Train2Game News Dragon age Inquisition story DLC announced

image

BioWare, an Electronic Arts Inc. studio, announced brand-new downloadable content (DLC) that expands the singleplayer experience for Dragon Age: Inquisition, winner of over 100 Game of the Year awards.

Now available for digital download, the Dragon Age: Inquisition – Jaws of Hakkon DLC adds an exciting new story arc to the campaign and expands on its already vast world with a new region of Thedas to explore. Dragon Age: Inquisition – Jaws of Hakkon is available first on Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft and PC via Origin for £11.99.

Dragon Age: Inquisition – Jaws of Hakkon will reveal the fate of the last Inquisitor and the powerful dragon he hunted. The new content expands the land of Thedas with a massive new playable area covered in mountains and lush forests, where danger lurks in the shadowy undergrowth. As players explore the vertical landscape and dense wilderness fighting off vicious enemies, they will collect legendary armour and weapons before unearthing an ancient secret that could destroy the world.

“We are humbled by the game’s reception so far but are not done with the world of Thedas just yet,” said Mike Laidlaw, Creative Director, BioWare. “We hope the new DLC speaks to our dedication of growing Inquisition with meaningful and exciting new content for our fans, new and old.”

Winner of over 160 industry awards, including more than 100 Game of the Year awards globally, Dragon Age: Inquisition is set in an epic, dark fantasy world where players are empowered to shape and drive their experiences. BioWare’s hallmark gameplay narrative will immerse players with engrossing choices that allow them to experience unique moments based on those decisions. Dragon Age: Inquisition is developed on an RPG game engine underpinned by EA’s cutting edge Frostbite 3 technology.

Dragon Age: Inquisition is developed at BioWare Edmonton with support from BioWare Montreal and other locations. Dragon Age: Inquisition – Jaws of Hakkon is available now for digital download first on Xbox One and PC as a timed exclusive.

Train2Game Dragon Age Multiplayer

image

BioWare, a division of Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA), today announced the cooperative dungeon crawling multiplayer mode in Dragon Age: Inquisition. Created alongside the massive single player campaign, this marks the first time gamers can play with their friends in the Dragon Age franchise.

The multiplayer mode in Dragon Age: Inquisition will feature action-packed four player cooperative quests separate from the single player open world story.

“For Dragon Age: Inquisition, a special team of veteran developers from the Dragon Age and Mass Effect franchises created fun, fast-paced multiplayer gameplay that requires strategic teamwork on top of Inquisition’s party-based combat and extensive loot and crafting system,” said Aaryn Flynn, General Manager, BioWare. “It was early in the game’s development that we realized how much fun fans of our series were having, with so many players teaming up in Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer mode. We can’t wait to give Dragon Age fans an even bigger and deeper experience.”

In Dragon Age: Inquisition’s multiplayer mode, four players will team up across a range of multiplayer quests and objectives, exploring intricate dungeons and vanquishing all who oppose them. While dungeon-crawling, players will collect loot, salvage items, craft new weapons and armor, and unlock new characters. At launch, players will be able to unlock up to twelve characters across the three Inquisition classes of Legionnaire, Reaver and Mage, each playing a different and strategic role in multiplayer combat. Multiplayer in Dragon Age: Inquisition is a standalone experience from the open world story players will embark in the main game, and will not have an impact on single player progression or story.

Players can pre-order Dragon Age: Inquisition to get special bonus content. Visit the Dragon Age website for more information on editions, including the Deluxe Edition available for pre-order and the upcoming Inquisitor’s Edition.

Train2Game News New BioWare Game

image

BioWare, have announced Shadow Realms, a new 4v1 story-driven online action RPG, set in a constantly evolving BioWare world where modern meets fantasy.

Four heroes adventure against another player-controlled enemy, a malevolent force called The Shadowlord, in dynamic 4v1 co-op missions, ensuring that no two battles are ever the same. Players will have the choice to play either as – or against – The Shadowlord, building experience and progression whether they have chosen good or evil. The over-arching narrative will be released episodically, playing out over time like a great TV series, providing players the ability to experience story-driven adventures as a community.

“This game brings us back to our roots in the realm of classic Pen and Paper RPG, but also delivers something that’s completely new and innovative for our fans,” said Jeff Hickman, General Manager and Vice President at BioWare Austin. “Shadow Realms is a new BioWare RPG that has the hallmarks of all BioWare games with a rich story, a unique world setting and deep combat progression, but built as an interactive experience that evolves the genre and broadens the appeal to online gamers all over the world.”

In Shadow Realms, Modern Heroes on Earth are being awakened and recruited, because of magical powers they never knew they had, to fight in a new and dangerous war against the Shadow Legions of Embra. The Shadow Legions, who have been battling on Embra for years against the members of the Radiant Empires, have gained new strength with the coming of a powerful, unknown force that we call the Shadowlords. And, they have just figured out how to leave Embra and invade Earth.

Join the battle with three other modern-day Heroes to fight the demonic Shadow Legions and a player-controlled Shadowlord to save all of humanity. Build both a Hero and Shadowlord that are deeply customized to the way players want to play.

Visit www.ShadowRealms.com/play to sign up for a chance to get into the closed alpha. Become a fan of Shadow Realms on Facebook and follow them on Twitter via @shadowrealms.

Shadow Realms is in development at BioWare Austin and will be available for the PC from Origin.

Train2Game News: Early Mass Effect concept art

Mass Effect Concept ArtVeteran BioWare designer Matt Rhodes has posted an array of Mass Effect concept art from throughout the sci-fi trilogy. This of course includes spoilers!

It is a fascinating look at the early days of the series and some of the initial concepts.

The art, posted on Rhodes’ blog, includes designs dating back to the series’ origins. It covers concepts about Tali and what her face looked like under the mask, an interesting story twist involving Shepard and a creepy looking creation of the Mass Effect 2 boss.

Matt Rhodes said about his role as a concept artist “The role of a Concept Artist is the role of an explorer, tasked with charting a world without sunlight. You start off with your reference and research. These are well established base camps.

“They’re well lit, highly populated and safe. The better your reference the better your bearings will be. The artist’s job is to start at base camp with a bag of torches and run furiously out into the darkness. Every doodle, sketch, painting and storyboard is a torch lit somewhere out in the black. You mostly find weeds and rocks out there. But if you keep pushing you sometimes find a rich landscape that can hopefully become a new basecamp.”

You can enjoy his concept art in the link below including some concept art for Dragon Age as well. It is an interesting look through his process.

http://mattrhodesart.blogspot.ca/2013/07/concept-art-behind-scenes.html

Train2Game News: Mass Effect 3 infographic

Mass Effect 3 With the close of Commander Shepards story, Bioware have released an infographic detailing everyone’s choices in Mass Effect 3.

The graphic shows that despite the vocal popularity of the female Commander Shepard only 18% actually played as her and the most popular character is Liara.

The info-graphic was released on Bioware’s Facebook page and obviously contains some spoilers.

Mass effect 3 info-graphic

Train2Game News: Community created games

Double Fine are asking the public for their opinions on the games of the annual Amnesia Fortnight and BioWare is asking the public where they think Mass Effect 4 should go.

This year, Double Fine has decided to change up its Amnesia Fortnight event by allowing fans to choose which ideas get made into games, live-streaming the entire development process, and then releasing those titles as a Humble Bundle.

The Amnesia Fortnight is a two-week prototyping period where Double Fine employees split into small teams to brainstorm and develop inventive new titles. Previous Amnesia Fortnight titles have included Costume Quest, Stacking, Middle Manager of Justice, and Iron Brigade.

The first step is for players to head to the Double Fine forums to discuss their favourite game ideas. Players then head to the Double Fine Humble Bundle page to vote for their favourite games.

After the first week, the four most popular ideas will be developed into prototypes. The teams have two weeks to make their games, with 2 Player Productions filming the entire development process and posting videos each day.

Double Fine founder Tim Schafer said “We do it to test out new ideas, and to test out new project leaders who feel ready to have a project of their own. Many of the games we’ve released in the last few years have come from the Amnesia Fortnight process. It’s really a great morale boost for the team, and a highly effective way to develop new game ideas”

Of course this being released through Humble Bundle means that a portion of the money made will go to the charity Child’s Play.

In addition BioWare has asked fans whether Mass Effect 4 should be a sequel to the existing trilogy or take place before the trilogy.

Mass Effect overlord Casey Hudson canvassed fans via his Twitter account, he wrote “Parsing through your thoughts on the next #ME game. Would you be more interested in a game that takes place before the trilogy, or after?”

A game set in the series past has many viable options like the war between the Rachni and the Krogans to the war between Turians and Humans following the Relay 314 Incident.

A game set later in the series’ history would have to tackle Mass Effect 3’s various ending choices, which leave the galaxy in varying states of repair.

It’s not the first time BioWare has asked fans their thoughts on the next Mass Effect game. BioWare previously questioned their fans on what they would like to see in Mass Effect 4.

BioWare Montreal studio director Yanick Roy said earlier this month “While Mass Effect 4 will be very respectful of the heritage built over the course of the first three games, with the original trilogy now concluded and the switch over to a new engine, we are exploring new directions, both on the gameplay and story fronts,

“You can still expect the pillars the franchise is known for to be fully intact though, including diverse alien races, a huge galaxy to explore, and of course rich, cinematic storytelling.”

From stories such as these and services like Greenlight and Kickstarter it seems that the public will start taking great effect on how and what games are made. This could see an interesting wave of fan made games come soon, from AAA to Indie titles.

Train2Game News: Mid-week round up – 10.5.12

The OnLive console is not dead according to CEO Charles Jablonski and UK general manager Bruce Grove. The new plan is all about forming partnerships to provide OnLive’s service, instead of relying on PCs and its own console.

The Volus race has come to Mass Effect 3 multiplayer with the new DLC, The Retaliation Pack. The comic relief character has been put in to the online game play to show the ever expanding war according to BioWare’s Chris Schanche. The new pack also sees the return of The Collectors to battle against.

Earlier this week it was announced that Windows 8 will primarily use real world currency over Microsoft points. This had the games world speculating that the Xbox Live Arcade was going to start phasing out MS points. Microsoft have announced this is not the case. XBLA will still use the previous points system.

Rovio and LucasArts have teamed up in an interesting combination to create Angry Birds Star Wars. The game will see the birds dressed as the main Star Wars protagonists and the pigs are going to be dressed as Storm Troopers and Darth Vader. The levels will be famous Star Wars locations such as Hoth and Tattooine. The game is being released November 8 for iOS.

IGN have brought their application to Xbox in the UK. The app is already available in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the USA. The app offers content, shows and access to its pro-gaming league.

Mark Zuckerberg has announced that Facebook has now surpassed one billion users. Since Facebook’s formation in 2004, it has seen more than 140 billion friend connections made, 219 billion photos uploaded, and 1.13 trillion likes. Facebook’s director of developer products said around a quarter of its active user base, about 230 million people, play games on the site in a month. He also noted that Facebook has more than 130 apps.

A one-man company, Cryptic Sea, has created a game called A New Zero. The game has no animation and only uses physics for any movement in the first person shooter. In addition, visuals are also procedurally generated, chopping Zero’s total size below a single megabyte. You can download the game from Cryptic Sea’s website.

Train2Game News: Mass effect of Bioware ‘fathers’ on the move

Bioware has announced its plans for the future following the departure of their founding members.

Earlier in the week Dr Ray Muzyka and Dr Greg Zeschuk, the founding fathers of Bioware, left the company.

To reassure the world, the company announced what’s next in line for development. The biggest announcement was that of a new IP for the next generation of consoles.

Aaryn Flynn, General Manager of Bioware Edmonton and Montreal, said “Casey [Hudson, Mass Effect series boss] and his leads are putting together their vision for an all-new game set in a fictional universe, built from the bottom-up with all new gaming technology.”

Their next project to launch will be more DLC for the highly popular Mass Effect 3. They have said they will develop more multiplayer and single player content. The single player content is strongly rumoured to be set on the Mass Effect 2 location, Omega. The add-on should see players team up with angry asari Aria T’loak to retake her crime-laden home from long time antagonists Cerberus.

Bioware are currently looking in to how they can expand the Mass Effect series in to another game for the series.

The company have also been working on their other highly popular series, Dragon Age. The third instalment was announced a few days ago named Dragon Age 3: Inquisition. No more details have been released about the game to date.

Mr Flynn said about the departure of the Doctors “I know this might be concerning for some of you but the leaders at BioWare have had some time to think about it – to think about how the games, the fans, and the creative teams would move on without the two guys who started this organization back in 1995.

“We – including Ray and Greg – think the studio is solid and the team here is ready to embark on a whole new era of games.”

Train2Game News: BioWare senior writer Jennifer Hepler on getting into the industry

Dragon Age 2 Train2Game

Aspiring game designers looking to break into the industry should work on tabletop roleplaying games in order to learn about writing. That’s according to BioWare senior writer Jennifer Hepler who wrote plots for Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age 2 and Star Wars: The Old Republic.

“If you don’t have a pressing need to make money, do a little time working for tabletop roleplaying games. It’s fairly easy to break in, because they pay peanuts, but you learn a ton about game design from working with dice systems.” she told the BioWare Blog, adding that it looks good when applying for jobs in the games industry.

“And since most videogame designers (certainly of RPGs) are huge tabletop game geeks, it’s a great credit to have when applying for jobs. Most people in the tabletop field end up drifting into videogames eventually, since you can live on what they pay you, so you’ll also make contacts who can end up being helpful down the line.” said the Dragon Age writer.

Hepler also described how she and her husband – Mass Effect writer Chris Hepler – broke into the games industry and even had a stint in Hollywood.

“My entry into games came in college when I met my now-husband and was introduced to Vampire and Shadowrun.” she said.

“Having spent my high school years writing and trying to sell short stories, I immediately thought about trying to do some professional writing for RPGs, and by the time we graduated college, Chris Hepler (now a writer on Mass Effect) and I had written several books for Shadowrun, Earthdawn and Paranoia.”

“We then took a detour in Hollywood for a few years, but it was a very natural gravitation back toward games which brought us to GDC to meet Bioware. After six years in Hollywood, when we were still calling “extras” “NPCs,” we figured maybe we were in the wrong field.” Hepler added.

Read the full interview with BioWare senior writer Jennifer Hepler here, in which she also details what her job involves.

There’s more advice from professionals on getting into the industry here on The Train2Game Blog, with more information on Train2Game courses here.

What are your thoughts on the idea of using tabletop RPGs as a base for getting into the games industry?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game News: BioWare product manager and former QA Tester on getting into the industry

Getting a foot in the door is the most important thing  for those looking to get into the games industry. That’s according to BioWare product manager Nick Clifford, who started with the Mass Effect and Dragon Age developer as a QA Tester before moving into his current role.

“I started in the industry as a QA tester. I spent about a year testing games before I made the jump to marketing. You have to get your foot in the door, whether it’s testing or by making connections with people.” Clifford told the BioWare Blog, before adding that no matter if you’re a game designer, a game artist or something else, having a portfolio is also key.

“If you have a trade such as writing, do some fan fiction, if you are an artist, draw! The way to get noticed is to show off your skills. We are always looking for talented people to join the BioWare family.” he said.

Of course, Train2Game offers a potential foot in the door for students with the work placement scheme.

There’s much more advice from games professionals on getting into the industry here on The Train2Game Blog.

What are your thoughts on the advice from BioWare’s Nick Clifford?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.