sexbot stares of MEA’s launch version certainly contributed to unfavourable impressions. The new v1.05 update’s toned down the inhumanity of the game’s human eyes, and, superficial as it might sound, it has me warming to the game a little more.
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Mass Effect multiplayer underlines Andromeda’s by-the-numbers design

I don’t believe that Mass Effect: Andromeda [official site] is a train wreck. I do believe that it feels like a game made to spec, and is oddly soulless as a result. In singleplayer, this is to some extent disguised behind crusading dialogue and regular planet-hopping, but in multiplayer it is laid bare.

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