Ray Muzyka Interview

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Ray Muzyka Interview

Postby GameBanshee News » Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:00 am

BioWare co-founder Ray Muzyka was apparently quite busy during last weekend's Penny Arcade Expo, as he's the target of <a href="http://www.videogamer.com/news/mammoth_interview_with_biowares_ray_muzyka.html">yet another interview</a> on VideoGamer.com. Topics include achieving an emotional impact in ME2 and DA:O, replacing certain dialogue with in-game character expressions, the new Krogan companion in Mass Effect 2, and more.<br><blockquote><b>VideoGamer.com: When I play RPGs with a morality system I rarely feel forced to do something I really don't want to, because at the end of the day it's just a game. How do you create that effect?</b><br><br>RM: One of the things we're doing in Dragon Age is there's no morality scale except the characters around you in a party. Every time you do something they're going to react to it, and some of them are going to like your actions and others don't. If you like them enough, that could lead to rewards or inspirational leadership, or even romance in some cases. If you do things they dislike enough they could end up betraying you, departing, attacking, all of the things that could come as a consequence of that. They are the mirror of your actions. They're the lens through which you see the world - the companion characters. In some ways it's a more direct approach to morality. In other ways it's more subtle and transparent for the player. But it feels very credible and real, because the companion characters in Dragon Age are one of the best parts of the game. They're in the background all of the time, but they make the world feel alive. You're walking around and exploring the game areas and they're having a conversation beside you or around you, and you're listening to them and they're commenting on the environment, they're bickering, they're doing all these things.<br><br>I remember there are a couple of moments in the game where, did I just hear them say that? Like, wait a minute! I just stopped and looked at them and they're having a conversation. They were talking about the area we were in and saying this or that about it. I remember this one conversation, Leliana and Morrigan were talking about - they're both potential love interests - Leliana likes to shop, so she swings by Orlais, which is another part of the world. She's saying, oh the shoe shops in Orlais are amazing, and I get to go by these shoes! And she's jacked up in her armour and walking around, but she likes to wear a dress and she likes to wear shoes. And Morrigan is mocking her - you're useless! What is this, you want to buy shoes? What a waste of time that is. But it felt very real, and very well written. It brought them to life. It brought the area I was in to life, because we were walking through the shopping district at the time. It just feels like, wow, these are real characters.<br><br>When they react to your choices in combat or in dialogue later, because you've heard them in their natural states where they've come to life as characters, their reactions to you feel that much more emotionally impactful. We've invested in all this surrounding material, they feel real, they have back story and mystery, you can talk to them, you can explore their personal quests if you want. The more you do that the more real they feel and the more powerful it is when they say I don't want you to do that. This will not work for me. I will be devastated if you do that. Please don't do this. And you're like, whoa. There were moments when I felt like wow, I think I need to do that but I don't want to do that because I care about that character's reactions to me.<br><br>We're getting better with each game. Every game, when it comes out we want it to be better than all the prior ones in every way possible. The characterisation of digital actors is a big part of how we tell stories. It's not the only way. If you look at games like BioShock and other games, the world around you tells the story too. That's exciting, too. There's more than one form of narrative. Gameplay-driven narrative is how we look at it now. But story is still an important part of that. It's a subset of narrative.</blockquote>