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BioWare designing Dragon Age 2 for consoles

It’s called the consolization of PC games, the idea that PC titles suffer because most big budget games release on multiple platforms – and developers also need to design them for the larger console market. Dragon Age: Origins was a refreshing exception to the trend. Despite its multiplatform release, the PC version of Dragon Age: Origins retained a beautiful isometric viewpoint in battles that never made it to the console versions. It gave PC players a ton of freedom with the camera during battles, allowing them to zoom in for tight close-ups or to zoom out to get a clean view of the battleground while planning their next move.


Above: The tactical viewpoint was a pretty big deal for the PC version of Dragon Age: Origins. You could zoom in really close on any character or enemy...


Above: ... or zoom way out for a top-down view of the battle

Unfortunately, that’s going to change in Dragon Age 2. In an interview with French magazine Joystick, Dragon Age 2’s lead designer Mike Laidlaw revealed that the much-loved tactical viewpoint and the modding toolset from the PC version won’t be included in Dragon Age 2. “The game mainly sold on console, so we’re going that way of the audience,” explained Laidlaw, adding that BioWare will be focusing on the more console-centric third person view for budgetary reasons.

That’s not to say that BioWare is entirely dismissing the tactical viewpoint. Although it won’t be appearing in the console version, BioWare has plans to include ‘key elements’ of the tactical view system for the PC version of Dragon Age 2. “As to the subject of the tactical view, I can confirm that we will not be doing a tactical view on consoles, though we are looking into some expanded party control that I think will make console players quite happy. On the PC, however, we are still working with the camera to keep the key elements of the tactical experience there,” explained Laidlaw.

Aug 9, 2010

Source: Joystick Magazine via CVG 

28 comments

  • RandomRaptor - August 10, 2010 10:35 a.m.

    I'm a console gamer, and I loved the original. I'll admit that the melee was a bit dodgy, but that shouldn't be the main focus for a game such as this. Personally, Dragon Age 2, with it's preset human character, conversation wheel and action-centric gameplay, is starting to remind me very much of another Bioware product. Don't get me wrong, huge Mass Effect fan, but retrofitting it's style onto a series, rather than expanding upon that series' unique strengths, seems to me a dangerous, and strangely un-Bioware like move.
  • Crabhand - August 9, 2010 11:45 p.m.

    The story in the latest Game Informer seems to suggest that they aren't at all compromising the PC experience for the console experience, but they are being developed differently. But it doesn't matter anyway, because if they change anything at all it's going to suck, right?
  • alexcook - August 9, 2010 10:55 p.m.

    sorry double post... Baldur's Gate 1/2 on PS2, not PC. Also, BioWare is a solid company. I bet that DA2 will still be a fantastic game.
  • alexcook - August 9, 2010 10:52 p.m.

    To me, the pinnacle of PC RPGs was the time of Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows of Amn, the expansion, and Planescape: Torment. Dragon Age was fun, but it just wasn't the same. While I love the Mass Effect series and thought Fallout 3 was good, The Witcher was the closest game for me in terms of bringing back the good ol' days. The Witcher 2 is one of my most anticipated titles. I'm also looking forward to Dragon Age 2 as long as it doesn't go the route of Baldur's Gate for the PS2. Baldur's Gate 2 on PC... my favrite game ever. Baldur's Gate 1/2 on PC... sub-par hack and slash game.
  • LIKEUCARE - August 9, 2010 10:13 p.m.

    I did enjoyed DA:O and DA:A for what they are, simplistic action-RPG. Story was okay, interaction between characters was great... but the action was really bad, especially if your main character is a melee specialized. Kept getting stuck on other characters... many invisible walls blocking your approach... arrgg... worst was the DLCS swarmed with bugs... The ton of DLCS this game got are pointless and IMO, were overpriced for the little content provided. I fear DA 2 will head on that route again except getting even more dumbed down and more action-hack&slash type of game. Another point I'm disliking a lot with RPG games nowadays are the lame "hub-town system". Exploration are removed only to be forced going on fixed areas... Even NeverWinter Nights 2 had that and I disliked that game very much! Sadly, true RPG days & games are gone; at least, most of 'em are. Even Bethesda, I don't have high hopes for the upcoming TES (if their indeed, making one) since it'll be multiplatform as well; hence the lazy programmer syndrome. The Witcher is the great exception however, I don't have high hopes for the sequel that will surely get "consolized" like hell!
  • RebornKusabi - August 9, 2010 9:40 p.m.

    I honestly didn't like Dragon Age anyways, regardless of the fact that I played it on the consoles or not. I loved the IDEA of where they were going with the game world but my issue with the game was this: If you're going to make a "dark fantasy" than go the full ****ing way and stop when you reach Berserk and Drakengard territory. Sure, you might put off some people but the thing is that everything in DA was honestly not that different from other fantasy games, just less optimistic. I mean, you don't have to go fully pitch-black dark like Berserk did where there literally is NO hope for the main characters. Hell you don't even have to have children-eating elves or pedophilic priest and incest sub-plots like Drakengard had... but if your game is billed as a dark fantasy than it better be worse and darker than the practically PG-13 shit that Dragon Age had. Also, as a console gamer, it pisses me the **** off when companies ignore one fan-base, whether that be the console fans or the PC fans, while catering to the other or vis versa. Blame the economy all you want but the fact that Demon's Souls made a KILLING in North America and Europe (when compared to the abysmal numbers the publisher projected for the games releases there)... on the PS3, a system that isn't known for having good sales when compared to the Xbox 360, shows that when a game that is honestly worth it releases, people will buy it.
  • Gavo - August 9, 2010 9:34 p.m.

    I saw boo. I saw a demo at Comic-Con, and it was pretty much a hack and slash. About 40 darkspawn attacked two characters. In the original, you would get owned. In this, they killed everyone by mashing buttons.
  • robovski - August 9, 2010 9:10 p.m.

    If you can't mod the game you can sell loads of crappy tweak DLCs. I'd be more disappointed but this is almost bears defecating in woods for me. At least I have Fallout games.
  • bzzzt - August 9, 2010 9:06 p.m.

    It should be the console gamers complaining the most. Dragon Age sold very well on consoles for being an old-style PC RPG, people obviously wanted that kind of game. Now they are getting what seems more and more like an action-RPG with an interesting dialog system.
  • lackofoxygen - August 9, 2010 8:50 p.m.

    i don't think taking away features w/o putting in new ones is awesome news my main concern is the complete loss of mod tools. Did EA pressure Bioware into it so EA wouldn't have to be responsible for all the nude and adult-oriented mods?
  • newgames128 - August 9, 2010 8:27 p.m.

    @ Amnesiac you are right about The Witcher, esp. EE with Director's Cut patch. It'd be nice to take a month off and hibernate in the winter to play that game.
  • Amnesiac - August 9, 2010 7:51 p.m.

    @litrock: I'm gonna throw my hat in with the crowd who tells you how great The Witcher is. Try it, it's one of the best RPGs I've played in a long time.
  • db1331 - August 9, 2010 7:47 p.m.

    @Fiirestorm21 "I'd rather wait and see what Bethesda is doing next." I'm pretty nervous about TES V. I hope it's more like Morrowind than Oblivion.
  • Fiirestorm21 - August 9, 2010 7:35 p.m.

    Why is the answer to "this didn't sell as much as we were hoping" always "Let's make it so that even less people will want to buy it!" I guess I know the actual answer: The loss in PC sales will hopefully be made up by the increase on the console side. Still, if the engine is already in place from the first game...wouldn't it be more expensive to design a new system? >< Either way, it's very unlikely that I'm buying this now. The only thing holding me on earlier was them seeming to suggest the PC version would retain the tactical isometric gameplay even if the conversation system was being changed to the "OMG cinematic!!1!" deal from the Mass Effect games. They might still surprise me, but at this point, I'm not holding my breath. I'd rather wait and see what Bethesda is doing next.
  • litrock - August 9, 2010 7:13 p.m.

    @db1331 I might pick it up next time it's on sale. It just seems more dreary and brutish fantasy than even Dragon Age, which was sometimes too much for me. Everyone who plays it says its great, though.
  • db1331 - August 9, 2010 7:03 p.m.

    @litrock That's funny because I'm actually playing through The Witcher right now. I picked it up for $7 on Steam the other month. I think it's pretty good. It's certainly one of the most adult games I've ever played.
  • wicko - August 9, 2010 7:02 p.m.

    http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/141/index/4376174/37#4381246 A little late to the party, aren't we GamesRadar :)
  • litrock - August 9, 2010 6:53 p.m.

    @db1331 >.< You're not helping my faith in humanity here. I'm going to have to end up playing the Witcher at this rate, and I didn't want to have to do that. Apparently all Bioware sequels go the way of "derp derp less RPG moar killing things"
  • CountZero - August 9, 2010 6:48 p.m.

    Well, that sucks.
  • db1331 - August 9, 2010 6:41 p.m.

    @litrock Look at the quote in the article: “The game mainly sold on console, so we’re going that way of the audience,” Does your average console user want a deep and complex RPG, or does he want an action game?

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