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Interview Dragon Age II Interview Bonanza

Discussion in 'News & Content Feedback' started by VentilatorOfDoom, Jan 24, 2011.

  1. VentilatorOfDoom RPG Codex Staff

    VentilatorOfDoom
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    Tags: BioWare; Dragon Age 2

    <p>GameZone continues churning out <strong>Dragon Age II</strong> interviews.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p><em>What exactly is happening to the RPG genre in modern gaming?</em> Let lead designer Mike "Something Awesome" Laidlaw <a href="http://www.gamezone.com/editorials/item/dragon_age_ii_lead_designer_speaks_on_the_start_of_rpgs/" target="_blank">shed some light on it</a>.</p>
    <blockquote>
    <p><strong>DG: Reflecting back to your past, Baldur&rsquo;s Gate would offer a 100 hours of gameplay. When BioWare started going more towards consoles, the hours started dropping. Where do you see that in terms of the state of RPGs? Is the modern content becoming too much to produce? Or do users just want to have a more core experience and get it done given that some people don&rsquo;t even finish their games? Some people are probably only half way through Dragon Age: Origins and never even got to the end. Where do you feel are the state of RPGs in terms of content and length of play? </strong></p>
    <p><strong>ML:</strong> There are two angles to it. One is the resolution, or the density of the content. Baldur&rsquo;s Gate had no voice; big blocks of text as someone wrote out, &ldquo;he then does this and then he does this.&rdquo; Before, we&rsquo;re providing more and more expository text. What we&rsquo;re finding is that while you could get a 100 hours of content like that reasonably easy, you could get the same emotional impact and investment in 40 hours of content if you increase the fidelity. I think that&rsquo;s the approach we&rsquo;ve been taking. Do we think the best game ever would be four hours? No, I don&rsquo;t think so. I think that there comes a point that the returns are diminished. You&rsquo;re putting so much effort that it&rsquo;s like listening to a hi-fi stereo with that friend that everyone has that only listens to vinyl. Regular ears don&rsquo;t hear that. It&rsquo;s like an acquired taste. It&rsquo;s like drinking a very fine scotch. Anything will get you drunk, but the fine scotch might do it in that smoother way. So I think in terms of the state of RPGs is that we&rsquo;re faced with reality of other genres and platforms making huge strides in terms of presentation, fidelity, and - it sometimes is a dirty word for RPGs - but even accessibility. The sense that Call of Duty is close enough to being a black ops military shooter guy that even if I don&rsquo;t know a whole lot I can get sighting down a barrel, and it feels like that. It&rsquo;s not abstract in any way. Anyone can dive in with that. I get what I&rsquo;m doing here and the story tells itself in a reasonable way. So for us, getting to the point where you don&rsquo;t have to make that mental leap over, &ldquo;that little sprite is me,&rdquo; and get to the point where it&rsquo;s like, &ldquo;oh cool, sliders&rsquo; and all that stuff and the fidelity goes up,&rdquo; it does engage more. If you get to the point where it&rsquo;s super dense, then you&rsquo;re putting way too much effort in it and you won&rsquo;t engage as much.</p>
    </blockquote>
    <p>Furthermore, <em>how affectionate can you get?</em> David Gaider <a href="http://www.gamezone.com/editorials/item/dragon_age_iis_david_gaider_reveals_stance_on_in-game_romances/" target="_blank">reveals the stance</a> on in-game romances and speaks about the decision to make the protagonist fully voiced.</p>
    <blockquote>
    <p><strong>GZ: What have you learned from the feedback on the romances from the first game that you&rsquo;ve now taken to the second game? </strong></p>
    <p><strong>DG:</strong> I don&rsquo;t know, but there&rsquo;s a lot of feedback for us. I&rsquo;ve done a number of our romances, going back to Baldur&rsquo;s Gate II. I always like to try something new. Origins was really quite in depth with the characters and the romances in particular. From what we get from the fans, there were a lot of people that the romances were more important to them than the story, which is great. It&rsquo;s very gratifying to hear that. There&rsquo;s only so much we can do, but I think trying out some different things like DAII takes place over a large span of time, and I always found that the romances can be a bit strange and that they don&rsquo;t grow organically. It&rsquo;s sort of a situation where you&rsquo;re in this life-or-death adventure, you&rsquo;re comrades that have been thrown together and passion springs out of that. It was nice to get the opportunity to have a romance that took place over years as opposed to a month at best. That was interesting to try, until I learned.</p>
    </blockquote>
    <p>Yes. live and learn.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>Last but not least, art director Matt Goldman <a href="http://www.gamezone.com/editorials/item/biowares_matt_goldman_speaks_on_jade_empire/" target="_blank">gets quizzed as well</a>.</p>
    <blockquote>
    <p><strong>DG: What is your specific role? </strong></p>
    <p><strong>MG:</strong> My job is to create the vision and the philosophy for the art, and work with the concept team to flesh out all of the various different bits of the game: the visual effects, the UI, environments, characters, creature animation, and cinematics. I&rsquo;ve worked with key members of all those teams - interviewing everybody on the entire team and trying to get the goals and the vision of the project to line up with what their aspirations are. By doing so, that empowers everybody on the team to make those decisions in full knowledge of what our objective is. Then what I basically do is go around and help critique the art, help people navigate problems, bring together teams to solve specific issues, etc.</p>
    <p><strong>DG: Could you speak on how you feel about the freedom of working on Dragon Age, the intellectual property of BioWare and KotOR, which was working with LucasArts? How much better does it feel to have that freedom working with IP rather than license? </strong></p>
    <p><strong>MG:</strong> From the standpoint of a game artist, I would say working on Dragon Age is probably just about the best job you could have because you have very broad freedom to interact with the designers and create and explore a universe that is of your own design. That&rsquo;s very satisfying, and I happen to like working on fantasy because you can really stretch your imagination a long way. There are a lot of different things that can exist within fantasy. I think if you&rsquo;re constrained by an IP or by science fiction, trying to describe things in more scientific terms, it&rsquo;s more difficult to be creative.</p>
    </blockquote>
     
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  2. Crooked Bee (no longer) a wide-wandering bee Patron

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    Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire MCA Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    :hahaohwow:

    :roll:
     
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  3. torpid Liturgist

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    Laidlaw's answer there is one of the scariest, most convoluted rationalizations for dumbing down that I've ever read. He's going to almost Prosperian lengths to justify the streamlining. Also note the Biowarian obsession with action games: during ME2's development the designers repeatedly compared the game to Gears of War, and now Laidlaw is bringing up Call of Duty. Nice to see they've got their priorities straight, while trying to have their cake and eat it too by claiming to still make RPGs.
     
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  4. Gosling Liturgist

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    Wow, Laidlaw does not have a clue not only about RPGs but also about hi-fi sound and scotch.

    Seriously, his comment is retarded on so many levels that you don't even know where to start arguing with him.

    I mean he really manages to surpass Todd Howard these days - a feat unimaginable only some years ago.

    EDIT:

    Yeah, you can no longer put huge shoulderpads and retraded-looking armour sets into your game.
    Oh wait.
     
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  5. deus101 Never LET ME into a tattoo parlor!

    deus101
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    Good lord....they...are my ENEMIES! :X
     
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  6. deus101 Never LET ME into a tattoo parlor!

    deus101
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    :x :x :x
     
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  7. Hegel Arcane

    Hegel
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    Jesus Christ, I refuse to believe he's being serious. :retarded:
     
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  8. torpid Liturgist

    torpid
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    The interviewer is also a piece of work:

    DG: Dragon Age had Alistair, KotOR had HK-47, Mass Effect had a handful but Wrex stood out. Will any of them stick in your mind that people hold on to like Minsc and Boo?

    ML: (...) Varick is hilarious. Isabella is hilarious; she tells a lot of dirty jokes. (...) Alistair always has the one liner, he always did. He was also a real person. (...) because he was suffering in despair of losing his mentor. What made Alistair resonate was that he was a person under the gag...

    Being a hardcore RPG player today is about name-dropping Minsc & Boo.
     
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  9. Gosling Liturgist

    Gosling
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    Bioware trolls the Codex.
    10/10. Awesome job, Mike.
     
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  10. torpid Liturgist

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    Man these folks are worse than politicians. This is Matt Goldman, the art director:

    MG: "Well, obviously I would never say that. What we did is try to realign the visual language for Dragon Age. We wanted to focus on picture-making quality and techniques that would allow the visual style and language of the product to work on whatever kind of platform. It takes away the limitation of technology. You have some really fantastic looking games like BioShock or Gears that are highly focused experiences. They are really pushing the technology as far as it can be pushed on that console. To provide a really broad, sweeping kind of epic game with the 1,000 characters, 100 areas, etc. you can’t rely on baroque artistry of the surface quality of things. You have to rely more on the basic artistic components like contrast, tone, color field, use of negative space, etc. That’s what we were aiming for, is to make a language that is just a little bit more universal so that it would look good on the console. When it comes over to the PC, fundamentally the design language is strong. When you do layer over, the baroque detail and all of the cool graphical effects that the PC can do, then it would just look that much better."

    :retarded: Wha... eh, huh?
     
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  11. Gondolin Arcane

    Gondolin
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    Oh, don't worry, he's dead serious. His words represent the view of the INDUSTRY, which I hate. Old school RPGs are no longer made because of the law of diminishing returns and genre conventions can be disregarded not in the name of originality, but in the name of copying any new gimmick that could get them more sales.
     
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  12. commie The Last Marxist Patron

    commie
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    Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Divinity: Original Sin 2
    Why can't they just stop making games for the PC? It's not much but I'd rather get nothing at all than their 'visions'. JRPG's don't annoy me because they stay there for the most part, are niche when they are ported, no once cares. Everyone's happy! Just fuck off! Maybe there'll be room for others to take back the PC then.
     
    • Shit Shit x 1
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  13. deus101 Never LET ME into a tattoo parlor!

    deus101
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    IS THAT FUCKER COMPARING BIOWARE GAMES TO SINGLE MALT?!
     
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  14. baronjohn Cipher

    baronjohn
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    Well console games are made on PCs, so it's basically no effort at all to get them to run on PCs. Unless Microsoft or Sony pony up a couple of dozen million $$$, there's no reason not to release it on PC and pick up some extra cash.

    Also, I bet there's a lot of drinking going at Bioware.
     
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  15. TalesfromtheCrypt Arcane

    TalesfromtheCrypt
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    How can they speak about making the content "more intense" while at the same time including filler shit like the infamous Derp Roads in their games?

    Baldur's Gate 2 had more and better content than any modern Bioware game.
     
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  16. Arcanoix Scholar

    Arcanoix
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    Me too bro, me too.... :(
     
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  17. DarkUnderlord Professional Throne Sitter

    DarkUnderlord
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    increase the fidelity
     
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  18. deus101 Never LET ME into a tattoo parlor!

    deus101
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    " Before, we’re providing more and more expository text. What we’re finding is that while you could get a 100 hours of content like that reasonably easy, you could get the same emotional impact and investment in 40 hours of content if you increase the fidelity. I think that’s the approach we’ve been taking. Do we think the best game ever would be four hours? No, I don’t think so. I think that there comes a point that the returns are diminished. "



    "If you get to the point where it’s super dense, then you’re putting way too much effort in it and you won’t engage as much."

    How.....about....STOP...making...these..cheesy...shitty....voice...acted....cinematics...and dialouges.

    How the fuck can anyone look me straight in the face and tell me that shit i squirmed trough in DA and ME2 is "engaging"
     
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  19. TalesfromtheCrypt Arcane

    TalesfromtheCrypt
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    hmm
     
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  20. deus101 Never LET ME into a tattoo parlor!

    deus101
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    JESUS CHRIST!

    How many cocks did Mike Laidlaw have have to suck to get his position?
    His earliest title is Hordes of the underdark.

    And why arent these faggots in Hollywood?!
    I see NOTHING regarding gameplay aspects!

    Other then justifying making games less of a games.


    (maybe i missed those in the earlier interviews with gamezone BUT HYPERBOLE DAMNIT)
     
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  21. Excommunicator Arcane

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    I am sure they would be, if they had been accepted. No doubt the competition is a lot higher. The things these people say really shouts "I want to make awesum movies, but I didn't get a break in Hollywood, so I'm making movie-games instead"

    That art guy..seriously. He is obviously being trained by the best BS speakers there are:
    "My job is to create the vision and the philosophy for the art"
    " realign the visual language"
    "you can’t rely on baroque artistry of the surface quality"
    "When it comes over to the PC, fundamentally the design language is strong. "
    "When you do layer over, the baroque detail.."

    Just say you are copying the same crappy art design of DA, making it look a little crappier just for good measure, and then porting the game onto the PC where it will look exactly the same as on a 5 year old console.
     
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  22. Sceptic Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

    Sceptic
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    Aligning the quotes like this really makes it obvious they mean absolutely nothing, doesn't it.

    I did like the Laidlaw question that VoD quoted in the newspost, as it points out a lot of things that are wrong with modern CRPG's (the move to console, shorter lengths, good content being rare, players who never finish their games) and how they could be linked. But Laidlaw's "answer" didn't even get within the same star system as the questions and just completely avoided the issue. And of course the journalist didn't press him.
     
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  23. DraQ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Subtly corrected.

    I have several words for the guy, about scotch and whatnot:
    "Scotch me tea who you."

    :smug:
     
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  24. DraQ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    DraQ
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    Well, I can actually decipher the gibberish. He talks about focusing on general art direction producing sort of stylized graphics that works well even on memory-empoverished consoles, rather than on details. Except, judging from their actual performance they're just too fucking dense (super-dense?) to actually pull anything remotely like this off in practice.

    Truly, the :decline: is here.
     
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