Space Ramblings

Bioware and Game Design Hubris

“Fundamentally, we don’t consider the player’s experience to be more important than the ideas we’ve had or the expectations” for the genre.”

A one sentence explanation for everything that Bioware got wrong with Dragon Age 2… and it comes from Obsidian, a company, which for all its faults actually gets what games are supposed to be.

There are good designers out there, but few of them understand the dangers of hubris. Every creative person confronts the gap between what he creates and how other people experience it. But many never adapt to it. Writers who refuse to read reviews and listen only to positive feedback. The producers of Battlestar Galactica and Lost who got so carried away by the toys they were playing with that they forgot to tell the story and give viewers what they wanted.

Bioware fell prey to it in Dragon Age 2, besides the consolization, it got too caught up in its own cleverness to realize that its story was muddled and unrewarding. It substituted its own ideas for player choice and it lost. And the players lost out.

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