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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Dragon Age 2 - Mark Darrah on the Conclusion

Default Dragon Age 2 - Mark Darrah on the Conclusion

March 19th, 2012, 23:14
Dragon Age II Executive Producer Mark Darrah has posted on the BioWare forums, officially marking the end of work on DA2 and highlighting some "milestones" (Facebook likes?):
Hey everyone,

With last week marking the one year anniversary of the release of Dragon Age II, I wanted to take the time to share some news and some great milestones we’ve had lately with Dragon Age. And though I can’t say too much, I also want to briefly address what is coming in the future.

First, I was delighted to hear that the Dragon Age brand has passed one million “Likes” on Facebook! This was an incredible reminder for me, and our entire team, that there are a lot of you out there who are invested in the franchise and who want to explore the world more. From all of us, I want to send a massive thank you!

Next, the latest and greatest patch for DAII is out, addressing a number of the issues you have helped us track on our tech support forums. Thank you again to those of you who took the time to submit feedback in order to help us make the game better.

And finally, while we will still be keeping an eye out for any issues that might crop up in DAII and supporting the community should any emergencies should arise, we’re moving the entire team’s focus to the next phase of Dragon Age’s future.

You’ve most certainly heard the rumors floating around, and unfortunately I can’t really comment on them. However, what I can say is that we’ve been thinking a lot about Dragon Age – what it means, and where it could go. This past year, we’ve spent a lot of time both going back to the “BioWare vault” of games and re-examining them, and looking at some new possibilities that today’s industry allows.

With that, the next thing for the Dragon Age team members and I to do is hear from you, and not just on the forums, or Facebook, or Twitter. We’ll be attending a number of conventions and gatherings, including PAX East in April. The most valuable thing we can get out of those meetings is to hear from you on those same topics – what does Dragon Age mean to you, and where would you like to see it go? We’re excited to hear what you have to say!
On behalf of the entire team, we are incredibly eager to reach the moment when we can tell you more and show you where we are taking Dragon Age. But for now, thank you for your continued support, and we will be back here with more as soon as we can.

Thanks,
Mark
More information.
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March 19th, 2012, 23:14
I really expected a final DLC.

Jerks.
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March 19th, 2012, 23:27
Interesting news in the linked thread. DAII is done. A planned expansion is cancelled.

The name, Mike Laidlaw, is absent from the thread. Mark Darrah brings an entirely different tone (as in non-patronizing and condescension-free). However there is no announcement that Laidlaw is gone — quite possibly he is only muzzled for the moment. Sadly (in my personal view), Gaider did pop up with a short post indicating that he is still part of the team. Perhaps if Laidlaw is gone, Gaider might be different…

No promises on what comes next except that Hawke's personal story is done but events surrounding Hawke's story will play a role in any future installments.

There seems to be a contradiction in that Darrah says they are actively working on something but they are very very interested to know what fans want for the future of DA — i.e., we want fan input before making decisions even though whatever we're working on must involve decisions that have already been made.

One poster said forget it — they were done with DA — period — followed by a pretty decent 'what could we do to change your mind?' type of response by Darrah — followed by another 'forget it' type response by poster — followed by further calm, 'we're listening', friendly posts by Darrah.

Much better tone than in the past. As to the future, I personally ain't buying nothin' till I see it happen. Nevertheless the chances of an improved future for DA did slightly increase in my calculations (although the number in my calculations is still way south of 50/50).

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Last edited by RPGFool; March 19th, 2012 at 23:48.
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March 19th, 2012, 23:38
While Darrah's initial post is pretty standard "on message" talk, I found some of his other posts within that thread to be rather interesting.

The fact that he says they cancelled plans for an expansion pack and have chosen to essentially drop any further DLC to wrap up the main plotline (not to mention that there was much less DLC than DA:O in the first place) speaks volumes. It's clear they want to cut their losses with DA2 and put their energy into the next game.

Being an optimist who has enjoyed all of Bioware's game prior to DA2 (though mediocre, I did enjoy it somewhat), I'm curious to see what they're going to do with the next game. I sense that they'll be trying to "kiss and make up" with their irritated fanbase, so hopefully that will manifest itself in a return to the RPG side of things.
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March 19th, 2012, 23:49
I did enjoy Dragon Age 2, although not nearly as much as DA:O (which is one of my top five games for the past ten years or so), and even though I don't like what Bioware have become I know I can't stop myself from buying their next Dragon Age… I actually cared a bit for my companions in DA:O, something that doesn't happen in many games.
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March 19th, 2012, 23:49
I knew they were finished with DA2. Almost 6-7 months since the last DLC with Bioware going dark on any news.

They basically washed there hands of it and are focusing on ways to improve the series. After what Laidlaw did I'm glad someone besides him is taking the lead.

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March 20th, 2012, 00:01
The problems with DA2 were probably too fundamental for them to address in a patch (at least in terms of cost vs financial benefit to them). I think it is fair enough to draw a line and try to get things right for the next game - not all bad/mediocre games can be improved.

The main evidence for me that things have changed will be if they change their tone in terms of hype - the "awesome button" quote should be printed out and glued in big red letters above their PCs as "what not to say".

Edit: I was wondering where the name Mark Darrah sounded familiar…I think he is on one of the graves in Nashkel in BG1. So he's been around in Bioware for a while - hopefully a good sign.
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March 20th, 2012, 00:40
This obviously hasn't been confirmed, but if Mike "Awesome-Button" Laidlaw isn't the creative lead/project director, that would go a long way in putting DA3 back on my radar a little bit.
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March 20th, 2012, 01:18
What is Gaider up to these days? Didn't he write the whole setting and lead the development of DA1? Or was that Knowles, who ended up quitting? Whoever it was should definitely do DA3, as DA1 was flat out amazing.

In fact, I feel like replaying DA1 these days. Hmm.
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March 20th, 2012, 01:19
Guess the absence of Laidlaw was too good to be true after all —
Laidlaw pops up on page 21 of the thread.

So it goes.

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March 20th, 2012, 01:27
Dang, I hope he is gone. He is a complete moron.

Skyrim is a perfect example that you don't have to dumb down RPGs to make them big sellers. I didn't and won't buy DA2, yet DA:O was one of my favorite games of all time.
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March 20th, 2012, 03:16
No this Mark guy is just a producer. Mike Laidlaw is still the project leader. If Bioware were serious about making a better DA3 they would have changed leadership around. They didn't. So expect DA 2.5
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March 20th, 2012, 04:03
I feel like people overdo the pinning of blame on a face, like Laidlaw. He is one guy on the team (who gets told what to do by EA), and he has sort of been set up as the fall guy for the hollow entry, DA2.

Yes, he talks like a 12 year old who watches a lot of cartoons and he obviously doesn't have the cahones to stand up to ownership pressure to make poor video games. Yes, his name is attached to most of Bioware's worst games.

But the blame still has to go to the team as a whole, from Laidlaw to Gaider to metacritic astroturfer. They all agreed to go along with this knowing it would deal a heavy blow to their reputations.

So for myself, purging Laidlaw won't win me back. Probably nothing ever will. I will most likely never preorder Bioware titles or buy them until they've been reviewed, vetted, and compiled in an ultimate edition. Laidlaw or no Laidlaw it takes a team to make this mess. Trust is a tower built slowly, but can crumble to the ground from a single poorly placed support. We know clearly now that Bioware doesn't mind mixing poor games in with their dwindling number of masterpieces.
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March 20th, 2012, 04:12
I think part of the problem is that they are cranking these games out so quickly.

DA:O was in development for several years whereas DA2 was popped out in something like 18 months (?).

Regardless of the size of the team, I hope they take enough time to properly lay the foundation with the story, concept art and environments.
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March 20th, 2012, 04:15
I think that it can't all be left at the door of one person, even if they are a game director. I am cautiously optimistic for DA 3, because of what the CEOs/Bioware founders said about it, and maybe I'm being a dumb fan boy but I'm willing to give it a chance and maybe DA 3 will be a much needed return to form.
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March 20th, 2012, 04:58
Originally Posted by Grimlorn View Post
No this Mark guy is just a producer. Mike Laidlaw is still the project leader.
Yep, two different roles.

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March 20th, 2012, 07:37
I expect DA3 to closely follow ME's linear mission structure with a couple of small hubs and a tacked-on multiplayer that is mostly there to discourage piracy and used game sales.

It will sell better than DA2 thanks to improved graphics from having abandoned the rehashed aurora engine for the battlefield 3 one.

Originally Posted by Arkadia7 View Post
I am cautiously optimistic for DA 3, because of what the CEOs/Bioware founders said about it
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March 20th, 2012, 07:52
Dragon Age 2 features by far the most interesting (though also the most bewilderingly uneven) storytelling in a Bioware game for ages, outmatching everything in DA:O except for the wonderful Landsmeet. The gameplay as well as the breadth of content and choices & consequences side of things was obviously lacking, but I'd hate for Bioware to get the wrong message from all the forum outrage (which seems par for the course with anything Bioware-related these days). DA2 was a "one step forward, two steps back" kind of game for me, not even close to the unequivocal garbage it gets described as by the Internet hate machine.
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March 20th, 2012, 10:34
Originally Posted by Demiath View Post
I'd hate for Bioware to get the wrong message from all the forum outrage (which seems par for the course with anything Bioware-related these days). DA2 was a "one step forward, two steps back" kind of game for me, not even close to the unequivocal garbage it gets described as by the Internet hate machine.
Really none of the hate is justified. Is that what your saying right? Because from what I'm seeing these past 6-7 years is a company becoming a shell of its former self.

Everyone keeps saying vocal minority and that also pisses me off. If a third of your potential buyers are disgruntled with every release you make your doing something wrong.

Are there games garbage who knows but in the eyes of the vocal minority as you call them they lack something it seems. I do agree there is unjustified pure hate but there is also unjustified pure fanboyism.

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Last edited by Couchpotato; March 20th, 2012 at 11:19.
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March 20th, 2012, 11:01
At least, that … thing is buried once and for all.
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