Dragon Age II Art Director Would Love A Cartoon Setting
Part two of our sit-down conversation with BioWare's Matt Goldman, art director of Dragon Age II, provides insight on the PC gaming market, handhelds, new settings and even his anticipation for Gears of War 3.
Dakota Grabowski: Outside of what you guys have visited so far - the sci-fi, fantasy, epic Asian kung-fu - what other settings would you like to visit?
Matt Goldman: I obviously would love to do a strategy game of some kind. That’s not really a setting.
DG: What about a Western?
MG: Western games have gotten a short shift for some reason until Red Dead Redemption came out, which is totally amazing looking. I don’t think that we could out do that for Western games. I’d love to do a cartoon setting like Samurai Jack or something like that. That would be totally awesome.
DG: What do you think about the end result of the Sonic title, which is a little cartoon setting?
MG: I think that was a beautiful little game, that probably was marketed to adults even though it was it was really for a younger audience. I played it for several days, and it's beautiful. The work they did on it I think is really nice.
DG: What tricks/tips would you have to advise your team working on handhelds in comparison to PCs and consoles?
MG: I probably wouldn't be able to answer that because I've never done one.
DG: Since the release of Starcraft 2, where do you see the market of the PC genre or the PC industry?
MG: That is a question that we ponder daily. That is very tricky because the expectations are very high in terms of quality, and it is difficult to justify because of piracy and other ways the traditional big game in a box mode of generating content. Dragon Age had a pretty good success with downloadable content for. It's the most successful DLC plan EA has ever put together, and obviously we are going to keep exploring that. That's something that we are trying to navigate. I think PC games are still viable, but not as a big game in a box mode. We have seen subscriptions models working well. The DLC certainly is profitable. There are a lot of really experienced people that are at EA within the Games label and the Playfish label that are exploring how to keep the genre and the platform alive. I couldn't give you an easy answer, but there are a lot of people wondering about that and working on it.
DG: When you were working on the limitations with Halo Wars from going to the console, what limitations did you see when you were working on a console version of an RPG that used to be so gigantic for the company?
MG: I would say one of the biggest differences between the PC and the console versions is how to present and gate the information that's presented to the player. In both cases you need to have that information. But I think that people that are accustomed to playing on the PC are willing to take their data in a much more condensed format. You can throw huge page numbers at them and they will sit through, pour through it and love it. I don't know if that's psychological because people use computers at work to do that. Whereas when you are sitting at a couch having a bowl of chips and a beer, it doesn't feel natural to sit out before a huge spread trying to figure out which does what. So that’s very tricky. Obviously there are control differences between point-and-click and using the game pad. I'd say those are the main challenges of bridging the two products.
DG: From 2010, what were your nominees for the Game of the Year, in terms of what have you played or heard about?
MG: From 2010, I don't know if I have played enough games to really answer that properly and satisfactorily.
DG: Have you played through Mass Effect 2?
MG: Of course I sound hideously biased because I work here and I love all those guys who've worked on that, but that game really was totally amazing.
DG: Outside of Dragon Age II, what are you looking for in 2011?
MG: I am really looking forwards to Gears of War 3 and Mass Effect 3. I can't wait for that to come out. I can't wait for somebody to make Panzer General 3, that's never going to happen, I would love if somebody did.