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Interview The Writing Of BioWare's Dragon Age II: David Gaider Speaks

Discussion in 'News & Content Feedback' started by VentilatorOfDoom, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. VentilatorOfDoom RPG Codex Staff

    VentilatorOfDoom
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    Tags: BioWare; Dragon Age 2

    <p>Let Dave Gaider<a href="http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/6444/the_writing_of_biowares_dragon_.php" target="_blank"> tell you the tale</a> how he and Mike Laidlaw managed to come up with one of the most&nbsp; innovative (some people didn't like it, because it was too innovative) approaches to writing in games.</p>
    <blockquote>
    <p>It was Laidlaw who first proposed the new game concept. His idea was this: instead of telling a linear, he suggested they modify the structure on a high level and jump between the major moments of a character's life. Instead of telling a story over a short span of time in a wide open world, they would set the game within a single city, and jump through an epic ten-year period. This would be accomplished with the help of a framing device, allowing for the time jumps to be implemented as flashbacks.</p>
    <p>"[The new approach] definitely allowed us some unique opportunities," Gaider says. "Sometimes the lack of an ability to hand-wave time passing means we end up with a lot of events happening in an unrealistically short span, or repercussions for a player's actions that either need to occur instantly or be relegated to the epilogue. So this offered us the chance to give a sense of greater scope."</p>
    </blockquote>
    <p>Yes, the sense of greater scope. I remember very well.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>Spotted at: <a href="http://www.gamebanshee.com/news/104087-dragon-age-ii-interview.html">Gamebanshee</a></p>
     
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  2. Bluebottle Erudite Patron

    Bluebottle
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    Dead State Wasteland 2
    Again, like most things, there is nothing wrong with this in principal. The kicker is that the story writers have to make use of it (like offering proper diverging paths), and the age old Gaider excuse that multiple paths increase workload exponentially still applies, whether there be a 5 minute gap between Act1 & 2, or 5 years.
     
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  3. DalekFlay Arcane Patron

    DalekFlay
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    This is such BS on so many levels. For one the time jumps aren't important, you could replace all the "years" with "weeks" and the story would arguably make MORE sense, not less. Why the fuck is Isabella hanging around trying to hide the book she stole for like 7 fucking years? And living in a bar the whole time? Okay then.

    Secondly he talks about choices impacting the world and game... which ones? I saw none. The ending is exactly the same no matter what and the only impact of choices earlier on is slightly different dialogue. There is no choice and consequence in DA2, it's like a JRPG.

    That said the main plot is pretty good actually. I like how the turned the Qunari into communists and the mages into terrorists/freedom fighters. That's all well and good. It was the execution they fucked up. You have no real choice in who you side with and no real impact on events at all. It's a fucking movie, not a game.

    Also the game part sucked.
     
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  4. CrimsonAngel Prophet

    CrimsonAngel
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    Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    Yeah in principal the ideas are sound and smart, but the execution was horribad.

    Having one Central hob area for you to come back to a few times is a great idea, but you have to update it along the way.

    IN the Witcher if you come back to the Temple Quarter after Chaptor 2 small things have changed.
    Nothing huge, but it gives the felling that time is passing in this world and things are changing.

    Now in DA2 and the fact that the story is down right boring is not that great either and every quest is the same shit.

    GO HER KILL THAT BRING BACK SKULL!!!!

    IN the Witcher 2 you also had a few quests like that, but there where sometimes more to them and a ton of non-combat quests that made the world more interesting and helped to keep interest in the game.

    The time skip is stupid because you don't know what went ON IN ANY WAY!!. Even a bit of text and Narration would be better then what this game did.
    It skipped a head AND NOTHING CHANGED!!!
     
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  5. Chateaubryan Cipher

    Chateaubryan
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    My favorite.
     
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  6. Devil Scholar

    Devil
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    [​IMG]
     
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  7. halflingbarbarian Scholar

    halflingbarbarian
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    It boggles the mind to know that there are actually real breathing people out there who believe every ounce of this shit and allowing the knowledge of it to softly masturbate the backs of their decomposing brains as they devote their entire paltry intelligence into 'playing' DA2 all drugged up on these meta-expositions, feeling falsely secure in the flimsy bandaids that tie that wreck of a 'game' together.

    It's like polished and wordy interviews/reviews nowadays justifying bad gaming products are almost a DLC in themselves. You need them to supplement the 'gameplay', lest you realise you probably need a proper education, or a radical improvement in taste.

    Can't help it but :x at how bad products are protected, like DA2 (deficient technically and content-wise) and the market does not react appropriately.
     
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  8. GreyViper Erudite

    GreyViper
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    Devil pretty much nailed my reaction to Gaiders amusing tale. It wouldn't be that big issue if it hadn't been done before and somewhat better. Hell we have Vampire: The Masquerade – Redemption that pretty much did what they intended and more. So its another face saving PR propaganda.
     
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  9. Dantus12 Educated

    Dantus12
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    The problem with DA2 came with Laidlaw. His English studies and past as wannabe gaming journalist and writer, managed to ruin Bioware's predictable writing, but the writing was able in the past to lay out decent and
    even very good questlines, that contained cliché but actually well written characters.

    What happened is constant meddling, when the writers are writing around removing impact and player choices, and are forced to create content the serves level design instead of story telling.
    The Varic narration serves only as a way to reduce the amount of asset's needed to tell the story, instead of a timeline implementation.

    The unfortunate part is that Gaider no matter how much trashed He gets, can actually write, or batter said properly expand on other writers work,- nothing wrong with some inspiration, but He's surrounded by former "deviant" artist's and Twilight fans, and has next to stiff budget limits for all artist a budget per word, just like the character artist will have polygon budget.

    It resulted in horror writing compared to their previous games, and in the end in a game that needed lines like: "I Like Big Boats. I Cannot Lie."
     
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  10. Morkar Left Guest

    Morkar Left
    And the funny thing is this is exactly the tactic how you sell products as a salesman :lol:
     
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  11. Needles Scholar

    Needles
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    This is how art in general works nowadays... create something, then explain why you did it/what it's supposed to represent to justify your crappiness.
    [/Lyricsuite]
     
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  12. waywardOne Arcane

    waywardOne
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    Can you give an example? I'm confused as to the origin of this "Gaider has talent" theory.
     
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  13. Serious_Business Best Poster on the Codex

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    Yeah. Gotta love how he says this without hesitation or shame. You'd just screwer him with a rusty knife, right? Right in the eyeball. Little cunt
     
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  14. Dantus12 Educated

    Dantus12
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    Who said talent?
    That's something that lives as long the publishers white papers don't slap You in the face, together with the entire creative department, that contain requests and demands to meet, before even the pre production gets a green light to even start.

    Was actually talking about the "shadow of it's former self," effect that is present in modern mainstream, by today's standards of writing, with a few honorable exceptions there was nothing wrong with Irenicus or HK 47 that where written by Him.
    The effect of user oriented writing that gives us amazing Hepler Twilight characters that live from web, movie or forum memes and jokes.

    He expanded on George R. R. Martin for DAO, there wasn't much wrong within the " generic fantasy setting boundaries."

    Why I mentioned the supposed talent which is a subjective thing- liked Alistair and He wrote Him, for example are thing's like this:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/ga ... agon-age-2
    -------------------
     
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  15. Jaesun Fabulous Moderator

    Jaesun
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    Dragon Age II is too innovative for me. That's why I'll never play it.
     
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  16. sgc_meltdown Arcane

    sgc_meltdown
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    Didn't they say the reason they implemented the dialog icons was to tard proof the system from the players not being able to tell what tone the lines were going to be said in, i.e. remove uncertainty and an unexpected outcome?

    What's this congratulatory shit here then, about how clever and visceral it is that 'not knowing if your choices will have an effect' is then, all talking as though this is some deep no holds barred psychological roleplaying toughness sculpted to perfection with broken fingernails and blood?

    Why don't you innovate yourself some ethics and a conscience while you're at it or is that also something that you've grown past as a designer of cutting age rpgs
     
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  17. racofer Thread Incliner

    racofer
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    I guess these guys are now applying the same mathematics used to review their games to other aspects of game design.

    7 is the new 10.
     
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  18. sgc_meltdown Arcane

    sgc_meltdown
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    that's where they got all the gore in da2 from
     
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  19. Dantus12 Educated

    Dantus12
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    One way to see it and a correct one to.

    The intent icons are a clever way from the aspect of asset creation or better said the amount of assets needed to fake replay value.

    People actually believe that the voice tone has a choice effect, and refer to themselves as "My sarcastic mage Hawke did this and this," mostly they deduce latter that their diplomatic Hawke did the same thing just with a different voice option.

    Very similar thing was done in ME2, the only reason to replay the game besides the 2 ending options is to metagame Your self by killing of companions on purpose for another cinematic.
    There is a genuine believe among the players that this kind of gameplay is impact and choice heavy. It could be, but it usually gets reduced to a few lines, a missing NPC or a e- mail.
    ------------------
     
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  20. sgc_meltdown Arcane

    sgc_meltdown
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    this is like the thing where if you study or work in film and then when you view horror movies you can't get scared anymore

    some understanding of technical details and you don't think "I wonder how that's going to work out" and consider how many savegame import variables you just altered instead or if they're even bothering with that

    bliss, ignorance stopping at the edge of the curtain
     
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  21. Dantus12 Educated

    Dantus12
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    Yes, but the standard player is bothered, because a cinematic convinced Him that He's awesome, and has impact and choices.

    What I'm talking about is the " global consensus" that if I try to argue with a ME2 fan that is completely in awe by the game, that He had even in ME more impact, for example- "doing something the other way",
    like the Corporal Tombs decision -just a example, I'm going to be flamed to death because there was no "epic cinematic," to show Him the impact, there was no impact anyway but there was the decision.
    I'm not talking about C&C, I'm talking about basic decisions that are masked and taken away from the player.
    ----------------
     
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  22. J_C One Bit Studio Patron Developer Sad Loser

    J_C
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    So they are trying to convince us that the shitty C&C is actually a new and innovative type of C&C. Wow. Just wow...
     
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  23. sgc_meltdown Arcane

    sgc_meltdown
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    that's the thing, different consequences means different cutscenes now, and illusion of substance is the new substance.
     
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  24. Xor Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Xor
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    Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Divinity: Original Sin 2
    I don't get why everyone is so surprised by this. Bioware has been moving in this direction for a decade.
     
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