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Moar information on GameInformer's august issue◊.
So our new brave hero will be still fighting darkspawns eh?
Can't say I'm surprised.. or thrilled.
Not that there's much else to discuss for now.
What's the plot, aside from that?
^ Only Bioware and the editors at Game Informer know at this point.
Apparently an official trailer will be online 17th August.
edited 8th Jul '10 6:46:08 AM by WUE
My guess is that the second game will involve another Blight, or lead to the beginning of one at the end. There's still a few Old Gods left.
Perhaps the two Darkspawn factions from Awakening are racing to get to the next proto-Archdemon first, each for their own reasons, with civilized areas getting caught in the crossfire. Or the sects have gotten so fragmented that you have multiple Darkspawn groups vieing for "control" of the Archdemon.
Thinking that any significant time would go in a game about Grey Wardens without a Darkspawn threat is like suggesting that Shepard just abdicate any responsibility for preparing for the impending Reaper cluster-SNAFUBAR. Wardens are literally made from Darkspawn to fight Darkspawn, and the time in between Blights is generally really bad/dull for them.
^ There's actually one fallacy in your reasoning and it's pretty simple : why the protagonist has to be a Grey Warden? The game's name is Dragon Age II not Grey Warden II, so about the only thing I'd expect is that it's set in the same setting and in roughly the same time (considering the titular Dragon Age lasts 100 years).
Not to mention that Blights are not THAT common, are they?
Still, not unexpected, but remarkably little information. Let's hope they get the time to polish the thing. (I mean, Dragon Age took HOW many years again? :p)
^ To be honest the time a game takes to be made doesn't necessarily correlate with its polish. Just look at Alpha Protocol, took roughly 4 years (though in the last months the game wasn't being worked on) but was retooled (technically I don't think that's the right word to use for a game, but I can't find an equivalent) only god (and the developers) know how many times and still came out pretty unpolished.
If anything, now that they have a foundation to work on the game will probably turn out better because they just have to concentrate on making a new story, polishing/modifying the mechanics and turning up the graphics to eleven (not that difficult, considering that Dragon Age visuals were pretty poor, especially on console).
^^^ WUE: Perhaps, but that's kinda like saying that it's Mass Effect, not Commander Shepard's Blue Alien Sextime Show, so there's no reason we couldn't have the Mass Effect sequels be about Roy, Garrus's Turian Stunt Wingwong.
Except, you know, that Bioware said that it was going to be Shepard's story; I'm pretty sure they said that the Dragon Age games were going to be the Wardens' story.
EDIT: I didn't think that DA's visuals were at all bad. They were perfectly sufficient for their purpose.
edited 8th Jul '10 8:17:05 AM by Dracomicron
^ Nope, that's the difference. They made it very clear from the beginning that Mass Effect's trilogy was Shepard's story, and ended Mass Effect on what essentially was a cliffhanger. Dragon Age : Origins was perfectly concluded, and you could even do an Heroic Sacrifice, and they essentially fleshed out the lore a bit with Awakening.
BTW, they've confirmed that the protagonist is fixed this time... I can't see this going down well.
I can't see this going down well, AT ALL.
Mass Effect is a character-driven story, Dragon Age is more or less a fairly railroaded tabletop campaign. Except for the origins it's not your character's story but Ferelden's, basically.
As much as I like the game, I think going for a more character-driven story is a good idea. The origins were good (and some even great) but the further you go away from there plot-wise, the larger the number of permutations they had to handle and the more generic it feels. Your character ceases to develop and your party members are way more interesting. In Alpha Protocol, you don't even have a decent character creator and both story and character still felt more flexible and dynamic then Dragon Age.
^ True, but they have already Mass Effect with that. Why try to mimic it with Dragon Age too? It worked well for a lot of people, not every story needs to be character driven.
^ Yes, but why? I just don't see the appeal of having multiple branches at the beginning if you are railroaded (mage and human noble origins? Oh my god) into the main story anyway. And getting addressed by an actual name instead of "Spectre" or <class> went a long way for my immersion in Mass Effect.
Edit: Dragon Age blatantly lies about the importance of your origin and I guess I rather have an honest game instead of one that promises flexibility in your background but then comes down to basically pick a race, pick a class, model your character for your own amusement and give him or her a name that will never come up again.
edited 8th Jul '10 9:04:52 AM by Ana
^ But there's no reason to give you a fixed protagonist just to scrap the origins. Bio Ware managed just fine with Baldur's Gate...
I guess while I prefer the Mass Effect style of story telling, I don't understand taking the more traditional Dragon Age and making it into "Mass Effect, but medieval".
There's this concept in Western gaming right now that all games must have the same mechanics as every other game to be "good", which is bollocks. Dragon Age is ungodly traditional, but that was one of its selling points.
Hopefully the 'fixed protagonist' is the only things they're taking from the Mass Effect saga.
I'm not against hybridation in my rpgs, but I like playing a detached, Rtw P game once in a while (I even prefer turn based games, but apparently there's no market for those games in the west, never mind the success of games such as Civilization ...).
^^^ Baldur's Gate had selective voice IIRC, it's easier to account for complex choice permutations in a dialog tree without spoken lines. Today any RPG without complete voice acting at least on the NPC side gets laughed out of the room unfortunately.
But I guess I would have a problem with Dragon Age 2 as well if they go the Alpha Protocol route which worked fine in that particular game but wouldn't in a traditional fantasy RPG.
If they went the Mass Effect route with a fixed protagonist in Dragon Age, you would've started after the joining with a fixed name and thats basically it. And in my opinion, that would've been great. As good as some origins are, how you are railroaded into becoming a Grey Warden all the same me.
Having a character-driven story or a more traditional party-based Saving the World one isn't even touched by that except that the former is pretty much impossible with a blank slate character.
^ Huh? What has NPC voicing got to do with this? I'm not sure I'm getting what you're trying to say...
From looking at the actual website for the game, it seems:
My guess is that there will be origins still, but the game will be more like a sequence of chapters than the relatively open world of DA:O.
^ Actually they've confirmed you play the role of Hawke, a human survivor of the Blight that will become one of the most important heroes of Thedas, for.. some reason that evidently they don't want to reveal so soon.
EDIT : As for the Darkspawns it's largely speculation on my part, derived from that cover of Game Informer that shows what's likely a variant of the protagonist fighting.. you guessed it.
edited 8th Jul '10 10:16:55 AM by WUE
The more possible storylines you pack into the game, the more lines of dialogue you need. That becomes very expensive, in terms of both actors' wages and storage space, when every one of those lines has to be voiced. It's much easier to shoehorn every possible PC into the same main plot path.
Huh. Well, if he has a name, then he probably isn't a Grey Warden. So I guess they ARE going the Shepard route, though.
^^ Ehm.. I know that, but I don't see what it has to do with the 'fixed human PC' thing we were discussing, especially since you could take the 'Baldur's Gate route' and give your PC the same origin regardless of race.
^ It's a surname actually.
edited 8th Jul '10 10:24:53 AM by WUE
^^^ You can easily account for permutations of background, name, race, class and gameplay choices with written dialog and some bits of code. With voiced lines, you are much more restricted. The only thing Mass Effect accounts for are gameplay decisions (with a line about the background in the intro and the single background-specific quest) and even those only to a certain degree. If you add the different races and origins from Dragon Age into the mix, you'll either end up with a vastly more complex dialog tree requiring much more voiced lines or a somewhat generic feel to it. And Dragon Age embraces the latter to the point where you'd think playing as a mabari wouldn't make that much of a difference except some throwaway line like "Oh, you are a dog! Don't worry, I ain't got nothing against dogs so I'll just continue the same dialog I would had with you if you were a human" If you have a fixed name, you can be called that instead of "Grey Warden." If you have a fixed background, most NPCs can easily reference it instead of going for the lowest comment denominator which is again, Grey Warden. Much more immersive for me at least, muss less complexity to deal with which allows the designer to go more in-depth and you haven't really lost anything in the process. Edit: And if you go the Baldur's Gate route, you'll have essentially the same thing as with Mass Effect sans a fixed name. As I've said before, a fixed protagonist doesn't really affect how your story plays out, it just opens more options.
Edit 2: Nevermind. I think we're basically on the same page, just minor details and a communication hickup. Nothing that warrants such a Wall of Text
edited 8th Jul '10 11:03:35 AM by Ana
The thing is, I think people who were expecting that the different origins in DA would lead to completely different games were silly. They were essentially like the background choices in Mass Effect, with the exception that you could play through them - so when they came up, you actually cared instead of having to squint a bit to remember some detail of a choice you made in the character creation menu several quests ago.
The Bioware Social Board users never cease to amaze me with their ability to declare RUINED Forever based on a few paragraphs of information.
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