Posts Tagged ‘Dragon Age II’

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 »

The RPG Scrollbars: Roles We Take, Roles We Choose

Not for the first time, I’ve spent quite a while recently pondering the nature of roles – more specifically, mechanical role versus narrative role. When we think of RPGs, what we’re usually thinking of is the latter. You play the role of the Hero, but in a universe that’s typically designed to let you define that however you like. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but there’s a key difference between that and stepping into the shoes of someone more specific. Geralt in The Witcher 3 for instance is – spoiler alert – a Witcher. Every encounter revolves around that, every system involves it, every decision has, whether it’s by your choice or Geralt bringing it up, a mercenary element that reinforces that asking for money in exchange for your services is expected and not, as is often the case, the first step towards douchery and getting the Evil ending.

I’ve also been playing a lot of Hearthstone. The two things are linked.

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The RPG Scrollbars: Time And Seasons In RPGs

The times change, and we change with the times. Or in the case of RPGs, not. I’ve always felt this a bit of a shame, especially in games like World of Warcraft, where your character is officially hanging around long enough to see the leaves fall off the trees and the snow to cover up the capital cities. That’s why I was quite keen on both Fallout 4 taking the time to redecorate Diamond City a little for at least Halloween and Christmas, and last week, to see a mod take the next step and give the Commonwealth a makeover for all seasons in a way that nobody’s really tried since Lords of Midnight 3 way back in the 90s. Whole minutes of fun with the system clock there!

But then as now, it’s hard not to start wondering how time could be given its due as more than the fire in which bad movies turn out to be even worse than they initially seemed. Maybe it could be our friend too, and in so many interesting ways.

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Have You Played… Dragon Age II?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

I don’t want to talk about reused environments or mages running rampant or plot holes or spawning enemies or… I don’t care. I want to talk about Kirkwall, more specifically how I really like Dragon Age II [official site] following up on another tedious ‘roam the world saving it from ancient evil’ fantasy gufffest to focus on one city over a few years. It’s great that, isn’t it? Pay attention, boring fantasy RPGs.

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The RPG Scrollbars: The Lost Magic Of Magic

Given a choice, I almost always play as a mage. Swords? Pah. Divine magic? Save it for Sunday School. Give me control over the elements, the power to reshape the very building blocks of the universe according to my every whim, and if at all possible, a cool hat. It’s an easy fantasy to indulge in almost any RPG out there.

I just wish it was a more satisfying one.

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The Complete S.EXE, Cara Ellison’s Series About Games, Sex and Relationships

From 2014-2015, RPS’s Senior Scottish Correspondent Cara Ellison wrote S.EXE, 29 columns about games about sex, games about love, games about the space in between those two things, games about sexuality, and games about schlongs. Unfortunately the series is on indefinite hiatus as Cara takes a break from writing about games after her spectacular but surely exhausting Embed With… project, but whether you missed it the first time, didn’t catch all of them or are simply missing it already, you should absolutely revisit S.EXE yourself now. It’s a by turns insightful and funny (and very often both) document of the wilder side of games, the darker side of games, the sillier side of games and a hugely important but often little-seen side of games. Here’s the complete archive.
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S.EXE: Dragon Age II And The Long Road

same

I usually discover the best stories about games over a quiet drink with a friend. This week I am residing in the Isle of Wight, working with the artist Howard Hardiman, author of The Lengths. The Lengths is, amongst other things, an exploration of the world of male gay escorts based on real conversations with sex workers; illustrations and dialogue of the feelings and life of someone who lives to please other people. I found myself in The Mess asking Howard which games he liked that expressed something about the relationships between people. This will contain spoilers for Dragon Age II.

Howard explained to me that Aveline’s crush on a coworker in Dragon Age II almost broke his heart. So we went back home to play The Long Road.

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A Frostbitten Land: Dragon Age Not-III Gets A Shiny Trailer

This year? THIS YEAR? Why was I not told of this? (I was. It’s just that I have the memory of a Leveson Inquiry witness these days). Yes, fantasy RPG sequel Dragon Age Inquistion is due this Autumn/Fall, and much as Bioware have some faith-rebuilding to do after the double-whammy of Dragon Age II and Mass Effect Ending-Gate, I really would like a big, fat, indulgent, glossy RPG on my hard drive right now. Will it be Dragon Age Not-III? The trailer below, which focuses on Frostbite 3 engine-powered environments, suggests I will at least be cooing at its surface.
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BioWare’s Gaider On Dragon Age II’s Flaws, Dragon Age III

I actually don’t think Dragon Age II was all that terrible. Or rather, I fully understand that elements of it were very, very bad (it had more caves than Ron Gilbert’s The Cave, for instance; and not on purpose), but others were incredibly fascinating. Party members lived their own lives, themes like racism and security-vs-freedom got the spotlight, and your choices really, really didn’t matter all that much. Was it a game whose budgetary and time constraints hung about its neck like a noose, leaving only gasping wisps of potential? Absolutely. But those limits also shaped it, so it was interesting to see a less powerful BioWare craft a narrative about, well, powerlessness. After discussing the baffling impracticality of sexism, Dragon Age lead writer David Gaider and I talked about the ups and downs of Dragon Age II and how they’ve ultimately guided Dragon Age III to a very different place.

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Dragon Age III’s Gaider On The Impracticality Of Sexism

All this talk of sexism isn’t going away, nor should it. The gaming industry’s sick, and the symptoms are plain as day. Mystifyingly often, however, the immediate reaction to even the faintest hint of that suggestion is “No, nuh-uh! You just want to censor expression! Give me one good reason we actually need to change.”* Well, if you really want to move beyond “Because jeez, it’s basic human decency to treat someone else the way you’d like to be treated,” Dragon Age III lead writer David Gaider’s got a laundry list of practical reasons for you. 14 years at one of the most influential studios out there, after all, will do that to you. Especially when it’s one that’s certainly not innocent of mistakes and missteps of its own. Prior to Gaider’s GDC talk on the very same subject, I caught up with him to discuss why sexism (and any sort of “-ism,” really) is bad for everyone: you, me, the industry, and of course, women or anyone else directly affected.

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Dragon Age: The Possible Ensequelling

Dragon Age 71r?

↑ that logo is a fake, sorry.

With Mass Effect now concluded, at least until the inevitable announcement of a new trilogy, a first-person shooter and a free-to-play god-knows-what, and SWTOR currently being fitted into its microtransacted iron lung, all eyes turn to the core Bioware team’s next roleplaying move. The smart money is surely on a new Dragon Age game, and tiny wee scraps of hint have seemed to support this. Today we got significantly more than tiny wee scraps, as an alleged survey allegedly leaked by alleged specially-selected community members offers all manner of alleged potential details on a third Dragon Age game.
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No Reused Levels: Details Of Dragon Age 3 Emerge

So they SAY.

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

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Game Logic vs Choice & Consequence

Gameworlds have become ever-more lavish, but has there been a dark price paid for this? Craig Lager believes so. Production values are up but these worlds don’t seem to react to players’ actions as fulsomely as they once did, he worries – are we allowing games’ strange logic to take us for granted? But there is yet hope. Frowned at: Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Dragon Age II, Skyrim. Smiled at: The Witcher 2, Dwarf Fortress, Outcast. Please note these are Craig’s views, not necessarily those of RPS.

In my version of Human Revolution, the police station should be surrounded. There should be SWAT teams, negotiators, probably even an evacuation zone. Adam Jensen’s face should be being projected from every single screen that litters Detroit’s streets as Eliza explains him as being a more-than-prime-suspect in a new, horiffic incident. An hour ago, she would explain, Jensen asked for access to the police morgue and was declined. Now the back door has been broken into, and a path of corpses and hacked computers lead to the morgue in which a body has been clearly tampered with. Instead, Jensen walks into the main lobby and is greeted with “Hello”.
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Dragon Age: Better In Pixels Than Reality

Like Willow, but slightly different

Here’s the trailer for that live-action Dragon Age TV series, starring that woman people on Twitter all have a crush on, and it’s… Well.. It’s. Well. Well, it makes Dragon Age II seem an awful lot more palatable all of a sudden. Bless everyone involved, but the budget’s just not there, is it?

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Day In The Strife: Dragon Age 2 DLC

He's not acting his age

BioWare have just released a trailer for a fresh chunk of Dragon Age 2 DLC, Mark of the Assassin. I’m not sure how big a chunk is – in fact, all I know about this one is that it involves an “impregnable fortress” that you’ll end up pregnating, “monsters” that you’ll end up killing and an elf voiced by Felicia Day, she of The Guild and Dr Horrible, among other things (presumably) that I don’t know about. In fact, that seems to be the main selling point. It’s mentioned well before any details regarding content other than voice recordings. In fact, it’s pretty much the only detail mentioned at all, apart from the fact that this is “story” DLC rather than “item” DLC. Who wants more Dragon Age narrative? Anyone? See what you can glean below.

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Bioware’s Dragon Age III Plans Collated


Yes, obviously there’s going to be a third game. It’s a long way off, still. But what are they going to do with it? Match-3 puzzler? We should be so lucky. Instead it’s going to feature an art style similar to DA2, and you’ll be able to full tinker with the loadouts of your party members. Fighting will also be encounter-based, rather than surviving waves of enemies. Hooray!

You see, using my sneaky internet-enabled “eyes” to read this comprehensive thread on NeoGaf, I am able reveal that the game is about “Saving the world from… itself” (you have to include a little pause there when speaking aloud, with dramatic turn to camera) and that whether you play as a set character as in Dragon Age II, or as a player-created character, has yet to be decided and will based on player feedback. Hmm, I think I’ll use my magical ear-trumpet to collect that feedback for you from the howling winds of the internet, Bioware: player-created character. Lots more detail in the thread. There might even be co-op! Maybe. A yes please there, too.

The Fade: Dragon Age II Gone From Steam

Caption: This is a man with a sword. I am on *fire* today.

Oh, I hope this isn’t a sign of a dark, headline-writing times to come. I don’t want to spend the rest of 2011 writing ‘Game X Gone From Steam’ every other day. The latest departure from the packed ranks of Steam is EA and Bioware’s Dragon Age II – and right on the eve of the launch of its new DLC Legacy.

Something which may be no coincidence.

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Dragon Age 2: Legacy DLC Footage

This dude just wants to be friends, I reckon.
Ooh, EA have announced that Dragon Age 2’s first big bit of story-driven DLC is nearing. Legacy, which features Hawke going into a Grey Warden prison to deal with a particularly unpleasant darkspawn nasty, is going to arrive on 26th of July. Needless to say, magicks which imprisoned the unpleasantness have worn out, because magic sort of “goes off” if you leave it in a dark dungeon for too long, and Hawke will have to deal with the consequences. Will it be any good? How much will it cost? I don’t know, but one of our sinister agents has seen Legacy and talked to the team behind it, so we’ll have more on that stuff soon.

In the meantime, you can watch the trailer, beloooooooow.
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Make It Stop: BioWare NWN Forums Hacked

that's exactly what a hacker looks like

This is a depressing year to be on the internet. And a doubly-depressing one to be a newswriter on the internet. The latest (but, let’s not bloody kid ourselves, not last) game company to suffer the peculiar ire/amusement of hackers is Bioware. Fortunately, only a very specific bit of Bioware, so don’t panic too much: their 10-year-old Neverwinter Nights forum. It actually happened a little earlier this month, but now Bioware are alerting everyone affected and opening up about exactly what details were compromised. You may have thought, following the initial talk of this hack, that it was no big deal for you, but if you used to play NwN you might well have left passwords, email addresses, phone numbers or CD keys in the information these imps have made off with. Credit card details are apparently safe, however. Full Bioware statement below.
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But! Dragon Age May Be Back On Track

Run, Hawke! Run from all the thousands of men who hate you!

EA may not have given Battlefield fans the answer they wanted to hear, but meanwhile, back in the kingdom of Ferelden, things might be looking a little rosier. Eurogamer had a chat with EA bigwig Frank Gibeau about the reception to Dragon Age 2. He was careful not to actually slag off the game or its makers, but he did imply that the negative feedback has very much been taken on board.
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