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Ausir's Dragon Age II Interviews

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Ausir's Dragon Age II Interviews

Interview - posted by VentilatorOfDoom on Tue 24 August 2010, 10:19:43

Tags: BioWare; Dragon Age II

Codex Undercover Agent (CUA) Ausir did not only manage to sneak through Germany undetected on his way to the GamesCom, he also managed to capture and interrogate Biopersonnel once he was there.
The first victim was Mike Laidlaw, the lead designer of Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2.

Ausir: What do you think is the biggest improvement in Dragon Age 2 compared to Origins?

Mike Laidlaw: It’s tricky. We have the voiceover, the frame narrative as a new way of representing the Dragon Age story. The art style is very cool, more unique and fresh. But I would probably go with the combat improvements, because they’re such a fundamental part of the game. Dragon Age has always been about the struggle against whatever the odds are. The key thing is that the combat is more responsive. Once I charge into the combat, I actually feel like I’m actually doing stuff. I right click or press A and my character leaps into action rather than kind of shuffling forward awkwardly before beginning to fight. So this concerns every combat ability that we have. You’ll be able to execute better strategies, feel like you’re playing a game that’s paying attention to the way you’re playing.
Not sure what that means. Combat more actiony? More strategic?

Can you tell us more about the changes to the character development system?
Sure. The one that we showcased today was that we moved away from the idea of ability chains. You had to pick ability 1 to get ability 2, and so on, and so forth. We changed it into a tree, so there are multiple paths. You can build your character without feeling that you have to pick abilities you don’t really want. Beyond that, you can also do upgrades. If you are particularly fond of, say, fireball, you can actually enhance it, to make it more powerful, more effective. You can make a character that is very specialized or one that is a more broad-ranged generalist. Each of these is a valid style of playing.
Not being forced to pick spells/abilities I'll never use just to unlock what I really want - nice.
The second interviewee was Fernando Melo, Bio-Online producer, whatever that means.

Can you tell us more about the changes in Dragon Age 2 that were influenced by the Mass Effect series?

Well, probably the closest one will be the conversation wheel. I think it was something that we saw was very successful in Mass Effect, it was a great mechanic to use, we wanted to use that. One of the things that we saw is that it’s not always obvious, not only in Mass Effect, but in other games that use similar conversation systems, even in Dragon Age: Origins at times, what the tone, intent of the line is based on just the text of the option. So we introduced the icons that tell you what tone you should expect from the line. The player will also play an integral part in shaping Hawke, the hero of Dragon Age 2. If you’re constantly picking a sarcastic response, diplomatic response, aggressive response, over the course of the game, when you meet a character and make an introduction even before you actually have any choices in dialogue or if you’re in the middle of combat and he’s doing his combat call-outs, all of this will start to reflect the character you’re making Hawke to be. It’s a very clever system and I think people will feel, along with the player voice, that these are going to add a lot of character to Hawke.

I think the way we make games hasn’t changed. We’re trying to evolve Dragon Age a little bit, not radically change it. There’s a lot of misconceptions in terms of the changes we’re introducing. You’ve had a chance to see the game now, and you realized that the changes are quite subtle. The players who played Origins are going to feel at home. The BioWare style of gameplay is very much present.
Look at this pendulum, follow the pendulum with your eyes. You're feeling sleepy. Yes, you realized that the changes are subtle. The way we make games hasn't changed. You're going to feel at home. All critiques are merely misconceptions.

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