Even with the PAX outbreak and the severe likelihood that it was brought back to Bioware, I still think people are over-reacting just a bit…
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Ashley sent me this pic from her cell. Rogers got their copies of Dragon Age to hold on to until Tuesday when the game comes out! So cool! I used to receive those boxes of games at Rogers, put them through the computer, etc. Now I’ve seen what happens before the games arrive. Full circle!
Not long after, Kyra texted me telling me they got it at my old Rogers too! And they both got to see my name in the credits!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Sony's PSN reality show, The Tester, has gamers compete for a "gamer's ultimate dream job" — no, not running one of the major platform holders as they seem fit, but as a QA tester. Yeah.
The eight episode show will be produced by the folks behind The Surreal Life, Flavor of Love and Rock of Love.
As we previously posted, the PSN show will challenge contestants' "memory, stamina, dexterity, and overall mental prowess." Whomever survives this series of challenges will secure a contract position at Sony Computer Entertainment's Quality Assurance department in San Diego.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
As the Dragon Age release gets closer (November 3rd), you can expect to see more and more Dragon Age related links. This one in particular is cool. The new social site for Dragon Age is out today, and I did a lot of QA work on it, so go check it out and see something I had a helping hand in! If you make an account, add me as a friend, Notme2000!
Monday, October 12, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
A few posts ago I linked a youtube video about the lore of Dragon Age. It was a part of a bigger documentary. Here’s the rest of the vids from that doc. My personal fave is about the creation of the music. It’s neat seeing the woman who’s voice has been the soundtrack to my life for the past year.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
A few months ago I moved over to the PRC team. PRC stands for Post-Release Content. So not only have I done work on the main game, but all the DLC (downloadable content) you’ll be seeing for Dragon Age as well! Here’s a trailer for Warden’s Keep, some DLC available at launch!
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
This is a really cool video about the lore of Dragon Age. It also never gets old seeing people I work with every day in the media. I talk with Ferret every day about design decisions, David Gaider I’ve talked with for plot issues, etc… Perhaps some day in the future I’ll be in one of these videos.
Dragon Age is coming out in less than a month, marketing is in full swing and the hype is reaching a fever pitch. Xbox Live’s top downloaded videos are of Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2, both Bioware titles, and Dragon Age has a 95% popularity rating on gamestats.com!
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
SPOILER ALERT – If you haven’t beaten this game, do not read this.
Colin lent me the new Prince of Persia for 360 a while ago and I just beat it. I was very pleasantly surprised. I was expecting a generic platformer game, but was quite surprised at what I ended up with. Gameplay-wise, it kind of was just a generic platformer, though a fun one. But there were several design choices that were unconventional that really worked.
First off, at the beginning of the game the Prince stumbles into a desert with a giant tree in the middle, which you learn is there to trap an ancient demon. The Prince meets Elika and finds out her father is in the process of a deal with the demon. He succeeds and the lush lands are destroyed and made dark and depressing. The goal of the game is to go area to area healing it, which involves turning it from cold steel and stone to sun, grass and butterflies. So the game starts dark and depressing, and gets progressively sunnier. This is the reverse of what I’ve come to expect from games. Usually the first few levels are sunny and grassy, then the shit hits the fan and it gets progressively more dark and depressing. I understand this is to establish that “the gloves are off”, but I’d always find myself missing those first few levels that put me in such a good mood. In Prince of Persia, as the game progressed and I healed more of the lands, it got sunnier and happier, and gave the game a very optimistic feel which was very refreshing. It made me want to keep playing.
Secondly, the game’s characters were great. Prince has a funny sense of humour, with good voice acting. He meets up with Elika, and the 2 begin to develop a relationship over the course of the game. The use of the L trigger as a conversation button was genius. At any point during play you could push the L-Trigger to talk to Elika, and the dialogue was rarely recycled. Most of the time it wasn’t even in cutscene, just funny banter and flirtations while you played. It really kept the adventure from feeling lonely, which it definitely would have otherwise in such a vast environment. Over the 14 hours or so I put into the game it managed to convince me these 2 characters were getting to know each other, and inevitably falling for one another despite their differences. Even the subtly flirtatious “Heh heh, sorry” as you had to slide past each other while walking down a narrow beam was a nice touch that went a long way. Having a “sidekick” character to drag around in games is usually a inconvenience, and very cumbersome, but they managed to make Elika feel very useful and she never gets in your way.
I knew I liked these design choices, but it wasn’t until the ending of the game that I realized how well executed and purposeful they all were. Again, a reminder, spoiler alert.
To trap the demon Elika has to give her life by putting her soul into a new tree to trap him. As you carry her corpse in your arms, walking down the long hallway exiting the tree temple, the credits roll to the side, without you losing control. A really nice touch. As you place her corpse on an alter, the camera pans up to show the lush lands you’d revived, but it feels like an empty victory.
Many open-world games let you continue to explore once you’ve beaten the game, so when I retained control I assumed it was just doing that. But I soon realized the game might not quite be over yet. Long story short, I worked my way back into the temple and cut down the tree she’d put her soul in, and took it back to her, and revived her. In doing so, as the Prince brings Elika back to life, you see the lands wither and die once more, as the demon again escapes. You just undid everything you accomplished in the last 14 hours. But you realize the accomplishment of the game was the Prince finding someone he’d settle down with, and that is seen to it’s finality. The camera shows the Prince walking away with Elika in his arms while the temple crashes down behind him and the world withers away to darkness once again. Fantastic ending, I thought. After spending 14 hours working towards an ending you thought you could predict, you UNDO it all.
I thought about it and realized this game’s story and theme is essentially the complete opposite of what you normally get. Most games start sunny, things get progressively darker as you approach the seemingly impossible task at the end and finally, against all odds, save the day as you bring peace to the lands. In this game, it starts dark and gets progressively sunnier as the end task seems less daunting, and ends with you, against all odds, sacrificing the lands bringing turmoil and despair. Most games feel very doom-ridden until the last second happy ending, this game was optimistic all the way until the end of the world.
One of the best games of the year for me. It was great to see what happens when a studio decides to go against the conventions of game design, even if only in theme and story, and not so much gameplay.
I’ve heard the DLC Epilogue is fantastic, builds upon the story of the main game. So despite the heavy cost I plan on spending the 800 Microsoft Points and playing through it as well before Colin wants it back!