Tuesday, December 15, 2015

No Mods or Aerial View in PC Dragon Age 2

Wow. So apparently in an interview with an editor in the most recent issue of French videogame magazine Joystick, Bioware's Lead Designer on Dragon Age 2, Mike Laidlaw, laid the law (couldn't resist) on some of the design decisions made for PC version of Dragon Age 2.[Joystick] Why did you leave/forsake the "a la Baldur's gate" view on PC of the first Dragon Age? [Mike Laidlaw] For budgetary reasons, we focused our work on a 3rd person view, that asks for very detailed and nice textures  so that the player can admire the game with a close-up view. With an aerial view [isometric] we should cover much more ground and so create other textures. Now, the game mainly sold on console, so we're going the way of the audience"

Wow. That sucks. Well since mods were what practically made Dragon Age: Origins on PC so superior to the console version - among other things - surely the modders must be getting some sweet tools right?[Joystick] Will you release a toolset for DAO 2? [Mike Laidlaw] To be short, DAO 2 will not have a toolset. I think that DAO I toolset is very powerful but very complicated.

Umm, well, okay. That sucks even more.Personally? I was in the minority that didn't like Dragon Age: Origins at all but I love Bioware and have been holding out for more info on the sequel with hopes that it fixes the many flaws of the original. That said I played it on 360 and many-a PC gamers bragged about the superiority of the PC version in fluidity but definitely in the mods department which as one Bioware forumite said "...are what make DA a better game." 

So to see mods go is a definite blow to the PC community. I don't even play on PC and I have to say this isn't boding well for my early opinion of DA2 which got quite the lackluster unveiling in Game Informer a little while back. Here's to hoping Bioware can keep the hits coming and make Dragon Age 2 just as well crafted as most of their library.What about you guys? Does any of this affect your early perception of the latest Dragon Age?UPDATE: So it looks like Laidlaw has some 'xplainin to do. He punched up this reply to many forumites calling foul on Bioware's official forums.

Victor managed to hunt me down, and I wanted to clear up a few things with regards to what I'm seeing as the two major concerns on this thread. First off, let's talk about the toolset issue. Obviously in this community there's going to be some concern that we wouldn't release a toolset, so let me clear the air a little: The tools we're using to make Dragon Age 2 are very, very close to the tools you guys have used to make your mods for DA:O. They're not identical, as we've made a few in-house improvements, but they're almost identical. As such, there isn't a new toolset to release, per se.

While we won't be releasing a toolset update in tandem with Dragon Age 2, we ARE investigating what it would take to update the community toolset to match ours, along with providing DA2 content in the future.

As to the subject of tactical view, I can confirm that we will not be doing a tactical view on consoles, though we are looking into some expanded party control that I think will make console players quite happy.

On the PC, however, we are still working with the camera to keep the key elements of the tactical experience there. I was actually playtesting some new camera code when Victor found me, in fact, so I can give you the latest news on that front. 

While we likely won't pull as far up as we did in DA:O, I have always felt that the key to tactical playing be a legend soccer hack was actually freeing your camera from the character you're controlling to issue precise orders, which is what we're tuning now. So, this means you can still maneuver the camera around the battlefield and issue orders from a remote location, just as you could in Origins.
        As you can probably tell from my phrasing, all of this is a bit in-flux right now, so things may change between now and ship, but I wanted to update you guys on the current direction of things.
I'm gonna leave this up to interpretation as it's a pretty vague statement. Which is no surprise since it seems like a decent chunk of Dragon Age 2 just isn't 100% official yet. It's weird but the optimist in me thinks if nothing else it leaves room for those of us to let our voices be heard during development. This might be one such case where a loud enough majority can make or break a very important feature.

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