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June 10th, 2009, 15:24
Oh, boy. Rock, Paper, Shotgun has an E3 preview of Dragon Age with some withering observations. It's full of caveats like "Ive seen minutes of it. Its hard to have a sense of perspective […]" - but John Walker wasn't impressed with the material presented:
Our hero - one of the Grey Wardens, the group to which players will belong in an effort to fight back against the Blight, and the evil Arch Demon bringing it about - has a present for a lady, Morrigan. Its a magical book that she has been looking for. Shes going to be very pleased to receive it. Once its dragged from our inventory to hers, she responds with some of the most excruciatingly dreadful flirtation Ive ever seen. The acting is very weak, my face screwed up as I wrote the word AWFUL on my pad in the dark. Shes dressed as you might imagine a girl would appear on the cover of a 1980s D&D book, wearing what appear to be a couple of straps of material, most of her breasts hanging out. We can respond to her elephantine attempts at flirting by suggesting were open to her ideas. Once weve ambiguously agreed to her advances a couple of times, it cuts to a glimpse of an awkward sex scene that saw everyone in the room burst out laughing. Possibly not the desired reaction.
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June 10th, 2009, 15:24
I'm starting to think this thing could have a quite a bit of camp appeal. David Gaider as Ed Wood of computer games?
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June 10th, 2009, 15:27
David posted in our forum that the interaction between characters is similar to BG 2, and that it's possible only the end of a long line of interactions has been shown at the E3.
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June 10th, 2009, 15:35
Are you guys about convinced that buying into the hype might have been overly optimistic?

Maybe songs of praise and promises from the developers themselves don't equate to set-in-stone truth?

Just a thought.
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June 10th, 2009, 15:53
Well, this game has been in development longer than any previous BioWare title, and since I've yet to play a bad BW game, I consider it highly unlikely that Dragon Age won't satisfy me. It might not be the "spiritual successor to BG2", but it's most likely going to be head and shoulders above most RPGs.

Like Blizzard, I just can't imagine BioWare releasing a game the developers is not satisfied with.

That being said, I do think their marketing campaign has been something of a failure. Too many random tidbits and too much focus on stuff that is generally irrelevant. Where the developers used to discuss tactical combat, dialogue options, consequences, origins (the different classes having a different intro) and so on, it's now just rubbish all over the place.
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June 10th, 2009, 16:00
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
David posted in our forum that the interaction between characters is similar to BG 2, and that it's possible only the end of a long line of interactions has been shown at the E3.
Walp, IMO the interaction between characters in BG2 was just this side of camp as well (and, with Viconia anyway, sometimes crossed that line). DA looks like it's gone well past it.

I'm looking forward to it. Nothing's quite as good as campy camp that's unintentionally camp. (Hell, I've gathered that even the sex scene took place in a camp!)
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June 10th, 2009, 16:01
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
Well, this game has been in development longer than any previous BioWare title, and since I've yet to play a bad BW game, I consider it highly unlikely that Dragon Age won't satisfy me. It might not be the "spiritual successor to BG2", but it's most likely going to be head and shoulders above most RPGs.

Like Blizzard, I just can't imagine BioWare releasing a game the developers is not satisfied with.

That being said, I do think their marketing campaign has been something of a failure. Too many random tidbits and too much focus on stuff that is generally irrelevant. Where the developers used to discuss tactical combat, dialogue options, consequences, origins (the different classes having a different intro) and so on, it's now just rubbish all over the place.
Oh, I'm not suggesting it will be a bad game - at least not in any objective sense.

I'm merely suggesting the game MIGHT not be ANYWHERE near what so many people - including many from this forum - thought it HAD to be, especially considering we had developers promising a very deep and rich experience, much like BG/BG2.

I'm not really sure campy juvenile sex scenes coupled with Marilyn Manson marketing is what you'd expect from a "modern" mature CRPG.
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June 10th, 2009, 17:32
As much as I don't like Marilyn Manson (they stole the main act this year for the Graspop festival! Assholes!), I never really "buy into" any hype. I mean, hype is simply informational to me, I guess. Screenshots and listed features coupled with multiple previews are usually enough for me to form an honest opinion of it. Sure, there's gushing and excitement, but I never really seem to be all that excited myself before any game release anymore.

Oh, except for Gothic 3. That was a disappointment on release. My fault really, for thinking it'd be like Gothic 1+2, but EVAN BETTAR!!!!1
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June 10th, 2009, 19:17
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Oh, I'm not suggesting it will be a bad game - at least not in any objective sense.

I'm merely suggesting the game MIGHT not be ANYWHERE near what so many people - including many from this forum - thought it HAD to be, especially considering we had developers promising a very deep and rich experience, much like BG/BG2.

I'm not really sure campy juvenile sex scenes coupled with Marilyn Manson marketing is what you'd expect from a "modern" mature CRPG.
I don't care what previews or hype say about a game — positive or negative. In this case Bioware has the best track record for me by far of any game developer in making games I enjoy so unless they come out with a game which is completely not a genre I care about or unless they turnover all of their staff to new employees I will likely immensely enjoy every game they create including Dragon Age.

In other words, I think that you are too much influenced by the hype in a reverse way.
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June 10th, 2009, 19:54
Originally Posted by NFLed View Post
In other words, I think that you are too much influenced by the hype in a reverse way.
Or he's not that sold on BioWare?

For me, personally, Jade Empire was just ok, and Mass Effect was boring tripe. Dragon Age looks somewhere in between, but really banal and asinine in content.

Might just be the ridiculously bad marketing campaign, tho'.
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June 10th, 2009, 19:59
I liked JE. It was good, clean, light-hearted fun, with a consistent and rather stylish graphic look, a story that maintained its tension and had a pretty nice twist, and solid gameplay.

Of course, it *was* more action-adventure than cRPG, but that's a characteristic, not a fault IMO.

As for ME, IMO the last quarter was pretty good; the rest could be uncharitably described as boring tripe.
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June 10th, 2009, 20:01
All of a sudden Dragon Age went from sounding good to sounding like some kind of a bad joke. Which definitely can't be what Bioware had in mind when it planned for E3.

Who goofed, I wonder? Who's the object of disgust over at Bioware at the moment? Is the development team irritated with the marketing team or is it the other way around, and the marketing side is just making the best of what it's been given to promote?

Has this really been in development for ten years like the article says? I didn't know that. Who works on a project for ten years? To me that's a red flag right there.

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June 10th, 2009, 20:10
I'm hoping we're just seeing the worst of things.

Bioware *can* do relationships better than this - I thought Ashley in Mass Effect was brilliant. Liara wasn't bad until near the end, but up to that point it was okay. But I agree with the general sentiment that unless they're done really well sex scenes just ought not to be there - sometimes what's not seen is far sexier.
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June 10th, 2009, 20:20
I couldn't stand Ashley and took great pleasure in nuking her, so I guess I missed that part. I hope DA at least allows those kinds of options too.
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June 10th, 2009, 20:38
Originally Posted by NFLed View Post
I don't care what previews or hype say about a game — positive or negative. In this case Bioware has the best track record for me by far of any game developer in making games I enjoy so unless they come out with a game which is completely not a genre I care about or unless they turnover all of their staff to new employees I will likely immensely enjoy every game they create including Dragon Age.

In other words, I think that you are too much influenced by the hype in a reverse way.
I'm probably one of the least "media and marketing" influenced people you'll find altogether - and my opinion stems primarily from the downward spiral of Bioware since KotOR and the industry in general.

The marketing is just confirming my already very bleak expectations - I just figured it might shed some light on where this game is going, but if you really enjoy the direction Bioware has been heading for years - then there's no good reason not to expect another example of that.
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June 10th, 2009, 20:58
It sounds too me like Mike Laidlaw (that presented the game) forgot to tell the people who watched his presentation of DA: Origins at E3 that the outcome they're about to witness is just one of several possible outcome…

And maybe a difference about how to market DA: Origins is the real reason Dan Tudge left….

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June 10th, 2009, 22:10
Yeah my gut tells me that this was a marketing flub, not a design flaw. I'm no modern BioWare fanboy - I think Jade Empire onwards were fun but not great - but this smacks at jumping to conclusions and taking things out of context all at once. I'm not worried.
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June 11th, 2009, 01:51
I agree it's mostly a marketing issue but, boy, what a cock-up. I think marketing thought they might get the Mass-Effect-blue-lesbian-alien blanket media coverage but they've misjudged it and presented it poorly. It still feels just a little desperate to me - like marketing doesn't trust the gameplay enough to go with that.

That said, it's surprising to see RPS criticising the actual dialogue and voiceacting; while marketing might not have the context right to show these to best affect, you still shouldn't get a decent writer like John Walker scribbling "awful", "clodding dialogue" and "pathetic".

Players see it, too. I've seen negative comments about the videos on a number of forums that run counter to the general, underlying "BioWare rocks" mantra. They've missed the mark with the material they've presented so far.

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June 11th, 2009, 01:52
One thing I got from Gaider's posting was that he had nothing to do with what was shown at E3, so my guess is their moronic marketing minions decided to appeal to the infantile minds they assumed would buy the game. They should all get a bullet!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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June 11th, 2009, 06:35
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
One thing I got from Gaider's posting was that he had nothing to do with what was shown at E3
No, I rarely do when it comes to marketing. That's a whole other bunch of people.

Insofar as the RPS article goes, I'll admit I find it a bit distressing to read this sort of stuff. It is what it is, but I don't think it's indicative of the game as a whole— something even the writer pointed out, considering the game is so large and what we can show at any given time being such a small slice.

I don't know what the presentation itself looked like, but it probably needed to be stressed more that this was a story element shown out of context (whether or not that is a good idea to do being an entirely different discussion). Prior to getting to that point, the player would have had to spend a lot of time developing the romances for both Morrigan and Leliana— and I'll stress that, myself: Morrigan does not sleep with you just because you gave her a book. The book is a quest item that, in this case, happened to push her approval into the point where she would make a sexual advance in camp.

It should also be pointed out that Leliana isn't reacting to the fact that you slept with Morrigan. She doesn't, in fact, even know that's what you did. She's responding to the fact that your romance with Morrigan has reached a point where she objects. It sounds like the writer of the article expected her to be more angry, and perhaps that's where the comments on the acting comes from, I don't know. It's too bad — Leliana is, in my opinion, one of the better voices of the game. Perhaps the French accent threw him off? I'm not sure. Chances are he wasn't inclined to be charitable by that point.

Even so, I can't really blame some of the perceptions of these events if this is the order in which they were shown. Personally showing the latter part of a romance plot isn't likely to be of much interest to anyone who hasn't bought into it already and been through all the lead up. Maybe I'm wrong. Either way, the romances are pretty complex and it's a mistake to write them off as superficial — for the people who like romance plots, they'll be in for a treat.

And it seems like we have a task ahead of us showing that this is so. I hope we can. I still believe this is a game worth the time of the RPG fan, very much so.
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