BioWare fans have a Mass Effect

PCG: Dragon Age, Mass Effect, whatever is coming next for KOTOR (and please feel free to tell us about it anytime you’d like)…there are never any “puff pieces” coming out of BioWare. What’s it like to be constantly working on games that require so much depth? Don’t you ever wish you could just make something like Peggle?

RM: We were talking about another game before, Puzzle Quest on DS, and I’ve gotta say, I have a lot of respect for that. It’s just like…it’s fun, right? It’s merging together a couple of disparate genres in a new way on a new platform. If you look at BioWare’s games, you’ll see across the board, everything we’re doing, we’re trying to look for new, innovative features in other genres you might not consider in the realm of the story-based adventure or the RPG. Because really, we’re expanding the definition of what I think that means for BioWare, we’re creating these worlds that are rich and have a lot of characters and digital actor that are emotionally compelling, but the gameplay aspects are going to be diverse and really disparate between all the products in our portfolio. And again, that’s really about making great games for our fans. We’ve gotta make games that they’re gonna enjoy, and you know, tastes are changing - hey, who knows? In the future, you might see some things that surprise you. I mean, we’ve got Sonic Chronicles coming on DS - that’s a little different, you know, but it’s gonna be a great game.

PCG: How has your new “partnership,” so to speak, with EA, changed things at BioWare? Has it changed things at all?

RM: I would say it hasn’t changed things at all. It’s just really interesting, because they treat us with so much respect, they give us a lot of autonomy, and we’re really a city-state, a division within the EA Games label. I’ve got a boss that I respect a lot, and I’ve got a boss above him that I respect a lot that I used to work for directly, John Riccitello, when he was at Bioware/Pandemic. I think we share the same value set, and at the end of the day, it’s about making great games for our fans that are really high quality. We hear that word a lot at EA, and I think that’s John, his vision of quality - I really believe it. The future is really bright for the company, and I’m proud to be part of it.

PCG: What’s your favorite RPG in the last year or two that BioWare didn’t make?

RM: Well, see, I’ve got this weird definition of RPGs, so to answer it in a kind of weird way, I view a lot of games that people may not classify as pure RPGs as being RPGs. In fact, a lot of the games BioWare is developing could arguably be called that. But I see a game like BioShock that’s as much an action game as it as anything else, but it’s really got the RPG at the center of it, too. Really, what is that? It’s about progression, customization, exploration, story, combat, and a narrative that just immerses you into the world. It’s kind of stretching it a lot, but Call of Duty 4 had a great storyline as well. It had abilities, it had progression, you felt like you were playing the role of these characters when you switched between them - I loved that game, too. I finished both of those over Christmas break and had a great time. And the new GTA, I would argue that’s got a lot of RPG properties, too. You know, what is it? You’re playing a role, there’s a story, there’s characters, there’s progression, there’s customization, there’s conflict, there’s strife. That’s kind of what we build at BioWare, too. I think we’re approaching it from different directions, but I think it’s just an exciting time to be in the industry - everyone’s trying to convey great narrative and emotional depth, and I feel really honored to be part of it all.