VG247 caught up with BioWare's Greg Zeschuk during today's Develop Conference for a lengthy interview that spans a slew of topics, including the controversial changes being implemented in Dragon Age II, the challenges involved with console development, whether we'll see more Mass Effect 2 DLC (we will), why Ray is playing poker instead of performing his usual duties, and more. A four-question snip:
You've made the decision to only have a human lead character in Dragon Age II, and not allow people to choose their race. Can you explain why?
Greg Zeschuk: With all our games, we don't always want to create a true sequel in the sense that it's more of the same. You can see it from Mass Effect 1 to Mass Effect 2 that you've changed up quite a bit of stuff.
We decided to sort of change and create a different type of game at least on the surface. And the interesting thing is that in the case of Dragon Age II, we've only shown a little slice of it so far. And everyone's very excited, right? If you'll remember with Dragon Age 1, we had the Marilyn Manson trailer and everyone freaked out and we said, (Don't worry: we're just showing you a different perspective.)
Over time, I think people will kind of understand what we're doing and probably really like it.
We like to challenge our players on a sequel. It's still a Dragon Age game, that hasn't changed. But it's going to be challenging and interesting in many ways. We think it's ultimately going to be a better game, so I think ultimately the fans will agree when they get to play it. That's the fundamental thing.
Dragon Age has been a more successful product for you than Mass Effect. Why do you think that is?
Greg Zeschuk: Well, Mass Effect 1 is probably at a similar level, maybe even higher, than Dragon Age. It got a head start. I think it was a Christmas game versus a non-Christmas game. Second would be that there's one platform short on Mass Effect.
It's interesting when you look at it now. For example, Mass Effect 2 is still a top ten seller in North America. It's still doing really, really well from the beginning of the year to now. I think over time, you'll see it'll probably even out. I don't worry too much about the sales numbers of what's more or less successful as much as the idea that each game keeps getting higher and higher quality.
I think they'll find their fans. Mass continues to sell really well, so it'll probably catch up and pass. You never know.
You came under a fair amount of fire over the console versions of Dragon Age: Origins, especially over the PS3 version. Will Dragon Age 2 be the same experience across all platforms?
Greg Zeschuk: I would, in a sense, defend our Dragon Age 1 work, in that I actually like the console limitations, but I think that in Dragon Age 2 we've had the opportunity to work from a final platform and kind of design the gameplay to really cater for them. Again, there'll be differences between the PC version and the console versions, by the simple nature of the input system and the experience. I think when people start seeing it in action they're going to be really impressed with how it looks on all platforms.
Is the Mass Effect team fully focused on Mass Effect 3 now, or are we going to see more Mass Effect 2 content?
Greg Zeschuk: We still have more DLC in the plan for Mass 2. The last ones were really well received. People were really, really impressed with the Overlord Pack, and the Kasumi one did really well too. It's something we're going to continue to do. It's at the point where it'll probably diminish a little bit, but there are still some pretty big plans for DLC. It's doing really well. Overall it's something we'll definitely continue doing.