Former BioWare manager wishes Dragon Age had kept a 'PC-centric' and 'modding-driven' identity like Neverwinter Nights

"Dragon Age in the early days had its fair share of identity crises," Flynn says. "Was it going to be a tools-driven, modding-driven game like Neverwinter Nights? Was it going to be a big singleplayer RPG like The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion?"

"Dragon Age on PC shipped with the toolset, so we did do that," Flynn says.

Dragon Age: Origins does have a quite prolific modding community that's created new party members, tons of hairstyles and armor sets, combat mods, and more. The output for Dragon Age 2 was noticeably smaller. Then BioWare switched to DICE's Frostbite Engine, notoriously difficult for modders to use, especially without official tools, and Dragon Age: Inquisition's modding community was hamstrung.

"I wish we'd kept that up and stuck to that," Flynn says of shipping Dragon Age games with modding tools. "Unfortunately we got, I'd say, a little too homogenous between Mass Effect and Dragon Age. I wish we would have kept more of a PC-centric, Neverwinter-like identity for Dragon Age."

Flynn describes the move to Frostbite as a push to standardize tools internally across BioWare's then-growing studios. "We had so many different engines for so long at BioWare," Flynn says, explaining that the studio hoped to create a more common vocabulary across teams who could share what they'd built with one another's projects.


You know what kind of news about Dragon Age would actually interest me? News on a goddamn release date. It’s been 9 years. They can either make the damn game or shut the fuck up.


or shut the fuck up

I’d love some news about them going back to the dark fantasy and writing style of Origins/Awakening over the high fantasy BS Inquisition set them on, tbh.


Origins’ story was so good that it got me to go to the library in the height of my teenage “reading is lame” phase just to get more exposition from the books. I really wish they’d stayed in that vain in the sequels.

stopthatgirl7, avatar

At this point, I won’t believe Dreadwolf is actually coming out until it’s on store shelves.


That’s how I treat all games, and even then I try to ignore it until a few weeks after launch when most of the worst bugs are patched.


There’s another DA game in the works??


There’s been one the whole time. The question is whether or not they’ll actually finish it.


The truly sad part about the BioWare story is that they fucked up a lot too, you can’t even blaim all of the disapointments on EA! :(


That’s not going to stop me from blaming EA.


You shouldn’t, they certainly aren’t inocent in this case, they just aren’t the only scumbags in that story! :/


The timing on these comments reads to me like: “I sure am sad EA made us dilute Dragon Age into a third-person action game and chase trends, now that BG3 proved CRPGs can still sell”.

Though TBF, the genre went on life support for a reason. It will be interesting to see if we get more CRPG mainstream hits going forward.


Not just that CRPGs can sell, but "Man, look at how much success they're having with our CRPG franchise!"


I’m loving BG3, but DA is honestly not that far off the mark. It’s missing crunchy, turn-based combat, and the sprawling story, but they probably have the tech and writing chops to pull that off, too.


I believe 2008 Bioware had the chops for it, Post-Anthem Bioware gives me such doubt. I think EA has made it impossible for them to make a game like that again.

Corkyskog, (edited )

Why did the genre go on life support? I have been missing a couch co-op game since the days of PS2, my wife and I used to love playing together. Speaking of old RPGs, anyone know if there are any plans to reboot Champions of Norath? That used to be our favorite game.

I also get confused by all these RPG prefixes, probably too old. In my day I would walk into the gamestop or Babbages and just say “got any new good RPG games” then they would point me to one of the Final Fantasy games, and then I would say “actually I mean, do you have any new hack and slash RPG games?” Then they would say “no, but you can pre-order Call of Duty” and then I would rifle through the bargain bin, and then leave. Good times.

Which means I have essentially been asking for Baldurs Gate 3 for 18 years now (Champions 2 was released in 2005, a year after BG2).


The golden age isometric RPGs (BG1 & 2, NN, Fallout, etc) were dubbed Computer RPGs, because the idea of translating a pen & paper roleplaying game to the computer was novel. But as the 2000’s marched forward and 3D graphics became an expectation - and video game budgets ballooned - simulation and writing took a backseat to visual spectacle, action gameplay, and set-pieces. Niche CRPGs became too expensive to be worth the risk, leading to KOTOR, Fallout 3, Mass Effect, etc; which would have more mass appeal.

As Larian has been showing, the ability to pack all that story and character moments, and present it with a cinematic look and feel is becoming increasingly possible (with years of hard work). Larian and Obisidian have been whetting everyone’s appetites for the CRPG format, and now BG3 seems to be reaping the rewards.

I found a nifty little video discussing the rise, fall and rebirth of CRPGs if you want some more info: The CRPG Revival: DnD to Baldur’s Gate 3

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