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Interview Dragon Age II Interview

Discussion in 'News & Content Feedback' started by VentilatorOfDoom, Jun 1, 2011.

  1. VentilatorOfDoom RPG Codex Staff

    VentilatorOfDoom
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    Tags: BioWare; Dragon Age 2

    <p>Codex' favorite cRPG and fantasy novel writer Dave Gaider and Associate Bio-Producer Heather Rabatich <a href="http://www.fantasy-magazine.com/new/new-nonfiction/feature-interview-dragon-age-ii-developers-david-gaider-heather-rabatich/" target="_blank">answer questions to Fantasy-Magazine</a>.</p>
    <blockquote>
    <p><strong>During more than ten years at BioWare, David, you have written for some of the most iconic RPGs of the past decade, from Baldur&rsquo;s Gate II to Knights of the Old Republic, Neverwinter Nights, and Dragon Age. What are some of the big lessons you have learned, and what big changes have you seen in the medium, from a storytelling standpoint?</strong><br /><br />David Gaider: I think the medium is quickly moving toward being far more cinematic than it was&mdash;which is both good and bad, I think. It&rsquo;s good in that we can show as much as we tell, now. Bad because we suddenly have to show, and less can be left to the imagination &hellip; something which, in many ways, we will never be able to compete with. Far be it from me to be a Luddite, however. This is the direction the technology is moving, and hopefully we&rsquo;ll reach a point where creating the cinematics is inexpensive enough that we can branch out as much as we did when it was primarily text we were working with.<br /><br />As far as lessons learned? There will never be enough content added to make me satisfied, so it&rsquo;s better to be satisfied that what you put in there is good. I remember right before Baldur&rsquo;s Gate II went out just how anxious we were over all the things that were cut and half-finished in the game, and how certain we were that everyone would hate it. Perspective is a good thing.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p><strong>You mentioned that you see games becoming more &ldquo;cinematic.&rdquo; This is a term that gets used a lot in discussions of video games, but it is hard to get a clear definition. Almost every game has cutscenes, so what makes a game cinematic? Mass Effect, Heavy Rain, and Uncharted all have elements that are &ldquo;like a movie,&rdquo; but does a game being cinematic mean more than that?</strong><br /><br />David Gaider: From my perspective, being cinematic is all about showing what&rsquo;s happening rather than leaving something up to the imagination. Let&rsquo;s take Baldur&rsquo;s Gate, for instance &hellip;&nbsp; you never actually see your character. They&rsquo;re little figures on the screen without even a proper face. Other than the occasional bit of voiceover, any emotions the player perceives are part of their interpretation only. Now, you&rsquo;ll probably find a number of people who&rsquo;ll vociferously defend one type of game over the other. Some find that cinematic games lose that imaginary element, while others say that non-cinematic games are harder to get into or emotionally involved with. I think they both have advantages, but the more cinematic a game&mdash;the more cutscenes you require, and the more effort you need to show anything (hand-waving or implying actions become quite difficult)&mdash;the more expensive the content becomes to create. That can be a problem for games that are traditionally as content-heavy as roleplaying games, but there are some storytelling benefits that we receive&mdash;and which you&rsquo;ll see in games like Heavy Rain and Uncharted&mdash;as we become more experienced in how to incorporate these elements into a game environment.</p>
    </blockquote>
    <p>cRPGs like Heavy Rain and Uncharted aside, what's more important, a crazy amount of cutscenes or enough actual content?</p>
    <p>Spotted at: <a href="http://www.gamebanshee.com/news/103206-dragon-age-ii-interview.html">Gamebanshee</a></p>
     
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  2. Storyfag Perfidious Pole Patron

    Storyfag
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    You know... the part you quoted must be the most lucid thing I saw DGaider say in years. CBA to read the whole interview though.
     
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  3. deus101 Never LET ME into a tattoo parlor!

    deus101
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    OK, I'm gonna give Gaider some credit here in acknowledging the price tag on cinematic content creation and giving a nod to more subtle expositions.

    But considering they are making GAMES!
    By that very deffinition of what they are suppose to produce, loads of cinematic content is still a millstone around their neck.

    At the end of the day, an RPG is not a medium for story writers and directors, an RPG needs content not EPICS.

    At the end of the day, Gaider is not Francis Ford Copola, you just sacrificed content and gameplay to show of your junk fantasy(lousy junk fantasy at that), this is made worse by going full cinematics because i can't block out the fact that the writing is shit and everything that retarded allister(or any other "emotional scenes") just makes me squirm.

    The content writing in RPG's need not be great, it need not be good by any standards, except in the way of being fantastical and often absurd.

    Once you realise that, and trust the gamer to manage his own exposition(when the immagination kicks in), you dont need the large overhead on cinematics counter creation, and you can produce more content, AND! AND! having an incentive to actually develop the RPG/SETTING mecanics that guides content writing and makes it meaningfull in the gameworld.
     
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  4. sgc_meltdown Arcane

    sgc_meltdown
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    man those books are done for sure now that moving pictures are here

    I'm going to coin a phrase here: Uncanny immersion

    Uncanny immersion is a hypothesis in the field of videogames and graphical fidelity which holds that when facsimiles of a designed scene is rendered as and plays similarly to plan, but poorly conveys how the situation was supposed to feel, it causes a response of revulsion among human gamers.

    When you bring in cinematic gameplay you bring in all these extra elements that not only cost money, they have to work perfectly together. If just your 100% fully voiced dialog trips up or slouches through, you're done. Instead of leaving it as an abstraction for the player to seamlessly fit into the gameworld he perceives, you've cemented and 'told' that facet of the narrative to the player in flashing lights saying MOVIE WORKPRINT. If just your modelling is badly thought out anywhere on the bodies or equipment or environment and in the kind of detail we're getting these days anything off WILL stand out, you're done. If just any part of your body language, facial animation, lipsynching for THOSE is poor, you're done. Some storytelling benefits, certainly. But where are the gameplay benefits that justify these resource intensive commitments?

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Gord Arcane

    Gord
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    This is typical for how they lose more and more touch with what RPGs used to be about.
    You are not supposed to actively play a role any more, where your imagination decides how your character reacts to whatever happens, you are watching a role being played for you.
     
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  6. Serious_Business Best Poster on the Codex

    Serious_Business
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    Actually Gaider is pretty lucid about what he does. He says explicitly that he's into making illusory C&C, that players don't play a game twice so why bother, that making a true rpg is too ressources intensive for what Bioware will bother to do, etc. It's actually this lazy, unashamed honesty that's disgusting about him. He's like a fat guy who has no problems with being fat, and that frowns dissaprovingly at the possibility of doing exercice. He's fat, this is how he is, and he won't change, you shouldn't make him change either, because he's true to himself and he doesn't care. In other words : fucking subhumans
     
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  7. commie The Last Marxist Patron

    commie
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    Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Divinity: Original Sin 2
    The 'war on terror' was an influence for Dragon Age 2? If you mean it made me feel like I was in Abu Ghraib getting sodomised with a truncheon by Lynndie England then certainly I see the link.
     
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  8. Achilles Arcane

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    The Qunari in particular had a religious subtext that did draw some parrallels to real-world events. However, Bioware's portrayal of the "terrorists" (mages and Qunari) was much more impartial than the media representation of the arabs, as the player could definitely acknowledge the validity of their point of view.

    It's hard not to see the point the Arischok is trying to make when you're talking to him. It's also hard not to sympathize with the mages. There was no black and white morality in the game, just shades of grey. Dragon Age II doesn't get the recognition it deserves in terms of writing, party members notwithstanding.
     
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  9. sgc_meltdown Arcane

    sgc_meltdown
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    ftfy tovarich
     
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  10. J_J_M Educated

    J_J_M
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    Cinematics and video games don't compute. It's as simple as that. You can't play a game at the same time you're watching a cutscene, let alone a "role-playing" game where you're supposed to be in control of a role. It defeats the purpose of PLAYING a game.

    If these Bioware hacks want to get into the movie industry, they should do so, but video games don't need to get more cinematic than they already are, and nobody but Bioware is pushing it in that direction.
     
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  11. flushfire Augur

    flushfire
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    the amount of cinematics in TW2 prologue alone disagrees with you
     
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  12. J_J_M Educated

    J_J_M
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    Something tells me CDProjekt hasn't gone without taking influence from Bioware games. They have mentioned Dragon Age, Mass Effect and Bioware numerous times in interviews.
     
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  13. BlaineMono Educated

    BlaineMono
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    That only goes to show that cinematic approach might work if you are doing it with a bit of style and a bit of skill.

    It also works quite well if you are making a game implicitly engineered to appeal to sexually repressed retards instead of a role-playing game*.

    And we all know which path Bioware has chosen.

    *(which is, to say, a game inadvertently engineered to appeal to to sexually repressed retards)
     
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  14. sea inXile Entertainment Developer

    sea
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    Unfortunately I doubt someone like Gaider is in charge of the direction the game goes in this respect. If anything, "make it more like a movie" is the kind of "guidance" that executives and stockholders provide. Is it stupid? Yes, absolutely, but that's what happens when people who have no understanding of gaming as a medium run the industry. David Gaider is a loon but give him a rest, he said something smart for once and you're still going to drill him over it?
     
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  15. deus101 Never LET ME into a tattoo parlor!

    deus101
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    Yes i know theres that elephant in the room, reason why he mentioned uncharted in the first place was because it sold 10 million units.

    but it dosent seem very prudent to bring in up, kinda suck that we have to be passive aggressive about it, but we can make critique based on the standards we know and love.
    And at the end of the day we can summerize that there still is profit in niches.
     
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  16. GarfunkeL Racism Expert

    GarfunkeL
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    Doesn't help if he realizes the flaws in the direction Bioware is going since he is unable to steer the ship any other way.
     
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  17. sgc_meltdown Arcane

    sgc_meltdown
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    dragon's lair age
     
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  18. Mastermind Cognito Elite Material Patron Bethestard

    Mastermind
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    They are not justified by gameplay benefits, they are justified by what the hordes of retards they have bred with their own hands want. And they want cinematics.
     
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  19. Mastermind Cognito Elite Material Patron Bethestard

    Mastermind
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    That's what it was? Anders = Mohammed Atta? Meredith = Dick Cheney with tits?

    :lol::retarded:

    Shit.

    Even more shit. Though they did turn the series into allegory for the WOT in the middle of the fucking show so I can see why a dumbfuck like Gaider finds it appealing. I don't mean to sound like a broken record, but it seems to me that all the shit parts in RPGs nowadays point squarely to liberalism. :troll:
     
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  20. deus101 Never LET ME into a tattoo parlor!

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    Watch it!
     
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  21. Mastermind Cognito Elite Material Patron Bethestard

    Mastermind
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    I saw a couple of episodes. I also saw Serenity. Didn't do it for me. Pretty much all sci fi soap operas nowadays don't.
     
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  22. CraigCWB Educated

    CraigCWB
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    Yep. I don't know why they don't get it. Most of the old-timers at Bioware claim to have been heavily influenced by (tabletop) D&D sessions. I played D&D in 3 states with many different groups and I can't recall even once the lot of us sitting around the table listening to the DM tell stories while we rolled a D20 once every 45 minutes. Which is a good thing, because if D&D was like that my first session would have been my last.

    I think you're on to something there. Ever since Neverwinter Nights came out and I saw the weird oddly proportioned androgynous looking modelling for the males with their narrow shoulders and wide hips and the goofy way they duck-walked, I've had a serious problem with Bioware games. In KOTOR, for instance, every time Carth Onassi opened his mouth to whine at me I wanted to say "Shut the hell up you freaky looking fatass duck waddling androgynous fuck! Open your mouth again and I'll kill you myself!" which of course I couldn't do because Bioware didn't provide any content for that. Anyway, their shitty modelling (armor too, what's up with the armor in Bioware games?) has really left me with a negative reaction that leaves a substantial hurdle that has to be overcome. Net effect is I don't give their games a fair shot at impressing me anymore because I'm so repulsed by their graphics. Dragon Age was an improvement, but the problem is still there. If they are really looking for a way to spend more money to improve their content, I suggest they fire their 3D animators and texture artists and hire some people who have talent instead. Maybe they can hire some of the folks who worked on the Witcher?

    I need lessons on morality from some random dorks at Bioware? I think not. Nor do I need lessons on romancing women from some computer geeks who never had a girlfriend. The way they had the player character dealing with Morrigan, for instance, was pathetic. Any man who tried to deal with a woman like Morrigan the way the player character did in the game would find himself saying "Yes, dear" and sleeping on the floor a lot. But in the game, she kinda falls for him! And respects him! lol

    Of course, as along as they can control both sides of the conversation they can steer it wherever they want and force whatever conclusions they want. Which is, you know, sort of a problem. That's not interactive. It's like watching a debate where both the participants are reading from a script.
     
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  23. CraigCWB Educated

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    Firefly is the best sci-fi show I've seen in... ever. And I watch a lot of sci-fi. Course, everyone's taste is different... I like Star trek Voyager, for instance, and a lot of Star Trek fans don't. But there's really nothing to criticize in firefly. The casting is good. Story is good. Acting is good. Production values are good. I have no idea how it got cancelled in season one. Joss Whedon must have shot somebody's dog.
     
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  24. sser Arcane Cuck Developer

    sser
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    Hey. Don't trash Dragon's Lair. That game knew what it was and totally went for it :love:
     
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