|
Your continuous donations keep RPGWatch running!
RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » The Escapist - The Writers of BioWare

Default The Escapist - The Writers of BioWare

December 5th, 2009, 22:48
Another Shamus Young article, this time his regular Experience Points column at The Escapist. Shamus looks at the characters and writing in recent BioWare games (from KotOR on) and (surprise!) finds consistent archetypes. Some of the selections will no doubt be debatable, so you can also read his comments at his blog. A sample:
If you've played the BioWare games from the last decade, you may have noticed some really strong similarities between them. Some take place in the Star Wars universe, some in a high fantasy setting, some in a space-faring future, but the same elements, characters, themes, and plot devices appear again and again. Once you get to know these games, you can recognize what NPC archetype you're talking to within a minute or two of meeting them.
Think about how similar your companions are from game to game:
The Remorseless Killer
Examples: Sten (Dragon Age), Canderous Ordo (KOTOR), Sagacious Zu (Jade Empire)
The product of a warrior culture, the Remorseless Killer is just doing his job. His grim, scorched-earth, genocidal, baby-killing job. Don't take it personally. Most of the time his awful deeds served the greater good. Or seemed to. He thinks. It's all sort of a blur now. Still, he can't help it so it's best not to dwell on the past anyway.
The Berzerker
Examples:HK-47 (KOTOR), Black Whirlwind (Jade Empire), Urdnot Wrex (Mass Effect), Oghren and Shale (Dragon Age)
Unlike the Remorseless Killer, the Berzerker doesn't just go around killing people for some misguided cause. He does it for laughs! If you need someone to snap out a couple of witty one-liners while mowing down foes, the Berzerker is your man.
More information.
Dhruin is offline

Dhruin

Dhruin's Avatar
Keeper of the Watch
Super Moderator
RPGWatch Team

#1

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 11,968

Default 

December 5th, 2009, 22:48
I am always pissed about the Captain Emo and Shrew characters. I guess thats why I never really went along with DA, because in DA those are your first and closest chars. I just hated Alistair aka Sir-whines-alot and Morrigan the bitch. No no.

Interesting analysis, tho.
elikal is offline

elikal

elikal's Avatar
Sentinel

#2

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Germany
Posts: 515

Default 

December 5th, 2009, 23:51
They forgot BG2:

Anomen: Captain Emo
Korgan: Berzerker
Imoen: Pilgrim
Jaheira: Shrew

I'd also list the NWN henchmen but I can't remember them/be arsed. IIRC the bard was pretty shrewish and the monk was fairly remorseless though.
coaster is offline

coaster

coaster's Avatar
Utarg of Utarg

#3

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Englandland
Posts: 539

Default 

December 6th, 2009, 00:17
"Captain Emo" ? What kind of term is that ?

I only knew "Captain America" so far …

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)
Alrik Fassbauer is offline

Alrik Fassbauer

Alrik Fassbauer's Avatar
TL;DR

#4

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Old Europe
Posts: 16,000

Default 

December 6th, 2009, 14:17
You could apply those archetypes to pretty much any character most any game or book. Its the nature of archetypes.
wolfgrimdark is offline

wolfgrimdark

wolfgrimdark's Avatar
Keeper of the Watch

#5

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: NH
Posts: 876

Default 

December 6th, 2009, 17:09
Either the archetypes are so vague that they don't mean much, or the author really wanted his little thesis to work and disregarded substantial differences between characters. I would say that the characters mentioned in the article differ enough to not be put into the same category. HK-47 and Urdnot Wrex? Leilana and Mission Vao? Wynne and David Anderson?
Grandor Dragon is offline

Grandor Dragon

Sentinel

#6

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: London, UK
Posts: 555

Default 

December 6th, 2009, 17:32
Originally Posted by coaster View Post
They forgot BG2:

Anomen: Captain Emo
Korgan: Berzerker
Imoen: Pilgrim
Jaheira: Shrew
Imoen a "pilgrim"? Jaheira a "Schrew"? Not the way I experienced them. Perhaps they are both emo, if you want to use these templates.
Grandor Dragon is offline

Grandor Dragon

Sentinel

#7

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: London, UK
Posts: 555

Default 

December 6th, 2009, 18:17
Well, though there are differences I have to say I agree with the majority of what he's saying.

Not that I mind all that much, as the NPC interaction never really "did it" for me in Bioware games, which is perhaps why I'm not quite so taken with them. Too formulaic and rigid in structure, and back with BG - I always made my own party.

Still, plenty of good NPCs in there.
DArtagnan is offline

DArtagnan

DArtagnan's Avatar
Waste of potential

#8

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Denmark
Posts: 14,801

Default 

December 6th, 2009, 19:31
He didn't "forget" BG2. He just wanted to focus on the recent three titles. Of course, he only really stressed that on his web log, not in the article. And yeah, it seems silly to me that Shamus would write about this as if it were some sort of discovery. BioWare is aiming for (and achieving) something very specific.

Gamer Granola: RPG-centric Reviews and Discussions
bobisimo is offline

bobisimo

bobisimo's Avatar
Watcher

#9

Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 31

Default 

December 6th, 2009, 19:40
I agree with his classifications, but not with his general statement that Bioware writers are masters. I usually love their dialogue, especially DA:O, but the stories have been lacking a bit. Dragon age was stale with a witless brute and a wannabe "anti-hero" for villains. Mass effect had a great villain, but quite a few plot holes. Hopefully they can fuse the best of both sometime in the future.
Rake is offline

Rake

Rake's Avatar
Traveler

#10

Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 11

Default 

December 8th, 2009, 19:11
"If you played both KOTOR (made by BioWare) and KOTOR 2 (made by Obsidian) you can see the difference that a fresh slate of writers can make. The two games are very different in tone and style. While people disagree on which one had the better writing, it's obvious that a change in writing staff can have a powerful impact on the game as a whole. "

Yeah. KotOR was quite good. KotOR2 wasn't. By the end of 2 I was forcing myself to play just to see what the ending was and then the ending was totally lame. Oh well.
Last edited by BillSeurer; December 8th, 2009 at 20:24.
BillSeurer is offline

BillSeurer

BillSeurer's Avatar
Eternal Supreme Dictator

#11

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Minnesota, USA
Posts: 1,728

Default 

December 8th, 2009, 23:17
Originally Posted by BillSeurer View Post
By the end of 2 I was forcing myself to play just to see what the ending was and then the ending was totally lame. Oh well.

That's pretty much how I felt about the first game, I had to force myself to keep playing after about 3/4 through. Never had any desire to even try KotOR 2 because of that.
JDR13 is offline

JDR13

JDR13's Avatar
SasqWatch

#12

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Florida, US
Posts: 18,011

Smile 

December 9th, 2009, 03:42
Originally Posted by BillSeurer View Post
"If you played both KOTOR (made by BioWare) and KOTOR 2 (made by Obsidian) you can see the difference that a fresh slate of writers can make. The two games are very different in tone and style. While people disagree on which one had the better writing, it's obvious that a change in writing staff can have a powerful impact on the game as a whole. "

Yeah. KotOR was quite good. KotOR2 wasn't. By the end of 2 I was forcing myself to play just to see what the ending was and then the ending was totally lame. Oh well.
Really? While I enjoyed KotOR, I thought KotOR 2 was 10x better. Better story, gray morality and deep, almost philosophical characters, excellent writing, and a departure from the traditional star wars tone/story: "redemption of good guy saves galaxy from evil giant sith dude." If only Obsidian had a few extra months…. could have been perfect, alas, that is why we have modders .
Rake is offline

Rake

Rake's Avatar
Traveler

#13

Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 11

Default 

December 10th, 2009, 13:36
Originally Posted by BillSeurer View Post
Yeah. KotOR was quite good. KotOR2 wasn't. By the end of 2 I was forcing myself to play just to see what the ending was and then the ending was totally lame. Oh well.
Myself, I never finished KotOR, and it's one of the very few RPGs I've never completed. KotOR 2, however, managed to keep me playing to the end. I found the core gameplay equally appalling in both, but relative quality of the character writing dragged me through the sequel. Perhaps the fact it was unfinished, and thus shorter, also helped.
Cassius is offline

Cassius

Watcher

#14

Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 90
RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » The Escapist - The Writers of BioWare
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT +2. The time now is 13:59.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright by RPGWatch