We spoke to Bioware co-founder Dr. Ray Muzyka at Gamescom this year about Bioware's impressive lineup of upcoming games. He says that the studio are currently "testing the crap" out of Star Wars: The Old Republic, trying to squash every bug and glitch that they can find in TOR's enormous world before it's eventually released. He also talks about the polarising effect of Dragon Age 2, and how Dragon Age 3 plans to marry the best elements of the first two games into something that attempt to please both sets of fans.
Dragon Age 2
We caught hold of Bioware CEO Dr. Ray Muzyka on the Gamscom show floor and got a chance to ask him about the polarising effect of Dragon Age 2, and Bioware's plans for Dragon Age 3. "The team is going to have some things that are going to surprise both sets of fans, both core fans and new fans with a marriage of the best from both games, Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2," he says
Owen caught up with Valve CEO Gabe Newell at Gamescom for a chat about Origin, and asked him about the recent withdrawal of a number of EA games from Steam,
Origin is a revamped version of the EA store that can be run from a downloadable client. It's the only place players will be able to buy the digital version of Star Wars: The Old Republic, and it was recently confirmed that retail copies of Battlefield 3 will require Origin to be installed in order to run. It seems to be positioning itself as a direct competitor to Valve's Steam service, but what does Gabe Newell think of it?
"I got an account before I came here and was trying it out," he says. "So yeah, I’ve tried it."
Reader, Gavin points us towards an interesting discussion unfolding on the Bioware forums, where lead designer Mike Laidlaw, has been talking to fans about the most controversial changes made to the Dragon Age: Origins formula for Dragon Age 2, saying "I've said it before, and I will say it again: we stripped some stuff out of DA becuase it was busted"
"If I'm going to piss you guys off, it's going to be because I still firmly believe that RPGs do need to be more accessible to new players," Laidlaw adds. "Not diminished, but made less imposing and less terrifying to new players. In part because I want more people to play Dragon Age, and in part because there have been a lot of improvements in gameplay and UI design in the past 15 years, and we can learn from them."
At the same time, Laidlaw says that Bioware are listening carefully to fan feedback to Dragon Age 2. He points toward the recently released DLC pack, Legacy as an indication that the developers have been acting on some of the most controversial aspects of the sequel, including the use of repeated areas, respawning waves of enemies and the customisation of party followers.
EA have delivered a short statement to IGN in response to the disappearance of Dragon Age 2 from the Steam store yesterday blaming the move on Steam's "restrictive terms of service."
These unnamed restrictions "limit how developers interact with customers to sell downloadable content," writes EA's senior VP of e-commerce, David DeMartini. "No other download service has adopted this practice. Consequently some of our games have been removed by Steam."
Want to buy Dragon Age 2 on Steam? Hold your horses. It's not there anymore.
There's been no official explanation for the removal, but Eurogamer note that it coincides with the release of the Dragon Age 2: Legacy expansion pack, which is available to buy now from an in-game store.
If you already own a Steam copy of Dragon Age 2, it'll still work fine, it's just been removed from the Steam shop. It's still available to buy from Direct2Drive, GamersGate and EA's own Origin store.
We recently learned that it's possible to activate a selection of EA games bought on Steam on Origin. We've successfully redeemed keys for Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Dragon Age: Origins, Mass Effect 2, Dead Space 2, Alice: Madness Returns and Dragon Age 2. There may be more.
In the case of Dragon Age 2, once the product key key had been validated on Origin, it was possible to launch the Steam version of the game from the Origin client, complete with Steam overlay and chat functions.
The first portion of Dragon Age 2 DLC will be released in a couple of weeks on Tuesday July 26. The stage demo above from senior producer Fernando Melo gives us a glimpse of the new creatures we'll be fighting. The video, spotted by Evil Avatar, shows the team assaulting a huge underground tower to defeat an "ancient evil" - the most persistent kind of evil.
Along the way they're attacked by a new breed of Darkspawn, must battle a new foe known as The Guardian and boost their weapons with a an ancient, magickal "Pillar of Critical Chance." Skip to the 2:30 mark to get straight to the action. You can watch the Dragon Age: Legacy trailer for more info. The price of the DLC hasn't been announced yet.
The new Dragon Age 2 DLC, called Legacy, will arrive on July 26, say VG247. A new trailer has been released to accompany the news.
The story is based on Hawke's father and will include new creatures and new darkspawn. The trailer shows Hawke visiting a Grey Warden prison, built to hold a powerful darkspawn. We all know how well sealing away ancient evil tends to go in fantasy - we're sure nothing bad will happen at all.
Concept art is often beautiful, but even with a growing number of art books being bundled with collector's editions, it's just as often work that will never be seen by anyone outside of a game's development team. The Into The Pixel collection tries to change that. Organised by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences and the Entertainment Software Association, each year it selects some of the best pieces of gaming art, whatever the reason for its creation.
The 17 new pieces to be displayed at this year's E3 have just been released, and I've posted the PC-relevant images below, including work from Bioshock Infinite, Mass Effect, Dragon Age 2, Alien Swarm and the unreleased Drawn 3. So pretty.
A tweet from senior creative director Alistair McNally confirms that Bioware are working on Dragon Age 3. According to McNally's message, spotted by Eurogamer, Bioware are recruiting for the sequel now: "I'm looking for exceptional environment artists to join me at #BioWare Edmonton, Canada to work on #DragonAge3 #gamejobs #jobs #3D #artists."
It's hardly a surprise that Bioware are making a third Dragon Age game, but knowing that it's in development suddenly raises a lot of questions. Will it follow on from Dragon Age 2, or be a separate adventure set in a different part of Ferelden? Will we get to meet up with the Champion of Kirkwall again, and what about that sneaky witch/dragon lady, Flemeth? What's her game?
The ones we love always hurt us the most, and the roleplaying genre has, over its many years, inflicted its rabid adherents with a few post-traumatic stress disorder-inducing moments. The most infamous occasion was the 1994 release of Ultima VIII: Pagan, the sequel to one of the most beloved RPGs. It completely abandoned the renowned features of its predecessor, and its reception prompted a written apology by series creator Richard Garriott. The simplified Deus Ex: Invisible War was another PTSD moment, as was Bethesda’s transformation of the Fallout franchise (for isometric perspective turn-based combat fans, at least).
Bioware have launched a charity auction to raise money to help the victims of the recent earthquake in Japan. Posting on the Bioware forums, community co-ordinator Chris Priestly announced that a number of items signed by Bioware's founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk would be hitting ebay, with all proceeds to be donated to the Japanese Red Cross. The auction is live now. Items for sale include some custom painted consoles, signed Bioware hoodies, and signed copies of Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect. The items have raised more than $5000 already.
Dragon Age 2 has been patched with fixes for the Exiled Prince DLC and a number of quests in the game. The update also includes a few other technical improvements for those running the game with DirectX 11, and your companions will be generally less confused. Varric will be able to tell who you've been romancing, and Merril will stop referring to future plot events in conversation. Read on for the full patch notes.
UPDATE: A champion has been chosen! Congrats to the insanely-fortunate winner, Adam Summers. If you see someone walking the streets decked out in chainmail and swinging a Dragon Age 2 DeathAdder mouse like a mace, you'll know that Summers has hit the scene. Thanks to everyone that entered!
Heroism demands heroic gear. The Champion of Kirkwall doesn't lunge into a line of mad-evil Darkspawn with his mom's Dell ergonomic keyboard; Hawke can't clean-cut Ogres on a laptop trackpad.
We've partnered with one of PC gaming's best blacksmiths, Razer, to secure their full set of Dragon Age 2 peripherals and equipment--a branded DeathAdder mouse, BlackWidow keyboard, gaming mat, controller and messenger bag. Using these items simultaneously confers bonuses to nerdery that we can't possibly quantify.
To have a crack at this cache of epic gear--a combined value of more than $385--all you need to do is "Like" PC Gamer on Facebook and, separately, comment on the respective contest post on Facebook here. We'll select one random, yet unbelievably lucky winner on Friday.
Bioware are giving everyone who bought Dragon Age 2 a free copy of Mass Effect 2. Why? Because you're great, and they've sold a million copies in two weeks. There is no catch.
Read on for the details of how to download your free game.
The production values of fan films seem to have shot up in recent years, and this Left 4 Dead one is no exception. The second part in an on-going series, the film is well shot and not badly acted. It does seem to fail in capturing the tone of Valve's zombie shooter, feeling more like 'The Walking Dead' with it's sombre mood and snippets of profound dialogue, instead of L4D's all-out Hollywood action/horror blockbuster atmosphere. It's nonetheless a great homage to the games, with a terrific finale and a nice pipe-bomb throw for good measure. You can catch up on the series' first part, but expect to wait a few months for the third instalment.
One thing Dragon Age 2 lacks is a full set of modding tools. Dragon Age: Origins let you use developer tools to create missions, new weapons and new characters. But the lack of tools in the sequel hasn't stopped the modding community. There are already a ton of tweaks and fixes for Dragon Age 2, adding texture packs, save game generators, developer console access and much requested features like the ability to edit default Hawke's face. Read on to help tailor the experience to your own play style.
Dragon Age: Legends is now out of beta and available to everyone on Facebook. The game acts as a companion to Dragon Age 2, and is set in the same region of the Free Marches. You play as a Templar called Ravi, who must destroy a demonic abomination threatening to obliterate the town of Kaiten with what Bioware are calling "a hedonistic orgy of narcissism and opulence." Why would you want to stop that?
The story isn't the only reason to play Dragon Age: Legends, there's also some loot on offer. There will be five items to unlock for your character in Dragon Age 2, including a couple of ancient ring, a magical pendant, a trophy rack, and more. To play, simply visit the Dragon Age: Legends Facebook page.