Phil and Sam tell BioWare what to make next.
Samuel: Things we know about BioWare: Mass Effect is out in March, they’ve been working on a new series in some capacity since Mass Effect 3 came out, and the last, successful
Dragon Age was released three years ago this year. The Old Republic trundles along, too. What would you like to see from BioWare, Phil?
Phil: If they had any sense, it would finally be time for a Dragon Age visual novel in which you play some young, lithe Inquisition initiate trying to score a date with Cullen. You know, the thing Tumblr has been crying out for. Personally, though, I’m excited by the idea of something new. I’d be interested to see how BioWare’s writing works in a real world setting – the studio’s strength has always been in characters, and so moving away from fantasy or sci-fi wouldn’t necessarily be detrimental. Plus the real world has bears, so that’s the sidequests sorted.
Samuel: It’s weird, when I think of something set in the real world my mind immediately goes to ‘military’ and the likes of Alpha Protocol, but they’re bound to do something more interesting and high-concept than that – EA is already pretty flush with guns and such.
Phil: You caught me. I mostly just want AlphaProtocol, but without the late-2000s Obsidian jank.
Samuel: Something we may hear about between full Dragon Age sequels is the proposed Dragon Age Tactics game in the vein of XCOM or
Fire Emblem, which producer Mark Darrah polled the community on in early 2016. 22% of people said ‘no’ to that! The internet is just the worst. Do you think they’ll make that before another full Dragon Age, Phil? Or was that just hypothetical?
Phil: It’s possible somebody got over-excited after XCOM’s success, but I definitely ticked the ‘yes’ box on that poll. Dragon Age is a weird series, because it doesn’t feel like it has a strong identity outside of its setting. Each of the main games has felt completely different, and I’m not sure whether that makes it a natural playground for spin-offs, or if it’s already too confusing to dilute further. Anyway, interesting diversions are all well and good, Sam, but we love BioWare for the characters and scenarios. Where would you like to see them go for a full, post- Andromeda RPG?
Samuel: They’ve done sci-fi, they’ve done fantasy. Both Dragon Age and
Mass Effect are pastiches – they’re familiar-looking and broad versions of popular genres. What other genre really fits them? What else have they made? Sonic Chronicles? Jade Empire! That’s it. Something more historicalbased with a step into fantasy, too. I suppose I would love to see what BioWare’s version of a superhero game might be, as well, a little like a modern Freedom Force. Assembling your own Justice League or Avengers – that’s fertile ground for character creation, heightened storytelling and moral quandaries. I don’t think that’s the game they’ll make next, by any means, but it would be a good fit. I would hope that at some point they’ll make a modern Star Wars RPG, too – The Old Republic continues to grow in that singleplayer direction, but it’s not quite the same as having a KotOR
III in Frostbite with gigantic open worlds. What do you think?
Phil: You have uncovered my dark secret, Sam. I have not played either
KotOR. I wasn’t that into Star Wars when they were released. But you raise a good point about BioWare’s touchstones – all of them (except maybe Sonic Chronicles) are comfortable, well-trodden RPG settings. That’s fine, because I think what I want from BioWare is for them to return to their most distinct, interesting RPG idea. To unlock the potential of a great idea imperfectly realised. I think you know what game I’m talking about, Sam.
Samuel: Dragon Age II. But instead of a Dragon Age set in a single city, it’s set in a single room. Done.
All Phil really wants to do is have it off with this guy.