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DA II Mike Laidlaw's GameInformer Interview

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DA II Mike Laidlaw's GameInformer Interview

Interview - posted by Jaesun on Thu 14 April 2011, 22:39:52

Tags: BioWare; Dragon Age II

Parts of the Dragon Age II lead designer Mike Laidlaw interview with Game Informer have surfaced:

Many of the caves and building interiors are repeated, even though the locations are supposed to be different. What kind of limitations necessitated this decision? 
In the balance of production, we realized that we had capacity to create and maintain more stories, content, and encounters than we could necessarily create unique levels for, so we made the call to re-use some of the caves and other levels in the interest of providing more sidequests and encounters.
The fast-paced combat system of the console version is a large improvement over Origins' console entry. How did you zero in on the parts of the system that needed the most attention? 
Lots of both formal and informal usability testing. The real key, we discovered, was that of expectation space. Controllers carry with them the feel that "these buttons are designed to do things." Whether jump or attack or grapple, controllers feel at their best when they trigger a response. The question then became whether we could look at our combat system as a whole and get that level of responsiveness while still using our RPG rules, stats, inventory, and so on as the determining factor in the effect of the action. Another key consideration was ensuring that the changes didn't make the game impossible to play on the PC, which is why we kept to an attack/ability paradigm rather than combos or other action game mechanics. 
Meredith plays a significant role late in the story, but is largely absent for the rest of the game. Why keep a prominent antagonist in the background for so long? 
The "prominent antagonist" is a staple of fantasy, be it the brooding eye of Sauron or the endless hordes of the archdemon. For Dragon Age II, we wanted to attempt something different and break the mold and try to vilify circumstance, rather than a specific evil. It's a story of how heroes are made, not born, and I think that by the same token, it's a story of how the antagonist need not always be the villain. To me, that's a very human tale. I believe the early game likely could have used some additional appearances by Meredith, but we were likely being over-cautious of her being perceived as a source of confusion or frustration for players: "I think she's important, but she feels disconnected from my current goals!" 
What would you say to the PC gamer who feels like Dragon Age II was "dumbed down" compared to Origins? 
I would suggest that they play on Hard, frankly. Origins on normal delivered a pretty painful experience on the PC if you were new to RPGs, and I firmly believe that it turned people off. There's a very clear "skill gap" between someone new to Dragon Age II and a returning Origins player, and I think it's very easy to forget how steep that learning curve could be once you've overcome it.As such, we've made the early game quests and encounters more forgiving, especially on normal, to help someone just getting their feet under them acclimate. Hard, however, presents a solid, and consistent challenge to veterans, and one where I think teamwork, pause-and-play, and smart thinking are all quite important.
The full post can be found here. AWESOME!
Spotted at: GameBanshee

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