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Default BioWare - What They're Trying to Do @ Kotaku

March 23rd, 2010, 15:29
Originally Posted by fatBastard() View Post
Nobody questions that Chess has excellent gameplay/replay value but I doubt anyone has ever thought about how the poor pawns are being exploited and used for cannon fodder or wondered whether the queen was cheating on the king with one of the bishops or not. But then again that was never a part of the whole Chess concept.

What the Bioware Vision Statement and what the quote from Greg Zeschuk suggests, however, is that Bioware's focus in making games is not, I repeat NOT, on making a Chess killer but to make games where you DO wonder about the indiscretions of the queen or why the rook prefers to prance around outside instead of staying home with the wife and kids.

You can dispute whether they succeed or not and your own emotional complexity/simplicity may find the topics they treat fitting or trivial, but with a clear statement in place of what they were trying to achieve it is no longer valid to argue that ME2 should be more like Chess because that was never what they were aiming for.
Not sure what you are trying to say and seem to being missing the point here with that metaphor. What you are talking about is complexity of a story and divorcing it from gameplay. A movie or interactive movie can have a complex or satisfying narrative, but that is "movie" not a game. Narrative complexity or quality does not = game complexity or meaningful interactivity.

Well written stories are great and make great movies, but they don't by themselves make a great "game" or even a game at all. Using your metaphor, if the narrative demands only allowed me to move pawns to a limited number of squares and prevented me from moving certain pieces altogether, I would no longer be playing chess at all. Might make for a great story but a very, very limited game.
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March 23rd, 2010, 16:17
I always feel that the long narratives , the excessive dialogues and the overuse of cut-scenes are limiting my gameplay ; i feel like playing a coin up game (like pacman) going from level to level with some small musical tune playing at the end of each.
The above was the case in DAO not KotOR
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March 23rd, 2010, 16:21
Originally Posted by fatBastard() View Post
Nobody questions that Chess has excellent gameplay/replay value but I doubt anyone has ever thought about how the poor pawns are being exploited and used for cannon fodder or wondered whether the queen was cheating on the king with one of the bishops or not. But then again that was never a part of the whole Chess concept.
I think Chess is fine for what it is, but as for gameplay I think it's simplistic and boring. Something I would never play for the gameplay, but rather for the competitive element of "outthinking" a human opponent. That's why I've never played chess against the computer, at least not since Battlechess.

The game is "pure" and "pure" gameplay is, again, not what I'm looking for. That's boring, but I understand the concept and respect that others like it.

What the Bioware Vision Statement and what the quote from Greg Zeschuk suggests, however, is that Bioware's focus in making games is not, I repeat NOT, on making a Chess killer but to make games where you DO wonder about the indiscretions of the queen or why the rook prefers to prance around outside instead of staying home with the wife and kids.
I got that the first time. My point is that they're not the only ones making games that make you think. That's why I think they're full of themselves.

Take a look at Planescape or Fallout - and you'll discover why their bold claim of being unique in this way, is bullshit.

You can dispute whether they succeed or not and your own emotional complexity/simplicity may find the topics they treat fitting or trivial, but with a clear statement in place of what they were trying to achieve it is no longer valid to argue that ME2 should be more like Chess because that was never what they were aiming for.
What you seem to be missing, for some reason I can't understand, is that I don't CARE what they're aiming for. I'm saying what I think of the game, and whether or not they - themselves - are satisfied with it is not part of the equation.

It's my subjective opinion based on my subjective tastes - and that's it.
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March 23rd, 2010, 16:21
While Heavy Rain and Mass Effect do have certain similarities they're still fundamentally different games. If you strip ME of it's shooter elements you'll get something similar to HR, but you can't deny it's got those shooter elements which makes it a real game
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
What's Hollywood got to do with this?

Well, it's what Bioware games remind me of. They're interactive movies more than anything else, and that's simply not what I'm looking for in a game.
Only Bioware game which can be called "interactive movie" is Mass Effect. Apart from that, they made Dragon Age, NWN, KOTOR, Baldur's Gate… none of which are interactive movies. Thus, saying that Bioware is heading in the same direction as Heavy Rain (opinion which is based on only one of their games) is wrong.

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March 23rd, 2010, 16:32
Originally Posted by Malk View Post
While Heavy Rain and Mass Effect do have certain similarities they're still fundamentally different games. If you strip ME of it's shooter elements you'll get something similar to HR, but you can't deny it's got those shooter elements which makes it a real game
Umm that's basically what I said when I made that comparison initially. However, if you are claiming, like many people are , that ME2 is a great "game" beyond the shooter elements or more than a shooter, this fact is important. Don't tell me I am playing some great game beyond a shooter where there are meaningful choices, complexity, or interactivity, when once pure shooter elements are stripped away, all that is left is interactive movie.
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March 23rd, 2010, 16:55
Originally Posted by fatBastard() View Post
I don't like mafia themed anything, so naturally I find the Godfather trilogy about as exciting as having all my teeth undergo root canal treatment at the same time without anesthetics …
This sounds very grim.

I did have tooth root canal treatment WITH anesthetiscs … Twice, I remember. Could have been three times also. It wasn't pretty.

“ 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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March 23rd, 2010, 17:56
Originally Posted by Malk View Post
While Heavy Rain and Mass Effect do have certain similarities they're still fundamentally different games. If you strip ME of it's shooter elements you'll get something similar to HR, but you can't deny it's got those shooter elements which makes it a real game
I've never said they were the same games, that's in your head.

Only Bioware game which can be called "interactive movie" is Mass Effect. Apart from that, they made Dragon Age, NWN, KOTOR, Baldur's Gate… none of which are interactive movies. Thus, saying that Bioware is heading in the same direction as Heavy Rain (opinion which is based on only one of their games) is wrong.
No, it's not wrong. I'm saying Bioware is heading towards interactive movies and I mean it.

Dragon Age has plenty of gameplay that goes deeper than Mass Effect - but if you compare it with Baldur's Gate, you would have to be blind to miss their focus on the cinematic and "emotionally engaging" stuff, rather than evolved gameplay.

I'd say Dragon Age is a significant step down from BG and NWN in terms of stimulating gameplay, but a huge step up in terms of the cinematic experience.

In effect, they're heading towards the interactive movie with each game in their respective "series".

I'm not saying Bioware is emulating Heavy Rain in any other way than the focus on the cinematic aspects.

So, no, I don't think I'm wrong at all.
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March 23rd, 2010, 21:49
That's true if you compare it with BG, but not with NWN… Why is NWN deeper than DA? Yes, it's less focused on presentation, but that doesn't make it more complex.

My point is there's nothing wrong with added emphasis on interactive movie dialogues and cut-scenes, when the rest of the game isn't watered down. I actually like cinematic dialogues a lot more than dialogue trees.
Originally Posted by dagoo7 View Post
Umm that's basically what I said when I made that comparison initially. However, if you are claiming, like many people are , that ME2 is a great "game" beyond the shooter elements or more than a shooter, this fact is important. Don't tell me I am playing some great game beyond a shooter where there are meaningful choices, complexity, or interactivity, when once pure shooter elements are stripped away, all that is left is interactive movie.
I am not. Without it's shooter elements, ME is only a good interactive movie. Which is not necessarily bad, as long as it's fun to be a part of it.

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March 23rd, 2010, 22:01
Originally Posted by Malk View Post
That's true if you compare it with BG, but not with NWN… Why is NWN deeper than DA? Yes, it's less focused on presentation, but that doesn't make it more complex.
Ehm, have we been playing the same game?

The D&D character system is infinitely more interesting and diverse than anything in Dragon Age.

I also happen to consider the multiplayer aspect of NWN to be incredibly rich and the toolset/DM approach a great step forward in terms of user content and persistent servers hosted by players.

DA is a significant step backwards to me, but obviously I can't decide what it is for you.

My point is there's nothing wrong with added emphasis on interactive movie dialogues and cut-scenes, when the rest of the game isn't watered down. I actually like cinematic dialogues a lot more than dialogue trees.
I can't speak objectively about what's wrong or right. What I can do, is lament the focus on what I think is wrong for the gaming industry. To me, it makes sense to take the good aspects of movies and books and integrating them into games where they make sense, but to downplay EXACTLY what I consider the strength of gaming for the strengths of other kinds of entertainment - is what I think is a mistake. But that's me.
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March 23rd, 2010, 22:44
Originally Posted by dagoo7 View Post
Don't tell me I am playing some great game beyond a shooter where there are meaningful choices, complexity, or interactivity, when once pure shooter elements are stripped away, all that is left is interactive movie.
Those shooter elements, however, are there, aren´t they?
You can´t just strip them of.
While those doctors surely love hyperboles, Mass Effect 2 indeed is an engaging game on more than one level.
It´s the mix of well written and voiced characters, solid shooter mechanics and combat scenarios, well developed lore and high production values that makes Mass Effect 2 a great experience.

However I agree that if there´s anything in a need of improvement, it´s the "pure gameplay" aspect. Namely more complex character development, better loot mechanics and more open ended zones with less emphasis on cover system.
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March 24th, 2010, 15:58
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Ehm, have we been playing the same game?

The D&D character system is infinitely more interesting and diverse than anything in Dragon Age.

I also happen to consider the multiplayer aspect of NWN to be incredibly rich and the toolset/DM approach a great step forward in terms of user content and persistent servers hosted by players.

DA is a significant step backwards to me, but obviously I can't decide what it is for you.
Both games have the same gameplay mechanics - fighting, loot, side quests, fighting, loot, etc. NWN's got MP and it's character development is a bit more complex… so what? The gameplay itself is basically the same. Besides, even if that wasn't the case, you couldn't say Dragon Age is watered down because of its cinematic cut-scenes and dialogues (which I think you implied by saying that BioWare is heading more in interactive movie direction, downplaying the pure gameplay aspect). Character development is different than their older DnD games because they chose to cater to new WoW audiences.
To me, it makes sense to take the good aspects of movies and books and integrating them into games where they make sense, but to downplay EXACTLY what I consider the strength of gaming for the strengths of other kinds of entertainment - is what I think is a mistake. But that's me.
That's exactly what I'm saying. It's just that I think they're not downplaying "the strength of gaming" (except in ME's case).

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