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EA Admits To Losing Fans Due To Dragon Age II

It certainly wasn't a bad game. It just wasn't an elite game. And for BioWare and its fans, that's a bit of a disappointment.

The hardcore RPG fans complained about a variety of things; specifically, the missing role-playing elements. Exploration was almost entirely gone, there was only one town, environments would repeat and oh yes, we could only fully equip the main character. It was still great fun but the bottom line is that it wasn't quite up to snuff. EA Games boss Frank Gibeau has noticed this and told Eurogamer that EA is "clearly disappointed" with the fan response.

"We're very proud of the game. We tried to innovate and do some different things with the combat system and some of the way we told story. For some fans it worked well. In fact, we brought a lot of new fans into the Dragon Age franchise. But to be honest, we lost some fans as well. They were not pleased with some of the innovations and things we'd done. We understand that and we're listening."

As BioWare has already stated, Gibeau says fan feedback will be strongly considered as the team works on Dragon Age III. After all, it's all about delivering a product the RPG followers crave...'cuz they really don't get many such titles anymore. Added Gibeau:

"As we think about where we take the franchise next, we're going to take that into consideration and really engage them. Ray [Muzyka] and Greg [Zeschuk] have built a long career being close to their fanbase and understanding what they want. If they do something in a direction that is innovative and fresh for some but not for others, they'll take that into consideration as we think about the next design and where the game goes from here."

As for multiplayer, Gibeau says it's something they'll have to consider in the "long-term" because it's a gigantic undertaking that "presents technical difficulty." He finishes by saying it would have to be done "really well," which is a given.

The RPG fans do have a message, Frank. Please forward this along to the BioWare designers- you can innovate all you want. Please do. But do it within the role-playing realm. Erasing in-depth RPG elements and adding faster-paced action elements isn't "innovating;" it's trying to make this franchise something it isn't; i.e., faster and dumber. Your fans are not the CoD fans. Those two groups are very, very different. Just trust me on this.

Not every human alive wants faster and dumber. I promise.

Related Game(s): Dragon Age II

Tags: dragon age ii, daii, bioware, dragon age iii

6/14/2011 9:23:35 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (25 posts)

Excelsior1
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 @ 9:39:36 AM
Reply

talk is cheap. until we direct action it's really hard to judge if the developer has really listened to its fans. that's 2 games in a row from bioware that have removed rpg elements. until we actually see them move back the other direction it's really hard to say this isn't anything more than lip service.

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maxpontiac
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 @ 2:34:11 PM

I do not understand why these companies just don't INCLUDE these innovations with tried and true features. Give people the option to do what they want, but don't ruin it for your existing clientele.

In my decade of designing homes and commercial buildings, I have learned that when creating something for more than one person/group, it is best you follow the 90/10 rule.

Offer something that 90% of general public will want, and hope the remaining 10% jumps on board.

It's worked so far!!

Last edited by maxpontiac on 6/14/2011 2:34:48 PM

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BTNwarrior
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 @ 10:14:10 AM
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I enjoyed it though it felt like they completely nerfed the mage class.

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Underdog15
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 @ 10:20:38 AM

I never played the first. Didn't go much further after I raised enough money for the expedition. I hated that I wasted money on equipment I couldn't give everyone else... But I felt pretty tough as a mage. I always go mage in RPG's given the chance.

For those that played FFXI, I took Red Mage to the top first... Maat is sooo tough as a Red Mage...

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BTNwarrior
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 @ 9:10:52 PM

while you can still make it through the game, I liked it better when the fireball actually killed lesser enemies

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Eld
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 @ 10:21:54 AM
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They new there would be disappointed people knocking on their door. It's just that they thought they would gain more people than they would lose.

It was a little worse than they expected, so now we get typical marketing blah blah.

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TheIllusiveMan
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 @ 10:29:15 AM
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I'm a Dragon Age fan that is a CoD fan...

But I agree with everything about this article. I like DA because the story and the gameplay and I feel like although DA2 was an amazing game, they dumbed down a lot of the fun stuff from the first game and killed a lot of the fun little things, like the abundance of secrets and all the talents/spells didn't seem as effective on 2.

As a mage on the first game, I felt completely untouchable by the end of the game, but even still, the last battle was hard. Mages on the second felt massively underpowered. Not to mention all the issues they said they were fixing. DA2 was a great game even through the flaws and changes. I just hope they take the best of both games for 3.

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Highlander
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 @ 10:34:14 AM
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A bumper sticker for the new millenia?

"Not every human alive wants faster and dumber. I promise."

Nice one Ben. I like it.

As for DAII, it looked like an old dungeon crawler from the 90's to me. Even down to what appeared - at times - to be tiled graphics.

Here's what I want from RPGS, all you budding RPG makers out there. I want a game that has two battle systems that can be switched at the user's discretion. System 1 is a pure turn based system with the traditional characters lined up against enemies where each takes their turn, steps up, acts and steps back. System 2 is a real time, action combat system with some support for strategic planning with the party such as setting roles, auto strategies for AI controlled players and attack selection with the ability to pause during combat to select the next attack. Also switching between party members is a must.

The game must have a deep story, not necessarily with more than two endings (success & failure) but with multiple paths. The game world needs to be open, facilitating exploration with lots of interesting asides, and towns (large and small) complete with NPCs and side quests. I don't care if the story elements have to be tackled in a linear fashion so long as they are placed within the open world allowing me to explore at my pace and play through the story - at my pace.

Character customization is a must, although for the sake of story I will accept that we don't have full control over character appearance. We need a skill system a physical and non physical combat system (magic or similar), and preferrably an item creation/modification system.

Even though I prefer JRPGs, not every game will be to my preference, so RPG makers, just make sure your game is heavily story and character driven. Although, I would definitely appreciate it if one or two of you game makers could make a JRPG that satisfies.

Lastly, I need game makers in general to do me one big, huge favor. Games do not need to be full of immature and gratuitous swearing and violence/gore, so please include an option to tone that crap down.

Thanks awfully.

Last edited by Highlander on 6/14/2011 10:34:50 AM

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Beamboom
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 @ 12:40:37 PM

I think you described what most of us want from a rpg right there, buddy! Other than that I really want full control over character appearance - at least my character.

But that brings me to one question that I'd wanted to ask for a long time:
What exactly makes a jrpg? What IS it?

If your description above is a general definition on how a good rpg should be, western or not (and I agree!), then how does jrpgs differ, or add to this?

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Highlander
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 @ 12:50:35 PM

I like having control over the character too, but short of them including audio for male and female lead characters, and doing all cut scenes in-engine, there may be valid reasons to restrict the ability to change the lead character.

JRPGs differ in aesthetic, art style and mood. To me, the mood of a JRPG is difficult to put into words, but in some ways is well expressed by the incidental music in games like Xenosaga (Episode 1) or Final Fantasy 7 & 8. There's an element of whimsy, the side quests tend to be silly or have some kind of socially redeeming feature. There's lots of focus on bettering society and each other, and the story tends to involve themes common to Japanese culture such as eternal renewal, moving forwards rather than backwards in our lives, stagnation is no better than backsliding, and other such philosophical concepts. I mean, not all of these things will be present, but a combination of several of these things will be, along with the aesthetic and sense of whimsy.

That's some of it, but I'll have to put some thought into the subject to do it justice. Western RPGs always seem to have a harder edge to them in comparison with JRPGs. More thought is required.

Last edited by Highlander on 6/14/2011 12:55:55 PM

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Highlander
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 @ 1:22:13 PM

LOL! I missed one element of course, and it's one I should never have missed. Characters in JRPGS are often called upon to make heart wrenching decisio0ns that involve self sacrifice of some kind for the betterment of others. self sacrifice and loyalty to one's friends (including of course, the willingness to sacrifice one's self for one's friends) is very common in JRPGs.

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Beamboom
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 @ 1:41:21 PM

Ahaaaa... So, all the fuzz about jrpgs is really a question of cultural properties of the story? The jrpg fans prefer Japanese culture to western culture as framework of their rpg-stories?

That shed some light on this whole mystery, thanks! But it also created a new, almost bigger question: *Why* do so many (most?) around here prefer the Japanese culture to (presumably) their own?


Last edited by Beamboom on 6/14/2011 1:42:21 PM

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Highlander
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 @ 1:59:45 PM

It's not so much the culture as it is the ideals expressed. That said, I do like many aspects of Japanese culture. But the interdependence, honor, loyalty, duty, self sacrifice and pleasure in aesthetics are aspects of their cultural heritage that I think we can all agree are attractive.

Like I said, it's hard to express. But liking JRPGS does not necessarily mean one is pre-disposed to liking Samurai movies or even having an interest in such things.

I don't necessarily prefer their culture to my own, but I do prefer their societal behavior to ours.

Last edited by Highlander on 6/14/2011 2:00:28 PM

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Beamboom
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 @ 3:01:02 PM

Interesting. I really, really want to get into this, cause it looks awsome from the outside. Plus, generally speaking it's always good to get ideas and insight in other cultures.

I take it you would rate WKC as the best jrpg on the ps3 so far? I will read the reviews for wkc2 carefully.

EDIT: Oh dear... The first review I found of WKC2 was not exactly good... Eurogamer dot net has a review up now. Quoting, "the abiding feeling is that you are playing that most empty of propositions: an offline MMO", rating 5/10.
We gotta get a REAL mmorpg on this platform, now!

Last edited by Beamboom on 6/14/2011 3:06:43 PM

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Highlander
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 @ 3:43:09 PM

Yeah, I like WKC, and think that WKC is an under-appreciated gem. I read the Eurogamer review - since you mentioned it specifically and I think the review is not a good one. The author previously reviewed the International version of WKC and gave it a 7/10. Unless the game makes several mis-steps there's no reason for it to be given a far harsher review.

The review itself was - in my opinion - faulty from the start because the reviewer goes out of his way to do something that a player is unlikely to do. If you've not played WKC1, then you have no character to start with and you are advised to start at the beginning. If you are a player who played WKC to it's conclusion, you have a character to start with and pickup where you left off - with the opportunity to tinker with your character all over again so you can refine the appearance if you wish, and because some of the in-game systems are different, so you need to re-allocate your various skills. If you play through from the start - which new players are obliged to do, you start with the avatar generation.

Yet the reviewer goes out of his way to whine about the process of bringing his old character to the new game. as if it was something that would put off players unfamiliar with the intricacies of the game. If the player completed the first game, and therefore go through the process, they are hardly unfamiliar with the intricacies of the game, are they? The reviewer also complained about an overly long cutscene - hello, haven't heard that particular complaint since MGS and Xenosaga, I guess that means that there is a story to pay attention to.

The rest of the review appeared to me to go through the game's features and pick holes in them, in a way that the reviewer's original WKC review did not. So, I can only conclude that since that first game, the reviewer took a great dislike to WKC, and decided that this was his opportunity to crap on the game in public.

Seriously, if you're reviewing this game either start at the beginning and review it as a new game, or start at the end of the first game and treat it as a direct sequel. The Eurogamer review appears to me to review the game from the mid-point (as if it's a direct sequel) but with the view point of a new player. That's a really faulty position to take, since a new player has to start at the beginning of the story. But, whatever.

You quoted a like from his review "the abiding feeling is that you are playing that most empty of propositions: an offline MMO". I can't jhelp be wonder what he thinks changed between the international version of WKC and the sequel, since the new game has better graphics, more story and more options as well as the original online components and online multi-player. Personally, I think he's looking fr reputation points somewhere.

I'm not sure what this reviewer's issue is, he seems to have dual personality with regard to JRPGs as he apparently likes Disgea games, but others, not so much. As an example, he gave Hyperdimension Neptunia a 2/10. 2/10 would indicate that the game is so bad as to be entirely unplayable. In fact to get a score that low, a game would have to lock regularly and be unplayable - even when working. It'd also have to feature near zero redeeming qualities. The reviewer get's lost in his own overtly PC belief that the game is simply a sexist cultural curio. While I'd never say Neptunia was a model example of the JRPG, it's absolutely not a 2/10 game. 6/10 perhaps, but not 2/10. That's simply derisive.

He similarly gave Aterlier Rorona a 6/10, which is a bit closer to the mark, but still below where I would consider the game. Rorona has no game play issues, it's a simple game with a coherent story and is turn based. But it's a game that is more about the alchemy system than traditional turn based combat. It's a very pretty game and deserves something in the mid 7-8 range, not a 6/10.

I don't know what to tell you, but considering some of his past reviews and the quality of this review, I would heavily discount this review in Eurogamer.

Last edited by Highlander on 6/14/2011 3:45:19 PM

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Beamboom
Wednesday, June 15, 2011 @ 3:16:49 AM

I don't put eurogamer reviews high anyways so I hear you. I'll wait for the bigger sites. It was just the one review that was registered at gamerankings so far.
Although, reading between the lines of that review it looks to me like nothing *major* has changed from the first.

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Highlander
Wednesday, June 15, 2011 @ 10:54:56 AM

I think it's fair to say nothing major changed, and as it's a direct sequel that's probably about right, under the if it ain't broke don't fix it rule. I mean there was nothing really broken with the game in the first place, so nothing really to fix. The most notable changes I can see are better visuals, a slight streamlining of the combat system (slight) and vastly improved online because you can now take one or more NPCs on quests allowing you to tackle quests even when you can't find enough players you are willing to play with.

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Beamboom
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 @ 11:04:59 AM
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I don't want to listen to EA. EA is just a marketing department.
I do listen to BioWare though. And when they both pretty much say the same I believe their message, and this message is good. It will be extremely interesting to see the first details about DA3.

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enjoi
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 @ 12:20:20 PM
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Can't believe they have the stones to call the changes "Innovations."

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FM23
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 @ 12:43:34 PM
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Personally, I'm a new fan of Dragon Age. Only played DA2 and I enjoyed the story very much, but the gameplay was kind of meh especially since it tried to play like a hack n slash and playing as a Mage felt like Auto battle in FFXIII, but I enjoyed the game. I hope DA3 doesn't feature a whole bunch of micromanaging because thats just time consuming nonsense now to me. Managing all my eqiupment in FO isn't fun anymore, it's a pain. DA2 and handling eqiupment was annoying so please don't increase that Bioware, but adding more strategy to the gameplay and a stronger story arc will be nice. Hope they're not making any drastic changes to ME3, just improving the core which I see they didn't do with DAII going by most DAO fan reactions.

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Beamboom
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 @ 1:47:14 PM

I've read others with the same opinion as you, FM23.
What they *should* have done is to let DAO and DA2 be two different IPs, two different games. Cause I believe both are good games in their own rights, just cater to slightly different audiences.

Personally I'd buy both of them. I loved both dao and da2, but for diferent reasons.

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Temjin001
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 @ 1:38:23 PM
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A few months ago I was pretty sold on the eventual investment of my time with the DA series. Now I'm just not feeling it. Between the first game's horrible graphics and DA2's streamlining and insistence on having players of a predominate sexual orientation being subjected to diverse and awkward "come ons" I think Id rather not give Bioware my time or money to support this franchise.

I'm thinking WKC may be more to my liking.

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Highlander
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 @ 2:01:54 PM

That's where my dollars are headed - as soon as the US version lands so I can keep my saved progress...stupid Euro version...

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 @ 1:54:52 PM
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What? People didn't like the fact that we gutted an RPG to make it more of an action game with limited environments?

It isn't my M.O. to dog on developers but these guys need to get out once in awhile. They've been confined to boards and chained to their desks too long.

They kind of lost me as a fan because DAIII isn't a day 1 any more. It's a wait and see.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 6/14/2011 2:03:24 PM

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___________
Wednesday, June 15, 2011 @ 8:50:56 AM
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at least there heads not so far up there a$$ to notice this!
unlike some other companies.................

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