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Dragon Age II Character Changes

BioWare officially announces Dragon Age II, saying the just revealed fantasy-themed RPG sequel is scheduled for release in March 2011 for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. It turns out the sequel will not feature the character customization of the original Dragon Age: Origins, and like Mass Effect 2 will limit the player to choosing between a male or female version of the human character. Word is: "Dragon Age 2 thrusts players into the role of Hawke, a penniless refugee who rises to power to become the single most important character in the world of Dragon Age. Known to be a survivor of the Blight and the Champion of Kirkwall, the legend around Hawke’s rise to power is shrouded in myth and rumor. Featuring an all-new story spanning 10 years, players will help tell that tale by making tough moral choices, gathering the deadliest of allies, amassing fame and fortune, and sealing their place in history. The way you play will write the story of how the world is changed forever." A discussion on the BioWare Social Network (thanks nin via Kotaku) confirms the situation, which has lead to some outcry with fans unhappy with the change. The announcement is accompanied by a couple of pieces of concept art.

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53. Re: Dragon Age 2 Character Changes Jul 13, 2010, 09:52 Verno
 
Supposedly the console version will have it's own combat system again and the character stuff in the first game didn't really enable huge roleplaying immersion imho so I suggest keeping an open mind.  
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52. Re: Dragon Age 2 Character Changes Jul 10, 2010, 22:50 StingingVelvet
 
Jerykk wrote on Jul 10, 2010, 19:08:
Still, I maintain that VO in general limits dialogue more than adding main character VO to a VO game.

I agree. Adding VO to anything limits the amount of dialogue you can have. This includes the player character too.

Agreed, I just feel it's a minor thing when the whole game (barring ending text) is voiced anyway. There are much larger steps toward consoles/maintream/action games that Bioware might do here.
 
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51. Re: Dragon Age 2 Character Changes Jul 10, 2010, 19:20 Eldaron Imotholin
 
Jerykk wrote on Jul 10, 2010, 19:08:
Still, I maintain that VO in general limits dialogue more than adding main character VO to a VO game.

I agree. Adding VO to anything limits the amount of dialogue you can have. This includes the player character too.

Of course we all agree on that. It's just all a matter of opinion whether somebody is ok to see some depth in dialogue be sacrificed for a VO'ed main character. I'm one of the persons that's ok with that, which is why I'm ok with the Dragon Age 2 announcement so far.
 
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50. Re: Dragon Age 2 Character Changes Jul 10, 2010, 19:08 Jerykk
 
Still, I maintain that VO in general limits dialogue more than adding main character VO to a VO game.

I agree. Adding VO to anything limits the amount of dialogue you can have. This includes the player character too.
 
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49. Re: Dragon Age 2 Character Changes Jul 10, 2010, 18:19 StingingVelvet
 
Jerykk wrote on Jul 10, 2010, 15:57:
That's gone because of VO period though, whether the main character is VO'd or not.

Not necessarily. Bloodlines had fully voiced NPCs and it still offered you many unique dialogue choices. There were persuasion options, intimidation options, seduction options, etc. Hell, the Malkavians had a completely unique set of dialogue. If the player character had VO, this would not have been possible.

Bloodlines and Divinity are the two RPGs I have criminally not played and need to, so I will take your word on that.

Still, I maintain that VO in general limits dialogue more than adding main character VO to a VO game.
 
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48. Re: Dragon Age 2 Character Changes Jul 10, 2010, 15:57 Jerykk
 
That's gone because of VO period though, whether the main character is VO'd or not.

Not necessarily. Bloodlines had fully voiced NPCs and it still offered you many unique dialogue choices. There were persuasion options, intimidation options, seduction options, etc. Hell, the Malkavians had a completely unique set of dialogue. If the player character had VO, this would not have been possible.
 
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47. Re: Dragon Age 2 Character Changes Jul 10, 2010, 07:12 StingingVelvet
 
Jerykk wrote on Jul 10, 2010, 01:00:
Most dialogue choices in DA:O resulted in the same replies anyway, giving the player nought but the mere illusion his choice of words mattered. I know this because I finished the game 4 times by now. So is it truly depth or the illusion of it..?

The illusion of depth is better than no depth. Most good RPGs have "flavor" dialogue; different ways of saying the same thing or achieving the same result. Some would call this redundant, I call it important. The ability to choose how you say something is almost as important as choosing what you say. Are you polite and eloquent? Blunt and callous? Sarcastic and witty? These choices help define the kind of character you're playing. For example, in Bloodlines and PST, depending on your skills, you would often have multiple ways of persuading NPCs to do what you want. Persuasion through wisdom, logic, charm, seduction, intimidation, etc. Although these choices usually garnered the same overall result, you were able to better role-play because of them.

That's gone because of VO period though, whether the main character is VO'd or not. What you are talking about did not exist in Dragon Age... most of the time you had three or four responses, the same as Mass Effect, when making a decision. I would argue Mass Effect actually had MORE questions and informative probes than Dragon Age did. All the comments you are talking about require unique answers, which is why any game with voice will not have that, main character voiced or not.

Giving the main character a voice will not effect DA2 much compared to the first... limiting you to one human character is a larger deal because of perspective dialogue, but many games give you great choice and role-playing with the same setup.
 
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46. Re: Dragon Age 2 Character Changes Jul 10, 2010, 06:19 Eldaron Imotholin
 
Jerykk wrote on Jul 10, 2010, 01:00:
Most dialogue choices in DA:O resulted in the same replies anyway, giving the player nought but the mere illusion his choice of words mattered. I know this because I finished the game 4 times by now. So is it truly depth or the illusion of it..?

The illusion of depth is better than no depth. *snip*

I expected you to answer with literally those words. I agreed with you before you even said it. But I prefer a Mass Effect style VO dialogue system above the illusion of depth. This, of course, is personal taste.

But yeah, I agree with what you're saying. I simply have a different priority.
 
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45. Re: Dragon Age 2 Character Changes Jul 10, 2010, 01:00 Jerykk
 
Most dialogue choices in DA:O resulted in the same replies anyway, giving the player nought but the mere illusion his choice of words mattered. I know this because I finished the game 4 times by now. So is it truly depth or the illusion of it..?

The illusion of depth is better than no depth. Most good RPGs have "flavor" dialogue; different ways of saying the same thing or achieving the same result. Some would call this redundant, I call it important. The ability to choose how you say something is almost as important as choosing what you say. Are you polite and eloquent? Blunt and callous? Sarcastic and witty? These choices help define the kind of character you're playing. For example, in Bloodlines and PST, depending on your skills, you would often have multiple ways of persuading NPCs to do what you want. Persuasion through wisdom, logic, charm, seduction, intimidation, etc. Although these choices usually garnered the same overall result, you were able to better role-play because of them.
 
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44. Re: Dragon Age 2 Character Changes Jul 10, 2010, 00:16 StingingVelvet
 
I'm definitely waiting on the Game Informer article to really judge it, I just know every console review for the first one mentioned that it was a PC game ported to the consoles, and I bet EA will not want that to happen again.  
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43. Re: Dragon Age 2 Character Changes Jul 9, 2010, 19:17 Eldaron Imotholin
 
StingingVelvet wrote on Jul 9, 2010, 16:34:
I am MUCH more worried about what they will do to combat, choice and consequence and the art style than I am main character VO.

*worried sigh* Me too.

I don't think it's going to become some hack'n'slash combat system, though. Maybe it's going to be more dynamic in a Witcher sort of way? I wouldn't mind too much. There were definitely flaws in DA:Os combat system. While playing the game I at some point realized how very much not immersive the combat was. In fact, every time I hit the pause button (which was every 2 seconds for 5+ seconds), I was removed from the world and back in my chair.

I think we shouldn't be too worried... yet. If they are truly going to release this game in March 2011 (it'll probably be somewhere near august 2011 eventually, and even that sounds nearby) we'll hear about it all in much more detail in the very-near future.
 
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42. Re: Dragon Age 2 Character Changes Jul 9, 2010, 16:34 StingingVelvet
 
The last thing I thought Mass Effect 2 needed was more dialogue options. Everything had three choices or more and you could ask side questions about damn near anything. I don't think the main character VO is the problem... the game will certainly have less dialogue than Morrowind or Planescape, but that will be true for any game with ANY VO for years more now, probably.

The set character thing does limit some stuff, you will be Hawke and get to set Hawke's personality but you can't be a revenge-fueled elf, or a dwarven criminal... there are limits there now. But like I said with my JC Denton example, that doesn't mean it can't offer epic role-playing and choice...

I am MUCH more worried about what they will do to combat, choice and consequence and the art style than I am main character VO.
 
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41. Re: Dragon Age 2 Character Changes Jul 9, 2010, 15:45 Eldaron Imotholin
 
Jerykk wrote on Jul 9, 2010, 15:19:
The thing here is, Jerykk, that if it wasn't for all those in the end meaningless Origins Bioware would've had the time and resources to give your character a voice while keeping all the benefits you mentioned of having no voiced character.

That's the problem: I don't think giving the player more ways to personalize their character is meaningless. I think it's an essential part of roleplaying, while voice acting is not.

And even if they stripped out the Origin stories, that still wouldn't have afforded them the time or resources to create six different voice-overs for every piece of dialogue in the game. I guarantee that DA2 will not have as many dialogue options as DAO.

For those who think that having a fully voiced player character doesn't require compromise, I point you to Fallout and Arcanum. In Fallout, your Intelligence level determined your dialogue options. If your Intelligence was too low, you'd have a completely different set of dialogue options. If your character was fully voiced, there's no way that they could have done this. Same applies to Arcanum, except in Arcanum you could be a male/female human, elf, half-elf, gnome, halfling, half-orc and half-ogre. If the player character was fully voiced, there's no way they could include all those races because they wouldn't have the resources or time to create 14 different VOs for each line of dialogue. Even if you shared voice between the humans/elf/half-elf, gnome/halfling and half-orc/half-ogre, that's still 6 voices per line.

Hmm-hmm, I know this. And you're absolutely right. Y'know... I know it's indeed too much to ask to have the same amount of depth in dialogue PLUS VO. I don't think it would've been as impossible as you make it sound, however, if there was only one Origin Male/Female.

Like StingingVelvet said.. I, like him, got annoyed by the lack of main character VO because all other characters did have a voice. So there were those cutscenes where companions were talking and your character was just staring in naive disbelief at the stuff that played out before him/her. *Ulgh* Horrible. But I guess it's better than having companions who don't have voices either...

In the end I really don't mind if the dialogue system is getting more like Mass Effect. Most dialogue choices in DA:O resulted in the same replies anyway, giving the player nought but the mere illusion his choice of words mattered. I know this because I finished the game 4 times by now. So is it truly depth or the illusion of it..?

This comment was edited on Jul 9, 2010, 19:17.
 
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40. Re: Dragon Age 2 Character Changes Jul 9, 2010, 15:19 Jerykk
 
The thing here is, Jerykk, that if it wasn't for all those in the end meaningless Origins Bioware would've had the time and resources to give your character a voice while keeping all the benefits you mentioned of having no voiced character.

That's the problem: I don't think giving the player more ways to personalize their character is meaningless. I think it's an essential part of roleplaying, while voice acting is not.

And even if they stripped out the Origin stories, that still wouldn't have afforded them the time or resources to create six different voice-overs for every piece of dialogue in the game. I guarantee that DA2 will not have as many dialogue options as DAO.

For those who think that having a fully voiced player character doesn't require compromise, I point you to Fallout and Arcanum. In Fallout, your Intelligence level determined your dialogue options. If your Intelligence was too low, you'd have a completely different set of dialogue options. If your character was fully voiced, there's no way that they could have done this. Same applies to Arcanum, except in Arcanum you could be a male/female human, elf, half-elf, gnome, halfling, half-orc and half-ogre. If the player character was fully voiced, there's no way they could include all those races because they wouldn't have the resources or time to create 14 different VOs for each line of dialogue. Even if you shared voice between the humans/elf/half-elf, gnome/halfling and half-orc/half-ogre, that's still 6 voices per line.

This comment was edited on Jul 9, 2010, 15:25.
 
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39. Re: Dragon Age 2 Character Changes Jul 9, 2010, 10:21 InBlack
 
Oh no....Im having Mass Effect premonitions here....

Dragon Age was some of the most fun Ive had with an RPG since....well since Baldurs Gate 2

It had a great story, good RPG elements, great tactical gameplay (if you turned off tactics, duh) good character customization options...

Pretty much everything a good RPG needs.

Seems like they are taking the easy route with DA2. Oh well....I hope I end up eating my words when DA:2 is released.

For the record I was underwhelmed with Mass Effect, and ME2 was a NO BUY from me...since it was a glorified adventure/action/shootemup.
 
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38. Re: Dragon Age 2 Character Changes Jul 9, 2010, 09:33 Verno
 
I didn't really find the Origin stories terribly interesting, I mean they were enjoyable enough and good for replay value but its not a make it or break it thing for me. I do agree though that a voiced main character is a large departure from the original and might not be satisfactory with fans.

The combat system stuff, who knows. It's a stupid press release, its impossible to really get an idea of what exactly they're talking about. I'll wait for gameplay footage.
 
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37. Re: Dragon Age 2 Character Changes Jul 9, 2010, 06:07 StingingVelvet
 
If you're going to make the argument for voice acting ruining depth in dialogue I agree... we still haven't seen a story as rich as Morrowind since Morrowind, and I think voice acting has a lot to do with that.

The difference between just the main character being voiced or not though... minor, compared to the overall change. It's actually quite odd to have everyone have a voice except the main character, I think. Annoyed me slightly in DA:O.
 
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36. Re: Dragon Age 2 Character Changes Jul 9, 2010, 05:45 Eldaron Imotholin
 
Jerykk wrote on Jul 9, 2010, 02:09:
To be honest, I am one of those that felt like the wide option of characters made the main character more shallow than the other way around. Sure, some guys treated you with somewhat less respect when you were and elf.. or with more respect when you were a noble.. but that was it. Was that shit (plus the 20 minutes unique starting chapter) worth not having a voiced character, really..?

Voiced character = fewer dialogue options and less potential for personalization. This is why DA2 only lets you play as a human. Bioware doesn't have the time or resources to do full voices for an elf male & female, human male & female and dwarf male & female player character.

I also don't really understand how you can view the lack of voice-acting as shallow. Voice acting is completely superficial. Conversely, the ability to choose from more dialogue options + more character customization = more depth. In an RPG, your character is defined by the choices (whether it be the manner in which you speak or your actions) you make and if you have to sacrifice choice for full voice acting, that results in a more shallow character.

One could also argue that voice acting actually detracts from the overall immersion because your character's voice likely isn't the same voice that you'd imagine your character would have. RPGs have always required a certain level of imagination from their players and that's the way it should be. Your character should represent you, not the other way around.

The thing here is, Jerykk, that if it wasn't for all those in the end meaningless Origins Bioware would've had the time and resources to give your character a voice while keeping all the benefits you mentioned of having no voiced character. That was my whole point. That's why I see the benefit of no more origins and just one character. It's fully voiced + keeping the same depth and as much dialogue as an Origin had (at least that's what it could've been with DA1 if it wasn't for the Origins. Considering they expect DA2 to be done next March, I doubt we can expect that much anyway).
 
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35. Re: Dragon Age 2 Character Changes Jul 9, 2010, 02:09 Jerykk
 
To be honest, I am one of those that felt like the wide option of characters made the main character more shallow than the other way around. Sure, some guys treated you with somewhat less respect when you were and elf.. or with more respect when you were a noble.. but that was it. Was that shit (plus the 20 minutes unique starting chapter) worth not having a voiced character, really..?

Voiced character = fewer dialogue options and less potential for personalization. This is why DA2 only lets you play as a human. Bioware doesn't have the time or resources to do full voices for an elf male & female, human male & female and dwarf male & female player character.

I also don't really understand how you can view the lack of voice-acting as shallow. Voice acting is completely superficial. Conversely, the ability to choose from more dialogue options + more character customization = more depth. In an RPG, your character is defined by the choices (whether it be the manner in which you speak or your actions) you make and if you have to sacrifice choice for full voice acting, that results in a more shallow character.

One could also argue that voice acting actually detracts from the overall immersion because your character's voice likely isn't the same voice that you'd imagine your character would have. RPGs have always required a certain level of imagination from their players and that's the way it should be. Your character should represent you, not the other way around.

This comment was edited on Jul 9, 2010, 02:48.
 
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34. Re: Dragon Age 2 Character Changes Jul 9, 2010, 01:16 psulli
 
DA:O left me with the odd impression that the further away from the origin story I traveled in-game, the less my origin seems to matter to the story. But I still enjoyed the game, and I thought a few of the DLCs were enjoyable once gathered all together.

But this can't be surprising considering who their daddy is these days. It is just how they do.
 
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