So apparently, BioWare used a PAX East panel to talk about Dragon Age III, without actually saying the words Dragon Age III.
Mike Laidlaw, lead designer, focused the talk on fan feedback, which, if you know BioWare, makes perfect sense. Actually, it makes even more sense now that they are adding an extended ending to ME3 because of fan complaints.
The three main points of feedback from fans were, “Stop reusing levels. Decisions that matter. Equipment for followers,” which may sound familiar if you’ve read any of my blog posts about Dragon Age II.
I will take a moment to say that it felt pretty good to have my critique validated. I wasn’t just feeling entitled and picky: tons of other Bioware fans felt the exact same way!
Also, judging from the clues (Laidlaw specifically saying the city would be a bit more French and the newest novel takes place in Orlais), the next game will take place in Orlais.
The coolest-sounding part so far was how they planned to solve the dilemma of: “followers should have a unique look” vs. “they should wear the armor I want to put on them, BIOWARE.” *glares*
Anyhoo, here is the quote from PC Gamer:
The main challenge, he explained, is to allow players to add and remove armour pieces without ruining the unique visual identity of each character.
Using some concept art to provide examples, Laidlaw demonstrated the middle ground that Bioware are currently aiming for. He moved a chestplate between two different characters and showed how the design of the plate could adapt to fit the style of each warrior, retaining their silhouette and signature style. He argued that the strong visual identity is necessary to help players identify better with the heroes in their party, and to make those heroes easier to pick out on a busy battlefield. He also mentions that the team are looking at letting players customise the colour and material of party members’ clothing.
I’m pretty excited about that possibility, because one of my favorite aspects of Dragon Age: Origins was pouring over my equipment to pick the very best armor for my teammates. On the other hand, I imagine that developing a specific armor silhouette for every follower will take a lot of time and resources (if they keep as many armor pieces in the game as they have in the previous two). I just hope they don’t waste resources on this instead of focusing on creating an amazing story.
AND I HOPE THEY ARE SERIOUS ABOUT NOT RE-USING AREAS.