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Rebuilding The Future: How BioWare Can Bounce Back
Editorial - posted by VentilatorOfDoom on Fri 26 October 2012, 15:27:48Tags: BioWare
Gamefront ponder how, after the recent hardships, BioWare may bounce back to glory despite the department of the BioDocs (and a lot of other talent). Snippet:
Few developers have enjoyed the shut-up-and-take-my-money adoration from fans that BioWare has during the bulk of its existence. Occupying a space somewhere in between Tim Schafer and Dan Hauser, the company’s every game was greeted with the kind of fervent enthusiasm usually reserved for fans of obscure musicians, except the fanbase in this case happened to number in the millions. While it’s very common now to hear people saying that they just ‘knew’ the company was doomed the second Electronic Arts bought it, the reality is that it was in the immediate aftermath of the EA purchase that BioWare released the games that will almost certainly be forever linked to its golden age, Mass Effect and Dragon Age: Origins.They should re-release enhanced editions of their games imo.
Both games contained excellent RPG mechanics, vast, explorable worlds, riveting combat, thrilling adventure, and unique takes on genres (sci fi and fantasy) that have been dominated for decades by a couple of ossified, omnipresent aesthetic frameworks. However, the setting and gameplay weren’t what made fans care. What made BioWare matter to millions of gamers is that, despite heavy themes and bleak overtones, their games also wallowed in an inclusive, optimistic view of the human – or if you prefer, alien and/or magical being – experience that expressly advocated humanism, tolerance, inclusivity, and the simple idea that it might be possible to improve the world, no matter how awful we’re capable of being.
The Mass Effect galaxy is one in which strength comes from people seeing past their differences, from sharing cultures, and from doing everything possible to avoid violence (and considering this is in service to a game containing massive destruction, that’s saying something). Dragon Age: Origins presented the possibility of overcoming systemic racism, and even rising above the class divisions imposed by smaller-minded people. Both games presented a world with far greater romantic and sexual freedom than anything seen in mainstream video games before, with same-sex, interracial, even interspecies (sapient species, you sick sick person) relationships (and in DAO’s case, orgies. No, seriously.) And at their core, they contained truly moving stories about the power of friendship and family. Think Star Trek for an era when the culture of geeks is no longer seen as something lame and mockable, and you get the way BioWare fans felt about these properties.