BioWare must be careful now and in the future or they may fall into what I call the "Shyamalan Effect". This effect influences decisions to have an opposite effect of the producer's desired outcome. For example, M. Night Shyamalan (the director/screenplay writer) had made several good films ("The Sixth Sense" and "Unbreakable") early in his career and was unanimous for a certain style and genre of film. Producers and Shyamalan blatantly attach his name to a title to have the desired outcome of influencing thoughts and judgments about material before an audience has seen it. Now, when he makes a film or producers attach his name to films to promote said film ("Devil") it still has the desired effect of evoking predeterminations about the material, but is now a deterrent, for me, to see anything he has made or is associated with because of now having a much longer history of very bad movies.
I believe that BioWare is on the verge of becoming a mockery despite the weight they carry in the RPG community because of greed and the abuse of their name or simply because they are for the first time not under their own leadership (they’ve been absorbed by EA). After years and years of delivering "best in class" RPG titles BioWare has become unanimous for a certain style and genre of game, The Role-playing Game. But as of late have been falling flat.
Do not read into this wrongly, I admittedly do say it is unfair to "bash" them just yet. If you look up a list of the top 100 RPGs ever made either BioWare, a rebranded subsidiary of, or normal subsidiary of Bioware usually has several in the top 10 alone. I cannot condemn their work of the past 15 years based off of 2/15 of their game making experience. I am afraid though in the past couple of years that they are getting too comfortable and becoming part of a "formula gaming".
Formula gaming is in a way like "going Hollywood". Bioware has discovered something that a more massive audience will take part in and instead of making works of art and changing people's perspectives and lives through the power of storytelling and content with epics that can withstand the test known as time...Hollywood only cares about how many asses are in theater seats. In turn, doing so creates a more successful game (moneywise) to a broader audience, but by retrofitting these games to suit the needs of a "dumbed down" audience is not respecting the gamers that have been supporting them for all these years. I just don't want to see BioWare or all videogame developers in general trying to appease a larger audience by changing their Intellectual Properties into something it was never intended to be. Changing successful Intellectual Properties seems counterproductive and can ruin IPs for people who have appreciated the game from the beginning. By doing so, videogames try to appease an audience that did not support them or their developers through some harder times in BioWare's and videogaming’s history. Hopefully this is not the case for Bioware, but I do fear it could become like this if they don't change their act immediately.
If this mentality of "profits over product" doesn’t change soon we are going to have Justin Beibers in games and shirtless Twilight Jacobs handing out videogame cases from a dispenser in his abs.
I do fear for the future of BioWare’s upcoming games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age. BioWare has sent out word of a multi-player based version of Dragon Age in a game that was originally about micromanagement of multiple characters by a single player and has been taking every step since “DA: Origins” blindly in the wrong direction continuously. In my review of Dragon Age 2 I did say, jokingly, that they should add a multi-player aspect to the game because I believed it would bring its fun factor up…but that was only a prologue to my next point stating that that is because the game seems to be missing the mark and not delivering what should be expected. I never thought they would actually do it.
Mass Effect being my favorite story in gaming, but part two feeling more like a shooter with RPG elements rather than an RPG with shooter elements makes me hesitate for the future of the IP after the third rendition. Regardless, I still have high hopes for the Mass Effect intellectual property and I hope it continues the path it is on with making amazing entries into the franchise.
All of that being said, I do not think it is very presumptuous of me to speak for many people when I say this, but I think a lot of people out there have BioWare under a very scrupulous magnifying glass right now and over the next couple of game releases. If BioWare doesn't deliver they will be shunned by the community that first loved them. It will be a sad but true betrayal story in which they turned their back on us.
What do you think?
Do you share my concerns or have you been pleased with BioWare's current game development directions?