Bioware Lead Designer Mike Laidlaw has responded to reactions from fans about Dragon Age II’s controversial new Game Design mechanics. (You can remind yourself of how Bioware said the Game Design of Dragon Age II was ‘more welcoming’ here on the Train2Game blog)
The game itself proved popular on the Train2Game Forum, but Bioware were inundated with comments on the Bioware forum that voiced concerns that Dragon Age II when compared to the original, Dragon Age: Origins. (A title that the Train2Game blog previously laid great praise on, especially when it came to Game Design)
Laidlaw has recognised concerns of Bioware forum users and insists that there are aspects of Dragon Age 2 that must be improved upon in future games in the series.
“I am absolutely aware of the concerns voiced here. Issues like level re-use, the implementation of wave combat, concerns about the narrative and significance of choice and so on have all been not only noted, but examined, inspected and even aided me (and many, many others on the team) in formulating future plans.” he said. “Further, I’m not only aware of the concerns, but I agree that there are aspects of DA II that not only can but must be improved in future installments. And that is precisely our intent.”
Laidlaw also added the reasons why Bioware made such a drastic change from Dragon Age: Origins with Dragon Age II “I am very proud of what the team accomplished with Dragon Age II. I know many are advocating a “it wasn’t broke, why did you try to fix it?” stance, and I absolutely understand why. From my perspective, as someone looking to the future and the DA franchise, I think that DA II moved us into a space that has more potential.
“The story events of DA II have fundamentally altered the political and power landscape of Thedas, in a way that’s open to intrigue, drama and sweeping conflict in the future, and evolves a world that, while still very much involving the Grey Wardens and Darkspawn, is about more than just that one struggle.”
“Hawke’s story was a departure from the usual tale, and in crafting it and the game around it we learned a lot. Some from what worked, but even more from what didn’t. Such is always the way. I hope that in the future we’ll be able to discuss how we’re addressing your concerns and even solicit feedback from you on future plans in the process, but for now, I hope a simple thank you will suffice.” He concluded.
It provides a potentially interesting lesson to Train2Game students in listening to fan feedback when developing games. For more on why Bioware decided to take Dragon Age II in the direction they did, see extracts of an interview with Mike Laidlaw on Game Design here on the Train2Game blog.
So Train2Game, how important do you believe it to be for developers to listen to fans? Is it something you look forward to in your future career? Have you already responded to feedback when producing games?