Speaking with OXM, Dragon Age: Inquisition Producer Cameron Lee says that the studio is considering Kinect, SmartGlass, and Move technology for their upcoming game, but said that they won’t incorporate anything unless it’s a “good experience”.
Since its announcement in September last year, Bioware’s new IP has been very closely guarded, and speculation is rife as to what the IP actually is. But a brand new IP means new stories to tell, new characters to play as, and new gaming experiences, which is all good news.
That being said – since Dragon Age 2′s mediocre follow-up to Origins, followed by SWTOR’s struggle to get off the ground and Mass Effect 3′s controversial ending – Bioware fans are a little jaded after the last few releases, with many taking to forums and claiming that the old Bioware they know and love is gone. That is not the case.
Mass Effect Producer, Casey Hudson, posted a tweet about the team working on the IP earlier today:
It’s often said that Knights of the Old Republic and the Mass Effect series are some of the greatest RPGs of all time – certainly in modern storytelling. There’s no denying that the team behind each of those games bought their all during development, which certainly showed in the final products, and these games certainly encompass Bioware’s ‘Golden Age’, as it were. And if the team that worked on both of those games/series’, then it’s certain that their new IP will be nothing short of epic – in scope and execution.
What’s more, many fans were disappointed in the sequels, such as those I mentioned above, largely because of the different direction they took. This won’t happen because it’s a brand new IP, and there’s literally no prior experience the players will have with the universe to compare with. Starting fresh has its benefits, and this is certainly one that Bioware needs.
While many fans are still waiting on a sequel to KoTOR or Jade Empire, I think that a new IP will have to do. Frankly, this is coming from the developer – and most of the core team – whose resume reads: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (2003), Jade Empire (2005), Mass Effect (2007), Dragon Age: Origins (2009). If that doesn’t restore some faith in Bioware’s new IP, then I don’t know what will.
The Star Wars: Battlefront franchise is an iconic series in Star Wars gaming, spanning across many years and platforms. After the cancellation of LucasArts last month, all hope seemed lost for a third addition, one which looked more and more promising as the years passed.
However, with the news of EA gaining the rights to make new Star Wars games, the publisher elected three main studios to develop them: DICE, Visceral, and Bioware. Having delved into the Star Wars universe before, Bioware is a sure bet on bringing fantastic new titles to the table, and Visceral – after developing the fantastic series Dead Space – have proven themselves worthy of building exciting and atmospheric games centered on solid gameplay.
Of the three, it seems that DICE is the biggest player, having developed the first-person-shooter franchise Battlefield since its inception in 2002. DICE has proven time and time again that they have the ability to make fun, engaging, and exciting games based around multiplayer and, recently, single player. With that kind of resume, they are the perfect studio to take on the mammoth task of developing Star Wars: Battlefront 3. Considering that Battlefront’s gameplay was seemingly modeled off Battlefield’s “unmatched” multiplayer (Arthur Gies, Joystiq review of Battlefield 3), it is only logical that the developer behind one of the world’s best-selling multiplayer franchises steps up to the challenge. The two franchises also share a focus on large maps, large-scale battles, and vehicular warfare.
Logical thinking aside, just imagine the possibilities – a Battlefront game with next-gen graphics, the same Battlefront feel, massive and tactical gameplay, an increased player-cap, and DICE’s new Frostbite Engine. Yes it’s confirmed, the Star Wars games will run on Frostbite 3: https://twitter.com/repi/status/331538796543893505
Still not convinced? Here is a video discovered by Kotaku, gameplay from “Version Two” of the rumored Star Wars First Strike game – supposedly a predecessor for the development of Battlefront 3.
After watching that, can you still sit there and say that a Battlefront 3 similar to this will not awesome?
If DICE is developing Battlefront 3, then we can look forward to a high-quality, action-packed, marvelous experience that, despite the excitement surrounding the concept, needs to tread close to the roots of the series. If they can make a game with a healthy balance of everything that makes Battlefront great, plus additions from Battlefield and new concepts entirely, then fans will finally get the Battlefront 3 they deserve.
When Disney bought out Lucasfilm Ltd and after shutting down LucasArts, the future of Star Wars gaming looked bleak. However, when Lucasfilm Ltd. and Disney Interactive announced that they selected Electronic Arts for a “multi-year, multi-title exclusive licensing agreement”, the news reassured fans that titles such as Star Wars Battlefront III and Star Wars 1313 might make an appearance after all.
This agreement specifically states that EA is selected “for the creation of new high quality Star Wars games aimed at the core gaming audience and spanning multiple genres for console, PC, mobile, and tablets.” Disney Interactive will instead focus on Star Wars games for a more casual audience on “mobile, social, tablet, and online gaming platforms.“
Although EA will collaborate with Lucasfilm in their journey to a galaxy far, far away, EA teams DICE, Visceral, and Bioware will focus on the development of the games. Considering the quality of the games each of these studios has put out, not to mention Bioware’s past experience in the Star Wars franchise, the developers represent three of EA’s “top studios”.
Both Disney Interactive and EA seem very excited about the agreement, with EA Labels President Frank Gibeau stating “every developer dreams of creating games for the Star Wars universe,” and promising original stories and gameplay in the “epic adventures for Star Wars fans.” John Pleasants, co-president of Disney Interactive, stated that “Collaborating with one of the world’s premier game developers will allow us to bring an amazing portfolio of new Star Wars titles to fans around the world.”
This news comes as a very welcome surprise after LucasArts closed down, but seeing both EA and Disney Interactive so excited, so passionate about creating new Star Wars titles, is even more encouraging. The fact that the agreement is ‘multi-year’ and ‘multi-title’ sounds even better, promising that EA will be releasing Star Wars games for years to come. And if Disney Interactive get tired of EA, they’re too big to shut down.
What are your thoughts on the agreement? Would you rather another publisher/developers? Which games would you like released?
Dragon Age is back with another gargantuan experience that sets the bar ever so higher as to how stories in games should be told. Though the game doesn’t quite live up to its predecessor’s hype, BioWare still managed to bring another fun-filled, epic experience to our hands!
The few things that make sense in Dragon Age 2 is that people are bad, darkspawn must die, and dragons are a pain in the you know what! Dragon Age 2 could have been the best game in the series save for a few problems here and there. Good news first is that the gameplay, user interfaces, and conversation system have all been modified to the point where the game is much more functional and fun than ever before.
The bad news is that you rarely ever see Darkspawn, who were the big bad guys from Origins, and content you’ve seen before will be literally be copied and pasted into a new area. In the end, it felt like an unfinished game. Almost as if Bioware was all jittery with joy to put the game out there once they had the story aspect established, because it is truly phenomenal.
Jumping right on in to things, story is the big star of the show once again this time around. Players will feel like they have indefinite control over how things shape out thanks to the new conversation system. You will be left with some tough, tough choices to make, and very early on to. If you want the mages to rise up and rebel against the Templars, you can make that happen if you befriend them well enough! Before you know it, the entire city of Kirkwall will be plunged into chaos. It is a wonder how BioWare was able to squeeze in some many different story arcs into the game through just simple conversation. Words are often a very deadly weapon in Dragon Age 2, often more subtle than your own personal weapon.
Dragon Age 2 tells the story of Hawke this time around, ditching the friends we’ve made in Origins. Hawke has fled the nation of Ferelden thanks to the blight destroying his home. He and hs family traveled across the Waking Sea to the Free Marches and the city of Kirkwall as a refugees. The game focuses in on Hawke’s rise to power and is presented through flashbacks by one of Hawke’s old companions, Varric, who relates the story to a woman named Cassandra Pentaghast of the Chantry. I can’t really tell you what she is after, else I’d spoil the ending for you!
You’re beset by many challenges along the way; depending on the path you take, you’ll be faced with a rebelling Kunari army, the might of the Templar order, or even an uprising of mages! Within the span of a decade, you would rise in power and influence to become the legendary ”Champion of Kirkwall.” Basically, you become the representative of the people living Kirkwall. No pressure right? You could rise up to be the hero, or you could choose to be the biggest jerk Kirkwall’s ever seen!
As like in Origins, there are a wide range of companion characters that will accompany you throughout your travels in Dragon Age 2. There is Aveline, a former Fereldan soldier who joins the Kirkwall City Guard, Varric , a crossbow wielding dwarf with an act for storytelling, Fenris, a former elf slave, Merrill a Dalish elf despised by her clan for practicing blood magic, Isabela, a pirate captain stranded in Kirkwall after her ship crashed, and Anders, a former Grey Warden. Your friendship or rivalry with each of these characters will vary depending on your decisions made in quests, or whether or not you help them out in their own special companion quests..
Another neat factor that I very much enjoyed in Dragon Age 2 was the emphasis placed on side quests. Each side quest you come across is unique unto itself and may lead you down an entirely separate story. None of the side quests are “boring” either. Some may send you off on a murder trail, others may as you to break into the Chantry itself to break out innocent mages. Side quests are very enticing and thrill to do, which is something that not many RPGs are popular for.
By the end of the story though, you’ll be right in the same area you started off in. The game kicks off in Kirkwall and ends in Kirkwall. You never leave, less you count the few areas that are outside of the city. Most RPGs I’ve played in the past are about an epic adventure across a massive world. Even in Origins, there was a fairly large world for you to explore right at your finger tips. And if you thought areas in Origins were too small or linear, areas in Dragon Age 2 are 10 times worse! They’re very small and very straightforward. Few places have separate paths to venture off on. To only make matters worse, 90% of the dungeons in the game are copied and pasted content. It doesn’t matter where the dungeon is located, all dungeons will look exactly as others look elsewhere. I grew very tired of looking at the same thing over and over. If you’re looking for a big, open, and diverse world, you will be very disappointed by what Dragon Age 2 has to offer.
On the upside however, the graphics in the game are stunning to say the least. But since you are looking at essentially the same thing throughout the entire game, environments begin to become somewhat of an eyesore. Also, if you’re playing this game on a console, the game is plagued with low-resolution textures on both weapons and costumes. PC is where it shines. Another thing to add is that many cut scenes are either very laggy or blurry. I sometimes missed the dialogue or the action of a cut scene thanks to these drawbacks. Nothing that a simple patch could fix though.
Combat is once again a complete joyride to experience in Dragon Age 2. What makes it so great is its versatility. You can just as easily play it like an action type of game, just mashing away at buttons on lower difficulty levels. If you want to get tactical, you can beef up the difficulty, pause the game, and issue commands to your team. This is a lot easier on the computer with a keyboard and mouse vs consoles due to inexact movements with the analog sticks.
Your companions are a lot smarter than in Origins, though they still do suffer from some minor drawbacks. Unless you set up specific instructions in individual characters’ tactics menus, they won’t do certain actions like taking a healing potion. If you’re not careful, your entire team may die in just moments when up against a dangerous foe. So make sure you switch around among your characters to apply health potions when they’re needed. The one thing you won’t have to worry about this time around is your companions armour. Each character is given a single armour set that is automatically upgraded as they level up. Now you don;t have to worry about equally dispersing your loot so that all of your characters are up to par with armour. This may be disappointing to some, but I was a fan of the change. I’m selfish with my loot!
The game is once again backed by another great musical soundtrack and some pretty impressive sound effects. The real highlight here is the voice acting. I was particularly fond of Varric’s. One of the best things of the game was stopping and listening to what your buddies had to say. The background chatter between party members is often humorous and in other times, heartwarming. It only further enhances their personalities. Some of their comments may even have some useful tips to a specific situation. For example, Anders might be able to tell if someone is possessed by looking into the Fade. Other nice touches in the companion chatter is Varric’s spin-off of Gimili from The Lord of the Rings. If you ever seen the movies, Gimili and Legolas will often shout out to each other concerning how many orcs they’ve killed. Hawke and Varric will engage in the same friendly competition as well throughout the game.