GamesCom: BioWare Co-Founders Interview Part One

By Darryl Kaye on September 11, 2010, 7:21PM EST

GamesCom was a pretty busy time for the founders of BioWare. Not only were they showing off Dragon Age 2 and Star Wars: The Old Republic, but they also announced that Mass Effect 2 was finally coming to the PS3.

I was joined by Lee Bradley and Jamie Feltham as we got the chance to sit down and chat to them about their decision to move Mass Effect to the PS3, as well as their thoughts about where their company is now heading.

Check back for Part Two of the interview tomorrow. Well I guess the first question I have is obviously you announced Mass Effect 2 on the PS3 what took you so long? What was holding it up?

Greg Zeschuk: I think part of it was just getting the right point from a technology perspective and you know be in a place where we wanted to announce it, you know, obviously we working on things for quite a while before we actually share and discuss it and gamescom seems like a great time to do it. And it's obviously, PS3, it's good in North America and it's really good in Europe, it seems like a good way to get to the whole audience on the platform out here, so, it's a really good idea at the time and we like to do it. Do you think PS3 gamer's are going to have any disadvantage without having Mass Effect 1?

Ray Muzyka: We're really making sure the introductory experience to the game provides a good context and a good introductory experience. It kind of frames up who you are and the choices that have been made up to that point and then you jump right into the action of Mass Effect 2, one of the highest rated games in the last year. So I think that with a great Action RPG, good variety, good framing and the context sitting with the introductory module it will really help make sure that the players jump into it and have a great experience on the PS3. On that note, what are your expectations? BioShock 2 was an Xbox 360 exclusive and then moved to the PS3 and it didn't necessarily do so well in sales.

Greg Zeschuk: Well, Dragon Age was fairly successful on the PS3, but there's been a lot of pent up demand for BioWare titles on the PlayStation platforms. We only did one way back in history, and then we did the MDK2 Armageddon on the PS2 and then Dragon Age was the first, so I think it depends. We're gonna push really hard and do a good job technically and reassure the folks on the PS3 that it's really going to feel like a native application on the PlayStation 3 platform. You know really, I think the key thing for us is just to do what we normally do and just create a handcrafted and natural experience. Could you just quickly detail what the bonus content is for Mass Effect 2 on PS3?

Ray Muzyka: Sure, I mean we talked about using some of the post release downloadable content from the first game [Mass Effect 2], that we already developed and kind of package that in with the PS3 experience and we're still locking down some of the details of what's going to be included in it but really want to make sure the overall package is really a great value for your money. Obviously, getting one of the highest rated games of the last year, so it's a good starting point. Getting back to the exclusives thing, there's less and less of them these days do you expect a time when they don't even exist? Are they even financially viable anymore, to be exclusive to one platform? Cause you're cutting out a massive chunk of potential audience?

Ray Muzyka: Well, you also need a big opportunity, you know, reaching a group on a deep level, and also getting the support of the platform manufacture. So there's pros and cons to both approaches. We're excited about bringing Mass Effect 2 to a new audience that's never seen it before. It's really one of the most common questions we get asked when we're in interviews, you know, when can we see it on PS3? Now we're happy to soon be able to show it and now it's the date and timing, on January 2011 and we think this is a great opportunity here at gamescom. There's a big PS3 audience in Europe are very excited about it coming over so it seemed like a perfect congruence to be able to talk about it. Do you consider yourselves now to be multi platforms? Can we exclusive games for particular platforms in the future?

Greg Zeschuk: I don't know, it's hard to predict all of the future. But part of it I think is that certainly as a company EA is a very multi-platform so it's one of the values of EA is being on as many platforms as possible. I think, you know again, it makes sense, from a market perspective, obviously. More than likely. We're not confirming specific platforms for the future titles we haven't even announced. Mass Effect 3 is a complete unknown, even though it's part of the trilogy, it's not officially announced. But it makes sense for us to hit as many fans as possible. I'd chalk that up in the likely category, but nothing's definite yet. Moving onto Dragon Age, are you going to continue to support Dragon Age how you have after Dragon Age 2 comes out?

Ray Muzyka: We haven't announced the details about it yet, but generally what we tend to do after we launch a new product in a franchise is we tend to focus on that. And it's an interesting idea to see how the fans respond to the content we're still releasing on Dragon Age: Origins. We still have more stuff in the pipeline and more stuff coming that's really good. Most likely we'll focus on Dragon Age 2. We'll see how the fans respond to it between now and then. Are you going to support DA 2 how you supported DA, I mean for example, you released Dragon Age: Awakenings as a full product. Can gamers expect the same?

Ray Muzyka: We have a plan to do it for all our games, to support with post release content. We haven't revealed any details for DA 2 yet. You released Mass Effect 2 at the start of the year instead of the usual Fall release, and Dragon Age 2 will again be a Q1 release, is this going to be a new trend?

Greg Zeschuk: It's kinda when they're done. laughs When they're done and they're good. It's when they sort of time out. One thing that's encouraging that you're seeing out in the market is that it's not all about the Christmas season anymore. You can actually have very successful games shipping out all other times of the year. We tend to spend a lot of time on our games. We don't want to try to squeeze them out too early before their time and that's probably the key thing. As far as moving forward, we always want to be releasing something from one of our franchises. The great thing now as mentioned before is the downloadable content of varying sizes including whole expansion packs. So once you have the set of content platforms ready to release, there's a lot of opportunities to be really aggressive. There's always something for fans of our franchises to look forward to. But we have to be careful not to overdo it. It's not like we're going to go into a yearly cadence sort of thing in terms of the big four releases, but we just want people to know there's always something they're going to look forward to from their favorite franchise from Bioware in the not too distant future.

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