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Default Dragon Age 2 - Ray Muzyka Interview @ IndustryGamers

August 10th, 2011, 11:23
IndustryGamers has a handful of quotes from Dr. Ray Muzyka explaining how the changes to Dragon Age 2 were the right direction but they are also taking feedback into account for the future. I'd politely suggest the number of these interviews suggests they're getting a lot more feedback than Dr. Ray would like to admit:
"I think there was actually a tremendous number of people that came into the franchise and were delighted. So there were many people who critically thought it was wonderful, and actually a lot of old fans did as well. There’s no doubt that there was a polarization though. Maybe some of that can be attributed to some of the fans of Dragon Age: Origins who were maybe expecting a similar experience. But we actually innovated, we took a lot of risk, we were pushing the envelope on how we told the story, the gameplay, the action moments, the graphics - a lot of things were changed. And, actually, I really believe it was the right direction," Muzyka began.
…and hints of DA3:
"We’re working on future projects in the Dragon Age franchise," he acknowledged. "We have some more DLC plans, that actually address some of the feedback from some of our core fans. I think that’s going to be really satisfying to fans who liked DAO and DA2. We haven’t announced Dragon Age III formally at all, but we can say we’re definitely thinking about future products. There’s some cool stuff in the works there."
More information.
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August 10th, 2011, 11:23
The PR push they have been doing since this game reviewed relatively poorly has been amusing to watch. They'll never give up trying to expand the audience though, I don't even think EA would let them if they wanted to.
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August 10th, 2011, 11:29
I think Bioware is the one AAA developer that I've fully given up on, in terms of making the kind of game I'd love to play.

Blizzard, Bethesda, and other AAA studios still seem to have a grasp on certain fundamentals and - at least partially - seem to design from a position of passion.

I'm trying to forget all about Dragon Age 2 - and I prefer to think of Bioware as something great that belongs in the past.
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August 10th, 2011, 11:32
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I think Bioware is the one AAA developer that I've fully given up on, in terms of making the kind of game I'd love to play.
I like the Mass Effect games a lot. They seem to be made with a lot of passion to make a great game and by a talented team. They succeed at doing well exactly what they are supposed to do well. If you're not big on shooters then obviously it won't appeal to you, but for those who are it's a wonderful shooter series with RPG elements.

The other teams seem much more like passionless factory workers though, you're right.
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August 10th, 2011, 11:37
Originally Posted by DoctorNarrative View Post
I like the Mass Effect games a lot. They seem to be made with a lot of passion to make a great game and by a talented team. They succeed at doing well exactly what they are supposed to do well. If you're not big on shooters then obviously it won't appeal to you, but for those who are it's a wonderful shooter series with RPG elements.

The other teams seem much more like passionless factory workers though, you're right.
I liked Mass Effect, but not so much the sequel.

I won't deny they're very competent products - but I don't see any passion in terms of design vision or deep/engaging stories. The artists and "production value" teams are most likely very passionate - but the overarching vision is hollow and business-oriented.

More than anything, it strikes me as a typical Hollywood production converted to an interactive format.

Obviously, a lot of people thought ME2 was fantastic - so maybe it's just me. But that's honestly what I see when I play modern Bioware games.

Dragon Age 2 is a lot like Mass Effect 2 in this way, even if the game mechanics differ.
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August 10th, 2011, 11:41
Originally Posted by DoctorNarrative View Post
I like the Mass Effect games a lot. They seem to be made with a lot of passion to make a great game and by a talented team. They succeed at doing well exactly what they are supposed to do well. If you're not big on shooters then obviously it won't appeal to you, but for those who are it's a wonderful shooter series with RPG elements.
I typically prefer RPGs to shooters, but I likewise seem to prefer Mass Effect to Dragon Age these days. The changes they're trying to the game/genre seem to be successful, while the experimentation with DA hasn't. Can't say I entirely blame them for trying to go somewhere new, but there's a chance it doesn't work, which I think was the case in DA2.
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August 10th, 2011, 11:52
And so, my fellow gamers, ask not what your franchise can do for you; ask what you can do for your franchise!

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August 10th, 2011, 11:57
I already "didn't do it" for the last couple of games
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August 10th, 2011, 14:47
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I think Bioware is the one AAA developer that I've fully given up on, in terms of making the kind of game I'd love to play.

Blizzard, Bethesda, and other AAA studios still seem to have a grasp on certain fundamentals and - at least partially - seem to design from a position of passion.

I'm trying to forget all about Dragon Age 2 - and I prefer to think of Bioware as something great that belongs in the past.
Yeah, I never thought I'd say that Bethesda has a better handle on RPGs than Bioware, but….. they do. And, if Bioware think they made the "big money" on DA2, just imagine the kind of silly money Bethsoft is going to make on Skyrim. You don't have to gut the game of all its fiddly-bits to still be successful. To be honest, they should've done what Obsidian did with Fallout: New Vegas—instituted a "hard core" mode of some kind to please the core fans. I'm not sure how this mode would've worked with their new DA framework, but from my perspective they simply chose to jettison their core audience altogether. That sounds like a good business decision in the short-term, but I'm not sure it benefits them in the long run, as the core tends to serve as the base and cheer-leading squad for a game over its lifespan.

However, that doesn't resolve the issues with cutting corners on areas, etc. to keep costs down. There's no excuse for that, no matter what their claims of "innovation."
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August 10th, 2011, 16:58
Originally Posted by Ray Muzyka
the fans of Dragon Age: Origins who were maybe expecting a similar experience
Imagine that. People expected a similar experience in a sequel. The nerve!

This more of the same crap they have been peddling since this game was released. Basically blaming the fans for actually expecting a sequel to be a sequel and for not comprehending their innovation and risk taking.

Originally Posted by Falchor View Post
Yeah, I never thought I'd say that Bethesda has a better handle on RPGs than Bioware, but….. they do.
In terms of market share maybe, but I for one am not willing to give that title to a company that can't write a decent story or even some decent lines of dialog to make you want to care about anyone in their worlds.

Maybe if Bioware and Bethesda had a baby we'd have something good…or something horrific.
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August 10th, 2011, 17:38
Originally Posted by hishadow View Post
And so, my fellow gamers, ask not what your franchise can do for you; ask what you can do for your franchise!
Good summary of what the good doctor is saying.

I am wondering, like when I did sales, if the company believes that players are obligated to buy their products. The Bioware employee that used to frequent our forums liked to speak of the Bioware fanboy that bought all Bioware games regardless of platform (the Sonic game was in development with DA:O on the backburner having been further delayed by Jade Empire, etc.).

To me, that gives the most insight to how the company thinks: convinced about how great their own products are.

Originally Posted by Motoki View Post
Imagine that. People expected a similar experience in a sequel. The nerve!

This more of the same crap they have been peddling since this game was released. Basically blaming the fans for actually expecting a sequel to be a sequel and for not comprehending their innovation and risk taking.
good post.

In terms of market share maybe, but I for one am not willing to give that title to a company that can't write a decent story or even some decent lines of dialog to make you want to care about anyone in their worlds.

Maybe if Bioware and Bethesda had a baby we'd have something good…or something horrific.
Bioware did well by going back to the games they loved to play - recreating the experience they had - D&D, Ultima, Jagged Alliance, etc. with the IE games. The market changed to 3D and console and they went scrambling to keep up and have been for several years.I think KotOR was the last time they made a game they simply "liked", ever since they started using focus groups to determine the directions of their games.

Both Bethesda and Bioware now are guilty of being terribly formulaic. Elder Scrolls games to me are almost roguelike - guilty of "cheating" by using algorithms to try and fill voids.

After Eschalon, I'm taking a serious look at Indies.

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August 10th, 2011, 17:56
I clearly remember a Bioware employee defending the original Dragon Age here - basically telling people that we should be happy we got a reasonably deep game in the first place.

He was right, wasn't he. The funny thing is, though, that he also said that we should support it if we wanted more of that kind of thing.

I certainly supported it - and so did a few million others.

Now… What did that get us, exactly?
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August 10th, 2011, 18:18
Originally Posted by Lucky Day View Post
Both Bethesda and Bioware now are guilty of being terribly formulaic. Elder Scrolls games to me are almost roguelike - guilty of "cheating" by using algorithms to try and fill voids.
They love algorithms. Wherever they can get the computer to generate something instead of creating it by hand they will try that. The problem is to really pull off what they want to do convincingly you'd need nothing short of a Star Trek holodeck. With the current level of technology and crude AI available it often leaves their games feeling hollow and not convincing. A little personal touch goes a long way. Bethesda don't get that.

After Eschalon, I'm taking a serious look at Indies.
I've pretty much given up getting what I want out of the AAAs. Maybe I'll get some unexpected enjoyment if I set my expectations low but RPG has morphed into something not very RPG lately for the big developers so I think the only option for that classic experience is to look to the indies.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I clearly remember a Bioware employee defending the original Dragon Age here - basically telling people that we should be happy we got a reasonably deep game in the first place.

He was right, wasn't he. The funny thing is, though, that he also said that we should support it if we wanted more of that kind of thing.

I certainly supported it - and so did a few million others.

Now… What did that get us, exactly?
That game has a very long development time. It was started before the EA buyout. There is no way EA will greenlight a project that takes that long from start to finish. I don't think all the sales in the world will change that.

I do think that certain aspects in the direction of the first game vs the second can be 'encouraged' through sales and I think they got the message to a point, but then again Laidlaw is still running around saying the first game was "busted".

Busted how? I think I logged over 100 hours in that game with all the DLCs and the expansion. I breezed through DA2 in a much shorter span of time and just cannot bring myself to give a damn about it enough to get the DLC; I'm still trying to forget DA2 actually. Judging by the user reviews on metacritic I am far from alone. You tell me which game is busted.
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August 10th, 2011, 19:19
I think it's all related with the 'relatively small development time' of Dragon Age 2 (1,5 year). And to think that there's also other two big projects in their hands (Mass Effect 3 and DLCs of 2, Old Republic), you can understand the challenges devs faced. This limited time and resource clearly took it's toll on certain aspect of the game like no choices in the game (apart from cosmetic ones), repetitive places, shallow side quests. But the game also has some pluses too. Like story telling, still maintaining the strategical aspect of the game on PC (How many AAA RPGs on the market still allows you to pause and issue orders to your characters), graphics (I like DA2's colorful graphics much than first game) and nearly bug-free experience. If in the future they can find enough time for developing DA3, I still hope that they can come up with a RPG that has more "R" in it. And of course someone have to convince Mike Laidlaw that 'choices&consequences' are still the core aspect of an RPG.

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August 10th, 2011, 21:15
Originally Posted by Motoki View Post
A little personal touch goes a long way. Bethesda don't get that.
Oh, I wholeheartedly agree and was actually implying that we're much worse-off if Bethesda is now held in higher regard than Bioware. If you ask me now which game I'd pick off the shelf—Skyrim or DA3, there's no question which one I'm reaching for, and I am not a huge Elder Scrolls fan. I loved Daggerfall and greatly enjoyed Morrowind, but Oblivion, Fallout 3, and (I imagine) Skyrim, are all pretty buy the numbers. However, I'd take any one of those over what Bioware is shoveling these days.

Although it was riddled with bugs upon release, I've actually found Fallout New Vegas to be the best AAA CRPG I've played recently, and Bethsoft did choose to fund that game. So, we have to at least give them props for that, even if their own games seem uninspired and pedantic in comparison.
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August 10th, 2011, 23:11
Originally Posted by Falchor View Post
Although it was riddled with bugs upon release, I've actually found Fallout New Vegas to be the best AAA CRPG I've played recently, and Bethsoft did choose to fund that game. So, we have to at least give them props for that, even if their own games seem uninspired and pedantic in comparison.
I agree, and I'm not a big shooter fan so that's saying something for me. New Vegas is basically what you get when you take a Bethesda style game and combine it with decent writing and choice and consequence. It's what Bethesda could be if they put a little more effort into their worlds instead of trying to automate everything. That is why Bethesda frustrates me so much. They are so close to being great but they ignore anything that really adds character and just end up hollow and generic.

As for the bugs, I got in on New Vegas late, a couple of months ago to be exact, and I haven't really noticed many so it seems like their patches have caught most of the major ones, or I just haven't stumbled onto them.
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August 11th, 2011, 01:57
A quick comment on the development time of DA:O. BioWare did not have a full production team on the project until the last couple of years, so it's very hard to compare to other projects. Yes, it did take a long time but they also weren't actually trying to finish it until the last 2 years or so (would have to check my notes to be exact so don't take this as specific).

—————-

I loved DA:O (a favourite game of mine over the last years) but DA2 didn't address any of the obvious issues and went backwards in a number of others (well…from the little I played).

With the exception of DA:O, for me BioWare games have rested on the story while providing sub-par gameplay for a long time and I suspect the public is starting to sense that. It's time they stopped streamlining out exploration and provided more than just a few corridors, it's time to have interesting and dynamic towns, it's time to have decent loot systems (what's with that?) and more.

Otherwise, perhaps more shooter-ised Mass Effect might be the right thing for them - corridor shooters still seem to sell OK if the presentation is tight.

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August 11th, 2011, 01:57
Really is anyone still getting excited reading these pr nonsense interviews. Bioware is never going to come out and admit there game is a piss poor sequel.

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August 11th, 2011, 03:28
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
I loved DA:O (a favourite game of mine over the last years) but DA2 didn't address any of the obvious issues and went backwards in a number of others (well…from the little I played).
Remember the marketing for DA:O? It was a paradigm shift for Bioware and showed they were no longer in control of their creative vision for Dragon Age. It was mentioned by the guy who frequented this forum too (Patrick Weekes). They had been working on the game on their own, until the marketing department discovered the game had potential outside its intended audience. From there on it was all about extreme violence and tits & clits (tm).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKGJwjXQy0A







Last edited by hishadow; August 11th, 2011 at 10:06.
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August 11th, 2011, 12:28
Originally Posted by Motoki View Post
Basically blaming the fans for actually expecting a sequel to be a sequel and for not comprehending their innovation and risk taking.
Very well put, imho !



Originally Posted by Motoki View Post
They love algorithms. Wherever they can get the computer to generate something instead of creating it by hand they will try that.
Bethesda = Programming Geeks ?

(Half joking, half serious)

Originally Posted by hishadow View Post
They had been working on the game on their own, until the marketing department discovered the game had potential outside its intended audience. From there on it was all about extreme violence and tits & clits (tm).
This sounds very reasonable to me.
It would imho definitively explain quite a lot of things - especially the direction the second game took.

“ 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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