Dragon Age II Lead Designer: “We Didn’t Have the Assets to Create Entirely New Levels”By Rothtana Ouch
Much about the Dragon Age II differs from the original, but recently DA2′s lead designer Mike Laidlaw has opened up about his feelings on all things Dragon Age II and continue to try to spin criticisms of design choices from a different light.
Unlike the original game, DA2 drew upon a framed narrative for story telling. Rather than a short time span, DA2 focused on a story that covered ten years.
“It allowed us to show that it wasn’t just some grand conspiracy or just something that we decided to do,” Laidlaw told 1up. “But that it was something that involved a person, and had an intensely personal element to it.”
The much more intimate DA2 with a framed narrative also doesn’t feature a final end boss, as seen in Bioware’s Knights of the Old Republic’s Darth Malak and Mass Effect’s Saren. Reactions to the frame narrative have been mixed. Other criticisms of DA2 concerned recycled dungeons and a limited locale within the limiting surrounding areas of Kirkwall. During the interview, Laidlaw claims that the recycled dungeons were essentially part of the plan. Bioware was faced with a choice to have more plot points using recycled content or less plot points zero recycling. They chose the latter.
“What we ran into was the situation where we had the ability to have more plots, more content, some side stuff that we knew would be optional, but we didn’t have the assets to create entirely new levels for,” said Laidlaw. “So we took a long look at that, and said, ‘Is it important to have more content in the game, or is it important that the content be 100-percent unique?’”
The final portions of the interview looked at the gameplay design changes of DA2. Essentially Laidlaw declares the design element changes needed to occur to pick-up flashy combos and less complexity. He goes on to discuss possible DA2 DLC, while comparing DLC from the original Dragon Age calling them “experimental.” Future Dragon Age games might also be set in Orlais.
The interview is quite interesting and reveals a ton of design choices that drastically rebooted the RPG elements found in a BioWare RPG. We’re actually left feeling a bit disappointed that BioWare is walking away from the genre they’ve built up over the years. Laidlaw’s statements reads more like an obituary of the classic PCRPG, rather than an apology for Dragon Age II.
Does it sound crazy to you too?