BioWare On DAI: ‘We Want to Get Back in Touch With our Fans’

“We look to a future… where the player has more agency.”

Those words, spoken by one BioWare developer working on Dragon Age: Inquisition, comes from a trailer for the upcoming issue of Game Informer1, containing (of course) an exclusive look into the ongoing development of the game. And it might as well be aimed squarely at people who still have a bad taste in their mouth over BioWare’s abysmal last two years.

After Mass Effect 3 and Dragon Age 2 soured what once seemed an unimpeachable brand, the company has shed all of its founders and numerous high-ranking people, and its reputation among many fans has been eviscerated. My unscientific analysis is that there are lots of people who have all but excised BioWare games from their playlist, and that’s probably due more to the way people acted toward BioWare’s critics than the problems themselves.

Take Mass Effect 3, for instance. Among the weirdest reactions was a chorus of people who scolded fans roundly for complaining about the ending, in many cases mocking them for pointing out the (arguable) removal of agency from the ending of Mass Effect trilogy. It was a weird moment in pop culture history and there are still arguments lingering from it to this day. And based on the video, BioWare knows it.

Here’s the video:

Some take-aways:

* New details about who you’ll play, confirmed to be a member of the titular Inquisition.
* Players will once again be able to choose from multiple races, not just human.
* A vast expansive open world, compared by one of the developers to a return to the thinking behind Baldur’s Gate.
* An important quote: “We want to get back in touch with our fans, and help them help us to bring the games forward.”

Of course, judging by the comments we still get on posts related to BioWare, plenty of those fans are not ready to forgive and forget. But BioWare does seem to be painfully aware of how many fences it needs to mend. Certainly, Dragon Age Inquisition is looking more and more like BioWare’s big apology for its abysmal 2011-2012.

What do you all think? Am I being over optimistic? Does the fact that Dragon Age: Inquisition won’t actually be a true sequel to the previous games sound problematic to you? Does it look like the company has learned some important lessons? Or are they perhaps being a bit too contrite? Sound off in comments.

1) Yes, trailers for articles are… silly.

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34 Comments on BioWare On DAI: ‘We Want to Get Back in Touch With our Fans’

folklore

On August 6, 2013 at 8:13 pm

I’d be waiting for some more information on the actual game. What would really be nice is to hear from sachel again.

Draxanoth

On August 6, 2013 at 8:35 pm

Bioware is done.

Roy Batty

On August 6, 2013 at 8:35 pm

Not interested in DA anymore or ME (or MassDefect whatever they are calling it now). DA2 was much worse that ME was. In contrast to DA2 ME was great until the ending which was created by inebriated monkeys and the philosophically bankrupt.

DA2 had much more robust problems: voice acting was subpar and dialog was recycled – game play was a joke – ending was not quite as dumb as ME3 but still sub-par for their previous endeavors.

…And saying they want to get back in touch with fans is not an apology which I am still waiting for from coyotes who were in charge of ME3. (yes I know I will never get one so EA/Bioware I dare you to shock me and prove me wrong).

Note: If there was a sincere apology then yes I would consider going back – but as for now there are other worlds to conquer.

thedog

On August 6, 2013 at 8:55 pm

Yes, you are being very optimistic…….. but boy, do I hope you’re right. I would love to see the return of the old Bioware. It won’t be done over night, but if they really nail. and I mean really, DAI, it would do worlds of good for their name.
I think they could bring a good number of people back if they nail this one. People are longing for the Bioware of old and one great game would bring a lot of them back. I’m crossing my fingers but not holding my breath.

The Defenestrator

On August 6, 2013 at 10:36 pm

Considering how ridiculous and backwards BioWare’s PR response was to the whole ME3 situation, and how they completely misread or ignored the actual issues with the ending, I’m really not inclined to somehow believe they’ve suddenly gotten the point. My money is on this being part of a larger PR charm offensive: apologize without apologizing.

Too much is up in the air to make a clear judgement. The combat in DA:I needs a complete overhaul from the button mashing of DA2 if it wants to be competitive. (I’m of the opinion that BioWare just isn’t very good at making action games. Three games into the ME series and the combat was still clunky and unwieldy compared to pretty much any other AAA action game.) Plus we still haven’t heard anything about the EA mandated multiplayer and the likely use of micro-transactions.

Sorry, but BioWare salted the earth as far as believing anything they say straightaway. Once the game comes out, I’ll give it a couple weeks and see what the general consensus is then.

Drizzt

On August 6, 2013 at 10:47 pm

Why would I need BioWare after their ME3 ending? I wait for Wasteland 2, Torment: Tides of Numenéra, improvements to Shadowrun Returns (plus the 100+ hours fan-created campaign (Shadowrun Identity) on the RPG side. Also, there are Massive Chalice and Star Citizen to consider hogging up substantial amounts of my time in the future.

That said, if they can get back to ME1 and DA:O goodness with Inquisition, I’ll give it a shot. But that has to be seen (and then proven).

JawaEsteban

On August 6, 2013 at 11:10 pm

We won’t know until it’s out. And I’m sure as hell not going anywhere near DA:I until it’s been out for at least a month and a solid consensus has formed.

Also, Casey Hudson is still a destestable weasel.

Robyn

On August 6, 2013 at 11:38 pm

Bioware…there used to be a good company with that name.

gasmaskangel

On August 6, 2013 at 11:50 pm

My emotions regarding Bioware have cooled considerably in the time since the whole debacle with ME3, so I will say that I genuinely don’t care about an apology (and make no mistake, claiming you want to get back in touch with the fans is not an apology), and I wouldn’t trust one to be sincere if they gave one, and given that some “fans” were issuing death threats or otherwise being asshats I wouldn’t begrudge them the insincerity. Nobody came out of that mess looking good, especially not the people winging on about “entitled gamers”

I digress. To get to the heart of the issue if Bioware is looking for people to pre order the super ultra mega deluxe collectors edition of doom they’ve got a lot of work ahead of them. I for one won’t be pre ordering or buying it day one. Like pretty much everyone else who’s posted so far I’m going to wait until a solid concensus is reached among consumers whom I know share my tastes. I won’t bother with any of the gaming press’s reviews, not after the self righteous complaints about people voicing a dissenting opinion.

What Bioware can do is give us a reason to hope or ignore them by actually releasing more information about the game. A half assed multiplayer component with microtransactions that allows you to bypass the story should be right out (why yes, I am still bitter about that because it was idiotic), actively demonstrating that they have more than one tile set for the dungeons would probably also be a good idea. I’m not sure what they can do to give us hope for the story though.

Now, in my personal opinion I’m not too wound up about the lousy combat in DA2 and the Mass Effect games, as the combat wasn’t why I played either of them, and I know I’m in the minority on this, but I actually liked the story in DA2. They tried something really different with it, and while it didn’t always work out it was a fun ride, at least for me. Also, I’m a sucker for rags to riches stories.

sep

On August 7, 2013 at 12:44 am

Biowhat?

Logan Snider

On August 7, 2013 at 1:07 am

I learned my lesson after Mass Effect 3. No more preorders on Bioware products EVER again. I will buy a pre-owned game, but never again will I be foolish enough to preorder any product whether it be Dragon Age or beyond.

So badly did they salt the Earth with Mass Effect 3 and so terrible was their PR response that I simply no longer care how much they shine their turds that I now simply refuse to purchase.

Axetwin

On August 7, 2013 at 2:17 am

None of it matters, because Hudson’s still there. The same douche who came to the party late, took a beloved series in directions that nobody even within the company really thought it necessary for them to go, removed Mass Effect’s creative team that toiled for years on the series from the ending to their own story so he and Mac Walters could blow that popcorn fart of a nothing climax to appease EA’s deadline and their own egotistical desire to get people talking about it, and then took all the credit for the rest of the series while refusing to even acknowledge why people were upset over the blatant false advertising other than to try and claim it was unrealistic expectations and an unreasonable attachment to the characters he’d created. And I’m not even going to get into DA2. So, any apologies, admissions of failing, or superficial fence-mending exercises are nothing more than trying to fix a sewage leak by spraying a bit of Glade around the pipe. The cancer that created this mess is still in the company – until his head rolls, BioWare will always be a cash cow and it’s barely even a shadow of what it was.

MPSewell

On August 7, 2013 at 5:05 am

It is going to take a LOOOOOOOOOOOOT of convincing for me to ever pick up a Bioware game again. I was a diehard fan, I communicated with the developers and personally helped them design parts of the KOTOR opening. I never missed a game they developed (or that was part of a series they had worked on). But now? I have zero, absolutely zero, interest in them after not only the abysmal last two games, but the disgusting response they had to the entire situation.

Mass Effect 3 and Dragon Age were unforgivable. Utter garbage that spat on everything each series had been, and most especially DA2.

So good luck, Bioware, because you had better bring some big big big guns to ever get me back to buying your products.

Linkboy9

On August 7, 2013 at 7:17 am

Never forgive, never forget. When you are so out of touch with your consumerbase that you blame and insult them for calling you to task for lying about your product, there’s only two things that will get you off my blacklist. Either you get canned, or your company dies. Considering the position Hudson hered into and EA’s typical reaction to failure, both possibilities seem likely to happen…simultaneously.

HeartyMedusa

On August 7, 2013 at 7:51 am

I am cautiously optimistic about the game. After the DA2 and ME3 incidents, I’m not ready to just accept the game like I might’ve before.

Axetwin

On August 7, 2013 at 8:15 am

Egads, someone else is using my name. Wish there was a way to stop that.

Huntsman06

On August 7, 2013 at 8:17 am

The first bioware game I ever played was Knights of the Old Republic. After playing through I was so impressed I put bioware on a bit of a pedestal. Mass Effect came out but I never really heard so I passed and went to Mass Effect 2. It was OK, not up to the standards I had expected, but good enough to consider it worth of bioware.

Mass Effect 3 came out just after I finished the 2nd and I was bit in a state where I just wanted to know what happens next! I foolishly bought it day *2* and the fact that I found a used copy for $20 cheaper at gamestop (on Day *2*!) should have been a sign.

The last bioware game I’ve played is Star Wars the Old Republic. It’s an MMO so I guess you can’t compare it the same, and I’ve not played many MMOs. Long story short it’s OK again and F2P is a nice addition just to allow players to try it. Normally I’d say it’s good but considering it’s supposed to be related to KOTOR I was highly disappointing.

Bioware lost it’s edge long ago. If you are looking for a monster RPG you best be looking else where.

David

On August 7, 2013 at 8:34 am

I’d like to stay positive, so I really hope that BioWare can show they still know how to make good games. As others have said, most likely I’ll wait until the game has been out a couple of weeks to hear the verdict. Won’t do the mistake of pre-ordering at least.

You have an long uphill-battle in front of you, BioWare, to regain the community, let’s hope this game is loaded with a nitroboost to get you started quite a way. Or better, don’t hope. Be neutral, and we’ll see what happens.

Underlaw

On August 7, 2013 at 9:11 am

Bioware bioware, your time is running low, at the end of this year, u will fall….
I´m from the future, and bioware will fall! Tic Tac.

Sagale

On August 7, 2013 at 9:48 am

Obsidian E is Bioware and not this imposters. This news made me more happy than any news about DA: I

http://www.gameinformer.com/games/project_eternity/b/pc/archive/2013/08/06/obsidian-offers-new-project-eternity-screen-shot.aspx

CatmanStu

On August 7, 2013 at 10:40 am

Disappointment is always inversely proportionate to expectation; judging by the reactions (mine included) to DA2 and ME3 that says a lot about the quality leading up to these *ahem* missteps.

A lot of the people responsible for that quality are still there but, as stated by others, the influence of EA and Hudson is still there and for that reason alone any future Bioware product will be well researched before any purchase is made.

A free piece of advice for Bioware: If you want to win back the fans MAKE A GREAT GAME. All the PR in the world won’t even touch what good word of mouth can achieve.

Also, if you insist on sending out “good will” messages like this, avoid the following words: Agency and choice(s), all they do is bring back bad memories.

Hemlock3630

On August 7, 2013 at 10:55 am

I wonder if Bioware will be able to get a fair shake from anyone commenting on these boards.

I can love something and still be critical about it, I can still hate something and find the good points. I wonder if many others here can.

I loved DA:O, it’s what really got me into gaming, and got me into gaming on the PC. It had it’s issues, but was amazing.
I also really enjoyed DA:2, even with the flaws….it was enjoyable, fun. And Bioware was listening to the complaints with the development of the DLC.

I loved ME. First time I had played any sort of shooter/or sci-fi story. It had it’s issues. But I still loved it.
I loved ME2, I though the start and the suicide mission were very well done. It had it’s issues, but I still loved it.
I enjoyed ME3….and then hated it at the end. Critic feedback in response to the fans really solidified it for me.

I’m looking forward to DA:I. the DA team is different than the ME team. The info that’s coming out looks very promising and interesting. I have written off ME4 until fan reviews are in. But I haven’t written off the DA part of Bioware.

I also really like what they are doing with the Dragon Age Series, that it’s NOT a standard Follow the Hero Series, but that the story is about the land and the events instead of just your one character. My gawd, the whining when DA2 came out about not being able to play as the Warden….and then the initial whining about DA:I and not being able to play as the Warden or Hawke….man….there are so many other eyes to see the unfolding of the history of Thedas through…

taztonio

On August 7, 2013 at 11:22 am

EA killed Bioware, its possible to get the magic back but they have to change the EA exec’s. There may not be enough of Bioware left to turn back the clock. With all that said the sorry telling in both DA2 and ME3 was still better than most other RPGs available. The games just could have been that much better if they Bioware had better ethics on producing a truly legendary game. (KOTOR, ME2, DAO)

darkloco

On August 7, 2013 at 12:34 pm

i wont be buying any bioware games anytime soon. Taste in my mouth is still bad from ME3.
Like others ill have to wait til the game is out for awhile and check what others think. Then buy it used!!

Hector

On August 7, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Right, that reminds me what Casey Hudson used to say regarding Mass Effect 3 : “Uh…You know, at this point, I think we’re co-creators with the fans. We use a lot of feedback.” Yeah, right!. See how ME3 debacle turned out, with Bioware loosing their core fanbase for good. As long as Bioware is held by EA, they’ll never reach the hights they once had.

R.J.

On August 7, 2013 at 2:58 pm

As Ross, and many commentators pointed out, it was BioWare’s behavior after both ME3 and DA2 that really made it clear that I wouldn’t be buying more of their games. Those games had problems, to be sure, but what is unacceptable is to pretend like the problems don’t exist or to lob accusations at the paying customers who dared to make their opinions known. Also, BioWare was more than willing to interact when everyone sang their praises, but it’s when you face criticism that you really need to engage with your audience so you can learn instead of assuming you know what the problem is.

Finally, I see Casey Hudson in that video, and given his involvement with both ME3 and the ludicrous way BioWare handled that, I can’t take their claims at face value.

Kevin

On August 7, 2013 at 5:25 pm

Hemlock,

I’m more than willing to give Bioware a fair shake. They just need to put out an actual good game and treat their customers with respect. Since being bought out by EA, the quality has taken a total nosedive. I actually didn’t mind ME2 the way some did. They still kept a great story (though more character centered than plot centered), the DLC (up until Arrival) was superb, etc.

Then DA2 happened. It wasn’t just that DA2 failed to live up to Origins, which was one of the most loving tributes to an old school RPG ever made. It’s that DA2 was by any measure a bad game, and not just a bad game, but a rotten game. Even they eventually conceded that.

Then came ME3. Sure, they knew how to pull at the heart strings, and made some interesting things, but when you looked at it up close, even outside the ending it wasn’t superb. But was still good. Then the ending completely destroyed not just the game but the entire franchise. Then Bioware made it worse the way they reacted.

Then there was the colossal turd that was TOR. The less said about that, the better.

all this can change if EA/Bioware puts out a solid game.

Kirethorn

On August 7, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Bioware was dissolved between ME2 and ME3. The Doctors have left. EA is the boss. In short there’s no reason to support this brand that now only clones other popular titles in different genres rather than creating the games that other companies would want to copy.
ME3 was Gears of War complete with horde mode (expect you pay for your random weapons and characters).
DA2 was a poorly made God of War rip-off.
If Inquisition is actually a RPG instead of a Slasher or FPS, it’s only because they’re trying to clone Witcher this time.

It’s about time everyone abandoned ship and stopped trying to find some reason to believe in this gutted shell of a formerly great company. Other companies are far more deserving of our money, time and caring now.

Fake Axetwin

On August 8, 2013 at 2:19 am

@Axetwin – my apologies, that was me who did that. I tried (no joke) about 20 times to get the comment online using different names and it wouldn’t work, so as a shot in the dark I just picked a name I knew already existed and hoped it a) would work and b) you wouldn’t notice. It was wrong of me and I won’t be doing it again.

Squinty

On August 8, 2013 at 3:55 am

I have one thing to say to BioWare: “Thank you for your feedback.. We are listening.”

Ron Whitaker

On August 9, 2013 at 6:25 am

@Fake Axetwin: Sorry about that. For whatever reason, sometimes the spam filter latches onto a comment and just refuses to let it through. We do our best to work through those and get the legit comments out of there (so I did see how many times you tried to post that comment), but I can’t be right on top of them all the time.

Hopefully I’ve taught it that you’re OK. Again, my apologies.

lisa

On August 9, 2013 at 8:57 pm

Bioware used to make great games. Now when I see those familiar faces, I want to call them not so nice names. I don’t believe their sorry or have learned from their mistakes so no I won’t be buying DAI.

Adarious

On December 21, 2013 at 3:14 pm

I guess I’m going to try to be optimistic here, because of all the garbage out in recent years. There need to be a few good devs out there with quality games. Even Blizzard (I now call them Activizzard), used to be good until they got in with craptivision. It seems any time a good quality developer shows up..some corporate cronie shows up and rots them away from the inside out. It becomes less about content and quality and more about how fast can you throw a dollar in our pocket; how much can you save us from spending on dev?

I think in a lot of ways some of the older groups of devs should form their own company, free of the giants like Electronic Ass, Sony Online Excrement, and Craptivision. The main issue of course is funding, which…if handled carefully could be done, even if it were kickstarter driven. I used to like Bioware, Lucas Arts, and even some activision games before they dug an endless pit with failures and rushes. But make no mistake, the parent corps impose deadlines that often time make the same quality impossible. If I remember right, DA1 was worked on for 6 years…not 2 like DA2 was–kinda like a direct2video sequel.

I’ll give DAI a shot, but if it’s crap it will be a long time before I look at anything bioware again. Kinda the same way I went with Interplay years ago with some of their games, and Lucas Arts when they crapped on the best series of games they’d had in favor of spewing out loads of star wars stuff.

Robert

On January 15, 2014 at 5:32 am

I’ll wait a few months to hear player reviews and not reviews by idiots being paid to make up bull reviews, I’m going to wait a long long LONG time before I even so much as consider buying a bioware game EVER again.