The buzz surrounding Dragon Age II is really starting to pick up, as demonstrated by two new interviews that have hit the Internet. First in line is the PlayStation Blog, where lead designer Mike Laidlaw describes the sequel's increased responsiveness on consoles:
JR: I hate to say this, but as big as I was on the concept and universe of Dragon Age: Origins, I had issues with the battle system. I've been playing console RPGs my entire life, and it just didn't click for me. How did you refine the battle system. and why? And then we stop by GameRevolution for a video of their editors enjoying a caviar and dessert bar at one of BioWare's preview events before chatting with producer David Silverman about Dragon Age II: Awakenings. And, yes, that's actually what the interviewer calls the game before David reveals to him that the game has no subtitle (that was the subtitle for Origins' expansion and, no, it was never plural).
ML: What Origins delivered at its peak was a sense of team working together, controlling four characters at once, progressing these characters, and building strategies. Where I think it fell down moreso for consoles than for PC was the sense of immediacy. On a console, when you have a controller in your hand, your brain enters a space where (I have a sword, I pressed X, aaaaaaaaand. I swung it. OK, there, finally!) I think the lack of immediacy and the lack of responsiveness was kind of the disassociation that console players had. So we sat down and looked at the reviews from the consoles and wondered why they were lower than on PC. That was one of the key things we saw.
So what our goal then became was to make sure that the responsiveness that a console player would expect could be integrated into a game that still had the tactics and depth that a PC player would expect, because the last thing you wanna do is alienate a third of your market. So, we did extensive prototyping huge work and so the main changes are:
'¢ Push to attack: press X and BAM, I'm right in there and start attacking.
'¢ Closing moves: So if I'm 10 feet from a guy, I don't kind of awkwardly run up to him and then attack. I leap into him and attack as I do it.
'¢ Every animation is being produced in a more stylish, more reactive, and I think a more satisfying way that telegraphs what I'm doing back to me very clearly. (I just swung that sword, and I hit three guys because it's a two-hander and I swung it in an arc.)