GameSpy caught up with BioWare's Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk during this year's GDC, and presented the doctors with a slew of questions about the company's history, their design philosophy, what role they might play in 38 Studios' Project Mercury, the progress they're making on Star Wars: The Old Republic, and much more.
GameSpy: Greg, I believe you recently commented on the future of the Dragon Age franchise lying in a new engine...
Dr. Greg Zeschuk: No, no, I think we're always evolving our technology. I think it's fair to say that future Dragon Age stuff will be considerably stronger, visually and everything else.
It's interesting, there's two parts to that story. Obviously we're going to work on our technology, we have been working on our tech, it's getting a lot of serious refinement. But the other side of that whole coin is actually knowing how to use your tools. I think typically, especially in a game as expansive as Dragon Age, it's hard to bring everything... By the time you finish a game, you typically know how everything works, how your tools work, how your lighting works, how you tweak everything. And then you have to go back and say, "Oh, man, how are we going to bring all this up to the level we now know we can reach?"
So I don't think there are specifically new engine plans, so much as, let's make the technology better. There are always new things you can add. I think the great thing about the way we built our engine is how we can pop the modules in and out and improve them. And secondarily, take that knowledge and link it up really tightly with the art direction and the technical art, and make stuff that's much stronger visually. I think there's a lot of stuff we can do to improve on it, so it's really just that life cycle of continuous improvement.
You look at the progress from Mass 1 to Mass 2... We actually redid the lighting system in that, and it's a very different, dramatic lighting, both in combat and also particularly in conversations. So it's just a natural evolution. Building a project as big as the ones we do, you learn a lot of things. The great thing about sequels is that's where you can apply it. The follow-on product is where you take what you've learned and actually put that in.