How will Bioware handle the story after DA2 (no spoilers)?

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#1 Posted by NekuSakuraba (7240 posts) -

After Dragon Age 2 being a disappointing game to many people, pretty big Dragon Age: Origins fans may not have finished it or even played it. How do you think this will effect the story? If the game is a direct continuation of Dragon Age 2 do you think fans will be upset?

I find it interesting since the first game was really loved and the second game not so much, so I wonder if Bioware thought about having a new story line that only loosely connects to the other games to please fans of the original so they wont be missing out on any or major story elements.

Do you think Bioware will even care about this or will they just go ahead and continue the story from the second?

#2 Posted by CheapPoison (727 posts) -

if it was up to me.

Start over again with a different name and setting. Cause i am not sure if the dragon age brand name is still such a boon to have.

#3 Edited by Encephalon (1240 posts) -

The events of DA2 are so tangential to those of Origins that I absolutely cannot envision a coherent narrative arc between the two. This stands in stark contrast to Mass Effect, which lays out its arc perhaps a little too plainly, though I still prefer that certainty as opposed to feeling like the writers are flying blind.

Anyway, for DA3, I imagine they'll continue the mage-templar war storyline from DA2.

#4 Posted by Shirogane (3563 posts) -

Most of DA2 doesn't really mean much, all that really matters are a few major events. From what the ending of DA2 seems to imply, the story from here is going to have to do with the original DA:O character a fair bit. DA2 was practically a side story that covers a pretty major event of the world, but didn't really have much to do with the other game apart from fanservicey stuff.

#5 Posted by WinterSnowblind (7613 posts) -

I got the feeling they wanted to continue the story with Hawke, and turn him/her into a sort of Shepard character for the series.. After the insane amount of backlash, I don't think that will happen, and instead it'll go back to more of a custom character thing like the first one.

But I think the story itself will continue from what DA2 set up.

#6 Posted by Beforet (2912 posts) -

I wouldn't be surprised if they quietly ignored DA2's story in favor of a new one. Probably one involving the Grey Wardens in an attempt to appease alienated fans.

#7 Posted by Unchained (1080 posts) -

I imagine there will be a save-import from Dragon Age 1 or 2. I think Hawke you designed will be an NPC (in-party most likely, but possibly not) and the decisions made in the second game will carry over. Dragon Age 3 is likely going to take place in a whole new area of the world (centering around Orlais) with a few visits to older places from past games, but only tangentially. I'm guessing it's going to be a new character with a new back-story. For those players who haven't played DA2, there will probably be a vanilla this-is-what-happened-in-Kirkwall type of option at Character creation in the same way DA2 players who didn't play Dragon Age: Origins got a similar option.

#8 Posted by dr_mantas (1804 posts) -
#9 Posted by DeeGee (2116 posts) -

I'm gonna call it now, you won't be playing as Hawke in Dragon Age 3. I'd hazard a guess that you create a new character to deal with the war.

#10 Posted by Encephalon (1240 posts) -

@Shirogane: Quick question: in the DA:O save I imported, my Warden survived cause he did a bad thing. What happens at the end of DA2 if your Warden is dead? Are the Seekers still searching for him/her, even though they're dead as fuck and everyone in Thedas knows it?

#11 Posted by EpicSteve (6479 posts) -

Make a story about a game that doesn't blow.

#12 Posted by DeeGee (2116 posts) -

@Encephalon: I'm pretty sure they said screw you to all your choices. The Grey Warden is alive no matter what you did.

I remember the backlash over importing a save with Leliana dead and then she pops ups throughout the game as if all's good.

#13 Posted by Jimbo (9775 posts) -

Poorly, probably. The whole ending of DA2 was absurd. A magic sword made somebody act mean so now EVERY mage guild in the world has rebelled, so now Hawkey boy needs to put the milk back in the bottle somehow. That storyline was not interesting and isn't going anywhere interesting.

Make a kick ass dark political / war story about the Qunari invading the Empire (I forget what it's called), because those guys are totally kick ass.

#14 Posted by Encephalon (1240 posts) -

@Jimbo: I'm getting pretty tired of fantasy fiction in general, because most fall into the DA2 trap of having a story motivated by objects or mechanisms, not actual fucking people.

Like, why does everything have to be because of some dumb lyrium sword? Why can't people just do things because of rational, human drives and motivations? The scope of human behavior is so varied that it baffles me why fantasy writers constantly take the lazy route of blaming everything on lyrium, or fal'cie, or whatever the hell. Fantasy is supposed to be about confronting real world issues from the relative safety of a non-real setting, but so many fantasy stories are so abstract that none of it ends up meaning anything.

The Witcher 2's pretty rad, though

#15 Posted by TaliciaDragonsong (8698 posts) -

Best they can do is import your stuff from DA2 and make Hawke a new party member or someone who you work along side with.
I know that's gonna make people mad and eliminate their sense of freedom, but we started with the Warden and we need to get the Warden back.
 
And, I'd like to see Bioware continue a story for once, not just let it end open and never adress it.
Warden disappears, Hawke disappears, Revan disappeared, The Exile Disappeared...
It feels like building up to something, but then the game (Swtor) shoves up a few hundred years all of sudden.
 
Keep that promise, give us a set of games that all give the player decisions and then have one big bang game after it, combining all those stories, all those characters and all those decisions into the climax of the fucking century.
 
But, no doubt we'll be doing something similar to DA2 with another generic cast in DA3, I don't have much faith left.
 
Oh and I'm still hoping to be surprised, but this is what I think atm.

#16 Posted by mikey87144 (1668 posts) -

Remember that DA2 wasn't supposed to be DA2. It was originally intended as a sort of side story to DA:O. That being said I was just so disappointed with that game. Hearing that they won't go back to the wardens stuff and choosing your own race and character... Hopefully Skyrim has made them revisit DA3 so they make the world more like Origins.

#17 Posted by mikey87144 (1668 posts) -

@Encephalon said:

I'm getting pretty tired of fantasy fiction in general, because most fall into the DA2 trap of having a story motivated by objects or mechanisms, not actual fucking people.

Like, why does everything have to be because of some dumb lyrium sword? Why can't people just do things because of rational, human drives and motivations? The scope of human behavior is so varied that it baffles me why fantasy writers constantly take the lazy route of blaming everything on lyrium, or fal'cie, or whatever the hell. Fantasy is supposed to be about confronting real world issues from the relative safety of a non-real setting, but so many fantasy stories are so abstract that none of it ends up meaning anything.

The Witcher 2's pretty rad, though

Skyrim's stories are more like the Witcher analogy. People motivated by the want of power, not changed by the power itself.

#18 Posted by TerraMantis (283 posts) -

Hopefully BioWare will do what it did when they made DA2...forget the predecessor ever existed. Hawke will get a cameo like Alistair, they'll never touchdown on flemeth or morrigan or the "god baby" or really anything people have an interest in uncovering more about from previous installments of the franchise. Personally I hope not, I'd love for DA to be spectacular.

These are some of my ideas to help the franchise or where i believe i'd like to see the story go.

A STORY FOR THE FUTURE

Why HoF's tale was more interesting than Hawke's

#19 Posted by datarez (542 posts) -

@dr_mantas said:

Well, most of the story from Dragon Age 2 is very closely related to either Hawke or Kirkwall. There is only one or two events that have far reaching consequences.

As it turns out, they will continue from Dragon age 2. Here is the answer (possibly a minor spoiler for DA2):

http://www.joystiq.com/2011/08/31/bioware-hints-at-the-future-of-dragon-age-dlc-and-3/

Seeing that was from August and their more recent DA3 is going to learn from Skyrim comments I wonder how much DA3 may be changing from what was said back in August.

It's hard to say where DA3 may go without spoilers though. The group a vs group b that DA2 ends with could be interesting but the fact that none of your decisions didn't matter too much to the ending of DA2 I can't imagine them giving you a choice in that war anyway so I'm not invested in that anymore. I want to go back with the Wardens personally. The Warden story always seemed to be some cool we don't worry about the meddling human affairs, we really protect Thedas. Then DA2 was meddling human affairs. Specifically I want to know what that dude was talking about that you meet in passing near the end, (no spoilers talk is hard).

They should have called it Dragon Age:Kirkwall and it would have helped my expectations.

#20 Posted by Jimbo (9775 posts) -

@Encephalon said:

@Jimbo: I'm getting pretty tired of fantasy fiction in general, because most fall into the DA2 trap of having a story motivated by objects or mechanisms, not actual fucking people.

Like, why does everything have to be because of some dumb lyrium sword? Why can't people just do things because of rational, human drives and motivations? The scope of human behavior is so varied that it baffles me why fantasy writers constantly take the lazy route of blaming everything on lyrium, or fal'cie, or whatever the hell. Fantasy is supposed to be about confronting real world issues from the relative safety of a non-real setting, but so many fantasy stories are so abstract that none of it ends up meaning anything.

The Witcher 2's pretty rad, though

Pretty much.

#21 Posted by endaround (2138 posts) -

The Wardens are almost certainly done with. The Blight is over. Now playing as the Wardens allows one to have the ability to ignore political constraints that other factions can't (sort of like making your character a refugee possibly could have done). There are ways around this of course, say working as a representative/spy for Fereldan in Orlais trying to stop an invasion/sow discord in the court could be interesting.

#22 Edited by TheDudeOfGaming (6078 posts) -

What story? Also, The Tevinter Empire...it has to be a setting. A land with widespread slavery, where mages rule everything. Will you try and free the slaves? Or try and stay in power if you're a mage? After DA2 i actually think that a setting in Tevinter can be the only thing that can save the franchise.

#23 Edited by devilzrule27 (1239 posts) -

@TheDudeOfGaming: I'm more interested in going to Orlais, although they could easily weave the two places together given their past history.

#24 Posted by Marz (5646 posts) -

Orlais is pretty much where the series needs to go.

#25 Edited by TheDudeOfGaming (6078 posts) -
@devilzrule27: There's nothing interesting about Orlais, except Leliana. With Tevinter they already have quite a bit of lore created.
#26 Posted by Jimbo (9775 posts) -

@TheDudeOfGaming said:

What story? Also, The Tevinter Empire...it has to be a setting. A land with widespread slavery, where mages rule everything. Will you try and free the slaves? Or try and stay in power if you're a mage? After DA2 i actually think that a setting in Tevinter can be the only thing that can save the franchise.

That's a bit too close to just being the DA2 storyline flipped on its head imo (mages doing the enslaving instead of being the enslaved). Tevinter would be a neat setting though.

#27 Edited by TheDudeOfGaming (6078 posts) -
@Jimbo: Well yeah, but they also have Qunari, standing alone against them for centuries. That again, would have to do with the Qunari unrest in chapter 2 of DA2, unlike that however, in Tevinter it could be all out war, and i wouldn't mind killing some Ottoman based dudes ^^ Also with a scenario like that perhaps we could have the option to actually play as a Qunari
Now that i think more about it, Antiva and the Anderfels would also make for interesting settings, but i still think that Tevinter is the best option. Orlais would be pretty boring.
#28 Posted by Encephalon (1240 posts) -

@Marz: I'd actually be kind of worried about a game set in Orlais. Maybe it was just DA2, but I feel like every time Orlais comes up, it becomes more and more cartoonish and ridiculous. I don't want a 50-hour long strawman France joke.

#29 Edited by CottonWolf (88 posts) -

@Jimbo: In fairness, the event that we cannot mention for fear of !SPOILERS! only started that off. DA is doing the ME thing of having interlinking books between the games, and the latest elaborates on what exactly causes the group a/group b split in much more detail. It also gives the Chantry a potentially interesting arc in the next game. It's called Asunder if you have any particular desire to read it.

@Encephalon: The book also paints Orlais in a much less jokey light. Not necessarily a particularly good light, but it's not in any way jokey.

#30 Posted by DocHaus (1317 posts) -

How to handle the story? Fire Gaider and Hepler (or at the very least take the decision-making out of their hands), and find a writer who has had a relationship that didn't solely involve a Japanese dating sim. Set it so it turns out that Mr. Chesthair was just bullshitting with Inquisitor whatsherface the whole time throughout DA2, and start with the Grey Wardens again. Maybe explore the Qunari a bit more, their plans for the world at large, their society, their history? At least those guys were interesting. And don't restrict choices to a binary good/evil path (or yes/yes-with-reluctance).

There's a lot more I could complain about, but from a pure story perspective, that's a start.

#31 Posted by Hunkulese (2652 posts) -

DA2 had problems but the story wasn't one of them. I'd be fine with them continuing the story as long as they don't rush the rest of the game again. People love to jump on bandwagons but the truth is that DA2 did a lot of things right. It was unfortunate what it did wrong was so glaring.

#32 Posted by SethPhotopoulos (5120 posts) -

The end of DA2 implied buddy cop between the Warden and Hawke to me.

#33 Posted by SlightConfuse (3963 posts) -

Well the mirror that merill had implyed the return of morragan. I felt like they set up flemeth to be a big bad. I can see it being set in orlais as they. Are on the brink of war. The story in 2 was fine untill the end where everything went off the rails

#34 Posted by Brodehouse (9624 posts) -

Here's what I would do. You are not Hawke. You are someone the Chantry has gone to to help solve the Mage-Templar war of 9:37. They have put you with two others. Whichever class you choose is which character you play, and you can customize and edit their looks, and you have all the personality choices throughout the game. The other two classes are the 'default' looks and personalities of the other classes. The Mage is helpful, the warrior is aggressive, and the rogue is snarky... Unless you play the rogue, and then he/she is whatever you want. Production value is they can create three voiced origins, and not have to throw two thirds of it out because they picked one class and not the other.

So you have to stop the Mage-Templar war by any means necessary. Ultimately, this means making an uneasy peace between them, choosing one side over the other and decimating the other, or destroying them both for the good of Chantry lands.

But that's just act one. No sooner is the war ended, but the Qunari and the Tevinter Imperium attack Chantry land simultaneously, while attacking each other. It's a three way world war, a holy war of religions; the Qun, the Chant of Light, and a resurgent Archon worship in Tevinter. Now what you've done in act one effects all this. If you destroyed the Templars, you suffer losses to the magisters of Tevinter. If you destroyed the mages you've lost your best weapon against the magic-fearing Qunari. Sounds like making peace in act one is the golden path? No, hard line mages sickened by the Chantry and the Qun defect to Tevinter, angry Templars see the Chant as betraying its ideals and defect to the Qun for purpose. The entire continent is at war. Everything between Orlais, Tevinter and Par Vollen is being destroyed and consumed. It's up to you to win this war, whether for the Chantry or the innocents dying or for you own lust for power.

You defeat the Archon and the Ariqun. You have saved the world. Flemeth appears with Hawke and a masked Warden. There are greater threats to the world, hidden in the dark. She will show you.

Dragon Age 4.

#35 Edited by Encephalon (1240 posts) -

Sometimes I wonder what DA2 would've been like had it been set in Orlais instead of Kirkwall. Because there's really nothing about Kirkwall, specifically, that requires the mage rebellion to start there. They were getting there with that super-vague Band of Three stuff, but they didn't pull the trigger on it. Honestly, if there's one thing that irks me about DA2, it's how lacking in personalty Kirkwall is. In DA:O, I thought you get a really good sense of what Ferelden is about: the politics, the culture, the issues. I don't have the same familiarity with Kirkwall.

I also wonder what DA2 would've been like if they took another 2 years and made Awakening the sequel instead. Then at least the franchise would have some kind of narrative arc and momentum to it.

#36 Posted by LordXavierBritish (6320 posts) -

Poorly.

#37 Posted by Hailinel (23948 posts) -

@Encephalon said:

@Jimbo: I'm getting pretty tired of fantasy fiction in general, because most fall into the DA2 trap of having a story motivated by objects or mechanisms, not actual fucking people.

Like, why does everything have to be because of some dumb lyrium sword? Why can't people just do things because of rational, human drives and motivations? The scope of human behavior is so varied that it baffles me why fantasy writers constantly take the lazy route of blaming everything on lyrium, or fal'cie, or whatever the hell. Fantasy is supposed to be about confronting real world issues from the relative safety of a non-real setting, but so many fantasy stories are so abstract that none of it ends up meaning anything.

The Witcher 2's pretty rad, though

Dragon Age II functions on the idea of the Idiot Plot. A plot that only works if the characters involved are idiots.

And fantasy is not strictly about confronting real world issues in a non-real setting. Not every story has to be analogous to real-world events. The problem with Dragon Age II's plot isn't its use of fantasy. It's that it's poorly written just in general.

#38 Posted by kingzetta (4307 posts) -

chupacobra

#39 Posted by Commisar123 (1790 posts) -

Poorly? In all seriousness I hope they can figure something out, because I really liked how things were going in Origins and 2 up until the ending when everything went to shit.

#40 Posted by JasonR86 (9611 posts) -

@NekuSakuraba:

Probably in a brand new way that won't be too bad but people will scream foul because it isn't a carbon copy of how the first game was delivered.

#41 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4604 posts) -

@Jimbo: I think you missed a pretty big point about the end of Dragon Age 2.

For instance, the point of the ending in DA2 was that Hawke served as the catalyst for the mage rebellion in Thedas. Either by siding with the mages and showing that the Templars can be challenged, and even cast down, or by invoking the Right of Annulment and being a merciless bastard. In either case, the world is left in chaos, and the Chantry is shitting its metaphorical pants.

Say what you will about the quality of DA2, but where it leaves Thedas (which is what these games have been about, your adventures in Thedas) is a pretty interesting place to branch out and explore many avenues for stories. Everything has gone to shit, the Qunari are just off the coast of Tevinter, and they've been waiting a long time to conquer the continent. I'm excited to see where we go from there.

#42 Posted by Hailinel (23948 posts) -

@Brodehouse said:

Flemeth appears with Hawke and a masked Warden. There are greater threats to the world, hidden in the dark. She will show you. Dragon Age 4.

You had me interested right up until this point.

#43 Posted by Jimbo (9775 posts) -
@KingWilly

@Jimbo: I think you missed a pretty big point about the end of Dragon Age 2.

Say what you will about the quality of DA2, but where it leaves Thedas (which is what these games have been about, your adventures in Thedas) is a pretty interesting place to branch out and explore many avenues for stories. Everything has gone to shit, the Qunari are just off the coast of Tevinter, and they've been waiting a long time to conquer the continent. I'm excited to see where we go from there.

I got the ending, it's just awful. Hawke (and worse, the player) are railroaded into being a catalyst (which makes your choices meaningless and the consequences feel weightless), but the driving force behind the whole thing is an evil magic sword and Anders being a dick (something else you have no influence over). It seems likely that shit would have gone down one way or the other regardless of whether Hawke was around or not. Everybody that matters just ignores Hawke the entire way through the game.
#44 Edited by geirr (2483 posts) -

They'll probably shove it up their ass and snort it out their nose like they did with DA2.

I'm still harnessing a faint hope to be pleasantly surprised however.

#45 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4604 posts) -

@Jimbo said:

@KingWilly

@Jimbo: I think you missed a pretty big point about the end of Dragon Age 2.

For instance, the point of the ending in DA2 was that Hawke served as the catalyst for the mage rebellion in Thedas. Either by siding with the mages and showing that the Templars can be challenged, and even cast down, or by invoking the Right of Annulment and being a merciless bastard. In either case, the world is left in chaos, and the Chantry is shitting its metaphorical pants.

Say what you will about the quality of DA2, but where it leaves Thedas (which is what these games have been about, your adventures in Thedas) is a pretty interesting place to branch out and explore many avenues for stories. Everything has gone to shit, the Qunari are just off the coast of Tevinter, and they've been waiting a long time to conquer the continent. I'm excited to see where we go from there.

I got the ending, it's just awful. Hawke (and worse, the player) are railroaded into being a catalyst (which makes your choices meaningless and the consequences feel weightless), but the driving force behind the whole thing is an evil magic sword and Anders being a dick (something else you have no influence over). It seems likely that shit would have gone down one way or the other regardless of whether Hawke was around or not. Everybody that matters just ignores Hawke the entire way through the game.

I disagree entirely. I very much enjoyed trying to salvage the situation as best I could. It wasn't a matter of Bioware taking choice away from me, as much as dreading that dark cloud of inevitability. You could argue that it was a mistake to force the player into that situation, but I ask, how many times have people complained about having too much influence over events in games? Hawke/the player was caught in the middle of a dire situation. I imagine people reacted how they normally would--they'd either get the hell out of dodge, or they'd try to make the best of a shitty situation. I absolutely loved trying to hold a shaky Jenga tower together. I knew it was going to fall eventually, but I tried to make it stand as long as I could.

As for Anders,

I really, really dug how his arc went. To say it was poorly written is to do both the character and DA2 a disservice. I was with Anders right until he blew up the Chantry, and that devastating, pants-shitting moment of betrayal is absolutely one of 2011's highlights for me. It made sense for the story, and it made sense for the character. The conflict of whether or not to start a revolution did lie in Anders, and Bioware did give you hints and clues all throughout Dragon Age 2 that Anders was a ticking time bomb ready to detonate. It was a major conflict in the game that you could try to guide as best as you could, but it was still a conflict in him, not you.

And here's the thing - everything that happens with Meredith, the mages, the templars, is directly instigated by Hawke's action in the Deep Roads. If he had never gone to Kirkwall, if he had never found that Lyrium Idol, Meredith would've never gone crazy and called for the Right of Annulment. So yeah, Hawke did have major influence over the events in DA2, just not in the way most RPG players are used to. You know, having it blow up in your face. For those reasons, I found DA2 to be a breath of fresh air, narratively speaking. I can understand why people didn't like where it went, but I feel that it's disingenuous to outright call DA2's story bad because the protagonist didn't reshape the world in their image.

#46 Posted by Brodehouse (9624 posts) -

I also think it shows exactly how spoiled Shepard has made players that they expect to be able to convince anyone to betray their beliefs.  Anders was a full on terrorist, a righteous zealot for his cause.  No conversation option was going to make him betray his beliefs.  Oh, he was also possessed by a demon, and if you rivalry-romance him you can see how it takes him over against his will at times. 
 
Also, the fact that Hawke ultimately isn't guilty of starting the Templar-Mage war, the fact that Hawke was caught up in the chaos, is the entire point of the game.  The Chantry Seeker Cassandra enters the situation seeing one of Hawke's companions destroying the Chantry, Hawke killing both the First Enchanter and the Knight-Commander, and then either being the catalyst for the Templars or Mages to rebel.  Hawke is responsible for finding the idol that drove the Knight-Commander crazy, and Hawke's mother was killed by a mage confidant of the First Enchanter.  Hawke's brother or sister could very well find themselves wrapped up in the Templar or Circle as well.  She assumes this was Hawke's plan all along, she accuses Varric of it several times through the first two acts.  But Varric keeps insisting the situation was more complicated than that, and that Hawke is innocent.  By not being 'responsible' or 'able to control events', you actually prove yourself innocent to the Seeker.
 
People had the same rage at Origins, where they couldn't spare Loghain without Alistair quitting.  Or if they let Alistair execute Loghain, Anora refused to marry him.  Or if they refused to have sex with Morrigan (or couldn't convince Alistair to do so), she would leave the party.

#47 Posted by Ursus_Veritas (383 posts) -

I just finished Dragon Age: Asunder, the third book they've put out, and it's clearly setting up a continuation of the tensions between Templars and Mages in DAIII. I'll post a spoilery recap of the important bits below: 
 

 
I imagine this is what has lead to Cassandra and Leliana seeking out Hawke and the Warden at the end of DAII. As dumb as DAII's story got to the end, I really enjoyed playing up the Templar/Mage conflict, so I'm looking forward to see if this is what Dragon Age III follows up on.
Online
#48 Posted by Hitchenson (4682 posts) -

I'll go with "poorly".

#49 Edited by Chop (1994 posts) -
@KingWilly said:

@Jimbo said:

@KingWilly

@Jimbo: I think you missed a pretty big point about the end of Dragon Age 2.

Say what you will about the quality of DA2, but where it leaves Thedas (which is what these games have been about, your adventures in Thedas) is a pretty interesting place to branch out and explore many avenues for stories. Everything has gone to shit, the Qunari are just off the coast of Tevinter, and they've been waiting a long time to conquer the continent. I'm excited to see where we go from there.

I got the ending, it's just awful. Hawke (and worse, the player) are railroaded into being a catalyst (which makes your choices meaningless and the consequences feel weightless), but the driving force behind the whole thing is an evil magic sword and Anders being a dick (something else you have no influence over). It seems likely that shit would have gone down one way or the other regardless of whether Hawke was around or not. Everybody that matters just ignores Hawke the entire way through the game.

 You could argue that it was a mistake to force the player into that situation, but I ask, how many times have people complained about having too much influence over events in games? 

This is always my defense of Dragon Age 2's writing. It was no doubt due to time constraints, but I didn't mind them focusing more on making characters with well defined motivations. It was a nice change of pace from the typical Bioware characters who are flip flopping all over the place and waiting for me to come in and fix their lives.  
#50 Posted by Jimbo (9775 posts) -

@KingWilly said:

@Jimbo said:

@KingWilly

@Jimbo: I think you missed a pretty big point about the end of Dragon Age 2.

For instance, the point of the ending in DA2 was that Hawke served as the catalyst for the mage rebellion in Thedas. Either by siding with the mages and showing that the Templars can be challenged, and even cast down, or by invoking the Right of Annulment and being a merciless bastard. In either case, the world is left in chaos, and the Chantry is shitting its metaphorical pants.

Say what you will about the quality of DA2, but where it leaves Thedas (which is what these games have been about, your adventures in Thedas) is a pretty interesting place to branch out and explore many avenues for stories. Everything has gone to shit, the Qunari are just off the coast of Tevinter, and they've been waiting a long time to conquer the continent. I'm excited to see where we go from there.

I got the ending, it's just awful. Hawke (and worse, the player) are railroaded into being a catalyst (which makes your choices meaningless and the consequences feel weightless), but the driving force behind the whole thing is an evil magic sword and Anders being a dick (something else you have no influence over). It seems likely that shit would have gone down one way or the other regardless of whether Hawke was around or not. Everybody that matters just ignores Hawke the entire way through the game.

I disagree entirely. I very much enjoyed trying to salvage the situation as best I could. It wasn't a matter of Bioware taking choice away from me, as much as dreading that dark cloud of inevitability. You could argue that it was a mistake to force the player into that situation, but I ask, how many times have people complained about having too much influence over events in games? Hawke/the player was caught in the middle of a dire situation. I imagine people reacted how they normally would--they'd either get the hell out of dodge, or they'd try to make the best of a shitty situation. I absolutely loved trying to hold a shaky Jenga tower together. I knew it was going to fall eventually, but I tried to make it stand as long as I could.

As for Anders,

I really, really dug how his arc went. To say it was poorly written is to do both the character and DA2 a disservice. I was with Anders right until he blew up the Chantry, and that devastating, pants-shitting moment of betrayal is absolutely one of 2011's highlights for me. It made sense for the story, and it made sense for the character. The conflict of whether or not to start a revolution did lie in Anders, and Bioware did give you hints and clues all throughout Dragon Age 2 that Anders was a ticking time bomb ready to detonate. It was a major conflict in the game that you could try to guide as best as you could, but it was still a conflict in him, not you.

And here's the thing - everything that happens with Meredith, the mages, the templars, is directly instigated by Hawke's action in the Deep Roads. If he had never gone to Kirkwall, if he had never found that Lyrium Idol, Meredith would've never gone crazy and called for the Right of Annulment. So yeah, Hawke did have major influence over the events in DA2, just not in the way most RPG players are used to. You know, having it blow up in your face. For those reasons, I found DA2 to be a breath of fresh air, narratively speaking. I can understand why people didn't like where it went, but I feel that it's disingenuous to outright call DA2's story bad because the protagonist didn't reshape the world in their image.

But that's not why I'm calling it a bad story; I'm calling it a bad story because the world was reshaped by an evil magic sword. An evil magic sword which played a prominent role in the story for a total of about 4 minutes. If you include Anders then it was reshaped by an evil magic sword and a malevolent spirit.

I don't mind things blowing up in the players face - I think it would be fantastic if ME3 had endings where the Reapers win if you blindly went pure Paragon or pure Renegade- I mind it being preordained to blow up in your face regardless of your actions. That just makes it seem like it was a waste of time giving me any choices in the first place. There was literally no point in asking Hawke what he thought about anything at any point, because nobody listened and the outcome was set. You're correct that the journey changed, but the destination didn't. The answer to the typical player character having too much influence over the outcome of a story is not to give them no influence at all.

It also seems pretty questionable to me whether the lyrium idol / sword would have remained hidden just because Hawke wasn't around to make up the numbers on the Deep Roads expedition - he was only muscle after all. I see it as kinda like the Anders situation, where he really needs your help with blowing up the Chantry, but if you don't then never mind because actually he'll manage just fine without you. It kinda makes no sense why a pro-Templar Hawke wouldn't just shank Anders as soon as it becomes obvious what he has planned anyway (and it was very, very obvious).

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