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Default BioWare - Interview @ Sarcastic Gamer

October 10th, 2011, 09:36
Bioware should definitely stop doing what they're doing and go back to making pure RPGs.

I mean, they made Baldur's Gate, and maybe another game or two that I happen to like, so they are now obligated to keep making such games, because they are obviously the only people left on earth that posses the terrible and awesome power of RPG making and they must keep using it for the good of all mankind (it's both a blessing and a curse!)

I hope they realize the error of their ways because I will have to keep playing their embarrassing games, since there are no other games left in the world, and even if there were, I would have to keep supporting them, care for them and offer them all my attention like they are my very own misled children, in hopes that they will eventually see the light and reject their sinful behaviors.

Oh… also, above all else, I really really care about how much money they are making.

"I am not interested in good; I am interested in new, even if this includes the possibility of it's being evil"
(LaMonte Young, 1962)
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October 10th, 2011, 09:49
I think Bioware is pretty good at what they are doing now: The gaming equivalent of Popcorn cinema. I like their games, they are polished, pretty, tell a simple story, and they entertain me. They are also increasingly simplistic and ultimately forgettable, but sometimes that is OK. Sometimes thats actually even what I am looking for. Let them do their stuff, let other people that hold actual enthusiasm for the genre do real RPGs.
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October 10th, 2011, 11:15
I certainly can't blame them, though I don't recognise the appeal in their vision.

Also, I'm not fully convinced that they're doing something that's going to benefit them long-term. Human nature is to focus and obsess once a clear and specific goal has been established. The top people seem to have this vision of reaching the biggest number possible in terms of sales. That's exactly the kind of goal that will tend towards the exclusion of everything that doesn't help that number grow.

The problem is that it's not a common trait to think long-term when you obsess.
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October 10th, 2011, 15:33
Originally Posted by Motoki View Post
They are absolutely convinced they are on the right path and nothing will convince them otherwise. If they have even the slightest doubts, they are doing one hell of a job hiding it.
Wasn't Icewind Dale similar ? Devs doing "their job" regardless of what the people say ?

Just as an example …

Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
I think Bioware is pretty good at what they are doing now: The gaming equivalent of Popcorn cinema.

I like this definition. Yes, it sums it up quite nicely.

It's like … "Dungeons & Dragons The Movie" ?

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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October 10th, 2011, 17:09
So Alrik, what do you call Drakensang, a game that tried so hard to copy the NWN formula?

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October 10th, 2011, 19:43
I've never seen any resemblance to NWN, I must say. I just fail to see it. Maybe I'm blind, but I just can't see it.

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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October 10th, 2011, 20:20
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
I think Bioware is pretty good at what they are doing now: The gaming equivalent of Popcorn cinema. I like their games, they are polished, pretty, tell a simple story, and they entertain me. They are also increasingly simplistic and ultimately forgettable, but sometimes that is OK. Sometimes thats actually even what I am looking for. Let them do their stuff, let other people that hold actual enthusiasm for the genre do real RPGs.
Well Square has already been doing that sort of cinematic, forgettable popcorn console game heavy on dialog and dramatic characterization for years. It's not like it's anything new. At this point, Bioware is pretty much making JRPGs as far as I'm concerned.

I agree to a point that they, or for that matter any company, should be making games where their enthusiasm lies, but I'd also point out that mandates from above seem to have alienated people with enthusiasm for more traditional RPGs, like Brent Knowles, and brought in people whose enthusiasm lies for the 'awesome button' direction, like Mike Laidlaw.
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October 10th, 2011, 20:35
In related news multiplayer is now confirmed for ME3. NOW WE WILL SELL 10 MILLION BROS!
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October 10th, 2011, 20:54
Which in turn means less time/effort/cash has been put into the singelplayer and that the MP will most likely be complete crap since it's just some slapped-on afterthought.. We've seen this numerous of times before, and it always fails (MP in Dead Space 2, for example).
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October 10th, 2011, 21:12
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
I've never seen any resemblance to NWN, I must say. I just fail to see it. Maybe I'm blind, but I just can't see it.
They play almost exactly the same, control the same. The only differance is the ruleset and higher production quality for the NWN games.

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October 10th, 2011, 21:41
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
They play almost exactly the same, control the same. The only differance is the ruleset and higher production quality for the NWN games.

Since you seem so fond of accusing people of this: Have you even played the Drakensang games? Drakensang and NWN might bare extremely basic similarities, but they don't play "exactly the same" with the only difference being the ruleset. NWN1 didn't have a party at the player's command, and the single-player campaign was an afterthought. NWN2 has much more in common, but that wasn't a Bioware game. Even then, NWN2 didn't feel "exactly the same." Drakensang (at least River of Time) had better production values and much better visuals compared to the NWN games, which it should, considering it was released much later. RoT also had a very unique setting that was different from the typical Dn'D fantasy realms seen in NWN. So what exactly was Drakensang "trying so hard to copy" from NWN again? Your Bio-crusades take weird turns sometimes.
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October 10th, 2011, 23:09
Originally Posted by Nerevarine View Post
Since you seem so fond of accusing people of this: Have you even played the Drakensang games? Drakensang and NWN might bare extremely basic similarities, but they don't play "exactly the same" with the only difference being the ruleset. NWN1 didn't have a party at the player's command, and the single-player campaign was an afterthought. NWN2 has much more in common, but that wasn't a Bioware game. Even then, NWN2 didn't feel "exactly the same." Drakensang (at least River of Time) had better production values and much better visuals compared to the NWN games, which it should, considering it was released much later. RoT also had a very unique setting that was different from the typical Dn'D fantasy realms seen in NWN. So what exactly was Drakensang "trying so hard to copy" from NWN again? Your Bio-crusades take weird turns sometimes.
I'm well aware this is a European centric website, but seriously it feels the exact same because they copied the presentation style to a T. Of course it has different areas and such, but it was very similar in layout, which is not a bad thing, but they obviously took their cues from NWN. Yes, NWN2 was not made by bioware, but they did play a large hand in it, since the engine was an upgraded nwn engine. I would never say Drakensang production values were better, unless when it was reelased in german the voice acting and lines were that much better? Man, your biohate has come to new levels, now if only they were european company huh??

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October 10th, 2011, 23:38
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
I'm well aware this is a European centric website, but seriously it feels the exact same because they copied the presentation style to a T. Of course it has different areas and such, but it was very similar in layout, which is not a bad thing, but they obviously took their cues from NWN. Yes, NWN2 was not made by bioware, but they did play a large hand in it, since the engine was an upgraded nwn engine. I would never say Drakensang production values were better, unless when it was reelased in german the voice acting and lines were that much better? Man, your biohate has come to new levels, now if only they were european company huh??
I seriously don't care where a developer is from, or who the developer is, when I look at a game - I judge it on its own merits. You should try that some time . I actually enjoyed every Bioware release before DA2 and ME2, and if they ever make a game that appeals to me again, I would gladly play it. You claim that there is some inherent bias that causes North American games to be judged in a harsh manner, but aren't you doing the exact same thing in reverse and being unfair towards European games? Fighting bias with a different bias isn't going to solve anything. Drakensang might not have great voice acting thanks to translation issues and a lack of budget to bring it to a high level in non-native languages, but just about everything else - such as artistic direction, engine performance/stability, interface, overall graphics - was better than NWN1 or 2. And that's by no means an insult; Drakensang 1+2 were much newer games running on a more modern engine.

As far as Drakensang "copying" NWN goes, the only thing Drakensang has in common with NWN is being in a fantasy setting and having quasi turn-based combat with active pause. That doesn't make Drakensang a NWN clone, just as Fallout 3 isn't a Stalker clone simply because they are both post-nuclear war RPGs.
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October 10th, 2011, 23:47
Who says I have abias against european games? I just hold them to the same standards as north american ones. My comment on the similarities is that they are almost identical running engines, meaning controls are almost exactly the same, 3d angles and layout are the same. If you can't see the engines look almost identical I'm not sure what to tell you.

The problem Drakensang really had was the it was cold. No life, felt sterile. The characters came across wooden. No one can deny Bioware kicks ass when it comes to emotion display on its characters, for instance….just compare two worlds 2(fun game, horrible character interaction/writing) with say dragon age or any other bioware game for that matter.

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October 10th, 2011, 23:58
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
The problem Drakensang really had was the it was cold. No life, felt sterile. The characters came across wooden.
Admittedly I haven't played the first game and from what I hear it's not nearly as good, but I have played TRoT and I don't feel that way about it at all.

I think the charactizations were all pretty good. Also, I liked how they made the towns feel really alive with people actually doing things. You see people hanging out of windows, fishing, a woman chasing her husband etc. They aren't all just standing around like brain dead idiots like almost every other RPG. I think in terms of atmosphere TRoT did a really good job.

No one can deny Bioware kicks ass when it comes to emotion display on its characters, for instance….just compare two worlds 2(fun game, horrible character interaction/writing) with say dragon age or any other bioware game for that matter.
"Kicks ass" is relative. I hated the writing in DA2 with a passion. It's too snarky, self aware, trying really hard too be cool and edgy.

Past Bioware titles, sure. But their new stuff very much turns me off.
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October 11th, 2011, 00:03
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
Who says I have abias against european games? I just hold them to the same standards as north american ones.
The problem is that you seem to think everyone else here has a bias against American games, which is utter nonsense.
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October 11th, 2011, 00:11
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
My comment on the similarities is that they are almost identical running engines, meaning controls are almost exactly the same, 3d angles and layout are the same. If you can't see the engines look almost identical I'm not sure what to tell you.
To me those seem like basic, slightly superficial similarities on the surface, and there are significant things about each game that set them apart from each other, similar to how I wouldn't say Mass Effect is a Gears of War clone just because they each have 3rd person shooting and cover systems.

Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
The problem Drakensang really had was the it was cold. No life, felt sterile. The characters came across wooden. No one can deny Bioware kicks ass when it comes to emotion display on its characters, for instance….just compare two worlds 2(fun game, horrible character interaction/writing) with say dragon age or any other bioware game for that matter.
That's been a major focus for Bioware since the beginning, and they have done a good job with bringing characters to life until recently (but the "until recently" part is just a personal opinion). I'd say that over the years, they have implemented party-member depth and interactions better than a lot of developers out there, but sadly, there aren't many party-based games to compete with. As far as pure NPC depth/writing goes, there have only been a few games in the last decade that are on a similar level. A series like Drakensang didn't have the budget to compete in that area, but they did a good job with the writing of River of Time and a great job with the overall atmosphere. So long as one is able to use a bit of imagination to fill in the blanks, they added enough personality to the world to make it feel much more alive than Drakensang 1 felt.
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October 11th, 2011, 13:37
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
but seriously it feels the exact same because they copied the presentation style to a T. Of course it has different areas and such, but it was very similar in layout,
You know, I felt exactly *this way* when I was in the Elven Ruins in Dragon Age 1. It felt so much similar to the Bosparanian Ruins from Drakensang 2 …

I often had the feeling as if both sies had "copied" elements from one another. Of course it looks different, but the feel was very much similar to me, beginning with the architecture and the art style of the walls and pillars etc. …

Another example is that "junk golem". It appears - as a concept - inboth THe Force Unleashed (Star Wars) and in Drakensang 2.

Originally Posted by Nerevarine View Post
I judge it on its own merits.
Personally, I found out that analysing songs and music pieces that I listen to (be it radio, CD or on concerts) distracts from the experience. I can analyse why a song on a concert has been played a key deeper, because the singer's voice isn't as high anymore as it used to be - OR I can just "jump in" and relish (right word ?) it.

Since I noticed it, I tend to listen to songs first and analyse them later. Everything else makes me bitter, because I find so many similarities. I once even heard of someone trying to transcribe native american songs into the classical staves - and in the documentary where I saw this it was said that these transcribed songs suddenly reminded him of classical european folk songs, traditionals. This taught me how systems can distort experiences.

Originally Posted by Nerevarine View Post
I'd say that over the years, they have implemented party-member depth and interactions better than a lot of developers out there, but sadly, there aren't many party-based games to compete with.

[…]

A series like Drakensang didn't have the budget to compete in that area,
1. Yes, there are only very few party-based RPGs left. Bioware has practically invented bantering. No-one does this except them (oh, and Frayed Knights )

2. Of course, Drakensang didn't have enough budget. They just didn't have the resources that Bioware had.

Me, I'm still waiting for a good game with great bantering once again. And I LOVED "Much ado about nothing" in the movie version by Kenneth Brannagh !

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
Last edited by Alrik Fassbauer; October 11th, 2011 at 13:48.
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October 12th, 2011, 05:17
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
You know, I felt exactly *this way* when I was in the Elven Ruins in Dragon Age 1. It felt so much similar to the Bosparanian Ruins from Drakensang 2 …
That's an interesting one, Alrik - although I think Dragon Age was released in November 2009, whilst for River of Time it was early 2010? I must admit I didn't pick up on the similarities, but I did play them in the reverse order to you.
To be honest I very much doubt if there would have been much of an influence on each other. Aventuria and Thedas though sharing fantasy tropes and features of cRPGs, they are in many ways, at opposing ends of the spectrum - particularly in tone.

As for the Drakensang vs NWN2 argument, it's a little silly and pointless I think. Kind of strange to see it rise up in this thread. Sure, they share core similarities (camera perspectives, being party based, real time with pause combat, fantasy tropes) but I don't think it's rocket science to illustrate the differences either.

NWN2 takes a far more cinematic approach to its classic yet slightly generic AD&D fantasy tale. It's constructed in a way that's reminiscent of the style seen in the Knights of the Old Republic games. Whilst Drakensang is far more fairy-tale like, wholesome and light hearted; with more of a child-like sense of adventure. It's also a slower, more fondly told tale that I think is influenced more by Baldur's Gate (especially in the banter department) than NWN.

I had a similar argument with DArt regarding Drakensang's supposed "lacking a soul" a while back and I still steadfastly disagree with that notion. Nerevarine makes a good point when he suggests that imagination draws more life from the game and helps to fill in the gaps, as does the willingness to invest in a world, how much you believe in the archetypes the game presents and how the mechanics and story's interplay affects you.

I think my feelings on the game have been reinforced by my positive experiences with The River of Time. But they're not games for everyone - I can understand other perspectives too.

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