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BioWare Talks Future Of RPGs And Narrative Maturation

The role-playing game has definitely changed over the years, and the masters at BioWare will continue to roll with the times.

Known for releasing RPGs with names like Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and Star Wars, BioWare is a respected name amongst RPG fans. But with the ever-changing gaming environment and the gray areas surrounding the RPG genre, where does BioWare go from here? Isn't it a tricky progression?

Well, in speaking to Sarcastic Gamer during the Eurogamer 2011 Expo, BioWare boss Ray Muzyka said they intend to "broaden the genre." These days, there are different approaches to take and more options available.

"The vision for us is a broadening of the genre. We see a lot of other genres incorporating features of RPGs and in turn RPGs are incorporating features of other genres. There are more action elements, there’s different ways to tell a story, there’s different ways to have characters interact for adventure games, action games, shooters, and that’s exciting to us.

It’s actually making a lot of other games more engaging in the same way we could make RPGs more engaging and successful … by incorporating features that are popular in different genres. But we want to bring our core fans along with us on that journey too, so it’s not always easy to get a balance that does both, but we’re striving to do that."

BioWare would also like to see the narrative thread of video games grow and strengthen. They say they've been learning about interactive storytelling with each new game they produce; as of now, it's less about "weighty dialogue" and more about subtle ways to convey an important message.  We see this almost every day now.

Currently, the team is working on Mass Effect 3, scheduled to release March 6, 2012. You can bet they'll be taking yet another stride...or two.

Tags: bioware, rpgs, role playing games, ray muzyka

10/6/2011 10:38:44 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (61 posts)

Highlander
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 11:15:08 AM
Reply

"The vision for us is a broadening of the genre....by incorporating features that are popular in different genres."

Super. So a genre that's already dying thanks to the dilution of it's genre specific elements is to be diluted further by these supposed RPG guardians? No thanks, count me out of that. Bioware wants to make action games with RPG elements. To me an RPG is like a really great, long book. One that you read, and re-read because there is so much depth that you need the second or third reading to capture everything in the writing. What Bioware is describing - IMHO - is the equivalent of taking on of those great, absorbing works of literature and adding elements from the pulp novels to 'liven' them up.

Given their last Dragon Age effort, and the partial RPG nature of their other games I just don't believe that they have the RPG at heart. If they think that they can continue to develop the genre by submerging the RPG elements under more layers of action or whatever from other genre, all they are doing is fooling themselves and anyone that goes along with them.

Not interested.

Last edited by Highlander on 10/6/2011 11:17:30 AM

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Eld
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 11:22:28 AM

So true. I really liked BioWare games, but they are moving away from RPG focus.

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bigrailer19
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 11:36:33 AM

I agree. I'm really into ME2, and at times I get some RPG elements, but... It's a third person shooter first. That game revolves around the action more than anything. The story on the other hand is like "a really great long book" as you said Highlander. That's what saves this game for me. So I don't know maybe that makes it an RPG, based on that.

I can see Why some call it an RPG but even compared to Dragon Age there is no character depth at all, and the leveling almost seems pointless.

That doesn't mean I dislike the game, cus it's great!

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Beamboom
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 11:37:25 AM

@High: ... But have you even played their games? They really are not that bad, or that shallow!
There's a *lot* going on, both in terms of story and depth.
BioWare may strive to pump up the action part, something I personally don't find to be necessary at all. But that's really not where the story is told anyway, is there?
To put it a bit blunt: How "deep" is it really to kill a monster or beat a boss. That's what they are "actioning" up. not the story telling.
You really should pick up both mass Effect and Dragon Age Origins if you haven’t already - even DA2 is a ride, although a smaller one. They are dirt cheap nowadays too, and I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

NB Disclaimer: Sorry if you've already played them. I just am of the clear impression from earlier discussions that you haven't.

@Big: I don't agree that the ME characters have no depth. I really don't! I think most of them raise interesting moral, ethic and philosophical questions, much more so than most other games I've ever played actually, and are anything but shallow.


Last edited by Beamboom on 10/6/2011 11:54:16 AM

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LimitedVertigo
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 12:03:41 PM

Beamboom,

Combating enemies and defeating difficult bosses with a variety of strategies is one of the greatest selling points for an RPG. I don't see how you can say look past this and be okay with more action and less depth.

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Ludakriss
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 12:10:13 PM

Absolutely. Could not even say it better myself. I was quite angered by the "bringing other features that are popular in other genres". They're trying to make the lengthy, deep "book" into a pop culture TV show.

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duomaxwell007
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 1:11:43 PM

i agree with limited.. knowing that i had to THINK, plan and strategize and be successful at taking down my enemy because of my own intellect is a lot more fun and rewarding that just, points, aiming, and holding (or tapping) the fire button until he falls over. Any idiot can accomplish that... "there are plenty of posts on WKC2 boards and other RPG boards saying xxx boss is too hard any tips to beat it?" I dont see anyone asking questions like that for shooters or uncharted bosses and thats what makes winning in an RPG more rewarding to me.. knowing i was smart enough to figure it out/overcome said boss on my own without having to ask for tips or help.. its not as rewarding in a shooter where EVERYONE can do that without help unless they havent played a video game before or theyre playing on high diffdiculty lol.

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Excelsior1
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 1:28:58 PM

the attempt to "broaden the genre" has left some rpg fans a little miffed. it seems bioware wants to have their cake and it eat too. you aren't going to make a game that appeals to masses and rpg fanatics at the same time. so why even try? make seperate games to cater to both markets.

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Beamboom
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 2:17:52 PM

It's so funny how we use the same words but mean completely different things.

When I hear the word "deep" I associate that with story, not battle mechanics. To me, Heavy Rain is a good example of a "deep" game, while fighting games or strategy games with their advanced battle mechanics are "shallow" to me (can be great fun though!).

Likewise, the word "roleplay" to me means building a character within a set environment and *create* your story - not receive an already made story - that's not roleplay to me!

My brother is a roleplayer. He is part of a group gathering up where one person is the games master while the participants are playing their character, with dices to determine the outcome of battles.
This is classic roleplaying, and this is where computer RPG's have their roots! Several computer RPGs are even based on classic roleplaying games, where the same gameplay rules apply.

With all due respect folks, but this is what I believe Role Playing Games is all about: The story depends on the players actions, and character is built by the players.

And from that perspective, the traditional perspective of what a role play actually is, the BioWare games are indeed firmly placed within the RPG category. One might rather ask if games where you have no affect on the story whatsoever is better described as "adventure games"!


Last edited by Beamboom on 10/6/2011 2:28:39 PM

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Highlander
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 2:27:05 PM

With all due respect BeamBoom, I've played good old fashioned role playing games complete with character sheets, pencils and a back of colored acrylic dice of many different types. The story in those games is not decided by the player's actions. It's decided by the scenario, and the game master. How the exact story itself plays out, is perhaps more open, mostly because the Game master is playing all the non player characters, so it's not like there can be a cast of dozens of people for him/her to play.

But the central mechanic in those games is the combat system, and how your weapons, armor, enhancements, skills and strategy play out in battles with monsters and Bosses.

When people talk about RPGs and talk about deep gameplay, they are referring to the combat mechanic/skills/etc. Some might be referring to the story, but personally I find that most will reference the story in the same comment in the phrase deep story, or something similar. In my original comment above, I am talking about the game mechanic, not the story. If you want to talk story, I do not prefer a story where everything that happens depends on me, that is like a make your own adventure book, and they can never be accused of having great story lines. I'm talking about the kind of story where the characters you control are at the heart of the story, and the narrative itself plays out through cut scenes and dialog events as you play the game. Not through minor events and incidental dialog as you play.

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Beamboom
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 2:34:46 PM

Then you played differently than my brother does. Maybe different games, I know there are a wide variety. Maybe you played board game rpgs? With figures? Mainly strategic play?

I've seen the preparations to the games my brother host. And what he does is create the "environment" and the main goals of the play. He has planned several different "traps" in the game and has done a major "layout" of the story, the main directions if you like. But how the participants solve the challenges, like getting past a guarded entrance or how they bypass a security system is up to their creativity. Very often my brother (he's often the games master) has to improvise.
I guess this is what makes the "rpg" genre so hard to define: It's not one, clearly defined set of rules.

Then you got the "real life" RPGs, where they actually crate villages in th woods, living the life of a viking or indian or whatever. That too is what I'd call classic roleplaying.


Last edited by Beamboom on 10/6/2011 2:44:01 PM

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Beamboom
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 3:21:50 PM

... You know, this is actually quite hillarious: Not only are we unable to define what a RPG computer game is, we even struggle with defining what a traditional roleplay is - lol!

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LimitedVertigo
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 3:39:06 PM

Beam,

I don't have any trouble defining what an RPG is, unlike a majority of developers this generation.

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Beamboom
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 3:45:38 PM

Oh well, *agreeing* then. Strike "define", replace with "agreeing". ;)

Last edited by Beamboom on 10/6/2011 3:46:09 PM

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Highlander
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 3:52:13 PM

No, I played D&D, AD&D, GURPS, Middle Earth, Traveller, Pendragon, etc.... None of these are table top or board games, they do not use figures or any other such prop.

I've also run games myself using AD&D, Traveller and GURPS rule sets. The fundamental truth I learned is that when the game master "wing's it", and makes the story up as the players go along, there is simply not enough direction in the story or scenario to keep people going, and they tend to drift off.

In all of these systems there is an element of freedom within the game, the players decide how to approach a problem or a dungeon or whatever else, and the GM who is running the scenario has to handle how the scenario reacts to this. So if there is an evil cleric running a secret society out of a dungeon below the local ruined castle and a group of adventurers are approaching, the GM already knows where the preset encounter points are, and they have their % chance of a random encounter per turn. If the players decide to do something unexpected, and find the dungeon's entrance and instead of entering the dungeon, they camp at the exit laying siege to it, the GM has to find a way to massage events in such a way that they drive the players into the dungeon, because the scenario being played has the final confrontation happening in the dungeon itself.

The story does not depend on the characters actions because certain events have to happen for the story to progress. So in that case, there might be a night time raid, and one of the party is captured and taken into the dungeon. Now the party has no choice and they enter, finding their team mate tied up in a chamber near the entrance that has now mysteriously locked behind them. Without altering the story, or harming the players, they are now in the dungeon, and things can proceed as planned. That's just how it works.

You can play without a scenario, but when you do, it's simply a case of random encounter after random encounter.

Like LV I know exactly what an RPG is. The trouble is that many developers and very, very many gamers do not. Oh, and just for the record, a truly turn based JRPG with melee combat and magic is just about the closest thing in video gaming that there is to playing a traditional role playing game.

Last edited by Highlander on 10/6/2011 3:57:00 PM

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Beamboom
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 4:05:24 PM

You know what one kind of rpg is, and you know exactly what kind of rpg you love. But so do I. and roleplay is just as much about playing a role and shaping a story as it is about playing cards and tossing dices.

(in My Humble Opinion, of course)

Last edited by Beamboom on 10/7/2011 2:24:40 AM

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Crabba
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 5:06:43 PM

I agree completely, and like Excelsior said really well: "it seems bioware wants to have their cake and it eat too".

Not everyone thinks more shooting people in the face equals a better game Bioware!!

Mass Effect 1/Dragon Age - Great Action/RPG's! ME a little on the action-y side... Still some of the best games I've played this gen.

Mass Effect 2 - Still a pretty great TPS with a good story, but a lot less conversations and a tiny bit of RPG elements in it, but they're slowly fading and hardly visible anymore with all their 'optimizations' and 'tune-ups', haven't even bothered with Dragon Age 2 because of what they have done to that game...

ME3/DA3... who knows, FPS with quick-skip-dialogs, capture the flag and deathmatch multiplayer, no skill/points or other stuff that slows down the action... that's progress and broadening the genre, right?

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Beamboom
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 1:27:54 AM

You keep talking about this detailed knowledge of yours about the next ME, Crabba.
Can you provide one single shred of evidence that ME3 are going to contain first person ctf and deathmatch multiplayer or anything like that?
If not then it's just annoying.
I can of course too start talking about how I believe the next Yakuza are going to be a chessboard style strategy game or the next GTA being without weapons and focus on child care, but what value do that add to any discussion, really.

Last edited by Beamboom on 10/7/2011 2:09:56 AM

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Highlander
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 3:24:34 AM

In reply to "You know what one kind of rpg is, and you know exactly what kind of rpg you love. But so do I. and roleplay is just as much about playing a role and shaping a story as it is about playing cards and tossing dices."

I'm not exactly sure what you are trying to say here. If the game isn't about the story, what is it about? The combat system character generation and all the rest are simply part of the canvas that the story is drawn upon. I don't think you understood the point I was making.

Traditional old skool role playing games (not video games) were story driven, but the mechanic was played out using dice, pencils and paper. Some games do use cards, and still others have other ways to handle things like random events. But none of that mechanic impacts the story. The players do not make the story as they go. You can't sit six RPG players down with a facilitator to run the combat and have an adventure happen. The scenario must be constructed, the game world must be sufficiently well realized that it works within the game.

In a role playing game, you are playing a role, and if you take the broadest literal definition of the three words Role Playing Game, you could well come to think - as you seem to - that any game that you control a character in might be called an RPG. You might also conclude that an open world game based on a RPG like combat system with random encounters is sufficient for an RPG because the players make the adventure and shape the story themselves. I would simply ask, what story? If it's an open world with no linear narrative, there is no story, all there is is a sequence of random events.

I've played dozens of different paper based RPG systems, I've played old school MUDs, old skool dungeon crawlers like Rogue, Nethack and Moria, I've played RPGs and JRPGs on PS1, PS2, PS3, N64, PSP and PC. I've played I can't honestly remember how many different RPGs, and I am telling you that in my experience, the closest you get to the original RPG games are turn based JRPGs.

So please, stop arguing with me, because I feel that that is all you are doing now. If you want to argue a very broad definition of RPG, that's fine, go for it, but that is not how the game genre is or has been defined by the gaming community. what you seem to me to be arguing for is essentially a 'revisionist' definition of the term RPG.

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Beamboom
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 3:34:16 AM

I'm sorry, I thought we were closing in on some common grounds here. I was obviously mistaken.
It was not my intention to argue for the sake of arguing. As a matter of fact I wish we all could get past this discussion. It's just annoying, apparently not only for me... :)

Let me just finish by saying that I too am part of a "gaming community". Just maybe not the same community as you.

Last edited by Beamboom on 10/7/2011 3:45:07 AM

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Highlander
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 4:19:04 AM

Beamboom, you're part of the same community, but that doesn't mean that everyone in the community has the a) like the same games, or b) agree.

My problem with this discussion is that in the discussion you appear to re-define the term RPG in a way that differs considerably from the accepted definition, simply because in your opinion, it means something else. That is bound to lead to disagreements.

The RPG has a long history in gaming and video gaming. It had a strong identity, and many, many gamers understand that identity, even if they cannot express it succinctly. So in a discussion about how one dev or another is broadening (and therefore diluting) the genre; if you are a proponent of an overly broad and literal definition of the term RPG, then you will come into conflict with those that understand the term RPG as it's been applied in gaming and video gaming for decades.

That doesn't mean that you are wrong, but is it possible that you're talking about a completely different genre of game, and not really an RPG as it's generally been understood? In which case, instead of trying to persuade the old skool RPGers that they have to accept the death of their favored genre, perhaps you would be more successful arguing for that new genre and it's acceptance for what it is?

Why not celebrate the original RPGs for what they are, and equally celebrate this new genre, whatever it may be called, for what it is? It's like FFXIII. That's not a particularly good example of an RPG, or a JRPG or a Final Fantasy game, but it is a great game. Does the discussion have to come down to fans of traditional RPGs abandoning their genre to accept the rightness of everyone who claims FFXIII is a great JRPG? Or can we simply accept it's not a great RPG, but is some other kind of game, that's actually quite good?

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Beamboom
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 4:58:58 AM

"accept the death of their favored genre" -> omg no! I've never meant to do that at all! That's crazy, I am all for diversity and variations, I do not want anyone to accept any deaths at all - quite the contrary!
I would never call "your style RPGs" anything but rpgs, indeed they are, always has been, always will be.

All I try to argue for is that I think the BioWare games indeed deserve a place within the rpg bag too, and try to explain why. That really is all I try to do here. I set free the fanboy within me and openly admit so.
To me the recent BioWare RPGs are not that different from, say, Vampire Bloodlines; The Masquerade (one of my all time favs) or the earlier BioWare games, Neverwinther Nights and Knight of the Old Republic being my prime examples.

And, with the danger of sounding a tad cocky here, but I think it is worth mentioning that practically every single reviewer out there, being them positive or negative to the BioWare games, do indeed call them RPGs. It's not like I am this weird little guy living in my own bubble here.


Last edited by Beamboom on 10/7/2011 5:06:06 AM

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Underdog15
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 9:04:22 AM

I don't really care to define "role playing" in games outside video games, because, quite obviously to me anyways, when you aren't dealing with software and everything is dependent on pencil, paper, and a group of friends, you can do whatever the hell you want. I also just want to talk about video games. :p lol


But, correct me if I'm wrong.... but aren't all rpg's, whether you create a character or simply assume the role of another, finite in possibilities? Based on what I've seen, even in games with multiple endings, there's only a handful of games that have more than 2 different types of endings. And most all of them, regardless of the decisions you make or types of relationships you decide to build, end... the same way. Most of the time, all that matters is whether or not you are good or evil. Even then, the ending might still be the same.

So to me, this type of choice is a nice feature, but it isn't necessary. There are far more features to consider than that. To limit a definition to that in video games opens you up to literally ANY kind of gameplay features and removes the RPG label from well established and respected RPG's of the past.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 10/7/2011 9:05:54 AM

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Beamboom
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 12:26:07 PM

@Under: Yes you are right of course, I do not mean to say it is a *requirement* to create your own character and affect the story, it's just what I am used to from the earlier RPGs I've played, so for me it's the norm. For me it actually is much of what RPG is all about, even. But now I talk preferences, not genre definitions. I totally respect that a rpg can have one set story and very little room for shaping your role/character. I just find it a bit... Well, like something is missing! Yes that's it. Still a rpg, just missing an ingredient.

But I suspect that whole debate all has to do with different backgrounds. Remember, this is my first console. Maybe it's as easily explained as to what we have to do with here is essentially a difference between console and PC rpgs? That somehow they went in different directions? I do not know...!


Last edited by Beamboom on 10/7/2011 12:58:43 PM

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Highlander
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 1:38:43 PM

To me, the missing ingredient in the kind of RPG you describe is actually two. Character and story. When I play an RPG, I get to know the characters, in the same way as I do when I read a book. I get to know them through the events of the story, generally played out in cut scene form. The characters and story are created by the author(s) of the game, in the same way an author of a book creates. In a game that is open ended and in which the story alters direction and outcome constantly based on the actions of one or more players, how does one come to know the characters? How does one become emotionally vested in them and their story? When the game is about you and what you do, it's no longer about the story the author intends to tell.

It seems like we have three 'choices' opening up here. Traditional RPG, open ended RPG with complete character customization and control, and story driven action game with RPG elements. All of these are being given the same label, and all are very different to each other. from my point of view, the traditional RPG is being submerged beneath the other two types of game.

I've listened to developers and commentators (as well as commenters) talking about those traditional RPGs as old fashioned, not as advanced, technically inferior, slow, boring, and so forth. The cumulative effect of that is to convey a very negative message regarding those kinds of RPG. In contrast the other two types of game, the story driven action game with RPG elements and the open ended RPG are touted as being more advanced, more exciting, and somehow intrinsically better.

It doesn't matter whether they are western or Japanese, that's not really relevant here. FFXIII for example is supposed to be a JRPG, but it clearly fits more into the story based action game with RPG elements than the traditional RPG category. The point being that a genre that was once clearly defined, is no longer clearly defined, and the type of game that once defined the genre has been shoved to the back by these other types of game.

So, yes I am defensive of the RPG genre, and yes I see things like what Bioware are saying as attacks on that genre. I see it that way because so far, those kinds of changes to RPGs have done nothing but diminish the genre of game that I like.

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Crabba
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 3:00:36 PM

Beamboom, I don't have any evidence, hence the initial 'who knows' part, I'm speculating based on their previous choices and current path... and of course the more or less confirmed rumor that it will have multiplayer.

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Beamboom
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 3:06:41 PM

@Highlander: Excellent summary. Thank you. I think you got the three main directions RPG has headed there. And I feel that I got at least a kind of acceptance for my rpg associations too, and that I am actually thankful for.

I would not worry too much about what people say about the trad rpgs though. I mean, so what?
It will be exciting to see how well Atelier Totori sells (that qualifies as a trad, right?) after the very good reception it after all has received.

I got a feeling this discussion will be continued after a later article. :)

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Crabba
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 3:17:05 PM

Beamboom "To me the recent BioWare RPGs are not that different from, say, Vampire Bloodlines; The Masquerade (one of my all time favs) or the earlier BioWare games, Neverwinther Nights"

Vampire.. Oh that brings back memories "Damnation with you would be salvation!", but I think that was the first game in the series... Unfortunately, I think there's QUITE a difference between those old classics like Baldur's Gate and Neverwinter Nights and Bioware's recent games like DA2 and ME2. Like I said previously, there's even a clearly bigger emphasis on action between the original and sequel of both those games...

And with Bioware being one of the pioneers of great RPGs, that's why some of us are upset about it.

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Beamboom
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 3:45:51 PM

@Crabba: Vampires has never been more sexy :)

Regarding the comparison, let's do a quick recap of Vampire The masquerade: It was mainly real-time melee fighting/attacking, and as such must be called "action based", agree? Plus those special attacks, mainly to feed.

Remember the city setting in Bloodlines too, the dark alleys, the restaurants, sewers, all those weird encounters, everything from that killer at the docks to those crazy twins that ran that night club, remember the teenage vampires on that beach and their stories? And drunk people in dark alleys to feed from when no-one saw you... You remember the game now right?

You character were created in many different ways: Levels/skills of course, but also if you wanted to go bad (drink from humans) or good (survive on rats) or something in between (drink from humans but never kill them). And the vampire clans/families and how they affected your character. All in all you ended up with your very own personality.

So, remember all those conversations, with the different reply alternatives? How the NPCs reacted to your reply depended on their opinion about you? Often the exact same reply could cause totally different reaction depending on how attractive they found you?
This, to me, was what the game *really* was about. Exploration, socialization, moral issues.

Well, this same basic mechanics are found in the new BioWare games too! that's what I mean with being similar. Actually I dare say Bloodlines was even *more* action rpg than the BioWare games! SA/ME is more what we should call a hybrid of action and rts, since you can freeze the game mid-fight and issue commands to the whole party - you could not do that in Bloodlines as far as I remember. And exploration, socialization, moral issues? Indeed in both DA and ME too.

But above all: The stories. The amazing atmosphere. The colourful characters. that was there in Bloodlines and indeed are there in full effect also in the BioWare games. And THIS is why I love their games so much. Not cause of the action but the amazing stories!
Bloodlines had FIVE different endings to the game. In ME2 the ending and who survives all depends on your relation to the characters.

I gotta play Bloodlines again someday.

Last edited by Beamboom on 10/7/2011 4:16:40 PM

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Crabba
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 7:23:21 PM

Beamboom: Hey, I don't mind the stuff Bioware is keeping in their games, like a good story, choices etc, it's the stuff they remove that's bothering me... customization, skills, stats, the emphasis on action (read shooting) compared to the older games.

Lrt me take a quick example: I think I had more conversation with one character in ME1 than I did in the entire game in ME2, and it was not from the lack of trying. Everything is made 'easier', and 'less complicated' (read what I'd refer to as shooter-friendly).

Last edited by Crabba on 10/7/2011 7:25:56 PM

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Beamboom
Saturday, October 08, 2011 @ 2:08:47 AM

Then we agree Crabba. Simple as that. We are in tune. I do not like the direction either. I just simply cling to the hope of them correcting their direction again and seeing their backlog I firmly believe they will. We are talking about an *amazing* company here.

And I hate this ongoing "dumbing down" that's happening now in *every* genre. Pure hate. But I hope this is just a trend. And trends shift.


Last edited by Beamboom on 10/8/2011 2:17:11 AM

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Beamboom
Saturday, October 08, 2011 @ 3:11:34 AM

... And by the way! Vampire: The Masquerade is based on a regular (non-computer) roleplaying game of the same name. I looked it up in Wikipedia to get it confirmed, and it is amazing to read how much of that they adapted into the computer version. Still, you got choices and character creation and shaping your story and those things that is part of what *I* would call "typical computer rpg".


Last edited by Beamboom on 10/8/2011 3:13:04 AM

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Crabba
Sunday, October 09, 2011 @ 9:14:57 PM

Yeah, you're just a little bit more optimistic about it than I am Beamboom :)

I REALLY do hope this dumbing-down of like you say pretty much every genre is just a temporary phase of sorts, and that more people will start complaining about it so that could change in the future. Why is it that the more advanced consoles and PC's get the simpler games we get...

Good thing they still make good games :)

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Underdog15
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 11:57:08 AM
Reply

I think Bioware games are pretty good.

That being said, every genre has been incorporating more and more mature story-telling elements. (Not mature content... mature writing and story-telling I mean.)

What I mean to say is, story telling with complex characters is not really what an RPG is. In the past, only RPG's had that kind of element, to be sure. But now, nearly every game has a story, and all the good games tend to have good to great stories.

Uncharted 2, for example, has a decent story and excellent characters... but it's not an RPG.

I'd hate to see Bioware lose sight of the core gameplay of what an RPG is. We've already seen trends of them starting to do that with Dragon Age 2 and ME2 compared to the first ME.

I know RPG is hard to define, but I think it should be clear to most people that the gameplay has a major hand in what makes an RPG an RPG.

I'm just saying... broadening the genre is a worrisome phrase from them when you consider the last couple entries in some of their franchises. I've not even come close to losing faith in them, don't get me wrong. But there does seem to be a few early signs of a lack of focus on what makes RPG's... RPG's.

Gameplay matters... not just character interaction... nor is it merely defined by character creation, either. I hope they think about the importance of gameplay as an important element in RPG's.

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LimitedVertigo
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 12:06:02 PM
Reply

Honestly the Bioware "RPGs" come across to me as those make your own adventure books. I find myself spending more time sampling dialogue and its outcomes than enjoying item collection and battling enemies.

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Ludakriss
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 12:17:07 PM

Bam! Tell the truth! I miss when devs and writers actually did what their title says. I't like reading a book for kids - "If you chose this path, you should open this sleeve, turn this page" f that, son!

I want narrative that's definitive and doesn't make me feel shit after I chose the supposed "wrong" outcome. Ad yes, they're never making a game that no matter what you choose, it's fine.

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frostface
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 2:16:19 PM
Reply

Reading the comments you'd swear Bioware where the only company making RPG's and that they're ruining the whole genre.

I like Bioware's games. Even DA2 although it was no where near the level of Origins. If they want to add more action or take from other genres to tell their stories in an RPG style game, I'm all for it. That's their interpretation of an RPG. If it's not your style of RPG you still have Bethesda, Level 5, From Software, Square Enix to name just a few.

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Highlander
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 2:29:45 PM

Not quite single handedly ruing the genre, no. But it's part of a trend where RPG elements are co-opted into other games and game mechanics from other genre are co-opted into RPGs. It's part of a trend that has some games abandoning the more traditional narrative style of JRPGs and even western RPGs that use cutscenes to tell the story.

But no, not everyone is doing that, and there are rays f hope such as Level 5. I don't agree with including SE in the list of companies that make 'my style' of RPG.

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Beamboom
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 2:58:13 AM

@High: Quoting, "make 'my style' of RPG"
-> Aha! Your *style* of RPG. That's the correct way to put it. Thank you.

It implies that we accept that there are several styles within the wonderful world of the RPG genre, and that you and yours talk about one particular style, where your preferred style has been in decline this gen - however with a small revival lately, hasn't it?

Please all, take notice of Highlanders elegant and nuanced choice of wording. How simple, yet respectful to others diverging preferences. Let this be how we put it from this day on. :)

(Y)

Last edited by Beamboom on 10/7/2011 3:02:23 AM

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Highlander
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 3:08:41 AM

Don't use word games to try to trap me into saying something I did not Beamboom. I was replying to Frostface and he used the phrase "your style of RPG". I was replying to that an specifically quoted around 'my style' because I wanted it to be clear that I was a reference back to the original comment.

Do not put words in my mouth, and do not taunt me with the words *you* put there.

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Beamboom
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 3:32:10 AM

Sorry, then I misunderstood.

Last edited by Beamboom on 10/7/2011 3:32:17 AM

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JimmyVaudeville
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 3:16:40 PM
Reply

I do miss the days of Black Isle... *le sigh*... Baldur's Gate, anyone?

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Alienange
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 4:21:19 PM

Baldur's Gate II

'nuff said

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Crabba
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 5:15:34 PM

Ain't that the truth. Diablo, Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, Planescape Torment, Eye of the Beholder, Lands of Lore... even Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance was a great action/rpg...

At least we have Diablo 3 to look forward to, less skill points and stats :-( sigh, hopefully it's still an awesome game though (better be, I've waited better part of the last ten years for it, lol)

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Underdog15
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 9:07:03 AM

Baldur's Gate 2 was excellent fun.

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Gordo
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 4:02:28 PM
Reply

Well I think a lot of you are looking at RPGs through the rosie tint of spectacle'd nostalgia...

Bioware aren't going to change anytime soon. Mass Effect 2 was a brilliant game which garnered critical acclaim and brought in good sales.

I doubt they are having frantic management meetings discussing "how to make our next game more niche".

Would you be happy if they classed Mass Effect 3 as an "Action based story driven adventure game". Would that stop you moaning that it's not the RPG that it's supposed to be!

Traditional RPGs (whatever they are) haven't been killed by the game developers or publishers. They've been killed by the game playing public that haven't been buying them!

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LimitedVertigo
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 4:19:37 PM

How can they be bought if they haven't been made?

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Gordo
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 4:51:55 PM

Ah, that old chestnut...

"Build it and they shall come"

Good luck with that. ;-)

I just can't see what is wrong with Fallout 3, Skyrim, Dead Island, Mass Effect 2, Dragons Age: Origins, Nier, Demons Souls and Dark Souls.

I feel spoilt this generation!

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Crabba
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 5:21:42 PM

Well I believe both Mass Effect 1 and Dragon Age 1 sold pretty well, otherwise they probably wouldn't have issued a number of sequels to them...

Who's to say ME2 wouldn't have sold equally good or better had it retained the same amount (or more) RPG-elements from the first game?

And AFAIK DA2 didn't sell that well, 'despite' their focus on action in that game. For one thing, otherwise they wouldn't have issued statements that they're listening to the fans complaints about the game...

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Underdog15
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 9:09:30 AM

Gordo, i'm not sure what your point is. I know I certainly never said Bioware didn't make good games. I commented on their direction, based on how ME evolved to ME2 and ESPECIALLY DA:O to DA2. I think most everyone was disappointed with the direction they took into the second DA.

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Alienange
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 4:36:57 PM
Reply

Bioware is amazing. I'm not a fan of EVERY game they make, but to bash them is to show a complete lack of respect and understanding for what a great developer of RPGs is.

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Underdog15
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 9:10:06 AM

Who bashed Bioware?

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___________
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 2:59:50 AM
Reply

thats exactly whats causing the confusion and blurred line of what a RPG is.
its not nessessarily a bad thing, its nice to see parts of several genres brought into one.
but there has to be a line drawn from what is a RPG, and what is a hybrid.
the days of your traditional RPG of pure adventure are sadly long gone.
i wish we had more games like zelda and neir to keep the genre alive.
without them, everyone will forget them and start thinking ME is a RPG when it never has been!

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Highlander
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 3:10:39 AM

Sadly, many people very much *do* believe that ME is an RPG. I believe that there are several commenting on this article that feel that way.

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Fane1024
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 5:00:14 AM

...because it is, or at least as close as a computer game can be.

I for one don't agree in the slightest with your absurd contention that JRPGs are the closest analog to traditional table top RPGs. MMORPGs probably are.

But we're never going to agree on this topic and I certainly don't want to fight with someone I respect greatly.


Last edited by Fane1024 on 10/7/2011 5:06:04 AM

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Underdog15
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 9:14:52 AM

I don't see why it's such a big deal to not see ME as an RPG. Especially if those same people admit ME is a good game. I never played ME, so I don't know. But based on my play with ME:2, I have a hard time calling it an RPG. Surely there is more to an RPG than simply dialogue. Because that's the only thing I could see.

Nearly every game these days deals with leveling up... even sports games in they're own way... so you can't go by that, either. ME:2 is a good game, to be sure... but I don't see how 1 or 2 vague elements of RPG's can qualify it as one. RPG definitions NEEDS to be more strict... I mean.. name a game where you DON'T follow a story arc or assume the role of a particular character.

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___________
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 9:19:11 AM

ME is not a RPG!
its a hybrid.
and where did i say JRPGs?
i said traditional adventure RPGs stop putting words in my mouth.
the traditional RPG is a game like diablo where you go on a epic quest, adventure, in a massive world, visiting different places like dungeons, castles, and has a real fantasy vibe to it.
obviously has to have lots of different classes, massive customizable characters.
no where did i say it had to be by a japanese developer.
ME could not be further away from a traditional RPG!
traditional RPGs for one instance have fantasy storyline, ME is not a fantasy storyline, its more of a realistic storyline set in the future.
nor is deus ex, thats a hybrid not a true traditional RPG.
as i have said many times thats why i hate using the term RPG, because when i do i feel its restricted to the old styled fantasy diablo dungeon crawler styled games.
so in that instance ME and DE could not be further from a traditional RPG!

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Highlander
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 1:10:52 PM

I think Fane was replying to an earlier comment of mine Underdog.

Fane, I'm talking about the mechanics of the game, not the clear fact that traditional role playing games were multi-player - because you were all in the same room. Of course an MMORPG is more like the traditional role playing games in that there are multiple players in the party. However I still maintain that the turn based JRPG is a far closer match to the kinds of combat/skill/attribute system we would see in a typical roll playing game from the age of dice and paper.

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Crabba
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 3:37:33 PM

For once I agree 100% with Underscore. There's nothing wrong with ME2, Fallout 3 and maybe Dead Island, just don't call them RPGs. They're action games with a story and some RPG-lite elements.

It's just too bad IMO they didn't make ME2 more like ME1, and ME1 more like BG, and Fallout 3 more like Fallout 1 & 2. Unfortunately it's painfully obvious most devs are heading this way...

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Crabba
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 7:40:02 PM

luisliu Diablo 1 & 2 are two of my all-time favorite action/RPG's and while I agree they're more action/RPG's than some of those other titles, they still very much include all those elements you pointed out (which I agree with).

Diablo is so much more than a so-called 'hack n slash', I've never played a game with so much character customizations, and unique detail on an enormous amount of items. It has an awesome story, a lot of unique locations, NPC's to talk to, and endless replayability.

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Beamboom
Saturday, October 08, 2011 @ 2:01:41 AM

@luisliu: Well look at this! That description of yours right there is something I can very much relate to. That's RPG the way I know it as well. Welcome to psxe and all that! :)

And yes, the lack of micromanagement in ME2 is sorely missed. Even a fan like me (and please note, all my posts regarding anything BioWare is heavily coloured by the fact that I *love* that company) has no problem admitting that. There was still discovery in me2, but as you say that was a sad chapter with DA2.

So, yeah, I agree with most that's been said about what was wrong with the last two BioWare games. But this is an entirely different discussion than simply writing them off as not being rpgs at all.

I do not mind them experimenting and trying out new stuff and new variations, I think that's healthy as long as they stay in touch with the fans. It will be insanely exciting to see the next couple of rpgs from them.


Last edited by Beamboom on 10/8/2011 2:02:42 AM

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