What are your thoughts on Bioware?

Abomination

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trunkage said:
Abomination said:
I think their death throes started somewhere between Mass Effect 2 & 3. Ever since they have haemorrhaged so many of the KOTOR/Jade Empire/Dragon Age: Origins staff that they're just Bioware in name only.

Sad to see what happened to them, I guess I'll be paying more attention to iNeXile, CDProjekt, and Obsidian for my future "good" RPGs.
CDProjeckt have been hemorrhaging staff due to mismanagement. It might take another decade but they'll have the same problems as Bioware

Ask Addendum about Pillars to see how well Obisidan is going. Me personally, I wish for the days of Alpha Protocol when they showed they could write well. Because I've missed that type of Obsidian.

Inexile's Wasteland is utterly boring compared to even Fallout 4.

None of these companies give me hope of replacing Bioware. But, as I said, Bioware was never that great. Baulders Gate would be a side quest in most games. Looking back, its surprising how lacklustre it was
I agree they have their faults, they aren't perfect - but I can see the potential behind those companies.

CDProjekt has been releasing games that I have loved, but I am concerned about their working conditions. Wasteland II was boring but I played it as though it was a tech demo for what their potential is, Wasteland III is looking right neat. I genuinely loved Pillars of Eternity and Tyranny, Microsoft buying Obsidian has the potential to do some wonders (but of course has the potential to ruin them completely).
 

Trunkage

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Abomination said:
trunkage said:
Abomination said:
I think their death throes started somewhere between Mass Effect 2 & 3. Ever since they have haemorrhaged so many of the KOTOR/Jade Empire/Dragon Age: Origins staff that they're just Bioware in name only.

Sad to see what happened to them, I guess I'll be paying more attention to iNeXile, CDProjekt, and Obsidian for my future "good" RPGs.
CDProjeckt have been hemorrhaging staff due to mismanagement. It might take another decade but they'll have the same problems as Bioware

Ask Addendum about Pillars to see how well Obisidan is going. Me personally, I wish for the days of Alpha Protocol when they showed they could write well. Because I've missed that type of Obsidian.

Inexile's Wasteland is utterly boring compared to even Fallout 4.

None of these companies give me hope of replacing Bioware. But, as I said, Bioware was neve that great. Baulders Gate would be a side quest in most games. Looking back, its surprising how lacklustre it was
I agree they have their faults, they aren't perfect - but I can see the potential behind those companies.

CDProjekt has been releasing games that I have loved, but I am concerned about their working conditions. Wasteland II was boring but I played it as though it was a tech demo for what their potential is, Wasteland III is looking right neat. I genuinely loved Pillars of Eternity and Tyranny, Microsoft buying Obsidian has the potential to do some wonders (but of course has the potential to ruin them completely).
Yeah, I haven't bought Tyranny yet. Ive actually got POE2 but haven't played it, becuase of the first. I need a long time and the mental capacity to deal with plot Inconsistencies. Like, if you have a follower who is unseeable by the Gods, and you have to deal with the Gods to move the story forward, why can't you use your follower to get the upper hand? If there is a know magic power that controls people, and during s conference, a person starts acting irrationally and assassinates a major figure, why wouldn't you blame it on Magic? And maybe not cut the person down without thought?
 

Mcgeezaks

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Anthem was terrible and is being handled even worse and this time it's not on EA. Bioware is dead to me.
 

Elfgore

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Silvanus said:
Elfgore said:
2. I'd feel bad for the individuals who lost their jobs, but as a consumer of games I wouldn't be too heart-broken. Andromeda and Inquisition showed that Bioware wants to make games that aren't for me.
Is "want" really the appropriate term? They're making them, sure.
I'm sure EA made the push for online content, both of which I hear are solid for the games. But did EA make Andromeda and Inquisition be open-world games filled with boring, frivolous quests?
 

Gordon_4_v1legacy

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Elfgore said:
Silvanus said:
Elfgore said:
2. I'd feel bad for the individuals who lost their jobs, but as a consumer of games I wouldn't be too heart-broken. Andromeda and Inquisition showed that Bioware wants to make games that aren't for me.
Is "want" really the appropriate term? They're making them, sure.
I'm sure EA made the push for online content, both of which I hear are solid for the games. But did EA make Andromeda and Inquisition be open-world games filled with boring, frivolous quests?
Every Mass Effect and DragonAge game has its share of frivolous quests, welcome to RPGs in general.
 

Dalisclock

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Gordon_4 said:
Elfgore said:
Silvanus said:
Elfgore said:
2. I'd feel bad for the individuals who lost their jobs, but as a consumer of games I wouldn't be too heart-broken. Andromeda and Inquisition showed that Bioware wants to make games that aren't for me.
Is "want" really the appropriate term? They're making them, sure.
I'm sure EA made the push for online content, both of which I hear are solid for the games. But did EA make Andromeda and Inquisition be open-world games filled with boring, frivolous quests?
Every Mass Effect and DragonAge game has its share of frivolous quests, welcome to RPGs in general.
Mass Effect 1 had a bad problem with random quests on random planets more or less ended up being "Drive around in mako, find prefab somewhere on the map, shoot dudes in same 3 rooms over and over, collect thing". Everyone tends to forget that part because the main story missions were pretty damn good.
 

Gethsemani_v1legacy

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Dalisclock said:
Mass Effect 1 had a bad problem with random quests on random planets more or less ended up being "Drive around in mako, find prefab somewhere on the map, shoot dudes in same 3 rooms over and over, collect thing". Everyone tends to forget that part because the main story missions were pretty damn good.
I remember it, but DA:O and ME both had their side quests saved by the same thing that made people love the Witcher 3's side quests: They all told stories. The actual gameplay was "drive here, shoot baddies in Mako, enter building, kill boss" but the quest had story beats. You found a dead body killed by gunfire, you followed the tracks to the base, found out they were pirates, you killed the pirates and found the last log of the dead person (or something like that).

The problem that both DA:I and ME:A had was that most of the side quests didn't have any narrative conclusion, if they even had much of a story to begin. Find 30 Weird Rocks and get an XP payout, no conclusion about why Weird Rocks are weird or secret location to enter to get some lore tidbits. I think this is why people shit on their side quests, not because they were unusually tedious, but because they often lacked all narrative pretense.
 

Kyrian007

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They made some good games. I was never the biggest Bioware fan, but I enjoyed KotOR 1 & 2. I never got into DA or ME (I had a copy of ME1, but watched my roommate playing ME2, saw that it was just another cover-shooter gameplay wise, and promptly lost interest) but I acknowledge that they were well liked and had tons of fans. I was a bigger fan of Black Isle (preferred Icewind Dale and 2 over Baldur's Gate and 2 for example.) But still the announcement of EA's purchase still made me sad. I had loved Origin's games, I had loved Bullfrog's games, I had loved Pandemic's games... I saw exactly what is going to happen to Bioware happen several times to developers I like a lot more than Bioware. And seeing it happen again (and again) is never pleasant.
 

Mikejames

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Bioware was easily my favorite studio for a long while. Lots of talent, lots of charm. The classic example of devs and writers that took games as a personal storytelling medium to heart, and I always looked forward to hearing what was next from them.

I still believe that there are talented people who work under the name, but like others have said, Bioware as a company has become one of the tragic examples of the ever-prevalent cynicism and abuse of the industry, and how companies like EA seem to thrive on grinding down everything they touch for the sake of milking whatever's left for cash before abandoning it. Overworked employees, a slew of rushed and/or cancelled projects, and people contemplating how much longer until EA unceremoniously shuts down another studio on an abrupt whim, etc.

When I was younger I dreamed about working at a place like Bioware, but I guess that the state of the Triple A industry these days makes me feel like a dodged a bullet...
 

CaitSeith

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Mikejames said:
Bioware was easily my favorite studio for a long while. Lots of talent, lots of charm. The classic example of devs and writers that took games as a personal storytelling medium to heart, and I always looked forward to hearing what was next from them.

I still believe that there are talented people who work under the name, but like others have said, Bioware as a company has become one of the tragic examples of the ever-prevalent cynicism and abuse of the industry, and how companies like EA seem to thrive on grinding down everything they touch for the sake of milking whatever's left for cash before abandoning it. Overworked employees, a slew of rushed and/or cancelled projects, and people contemplating how much longer until EA unceremoniously shuts down another studio on an abrupt whim, etc.

When I was younger I dreamed about working at a place like Bioware, but I guess that the state of the Triple A industry these days makes me feel like a dodged a bullet...
It reminds me of what happened to Atari after it was bought by Warner Communications in the late 70's. Priorities changed, developer abuse started, key employees left, and the focus shifted from making good games to marketing and sales.
 

laggyteabag

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I think BioWare are long past their prime. The last time a BioWare game released without some kind of wide-spread controversy, or large-scale disappointment was probably... Mass Effect 2?

Dragon Age 2 was tiny and full of reused assets and locations
Mass Effect 3 had the whole ending controversy
Dragon Age Inquisition was touted as being a singleplayer MMO - in all of the bad ways
Mass Effect Andromeda was rushed out of the door and full of bugs
Anthem was so un-BioWare that it failed to really capture an audience, and it flopped hard

I really loved the Mass Effect trilogy, and Dragon Age Origins is a fantastic game (my guilty pleasure is DA2), and I somewhat recently went back and completed KotOR, and loved it. These days, however, BioWare seem to be handicapped in one way or another, and it is killing them.

Honestly, I think Dragon Age 4 is going to be BioWare's last chance, before EA axes them.
 

votemarvel

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I own Mass Effect 1 eight times (1st bought with Xbox 360 console, again because the first one got a crack in the centre. Games on Demand version. Bought the Classic Edition for Bring Down the Sky on disc. Got the Limited Edition when I found it cheap. Also have the PC version and PS3 collection. The eighth comes from activating the existing key on Origin).|

There is honestly not a single thing I don't like about the first Mass Effect. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot I think could have been improved but everything for me just worked. I played it with every class, as both male and female Shepard, more times than I care to remember.

So to say I was anticipating Mass Effect 2 was an understatement. I loved the opening sequence, having to tell my blue love smurf to get the hell off the ship...then I got into the game proper and things went downhill. I use Cryo Rounds exclusively in ME1 yet somehow here I can't remember how to use them but know what Thermal clips are?

I like the combat in ME1 the most but I can understand why people didn't. Yet rather than try fixing the problem Bioware threw the baby out with the bath water and shifted to a poor copy of Gears of War, removing stats from the gunplay and shifting the power balance of the classes firmly in favour of the gun based ones. They also removed the inventory...and people praised them for it.

Don't get me wrong as Mass Effect 2 is a great game and it contains my favourite moment of the trilogy, Tali's loyalty mission, yet it is also the moment that I knew the Bioware I enjoyed was disappearing.

Dragon Age Origins, despite how relatively few times I've bought it is my favourite Bioware game. Just two days ago I listened to a conversation from Sten that I'd not heard before, and I've played the game since release. Yet again I confess there were things that needed to be improved. DA II though removed features from combat but got praised for doing because you could hammer a button to do flashy basic attacks on the console versions.

The biggest sin Mass Effect 3 pulled was not the shipped endings but that they somehow made people believe the rest of the game was great. There is a reason people only talk about Tuchanka and Rannoch, maybe Thessia if you have Javik, in a positive light. It is because they are the only parts of the game that are mostly good. There are good moments elsewhere but they get dragged down by the poor overall quality.

Citadel gave me hope for Bioware. Yes it was overly fanservice but it showed that Bioware still knew what people loved about them, the characters in their games.

Then, to cut things short, I played Inquisition and Andromeda and knew that the Bioware that I had fallen in love with while playing Knights of the Old Republic (which still has the worst NPC pathfinding I've ever experienced) was gone.

Games before had issues but they were never enough to make me dislike the games or make me want to stop playing, now though those issues just made me hate the games. There wasn't enough good to drown out the bad.

Bioware is gone and it is sad to see them paraded around like a Weekend at Bernie's.
 

The Rogue Wolf

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Bioware? There IS no Bioware. There is simply the fetid, rotting flesh puppet that EA have been parading around for years to get gullible, nostalgia-sick gamers to give them more money. And give EA more money they have.

Let it go.
 

Eacaraxe_v1legacy

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Elfgore said:
I'm sure EA made the push for online content, both of which I hear are solid for the games.
ME3's multiplayer component was a hell of a lot better than it had any right being, and it's a shame it wasn't fleshed out more and expanded further than just being a glorified horde mode. I found DA:I's multiplayer honestly quite boring especially with the tacked-on crafting/loot crate/RNG garbage, and I never played ME:A so can't speak on it from personal experience.

All of which is a real shame, because I felt BW was really onto something with the ME series' multiplayer and could have done some really cool things to incorporate the "games as service" model with major narrative payoff, not that EA would have allowed them to do it as it would have not been a fast track to short-term profit.

I had a way longer post about this based on how it might look in a hypothetical ME prequel trilogy, but here are the bare bones.

Imagine a ME prequel trilogy that start with the PC as a wet-behind-the-ears officer stationed on Shanxi during the First Contact War, that actually follows two decades of the PC's life, ending with the siege of Torfan. The main body of the game involves the PC being disillusioned by Shanxi, going on to retire from the Alliance military to lead a mercenary company, and getting involved in a Cerberus plot to destabilize the military in the Skyllian Verge to provoke open war between the Alliance and Batarian Hegemony.

While the single player is the story, the multiplayer component is the source of intermittent game play, and ongoing play in the post-story state as supported by periodic content releases. The multiplayer component incorporates a background simulation that is the sum total of all player activity, Chromehounds or Elite Dangerous style, and represents the state of the conflict in the Verge overall. That, in turn, influences the single player component by changing mission payouts, weapon upgrades and unlocks, side mission availability, and even changing paragon/renegade dialogue and interrupt thresholds.

So, let's say one of the single player story missions is to attack and destroy a well-defended Batarian pirate outpost on a moon. If the "war score" is high enough and the PC has enough resources at their disposal, they could assault it frontally and just soak the losses. If not, or the player isn't willing to risk a frontal assault, you could order a side mission to infiltrate the base and knock out its power generators as a prelude to the main assault, or send a fire team to occupy a nearby location and set up artillery for fire support during the main assault; those would be played through as multi player missions, but the assets sent on those MP missions wouldn't be available for the main assault. Or, if the "war score" is low or the player lacks resources and assets, they could contract "other merc groups" to assist in the assault for a cut of the payout, which would allow for playthrough of the SP mission in an MP environment.

Of course, major choices and dialog would still take place in SP, and MP side missions would have narrative content controlled in the same way as TOR handles instances. When it comes to the dialog and choices, let's say the outpost assault succeeds and the player breaks through the defenses; from there the player can try to resolve the mission in multiple ways based upon paragon/renegade points and war score.

Let's say war score is high and the PC has lots of paragon/renegade points, this allows the player to convince the leader to spare their crew's lives and surrender peacefully (paragon), or execute the leader to intimidate their subordinates into surrendering (renegade). If war score is low but the PC has lots of paragon/renegade points, they can do something like disable the outpost's air purifiers to force them to surrender (paragon) or let them suffocate (renegade). If war score is high but the PC lacks paragon/renegade points, the pirates realize they're outmatched, mutiny, and attempt to retreat; the player can allow them to go (paragon) or kill them as they're retreating (renegade). If war score and paragon/renegade is low, the pirates don't surrender and the player is forced to fight their way through the outpost.

You could even integrate PvP matches in this framework. Let's say the PC gets an opportunity for a lucrative colony defense contract (a series of side missions); they can either choose to out-bid competing merc groups for the contract (skipping MP), or stage a war game (an MP mission) to compete directly for the contract at a higher payout. Either way the side missions are unlocked, but what changes are the potential payout for completing them. Or, the PC could set up war games with other merc groups for training purposes. From there, we could even have a clan system in the form of allied merc groups that assist one another in joint missions.

And, as the trilogy goes on and the Cerberus plot and proxy war is unveiled, the PC has to choose later on whether to work with Cerberus, Alliance loyalists, or even the Council, and each faction has their own background simulation. Which introduces more straightforward PvP missions where, for example, Alliance-aligned fire teams fight Cerberus-aligned fire teams.

There's a ton of potential there and it's a space where gamers and dev/publishers could really have their cake and eat it too, but the state of the industry right now is such it wouldn't happen, sadly.
 

CaitSeith

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Elfgore said:
I'm sure EA made the push for online content, both of which I hear are solid for the games.
Yeah, but at expense of the single-player experience. Heck! Originally, to get one of the endings, you had to play multiplayer. At least the Citadel DLC allowed you to have the solid multiplayer experience in singleplayer.
 

Gethsemani_v1legacy

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CaitSeith said:
Yeah, but at expense of the single-player experience. Heck! Originally, to get one of the endings, you had to play multiplayer. At least the Citadel DLC allowed you to have the solid multiplayer experience in singleplayer.
Not exactly. All three main endings (Destroy, Control, Synthesis) were made available to anyone who made an effort to gather war assets. I did not play MP prior to finishing the single player and all three were available to me. What you couldn't get without playing MP was the secret stinger of Shepard's body in some rubble taking a breath if you choose the destroy ending. It requires 4,000 effective military strength and you can only reach the low 3,000's at the base 50% EMS without MP.
 

Eacaraxe_v1legacy

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Gethsemani said:
CaitSeith said:
Not exactly. All three main endings (Destroy, Control, Synthesis) were made available to anyone who made an effort to gather war assets. I did not play MP prior to finishing the single player and all three were available to me. What you couldn't get without playing MP was the secret stinger of Shepard's body in some rubble taking a breath if you choose the destroy ending. It requires 4,000 effective military strength and you can only reach the low 3,000's at the base 50% EMS without MP.
If I remember right you could hit that EMS score at 50% readiness if you'd imported a Shepard all the way from ME1 and all but 100%'ed each game (including BdtS and all of ME2's DLC) in the trilogy. Like, "did the entire Conrad Verner mission" levels of obsessive completionism. I remember my first ME3 playthrough had over 8K EMS at 100% readiness at the end, but I did Control for her.