BioWare-Brent Year 10 (Fall 2008 – Summer 2009)

This is the last of ten posts, one for each year that I worked for BioWare.

Talk to me
Spent the early fall participating in several interviews for Dragon Age. Not as much as when I was on Neverwinter Nights though this time around more of these Dragon Age interviews were in person or on the phone (the Neverwinter ones were often e-mail interviews). Doing interviews was certainly not my favorite thing but I believe that they generally went well even given that a couple times the interviewer attempted to ambush me. No hard feelings, that’s their job :)

The most disturbing event that happened during these interviews was when the PR department needed a new photo of me to use for press releases. That involved my being corralled into a bathroom and having one of the PR guys fix my hair for me. Just like my mom used to. It was a bit ick.

Changes
We were nearing the end of active work on design content for Dragon Age… there was still a lot more bug fixing/polishing/ and fill-content generation ahead but the core plot/writing and level design was finished. My work was rapidly shifting into that of reviewing what the team had put together.

Discussion on Dragon Age 2 began around this time and looking ahead I knew that I wasn’t going to be satisfied with what Dragon Age 2 would be. Party control/tactical combat are huge factors in my enjoyment of a role-playing game as is adopting the role of the hero (i.e., customizing my character). I was fairly certain Dragon Age would transition towards more of a Mass Effect experience, which while enjoyable is not the type of role-playing game I play. Could I be the lead designer on such a title? Certainly… though if I were going to work on a game adopting a set-in-stone protagonist I’d rather work on something lighter, like a shooter.

Through a series of circumstances it was decided that with my not wanting to participate on Dragon Age 2 it was time to transition in a new lead to finish the Dragon Age console versions and ramp up for Dragon Age 2. I moved out of an active lead role though I stayed on for several months performing quality assurance and helping with the transition. I completed the game several times during this period and racked up the second or third highest bug totals… so, still busy but doing something quite different.

After this was over and the content locked down I took a sabbatical.

Sabbatical
I wrote a lot during my several weeks of sabbatical time. One of the stories I wrote — “Digital Rights” — went on to win the Writers of the Future contest (though I wouldn’t learn that until late in 2009). While I enjoyed devoting my time to writing and spending more time with my kids I still had the ‘game design’ itch. When I returned to work I was hoping that there would be a new project lined up for me.

There wasn’t, not really. I did some high level design for a potential new project but a few months later I realized that, given cutbacks and other things that it really seemed unlikely that the project I had been ‘assigned’ to was ever going to materialize. I can’t/won’t go into any other details other than to point to an old entry I made about this and reiterate: “I’m not the same person I was when I started, and BioWare isn’t the same company. ”

The End

So I quit, giving a couple months notice to finish up my obligations on the new/hypothetical project and then in early September 2009 I left BioWare. I had a great last lunch with many of the designers I had helped train over the years. I definitely miss all the interaction at the office; there’s nothing like a couple hundred uber creative folk running around to stir the imagination but I am very much enjoying my stress reduced life.

Okay I promise this is my second to last BioWare post… I’ll toss one more up on the anniversary of my departure and then I’m done (though the Lazy Design articles will continue until I’ve fleshed out about three quarters of that book, at which point I’ll start seeking a publisher).


Previous: BioWare-Brent Year 9
Where the story began: BioWare-Brent Year 1


“BioWare-Brent Year 10” copyright 2010 by Brent Knowles

Read some of Brent’s stories, including his award-winning science fiction tale ‘Digital Rights’


Related Posts

BioWare-Brent Year 7 (Fall 2005 – Summer 2006), BioWare-Brent Year 9 (Fall 2007 – Summer 2008), BioWare-Brent Year 6 (Fall 2004 – Summer 2005), BioWare-Brent Year 5 (Fall 2003 – Summer 2004)

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  • http://blog.brentknowles.com Brent Knowles

    Multiplayer is always discussed for every title as it is generally seen that a single player game has less potential in the marketplace.

    The difficulty, especially with the way BioWare games have moved towards very focused stories is that multiplayer becomes really complicated– how do you play a cutscene (and every conversation IS a cutscene) in multiplayer?. Neverwinter probably had the best BioWare multiplayer in regards to making multiplayer players happy but that came at the cost of story presentation.

    Will be interesting to see where they go with it.

  • http://blog.brentknowles.com Brent Knowles

    Thanks for the kind words James!

    Take care,

    Brent

  • Bob

    Alex, I hope you realise that the reason there’s so many negative user reviews on metacritic is because the website was attacked by internet “trolls” from the 4chan website wanting to “bring BioWare down a notch”. It had little to do with the game itself. I imagine the actual user enjoyment is more in lieu with that of the professional critics; personally I’m enjoying myself so far, probably to an 8/10, though DA:O was a more appealing experience all in all (9/10 or maybe even 10/10).

    Which is why I’m also sad to see such a talented developer leave BioWare :(

  • http://blog.brentknowles.com Brent Knowles

    Hydroxide

    Thanks for the comment. I feel the same as you in that advertising that misleads me tends to discourage me from trusting the source a second time.

    In regards to Torment I have to be honest… I never finished the game. I think this was for a couple reasons

    1. I knew how it ended; a drawback to being in the industry is that you always get spoilers
    2. I think the RPGs I enjoy the most are ‘balanced’ — there’s good story, good exploration, good progression, and good combat. The whole Goldilocks syndrome I guess… when a game strays too far and focuses too much on one or two elements, I lose interest.

    For Torment, it was too much about the dialog and the story and I found the combat/progression weak and eventually lost interest. Still a great game and it did amazing things (and as you mentioned had an engrossing setting).

    Take care,

    Brent

  • http://blog.brentknowles.com Brent Knowles

    Gerbz,

    Hi. Thanks for stopping by.

    I was not with EA long enough to really say what their influence might be but some points:

    1. BioWare is a strong studio with very strong leadership. I half expect Ray and Greg to take over EA one day :)
    2. There is probably pressure from EA to release games faster and have DLC but these were directions BioWare was taking/wanting to take before EA
    3. As for the merchant thing I’m not sure I understand as I haven’t played ME2 or DA2 but if you can’t talk to merchants that might simply have been to save a bit of dialog and VO recording costs.

    Take care,

    Brent

  • http://blog.brentknowles.com Brent Knowles

    Bob,

    Hi… you are definitely correct. People are a bit more willing to take the effort to dislike something on the Internet than to praise it. I was a bit shocked by how low the user numbers have dropped.

    Anyways thanks for the kind words (but don’t worry there are many many many talented designers still at BioWare!)

    Take care,

    Brent

  • http://twitter.com/MrGerbz Gerben de Jonge

    Thanks for your quick reply Brent!

    I’m not surprised Bioware wanted DLC themselves too, it’s a good addition to the industry. However, EA is really milking it way too much… Several dozens of DLC before the game’s even released? That’s not cool.

    I understand your point about the merchant thing, and that is exactly what worries me.. Bioware won’t even invest time in something so simple anymore? Even something as simple as that breaks immersion, and it’s not like they didn’t have spare time, with all those re-used instances and all…

    Gerbz

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  • Jim Smith

    Hi Mr. Knowles

    Thank you for sharing these inside stories. More importantly, thank you for putting your blood and sweat and so much work into these games. I never would have thought it would take 6 years ot make dragon age, but it was worth it (to us gamers anyway !) It is a masterpiece. I just ordered Jade Empire after reading that you worked on it hehe

  • http://blog.brentknowles.com Brent Knowles

    Jim,

    Thanks for the kind words.

    Take care,

    Brent

  • Dave

    I agree there are users who will hate the game without even playing it and will troll on website like Metacritic but there are people who have played the game and are genuinely disappointed in the game. Unfortunately, they get lumped together with those internet trolls.

    As sad as those people who gave Dragon Age II a low rating in Metacritic without playing it, it’s just as sad that a Bioware employee (one that we know of) is posting as a random gamer and giving Dragon Age II a 10 out of 10 rating in Metacritic. As shown here: http://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/g3td7/dragon_age_2_conspiracy_highest_rated_metacritic/ His review on DAII was deleted after he was found out, but I remember seeing his review before it was deleted.

  • http://blog.brentknowles.com Brent Knowles

    Dave,

    That’s not good but I’m pretty sure this is just one overly enthusiastic newcomer to the company trying to show his support. But yeah, it doesn’t look good.

    – Brent

  • Tim

    Hello Brent,

    I’m a big fan of BG2, NWN and DAO. I can’t tell you how many hours I have sunk into those games. Thanks to you and the guys at Bioware for making them.

    I have been playing DAII since its release and there’s certainly some changes to the original. I’m dividend on some of these changes. One serious flaw I found in DAII is that I didn’t find Hawke and co to be as interesting as your character and his/her companions in Origins. When you were working at Bioware was your character in Origins, the Grey Warden was suppose to be the main character for the DA sequels or has it been planned long ago that you start with a new character after Origins? I ask because I get this feeling that it was originally planned that your character in Origins was suppose to be the character you play throughout the DA saga like with Shepard in the Mass Effect series but Bioware decided to do a mini reboot and create Hawke for DAII, maybe to attract new/non-hardcore RPGs gamers.

  • http://blog.brentknowles.com Brent Knowles

    Tim,

    Hi. Thanks for stopping by.

    I was a bit surprised at the change of the character but given the shift to a human-only main character it was inevitable I guess. When I was at BioWare it wasn’t 100% decided if the Grey Warden would remain the hero of the franchise but I had assumed this would probably be the case.

    I had hoped at the very least that his mark on the world would have carried over somehow to the sequel (are there statues or monuments of the warden in the world? Or books?)

    Take care,

    Brent

  • Lord British

    This aint brain surgery. What makes a ROLE playing game?

    I play a game. My friend plays the same game. Later when we meet at ye olde pub for a pint to discuss the game we played we find that we had SUBSTANTIALLY DIFFERENT experiences.

    Anyone who plays DA2 is gonna have pretty much the same experience as any other sucker that plays it.

    BioWare used to make really high quality role playing games. Folks are sad that they don’t want to anymore.

    Now I must go to ye olde pub.

    I’m gonna get drunk.

    I’m gonna cry.

    And later, I’m gonna fantasize about Morrigan.

  • http://blog.brentknowles.com Brent Knowles

    Lord British,

    Hi!

    Valid point but please… remember to drink responsibly!

    Take care,

    Brent

  • Guns

    Bioware is destroying games people love for more money and trying to get players who don’t like rpgs instead of appeasing rpg fans. I applaud you for quitting. Plain and simple Bioware is no longer the great company it use to be.

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  • Dmitry

    Hi Brent, I’m from Russia and I was playing every RPG title made by you (and your colleagues) from PS:T till DA:O, and finished DA2 lately. DA2 is a good-paced, but obviously too shallow for my taste game. While in our PnP DnD company we’ve suffered a lot from “duh, there are so many ways to make the story in this game much better!” syndrome, still Bioware of old were really those people that brought us quality storytelling and adventures through personal computer, and has shown the magic of adventuring to many people worldwide. I thank you from all my heart for all those hours of entertainment and thought-provoking decisions in-game; I wish you’d never had to waste your time on anything not interesting enough for you. Hopefully you won’t lose the drive inside! As for RPG industry – I just want to know, does anyone is still doing the games with deeply-thought-out and immersive storytelling? Any directions, please?

  • http://blog.brentknowles.com Brent Knowles

    Dmitry,

    Thank you for stopping by and for the praise. It is very much appreciated.

    Unfortunately I’m not sure of any other titles like what you are asking for. Perhaps somebody else reading this could recommend something?

    Take care,

    Brent

  • Dave

    Hi Dmitry,

    I recommend Drakensang: The Dark Eye if you’re a fan of party-based RPG like the ones Bioware made in the past. Though don’t expect a classic RPG like the Baldur’s Gate series or Planescape: Torment, but it’s still very good and if you want an alternative to those numerous action “RPGs” out there, it’s worth checking out, especially since it cost much less than DA2.

  • http://blog.brentknowles.com Brent Knowles

    Thanks for the recommendation Dave!

  • Dmitry

    Hi again, Brent, the praise is all deserved. By the way, what are you playing, if playing at all?

  • Dmitry

    Thank you, I’ll give it a try, if there is not so predictable and non-linear storyline in Drakensang it would be just great. Otherwise, I was waiting for Deus Ex and Witcher 2, although they aren’t DnD classics by no means, but I’m hoping for a well-thought story there.

  • Dave

    No problem, Dmitry. Also, you got to try Risen (on the PC since the XBox version was poorly ported). If you liked the Gothic series (the first two, anyway), then you’ll probably like Risen. It’s non-linear and story is good, don’t expect a masterpiece storytelling but it’s still very good, imo.

  • Tim

    Thanks for a fast reply. Apart from Flemeth’s appearance at the start, few cameos by characters from Origins and a bit of talk about the Grey Warden, there’s not much connection from the original game. Having finished the game, DAII seems more like a spinoff than an actual sequel to Origins.

  • http://blog.brentknowles.com Brent Knowles

    Thanks for the reply re: cameos and whatnot. I’m glad there’s something but it sounds like it could have been more.

  • http://www.brentknowles.com Brent Knowles

    Dmitry,

    Not really playing anything all… most of my games I check out right now are games that I can play around the kids. I do take a look at a lot of demos though but nothing has really grabbed my interest. (But in all honesty being the stay-at-home parent + writing = not a lot of time for games right now).

    Take care,

    Brent

  • Merced

    Looking back on events Brent, can you laugh at how much of a joke Mike Laidlaw has made the Dragon Age franchise, and most notably himself?

  • http://blog.brentknowles.com Brent Knowles

    Merced,

    Thanks for stopping by but please cut Mike some slack. While Mike is probably very happy with many of the changes made I’m sure there are some he is less enthusiastic about. But it is his *job* to defend Dragon Age 2 as a whole.

    I did the same thing… I’m sure if you dig around a little you’ll find a quote or two of me defending Neverwinter Nights and some of its less polished features :)

    As well Dragon Age 2, as far as I can tell is selling well and has a respectable metacritic rating. I don’t think the industry considers the franchise a joke.

    Take care,

    Brent

  • DanaT

    I appreciate all the work you did for Bioware! I am working on my first novel right now and wish you luck on all your future endeavors!

  • http://blog.brentknowles.com Brent Knowles

    Thank you and good luck with your novel too.

    Take care,

    Brent

  • Mary

    I finally finished DA2. The urge to slap myself for being a early adopter is overwhelming. I don’t remember a “RPG,” that made me hate my own character.
    Hawke-the definition of “streamlining.”
    Hawke- the definition of writing that can be described as “user oriented content.”
    A dangerous path to take IMO when wanting at least a little creativity.
    Bioware should hire You now in the writing department, as the last hope that something can be rescued from the illness that has befallen everything even remotely connected with vision, idea and creativity.
    DA2 is almost a insult to the genre.
    No, I don’t feel entitled, not living in my Mom’s basement, not afraid of changes, I’m just not the target audience.
    But who is it?
    The game, this is all from various developer interviews targeted the COD gamers, because COD, based on Mike Laidlaw’s comments is a RPG, and RPG’s are dying.
    So they removed even weapon swap that is present in COD from DA2 because it’s a complicated task for the target COD audience.
    Logic?
    What am I babbling about:companions having fixed armors, fixed weapon class talents for companions,no dual wielding,no arcane warrior, a console camera on PC , blocked view distances, horrible FOV, all together 6 maps that are reused for the entire game, one mansion that is being visited in my case at least 10 times within 36 hours, I found less than 10 named NPC’s that are not plot related that the player can interact with, friendly fire only on nightmare, a approval system that is worse than the paragon/renegade system of ME, enemies exploding from weapon damage with the same animation, a dialogue wheel that brings paraphrasing to the next level, a level that manages to disconnect the player from the character He created…

    The Cameo appearances of Origins characters with half of the polygon budget they had in DAO, deformation problems galore because of the polygon budget everywhere.
    Wave of enemies falling from walls and buildings using invisible parachutes.
    The ” Cinematic Experience, “a excellent way to avoid player input, actual gameplay and player interactivity being way to expensive for EA’s budget.
    There would be a endless list to write down for future reference.
    The writing treats the gamer most of the time like a Michael Bay in front of a Shrine worshiping adrenaline junkie.
    I’m absolutely aware of the business part in gaming however, there is an always will be the need for a wider appeal, but the game failed at it, and managed to alienate many players like me.
    There was a way to get both sides, it would have been probably way to expensive for the ultimate Muzyka/Zeschuk vision of aggressively exploring the market by exploiting the gamer and those with a little creativity that is left at Bioware. The Doctors are probably the only ones getting a inner satisfaction from the project.

    This is getting really too long and sorry for infesting Your blog.
    I think that there is a easiness in the creative process for a creative person, but it gets so many times tainted by those with authority and no basic grasp on the subject.
    Must be You that made the creative process look so easy with Your writing and the games You influenced.
    I admire Your personal and professional integrity even more after the recent events.

  • http://blog.brentknowles.com Brent Knowles

    Mary,

    Thanks for the kind comments.

    The weapon/armor limits, despite what has been said, seems to be an art limitation. Not having really studied DA2 I’m wondering if all the companions received unique art models and animation? If that is the case it explains the limits on their visual upgradability. And I agree that’s disappointing.

    The more I read about what worked and what did not work in Dragon Age 2 the more I’m starting to suspect that there were serious art limitations handed down to the design team and the design team did what it could to work around them — i.e., building a story around fewer areas.

    Curious about what might have happened art-side to bring that about…

    Take care,

    Brent

  • Ewt237

    I really, really want you to know that what you did in Origins was probably one of the best games I’ve ever played in my lifetime.

    What I was really disappointed about was about the whole new Mage vs. Templar thing.
    It broke away to what I personally believe was what made the Dragon Age title a massive success, the Grey Warden storyline and how epic it was.

    IMO, it was the backbone of what Dragon Age was, apart from the Dragons wherein its the age of the dragons, (they should never take it out) I loved the Grey Wardens and how epic they were. The epic feel of being a Warden, with everybody hating you because you supposedly killed the king, then rising up to unite the nation in defeating the Archdemon was so epic. Especially when you finally stab it, it had that epic feel about.

    in DA2 I had little experiences with it, the epic aura, the impending doom, the party campfire was also great, I hate it that in DA2 you had to visit them in their own territory, (should have at least made the hanged man the their fortress or something).

    I also didn’t like it that the companions had their own choice on what they wear, because I really wanted to see what they’d look like using the Champion armor, especially Varric.

    What I did like though was the loading screen, it only took like 3 seconds or even less for it to load. Also I liked the combat, though not all of it. In DA:O it was very sluggish, in DA2 its fun, BUT the rogue combat mechanics had to much rolling every time I switched to another enemy (I was thinking about a song that goes, they see me rollin’, they hatin’). AND, why do most of them explode into tiny bits with a simple slash? It would have been okay with mages, but an arrow doesn’t make you explode!

    Also there are no lags, given my old-school hardware.

    Frankly though, I think the sequel made a step back, not forward.

    I’m not bashing the franchise, I’m just sharing my opinions.

    I thoroughly respect your work.

  • Alex

    Hi Brent, long time RPGs (and Bioware) fan from Mexico here.

    So, you can guess what brought me here, and reading your post cemented some of my fears and concerns. Your brief history puts many things about DA2 into perspective, so really, I can’t but share with you my disappointment in the way Bioware seems to be handling their games for some time now. I know of course that it’s not everyone’s fault on the team, some people have to work with what they have, but the company as a whole -and its discourse around the games- are really a testament of what you said: it’s not the same Bioware anymore. Shame.

    I also wanted to thank you for one of the best games I’ve played in the last few years, and for your previous work on NWN which I also played and enjoyed; thank you for standing up for the kind of games we like. They might make more profitable games that never miss the quarter, but the lack of passion that inhabits DA2 is something unforgivable for many, me included. I am glad that it is not you who has to be out there saving face (or pretending at least) and that you preferred losing your job before your integrity and ideals. I really appreciate that, and well, you seem to be doing great with your other projects.

    I hope it was not too much of a problem that I decided to vent some of my frustrations here, in your personal space, but I gathered that if anyone knew how this feels it was you. And very late congratulations on your writing! you are part of my bookmarks now and I will be looking forward to anything you put out in the future. I wish you the very best. Cheers!

    Alex.

  • http://blog.brentknowles.com Brent Knowles

    Alex,

    Thank you for the kind words! I’m glad you enjoyed some of the games I’ve contributed to in the past. Don’t worry about venting here; it is interesting to read how players have experienced Dragon Age 2.

    Take care,

    Brent

  • http://blog.brentknowles.com Brent Knowles

    Hi, thanks for sharing your opinions!

    You offer some interesting perspective. I think Dragon Age 2 intentionally steered away form the ‘epic’ storyline but I can understand why that it is disappointing to players who enjoyed the first game. As a player I would have expected the story from the first game to continue too.

    Nice to hear that there are some aspects of DA2 that you feel are improvements though! I’m curious how DA3 will incorporate all the feedback that the company has received.

    Take care,

    Brent

  • Matt

    It really saddens me when, IMO, the greatest RPG developers start caring only about the money and attracting new customers over pleasing fans who made them what they are. DAO was one of the best games i’ve ever played, coming second against Mass Effect. Good on you for taking a stand!

  • Matt

    Hi Brent,

    I stumbled in here after a friend told me about this epic ten-parter you’ve conjured up. I’ve spent the past 45 minutes or so reading the entire story. I have to say it’s pretty poignant, and an excellent insight into the life and toils of a game designer, and a fantastic way to see the creation of one of the most praised RPGs of recent years.

    I have to thank you for all your work on Dragon Age: Origins. It was a fantastic experience for me and all my friends; and one I HOPE BioWare will be able deliver again. The several hundred hours of ecstasy can’t be forgotten. A sublime call back to the classic days of RPGs.

    Your decision to leave BioWare was a noble one, and I’m glad to see that you stand by your design philosophy and stick up for what you want to see in games.

    Having played DA2, I am slightly scared by the path BioWare is taking. The mechanics have been attuned to seem less of an RPG, more of a hack-and-slash. Although maybe I’m being cynical and even resilient to change, I just can’t say I like this path. I don’t see what was wrong with the classic formula.

    The story is a matter of concern, as well. Perhaps some sort of unwavering loyalty to old-school RPGs won’t die, but DA2 doesn’t seem nearly as large, powerful, or have the role-playing capability that DA:O did.

    Sometimes the scary thought comes to me that DA:O may be BioWare’s last “true” RPG. I sure hope not- but we will need to wait and see.

    Thanks once again, and best of luck for the future,

    Matt.

  • http://blog.brentknowles.com Brent Knowles

    Matt,

    Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad you enjoyed Origins and my ‘BioWare Brent’ writeup.

    Take care,

    Brent

  • maxd

    brent thank you so much for all your work i adored all the games you had a hand in especially dao! i hope the writing is going well, but not too well as it would be great to see you in game design again…;)

    just wondering if there are any really solid rpg titles about that you know of/have been playing as unfortunately da2 doesn’t quite fit the bill for me.

    thanks very much for all your time

  • http://blog.brentknowles.com Brent Knowles

    maxd,

    Sorry, I haven’t really stumbled across any stellar games in a while and the writing keeps me busy enough that I haven’t been looking too hard. Let me know if you find anything.

    Take care,

    Brent

  • Gwande

    Kudos to you for sticking to your guns. I loved Origins because it was MY warden and MY world. Everything was shaping around me. Thedas was changing because of me. Then I play Mass Effect Tolkein Edition and found out I was playing wrong. Thankfully Bioware let me know that my choices were stupid and fixed them for me.

    I’ve had ME TE (aka DA2) since it came out and haven’t put more than 3 hours into it. My favorite part is when I loadimg an Origins save people I killed were miraculously alive. No explanation or anything. In Mass Effect if you killed them they were dead in ME2.

    I’m just curious as to your take on retconing (or whatever they say) dead charecters.

    On another note. I hope if you make a comeback its for DA3 so you can bring back all the Origins fans who were left behind for DA2.

    I’m gonna start looking for them novels.

  • Gwande

    Yeah my spelling is off in a few places, wanna fight about it?

  • Zky_krypton007

    Idealism is hard to find nowadays… Good thing it still exists in you Sir!

  • http://blog.brentknowles.com Brent Knowles

    No need to fight :)

    Thanks for the kind words and I’m sorry you were disappointed with DA2.

    In regards to how I feel about the dead returning to life? This is always trick with a sequel… retaining the events that had occurred in the past. Ideally I think a sequel should do one of two things:

    1. Let players know right at the beginning of the game that the choices you made in the original are going to be ignored or at least _which_ are going to be ignored (Baldur’s Gate 2 did this I believe in that design made an assumption in regards to which party members you traveled with in the first game and built the opening story around that). This can be frustrating but at least the player’s expectations are set right from the start.

    2. Honor the choices made in the first game. Honestly we have the technology, means and creativity to do this and should as often as possible. It would be pretty cool, I think, to play a game series with a world that is constantly ‘tweaked’ by the decisions made in the previous titles.

    Sadly I won’t be making a comeback to the game’s industry. Double sadly I don’t have any novels for you to read yet. I’m still searching for homes for them :)

    I do have stories though, you can either check out my bibliography (link on header) or if you have an ebook reader find them at Smashwords http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/BrentKnowles or Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Brent-Knowles/e/B0035WW7OW

    Take care,
    Brent

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  • Shadow7warlord

    So i finished dragon age 2 for the second time and would like to share my opinion.But first, congratulations for your work on dragon age origins,truly one of the best RPGs i’ve played. It does have its flaws(like all games)but that’s why it’so good. It doesn’t try to be perfect and none of its aspects are perfect but together they make a unique experience. Dragon age 2 now is not a bad game. Quite the contrary it’s very good and has some great moments that really remind of DAO(twists etc),the graphics are a bit better(even though the game takes place only in Kirkwall)the combat is faster(neither good nor bad for me)and flashier. Also the voiced character change quite good.The characters are also quite interesting but not DAO level and are bit one-sided. One my favorites is meredith but unfortunately she’s underdeveloped. However the game has obviously been rushed(act 3 for example),many areas have been recycled, the paraphrases dialogue is very bad(thank god for the icons),and the game has lost some of its atmosphere. What bothers me is the fan reception. I understand many were expecting the epicness of origins but personally i have no problem that bioware wanted to try something different and more personal(explains the kirkwall setting). Also i think the qunari part was well done. The game mainly focuses in the dispute between mages and templars and is one of the highlites of the game. Both sides have their points…The mages want their freedom but are also a danger to other people when they misuse the power and the templars try to keep order but by taking harsh measures. This is well exuted throughout the game(even if it gets a bit boring after a while)and you can keep a neutral stance until the end whre you have to choose and i actually saw that coming. However it’s dissapointing that no matter which side you choose the ending is the same. Actually one of the faults of the game is that there are only a few if none significant choices to be made. Everything leads to the same result. I must be getting boring by now so i’ll get back to my previous statement,the fan reception. The game has a very low metacritic score and i think it’s not because of the game but becuse of bioware and how they rushed it. That’s my main concern and while i think DAO is better than DA2 i want DA3 to find some middle ground between the two and not be even more streamlined. In your time with Bioware, does bioware take the feedback seriously or do they try to achieve more sales with each game.?

    That’s what i wanted to say,sorry if i tired you
    Anyway again congratulations for DAO and good luck in your future endeavors!

  • http://blog.brentknowles.com Brent Knowles

    Thanks for the observations and the kind words.

    In my experience BioWare *does* listen to feedback but there are two kinds of feedback:

    #1 – Fan feedback
    #2 – Sales

    If there are a lot of sales for DA2 that will make probably them consider the fan feedback differently then if the sales are ‘average’.