Monday, September 28, 2009

Dragon Age and Mature Games

EA Bioware sent me some press material for their upcoming RPG Dragon Age: Origins. I loved the Baldur's Gate games back in the day, and I am looking forward to seeing this new game as it is touted as a "spiritual successor" to Baldur's Gate.

Bioware also seems to be positioning this game as a "mature" game, heavy on the blood, violence and possibly sex. It will be interesting to how successful they are. I have no idea how this game will be released in Germany. The very logo is formed out of blood spatter.

I must confess that whenever a work--be it a game, book, or movie--announces that they are trying to be "adult" and "mature" by focusing on violence and sex, I get a sinking feeling. Very often these "mature" works eschew laughter, as if laughter is childish. They go all Sturm und Drang, and end up overly dreary and rather boring.

The single best part of Baldur's Gate was Minsc and his minature Giant Space Hamster Boo. I worry that in Bioware's attempt to be adult, Dragon Age will actively avoid elements like Minsc, and end up a weaker game. But perhaps the Alistair character will fill this void.

A final tip for EA Bioware's advertising team: Using Marilyn Manson to backdrop a fight scene does not demonstrate maturity. It demonstrates a teenager's lack of taste. Let's hope the game has more sense.


  1. They're doing a similar thing with Mass Effect 2 as well ( ). Like Brian Green points out in a comment, it seems likely it's a result of the "EA" bit of "EA Bioware"...

  2. I have faith in Bioware's track record of firm storytelling. I'm not as concerned with the backdrop as with a cinematic game that tells a story, and bioware has done enough for me to give them the benefit of the doubt. I am going to read reviews on Dragon Age when it comes out, and if it looks good, I will probably buy it.

  3. That trailer was a significant turn-off for me, which is sad, because that's a game that I might be interested in. Not that one trailer is going to destroy my interest in a game from Bioware (very few things could, actually), but it's not really encouraging.

    Why don't design companies get that there's a middle ground between gratuitous and sanitized? I don't want sanitized, I'm not a small child living in a world of fluffy bunnies and rainbows anymore... but I don't need oceans of blood and intestines for party streamers either. Something in between would do.

  4. I agree with everything you just said, Rohan. Violence and sex does not equal maturity when it's dealt with in an adolescent way. And humorlessness isn't fun.

    When I found out WAR didn't have dances, and touted that as a selling point, I knew it wasn't the game for me. Adults like to have fun too.

  5. Rhii said what I was going to say. Reading about Origins has really peaked my interested. WATCHING Origins has dropped them by some amount.

  6. Maybe I am alone in this, but after seeing the trailer, I am excited to play DAO.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't revel in gore and sex or anything like that. But it looks like a good storyline that could be entertaining to play.

  7. Play the Witcher. Ignore the stupid card collecting (bleh).

    Other than that, it is the picture card of what a good "mature" rpg can be about.

    PS. Enhanced version.

  8. Damn you for bringing up Minsc. Now I have to go find my old discs and play through that again! I absolutely forgot how good a character he was.

  9. much love for Baldurs much so that my first character for WoW (starting back in beta and still played) was/is a dwarven hunter with a bear pet.. named Boo