Has a more polarizing game been released in 2011 than Dragon Age 2? Whether it was the increased pace, changes to the battle system, limitation in scope, off-kilter storyline, or whatever else, few games of recent memory have split critics and players alike so far down the love it/hate it line.
Regardless as to whether you hyperbolically thought Dragon Age 2's direction for the series heralded the demise of BioWare as a maker of quality titles, or felt that it was a phenomenal evolution of style over the first game and superior in every way (those people do exist), you may find yourself unsure as to what to make BioWare co-founder Dr. Ray Muzyka's latest comments to PC Gamer. Speaking on the subject of the upcoming third game in the series, Dr. Ray made an attempt to assuage the fears of any players who may have been alienated by Dragon Age 2 by explaining that BioWare's current plan is to combine the best pieces of both previous titles into one drastically improved sequel.
“What we need to do as developers is take that feedback from both sets of fans to heart and see about marrying that in future games in the Dragon Age franchise. I think that the team has actually got a great plan. I think the team is going to have some things that are going to surprise both sets of fans, both core fans and new fans with a marriage of these… the best from both games, Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2. And we look forward more to talking about that in the future.”
What, exactly, the "best" pieces of both games are, Dr. Ray was not terribly forthcoming on. However, he did address the dichotomous reaction to Dragon Age 2, chalking up some of the more negative reactions to a "misalignment of expectation" for those who simply expected another heaping helping of Dragon Age: Origins. Still, the negative feedback has not fallen on deaf ears, so sayeth Dr. Ray.
“One of the core values of Bioware is that we take feedback really seriously, and we know that the core fans who were expecting more Dragon Age Origins – we have to respond to that – we’re not willing to ignore that, we’re going to take that head on.”
While that statement may instill a sense of relief in those who felt slighted by such things as the more action-oriented combat and a perceived "dumbing-down" of the action, Dr. Ray's follow-up statement will probably shatter that relief into several jagged pieces.
“We also have an obligation to our new fans,” adds Dr. Ray, “the ones who were surprised and delighted with some new approaches and accessibility in terms of action and combat”
That low moaning sound you hear off in the distance is the sound of a confused and dejected Vinny Caravella, suddenly resigned to countless more hours playing a Dragon Age game he can't be certain he will even enjoy, but will continue to endure regardless of quality, out of some bizarre, completionistic drive ingrained within his very soul. Let's hope for his, and really all of our sake, that this turns out for the best.