BioWare Takes Dragon Age Back To The Drawing Board

BioWare Takes Dragon Age Back To The Drawing Board

With Mass Effect 3 hogging the headlines for all the right (and wrong) reasons this month, BioWare feels now is the time to reveal that the Dragon Age series is in for what sounds like a serious bout of self-reflection.

After the second game in the series bitterly disappointed many fans, and with it now being a year since the release of the ill-fated RPG, executive producer Mark Darrah has posted an open letter on BioWare’s forums in which he basically says “tell us where you want the series to go next”.

“This past year, we’ve spent a lot of time both going back to the “BioWare vault” of games and re-examining them, and looking at some new possibilities that today’s industry allows”, he writes.

“With that, the next thing for the Dragon Age team members and I to do is hear from you, and not just on the forums, or Facebook, or Twitter. We’ll be attending a number of conventions and gatherings, including PAX East in April. The most valuable thing we can get out of those meetings is to hear from you on those same topics — what does Dragon Age mean to you, and where would you like to see it go? We’re excited to hear what you have to say!”

While it’ll be tempting to go all out and ask for everything, the most sensible course of action for fans might be to simply ask “hey, you know the first Dragon Age, make another game like that again”.

In the same letter, Darrah seems to also pour cold water on hopes for any more Dragon Age II DLC, saying “while we will still be keeping an eye out for any issues that might crop up in DAII and supporting the community should any mergencies should arise, we’re moving the entire team’s focus to the next phase of Dragon Age’s future.”

Mark Darrah on the conclusion of Dragon Age II [BioWare]


  • Jennifer Hepler promoted to lead writer. All characters revealed to be homosexuals, new combat system where attacks are replaced with make-out sessions.

    Every preorder comes with a copy of MITH: Operation Smoking Jaguar

  • Jennifer Hepler promoted to lead writer. All characters revealed to be homosexuals, new combat system where attacks are replaced with make-out sessions.

    Every preorder comes with a copy of MITH: Operation Smoking Jaguar

  • An ending where that has 3 different coloured variations and your teammates run away from a huge battle with no indication to outrun an explosion.

  • I’m amazed they even entertain the idea of asking the community. It’s like rewarding a tantrum with candy and hugs.

    • No it’s a diabolical plan.

      See by saying you tell us.

      When it sucks they can blame us because we didn’t tell them properly.

      and when it’s awesome they can take credit.

      Basically they get the best of both worlds regardless of the game

  • I still think people were overly harsh on Dragon Age II. I think they did a lot of things really well with the characters and the way they evolved over the course of the game, and I thought the combat (at least on PC) was much better.

    It deserved criticism for the way it recycled environments and also didn’t really have a strong core story (it really felt more like the setup to something bigger and was more character focused instead).

    • I think it would have been better to have treated Dragon Age 2 not as a sequel but as a side story.

      • I disagree. It should have been a side game, because it was a side story. However, it was also judt abad game. The combat lacked strategy or depth, the story was garbage, and although some characters were great, too many were subject to some of the worst deus ex machina I can recall.

        My honest suggestion is to fire the design and writing staff and introduce a minimum production time of three years

        • Personally I found the story more engaging and deeply personalized than the ‘Insert myself into the game’ character of the Warden in DA:O. Having the main characters voiced was a definite improvement. It made them into a more believable character. The only people I know who complain about that sort of thing are the weirdos who want to insert themselves into that world as the character, instead of watching/controlling someone else’s story.

          The Champion of Kirkwall wasn’t the hero of the whole goddamn world, but they were the hero of THEIR world =without= the benefit of unholy blood-pact powers, and godammit I WANT to see more stories like this. The writing was good. The Qunari made more sense, darker undersides of societies and more shades of grey were exposed, the stories of ‘little people’ in the world were fleshed out better.

          …But I also would’ve preferred not to see cut-and-paste maps whose only variation is “Which room in the identical cave/house/warehouse is walled off by an impassable door for this side-mission?” and waves of enemies spawning out of random places after you’ve killed the first few. Combat was also seriously no less ‘rich’ than in DA:O, but the ‘best in slots’ gear/strategies were so obvious as to narrow most folks’ focus. It didn’t HAVE to be crappy ‘hack and slash’ (if you played on the PC, obviously, which didn’t require the button-mashing the console does), but it was just so damned effective to play that way.

      • I’d agree with that, the links between DA 1 & 2 are tenuous at best. Much as I enjoyed it DA2, the ending made it pretty clear they didn’t have a clear plan for the series but were instead making it up as they go along. Not that I necessarily mind, there’s plenty to explore in the Dragon Age universe, and I’m not sure I really want them to try and retroactively tie together a new game with one of the old ones.

  • Mass Effect digs aside, I don’t think i’d basically want DA1 rehashed into a third game, but it can’t be like DA2, at all.

    Something with a bit more weight to it, heavier combat, use the same system from ME3 where you could play traditional RPG style or go COD-Mod. But in a DA sense. It felt like DA2 took place over a day, which was crap, it needs scale and size, a universe with weight.

    I dunno.

    • Ypu can’t play anything like traditional rpg in the ME series. Not a criticism, just a fact. The latter two play almost exactly like GoW with perks and an interactive story. I wouldn’t want to see that for DA, because there are already plenty of action-oriented games.

    • DA2 over a day?

      Are… are you kidding? DA:O was the one that felt like it occurred over the one day or two. With the day/night cycles, the breaks in the stories allowing ENTIRE YEARS to pass between acts, and the differences that developed in peoples’ roles and fortunes over those years…
      You didn’t read a god damned word, did you? Just listened to the talky.

  • I wouldn’t mind if they would use DA:O engine and just write a new story for DA III. I’m really skeptical about Bioware’s games after action packed DA 2 and ME 3.

  • I actually rather enjoyed da2 quite a lot. Loved the action, the characters, graphics and the story. If something were to change it would be to make the game slightly harder / more unique enemies and boss fights. Oh well we all have our own oppinions.

  • Hope they got a new environment guy, DA2 felt abit…bland, from the town to the cliffs, it all felt kind of boring.

    • Which is ironic, given the big song and dance they made pre-release about the radical change in art direction over Origins, bringing in a new lead artist to glam it up.

  • I’d like to see less emphisis on the romance side of things. It’s annoying when your only dialogue choices are either be a total jerk, or a dodgy pickup line.
    I’d also like to see more class choices, or more story elements that are specificlly tied to each class. If they want replay value, give us more reason than just Achievement hunting.
    Also make the world feel more lived in. I found with DA2 that the city, which was the central hub of your adventure, tended to feel like a diorama that your character runs through. Have vendors wandering around talking to you and other people in the market. Make the warrens feel crowded and dangerous.

  • Go back to the roots of the first game. The first was great. I don’t care about the sub par combat, I play other games for great combat. I play the Bauldurs gate, Dragon age games for story, playability and the amazing environments. Dragon age two was an abortion.

  • see…. they say the customers shouldn’t be complaining about the ending to ME3 (which i have not seen yet) but here with dragon age 2 they’re asking for opinions/direction for the next game.

    hm… maybe they should have done that for ME2 so people could say ‘don’t make the ending suck.’

    • They can’t…the IP is owned by Wizards of the Coast. Thank goodness for that too present-day bioware can’t be trusted with a good IP.

  • Dragon Age 2 had recycled dungeons, not a heap of customization options in the way of party members etc and a somewhat silly story. It wasnt however as bad as alot of fanboys make out. Origins isn’t as amazing as they make out either. All this appealing to irrational people for answers is just going to make it worse. The tail doesn’t wag the dog.

  • I almost feel like we should just tell them to ‘let it go’ and never return to Dragon Age unless years down the road Bioware, or whoever owns the IP at that point, is 100% sure to do it justice.

    I’d rather their current writing team come up with something original instead of writing fan-fiction-esque stories based loosely in worlds that were created by writers who came before.

  • Why not have Commander Sheppard appear in the DA universe?

    Opening scene will see Anders introducing himself to Shep, who, has just regained consciousness.
    Shep asks “where am I?”
    Game goes to cut scene that shows Anders in bed with Shep – who is thinking “wtf happened, I asked a question, I didn’t say I want to hop in bed with this guy”

  • Dragonage 1 and 2 were both avoided until discounted. Both were decent games in my opinion. Origins opening stories were an excellent new thing to me and enjoyed that. II’s rise to power was interesting and I felt invested. I would keep 2’s combat but maybe refine it but give you character choice like origins. Kirkwall wasn’t bad but I do.agree it needed more life … like the hanged man. Also both games are guilty of recycling environments or making them feel similar. II though was ridiculous with that. But with bioware after mass effect 3’s ending (preorder) …I’ll probably wait till a goty edition…

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