Friday, June 24, 2011

Achilles heel - Bioware

Even the best developers out there are prone to some failures that they can't seam to shake off. Hi my name is Adnan and I want to start a series of articles putting one developer in the spotlight and highlighting the key weakness in their game. Today we will look at the RPG factory Bioware.
Whether casual or hardcore, Bioware is a RPG gamer's household name, and why not? Bioware has been credited to the most beloved RPG franchises in gaming history from classics like Knights of the Old Republic, Baldur's Gate to the likes of the recent Dragon Age and Mass Effect franchises. So what makes Bioware games so awesome?:
  • Rich lore: Their games take place in universes so richly developed with every race, religion, culture having their own history instead of taking place in a blank slate like most games do.
  • Through their lore, they tend to tell stories that only they can tell. Their games are worth playing just for the story alone, I would go even further by saying even that Hollywood these days do not come up with a better script than them
  • Finally, Bioware is my personal favorite because of how deep they develop their characters. When I used to play Dragon Age Origins, I would have spent the better chunk of the game in the campsite making fun of Aliaster, admiring how differently Morrigan looks at world around her, probably grandma like Wynn gave the best definition of death I've ever heard.
Those are some of the areas of success because of which Bioware is known as the RPG emperor. Any history buff will tell you even the mightiest of emperors fall. While in Bioware's case it is no where near that extreme, but there is one thing the developer had been struggling as of late: The Final DLC

Dragon Age Orignis: Witch Hunt

One of the mysterious that shrouded the original game towards the end was whatever happened to Morrigan? This final DLC was supposed to answer the question, well supposed to. Fans expected at the very least some kind of closure to Morrigan's story, but what did we get instead? Well, for the first 30 minutes meeting up with  random characters and fighting random battles. Then a boss fight which kind of came out of nowhere and finally the confrontation with Morrigan which lasted...only 5 minutes? Not only that, the way it ended raised far more questions rather than answering the old ones.

Mass Effect 2: Arrival

The way everything went down in Mass Effect 2 towards the end, the stage was perfectly set for Mass Effect 3 (even more if you managed to play the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC). Arrival DLC was supposed to bridge the gap between Mass Effect 2 and 3, while it does in someway, in the end it felt rather unnecessary. People love Mass Effect because of the story, the characters, the impact you can make without firing your gun; sadly the DLC had none of those instead using the premise of the DLC for nothing other than a backdrop for a more shooting focused mission.
I hope Bioware can learn from the mistakes they have made and here is hoping for that special final DLC for Mass Effect 3 that actually ends on a high note

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