GameInformer has conjured up a two-part interview (here and here) that they conducted with the BioWare doctors Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk at this year's Game Developers Conference. Topics include their acqusition by Electronic Arts, their evolving business model, their devotion to story-driven games, and more. An excerpt from part two:
With both Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2, it seems like you've embraced moral ambiguity as a central role in your narratives painting less of a clear view of right and wrong and giving it more of a real-life contrast where the right choice isn't always clear cut or maybe there isn't a (right) choice. What attracted you to this approach?
Ray: We wanted all the outcomes to be interesting. Maybe not all pleasant, but always emotionally engaging. They may not make you feel that way or this way, but they always make you feel something.
Greg: We let the team be very creative, it's not like we say, (do it this way.) It's a question we have of how are we going to address that, and it gives them an opportunity to be creatively involved. I like where both Dragon Age and Mass Effect ended up. Dragon Age with the individuals reflecting on a personal level is really what's most important in that game, what you and your pals think of each other. Of course, with Shepard it's what the galaxy thinks of Shepard. It's always his or her place in the broader spectrum.
Ray: The games that we release out of BioWare Edmonton tend to have a lot of focus on companion characters. They really show you how the world's perceiving you and how you're acting. The interactions between the two tend to be pretty important, showing that moral ambiguity and reflecting it because it's all relative to their individual perceptions and their mindset.
Greg: It think it's a way to challenge the player, too. One of the ways we measure the emotional engagement we create is just a simple engagement with the product. It's about how do you think of it outside of the game. Folks will play Dragon Age and sit at work and daydream about how they are going to make their decisions, who they are going to romance, or what they are going to do. It's about challenging the player, because if you make it too black and white there's no difficulty in the decision. We're better served by having that lack of clarity.