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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Dragon Age 2 - Shorter but More Cinematic

Default Dragon Age 2 - Shorter but More Cinematic

March 1st, 2011, 10:39
Thanks to GameBanshee for sending this one in. The newsbit title comes straight from the original article with MMGN reporting some information about the localisation of Dragon Age 2 from a GDC presentation:
Dragon Age: Origins
1,000,000 Words
1,000 Cinematics
1,000 Characters
56,000 Spoken Lines
60 Hours of Gameplay


Dragon Age II
400,000 Words
2,500 Cinematics
500 Characters
38,000 Spoken Lines
40 Hours of Gameplay
More information.

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March 1st, 2011, 10:39
I know this thread will devolve into another repetitive slanging match but please leave out any personal insults in the ensuing melee.

From my personal perspective, the length of a game has no relation to the quality and I already assumed DA2 was shorter. For those who are going to argue that Dragon Age 2 is crap (as well it may, or may not be), I would suggest the length is subsequently irrelevant.

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March 1st, 2011, 10:44
I disagree that length is irrelevant, however for a middle game in a trilogy (or series) I would be more than happy with 40 hours, assuming they can knock out the next in the series quickly enough.

Regarding word count, I would expect there's far less need to have all the texts on background lore that the first game had - that was introducing the setting after all.

I do agree however that my objections to DA2 remain in place regardless of these figures.
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March 1st, 2011, 10:57
It's interesting that it's listed as 40 hours and Dragon Age as 60.

Most official info about Dragon Age implied that it was more than 60, as most players have experienced.

I have a strong feeling Dragon Age 2 is shorter in comparison to the first game, than those numbers indicate.

I say closer to 50% shorter, and not 33% as they're claiming.

Anyone taking bets?

Not that it matters to me.

It all depends on what those hours are filled with. If they've taken away most of the crappy filler combat of DA:O - then I'll be happy.

But I'm not too hopeful.
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March 1st, 2011, 10:57
So Origins was never actually an 'origin' story. The franchise sort of veered off on a tangent, losing quantity now as well as quality in its rush to cut out (sorry 'streamline') the rough edges of Origins.

Funny how some people will defend even this - I especially love the BioWare spin - that there was some focus group that found that fans wanted shorter games (ie less software for their dollar). But don't worry, says Fernando Melo - there will be plenty of DLC!

Ah well, time for my own post-post coronation word - Goodbye Alistair, rule Ferelden wisely and don't go licking lamposts when its cold out. Farewell Wynne, and sorry for having specialized you as as a blood mage - that was mean of me. Leliana - sorry it has to end this way, but there's this man … Gaider, who … no, wait … no, its not what you think, but anyway, he tells me we won't be seeing each other again. Dog - go fetch me a copy of Dungeon Siege 3. And Sandal … well Sandal, I have some good news for you! BioWare have made a new game specially for you!

And what does this mean for ME3 - ME2 was so streamlined you could apply it to planes to make them go faster. Can even ME have further to go?
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March 1st, 2011, 10:57
I wouldn't say that length is entirely irrelevant, but length certainly doesn't equal quality. With that said, I would much rather have more gameplay over more cinematics. Cinematics take a lot of effort to make, and I wonder if it's really worth it to devote so much time and resources to make a game more cinematic- not to mention the likely linearity of the game design to ensure that the player sees all of these cinematics.

I guess it depends on what a developer is going for - if they want to tell a good story and make it resemble a movie, then cinematic is the way to go. But if the goal is to make a story non-linear with a lot of C&C and player involvement within the story, then I don't think the cinematic approach is the best path. Bioware has never had true C&C, so my guess would be that they are pursuing the goal of making a good story with a focus on presentation.
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March 1st, 2011, 11:09
I did get bored of both Me2 and Origins (never finish either) so I dont mind if this is shorter. I do want to finish my games.

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March 1st, 2011, 11:55
I wouldn't mind if we're talking about 40 hours of quality gameplay.Here's hoping for less 'trash-mob' encounters, replaced with more meaningful battles instead.
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March 1st, 2011, 12:02
If shorter means less transport and running from one place to the other, I'm all for it.

Compared to witcher, that I'm playing now.
Lovely world and interesting story, tedious combat (click when you see the icon got tiresome after Vizima) and spending most of the playing time running from one area to the other.

I prefer condensed and fleshed out instead of having lots of "filler" just to get an artificial longer playtime.

Lets agree to that we have different tastes and most of all, differing amounts of time to sink into a certain game.

Since I'm a completionist games tend to take to much time anyway, and lots of them will never be played to the ending scenes.

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March 1st, 2011, 12:08
Really is this news I had a feeling this would happen. Adding voices to every character shortens the game due to the cost and the 2 year development cycle.I already read a review were it was stated you could finish in 15 hrs or double that if you feel you have to complete everything.

So basically every game they make from now will be like MassEffect with there game length. Seems one of patchers predictions has come true. He stated single-player game campaigns will shrink. Especially that rpgs would not be longer than 30 hrs.

Just another problem all of us old-timers will have to deal with. Nothing new.

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March 1st, 2011, 12:13
Originally Posted by Cerberus View Post
Here's hoping for less 'trash-mob' encounters, replaced with more meaningful battles instead.
You didn't play demo, did you?
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March 1st, 2011, 12:17
X2.5 time cinematics , 2/3 gameplay time

I wonder if they count cinematics as gameplay time ?

Because (and i am not doing math for that) it means game is actually much shorter
than 2/3



But YAY! More Movies! Less boring game playing !

DA3 will be a movie - with gameplay akin to Dragons Lair … LOL
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March 1st, 2011, 12:31
Something that would make the extended use of cinematics alot more bearable arguably, would be another idea taken from ME2 - the use of interactive cut-scenes where actions could be chosen during a scene in real time and could have consequences for your game. This is one of the few things I liked in ME2.

If you're going to create the Dragon Effect, you might as well extend that idea conceptually as far as you think you can get away with!

/flummoxed
I still don't fully understand the move to the dialogue wheel, if only to cut VO costs. Otherwise for me, it's just an imprecise, weak mechanic that removes roleplaying choice and leaves you guessing at what Hawke is going to say.

I replayed the demo with a melee class the other night and had much the same experience the first time round with the mage. Rarely needed to pause (save the last ogre fight) the game tended to almost play itself and everything was just too fast and without any kind of text based feedback. I'll be waiting awhile before I play it I think…

As to the length issue - I do prefer the longer experience. DA:O must have taken me at least 80 hrs in the first playthrough.

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March 1st, 2011, 12:31
Originally Posted by Cerberus View Post
I wouldn't mind if we're talking about 40 hours of quality gameplay.Here's hoping for less 'trash-mob' encounters, replaced with more meaningful battles instead.
I'm curious - the people complaining about 'trash mobs' in DA1 - were they a) playing on PC and b) was the difficulty on or above hard?

The console versions, had no tactical view, the enemies came in convenient waves and it was possible to solo Flemeth with just a rogue on nightmare.

The PC version on hard had very meticulously laid out encounters - in fact, the only reason I replayed 3 times was for the combat. Have people here played Sacred 2 and Dungeon Siege 2? What is the standard against which were are measuring DA1 combat?

And DA2, if anything is more than likely to give us real trash mobs.
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March 1st, 2011, 12:40
I agree with Dhruin: The length of DA2 will not be a factor when deciding whether the game is good or bad. Evidence: Planescape is a 20 hour game.

Interesting comparison:
DA1 - 1.000.000 words, 60 hours - 16.667 words per hour
PS: T - 800.000 words, 20 hours - 40.000 words per hour
DA2 - 400.000 words, 40 hours - 10.000 words per hour

Obviously, PS requires at least half a dozen play throughs to read all those words, but it's still pretty extreme given the length of the game. It would be interesting to see the word count of Baldur's Gate 2.

Anyway, it's interesting to see the sheer amount of words written per hour of gameplay. The higher the amount, the higher the replay value in most cases, as it takes more and more play throughs to read it all. I can't imagine anyone being able to read 40.000 words per hour, even if there was zero gameplay.
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March 1st, 2011, 12:41
IMO quantity not only does not reflect quality, but it ruins it.
Maybe it's just my problem and get bored easily, but lesser gameplay is great news for me, as it most likely mean more polish.
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March 1st, 2011, 12:42
Originally Posted by Gaxkang View Post
I'm curious - the people complaining about 'trash mobs' in DA1 - were they a) playing on PC and b) was the difficulty on or above hard?

The console versions, had no tactical view, the enemies came in convenient waves and it was possible to solo Flemeth with just a rogue on nightmare.

The PC version on hard had very meticulously laid out encounters - in fact, the only reason I replayed 3 times was for the combat. Have people here played Sacred 2 and Dungeon Siege 2? What is the standard against which were are measuring DA1 combat?

And DA2, if anything is more than likely to give us real trash mobs.
I played the PC version on hard.

The first 25-30% of the game was a challenge, because I was learning the mechanics and the optimal party/ability configuration - and so forth.

Once the primary party structure was in place - the VAST majority of battles played out almost exactly the same. Using 1 decked out tank, 2 buffers/controllers/healers, and 1 major DPS character.

So, a good 50-60% of all the combat was a total bore for me - because it was endless waves of samey encounters with 1-3 "hard" dudes that needed special care - and I dealt with most of them in the exact same ways.

As for the two dragons - I basically just had my tank hold aggro - spam healed him - and had ranged slowly kill it.

Pretty much zero effort involved.

Really quite boring towards the end - because battles came around each corner. The dwarven area was particularly poorly designed.

Bioware were never good at encounter design - and their games have always had too much filler combat, but Dragon Age was probably the worst I've tried from them.

Mass Effect 2 would have been almost as bad, if it wasn't for the battles being short and very easy. But it had an even more predictable encounter design - complete with "cover obstacles" telegraphing every single encounter in the game.

I'm not sure they even have human beings design levels anymore.

Strikes me more as a somewhat elaborate blueprint tailored with a few personal tweaks.
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March 1st, 2011, 12:50
Am finding myself actually in a little bit of disagreement with the "quality is what counts, not length" proposition.

Particularly in games that deal with relationships and character development, I find that cramming too many such elements into too short a time frame ends up feeling ridiculously contrived, tot he detriment of the very character development that they're striving for. I need time to adjust to the fact that such n'such is supposed to be my beloved sister, so that the upcoming and unavoidable death scene will actually carry some emotional impact. I need time to get to "know" my companions, not only through their dialogue but also by the roles they fill in combat.

A 40 hour game is flirting with simply being too short to achieve any sort of real familiarity with the characters.

One of the reasons I was so shocked by Dupre's death in U7 SI was precisely because he'd been with me for so long. Close to a decade, in fact. The fact that he was a relatively noble fighter with a bit of a drinking problem (ie. cliche) and that he had ridiculously little character development compared to ANY character in any Bioware game didn't matter so much.

Am not saying that long games ARE absolutely necessarily better than short ones, but I'm also not going to dismiss the importance of the game's length when it comes to identifying with a character, either. Icasaracht in teh IWD example really brought this home for me. She was actually a pretty sympathetic character the way she was written, but because the game was so short… just another dragon. Kill it.

I suspect that when I do play DA2, I'll find it much like Bioware's other recent offerings: excellently developed from a technical standpoint, but lacking emotional resonance. And I suspect the length of the game will contribute to that.
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March 1st, 2011, 13:02
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I played the PC version on hard.

The first 25-30% of the game was a challenge, because I was learning the mechanics and the optimal party/ability configuration - and so forth.

Once the primary party structure was in place - the VAST majority of battles played out almost exactly the same. Using 1 decked out tank, 2 buffers/controllers/healers, and 1 major DPS character.

So, a good 50-60% of all the combat was a total bore for me - because it was endless waves of samey encounters with 1-3 "hard" dudes that needed special care - and I dealt with most of them in the exact same ways.

As for the two dragons - I basically just had my tank hold aggro - spam healed him - and had ranged slowly kill it.

Pretty much zero effort involved.

Really quite boring towards the end - because battles came around each corner. The dwarven area was particularly poorly designed.

Bioware were never good at encounter design - and their games have always had too much filler combat, but Dragon Age was probably the worst I've tried from them.

Mass Effect 2 would have been almost as bad, if it wasn't for the battles being short and very easy. But it had an even more predictable encounter design - complete with "cover obstacles" telegraphing every single encounter in the game.

I'm not sure they even have human beings design levels anymore.

Strikes me more as a somewhat elaborate blueprint tailored with a few personal tweaks.
Can't argue with that - especially the whole "wave" thing has been taken too far, and it seems we'll see more of it in DA2. To be honest, it was also pretty bad in ME2, but fine in ME1.

The whole wave system is simply annoying in my opinion. If used lightly, it sometimes turns out well, but in most cases it's simply an excuse to not design proper encounters.
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March 1st, 2011, 13:03
Length is not an issue for me anymore, I have too little time to play games as it is. Quality of content is more important. However, I wonder what the increase in cinematics indicates - if its a sign of increasing choice (e.g. Cinematics for varying outcomes of quests) it is good. If it indicates a greater reliance on cinematics as a storytelling device, I'd be less thrilled.
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