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Dragon Age II Won't Be Dumbed Down
Interview - posted by VentilatorOfDoom on Sat 26 February 2011, 10:58:48Tags: BioWare; Dragon Age II
... it will be welcoming instead. Mike Laidlaw, lead designer on Dragon Age II, the man who does his best to design his games with the one-handed, clueless, half-brained and mentally and emotionally unprepared in mind, gets the interview treatment at Gamasutra.
So Peter Molyneux got up on stage at GDC last year and said, "Our mandate for Fable III is to sell five million copies this time, and that's why we are making specific streamlining decisions." Have you had any mandate? "We want a bump. We want to reach out to more people. We want more people to like Dragon Age II than Dragon Age Origins."
ML: Huh! Okay. So I think that's a goal, but when you say "mandate," it becomes a much harsher thing. Mandate is a "you must," and the decisions will be made due to focus groups or something.
For me, I guess, fundamentally, there are more people who are ready to play RPGs than realize it. These are people who will play FarmVille. These are people who have shot enough people in the head that they've leveled up in Medal of Honor. They've gained XP and have received awards as a result. That's an RPG mechanic. They've played [Grand Theft Auto] San Andreas and they've run enough, and gotten buff enough, that their endurance is a higher. They've leveled.
So I think there's more people out there with RPGs, and then it's honestly on RPGs to try to figure out how to take the mechanics that people are actually loving in other genres and say, "No, no, no. We had those years ago, but we understand that they kind of were scary."
So there was no mandate, but I mean there were decisions that we made as a team that said, "Okay, this is, I think, more welcoming." Not "dumbed down" or anything like that, but welcoming. Like starting the game, your character walks up, says something kind of over the top, and immediately starts exploding Darkspawn. I haven't set my decks at all. I haven't spent points.
Immediately starts exploding Darkspawn? Well, judging by the demo, design goal achieved!! Congratulations.
What it does, is it lets you get into the game and go, "Okay, cool. This is what their combat is like. I get that." Then the next thing you do is build your character.
Then you level up and you start spending points, and the RPG mechanics are introduced in a way that's gradual, in a way that welcomes someone who would otherwise maybe go, "Whoa! Too complex!" and shut it off immediately, and lets them slide into it without even recognizing it ‑‑ which frankly, ideally increases the overall RPG customer base, which means we can make more RPGs, which means I can play more RPGs that I don't know the ending to. I like that.
It boggles the mind. Peter Molyneux surely appears to be a shining beacon of reason compared to this guy. Of course to get to the people who play FarmVille or Medal of Honour one has to revolutionize the genre a bit. How about removing all skills for starters, the whole concept doesn't seem like something a neo-BioWare fan would be able to comprehend. Just replace it by roleplaying!
Thanks to Brother None and deus101 for pointing this out.
Spotted at: Gamebanshee