BioWare "Surprised" by Mainstream Success of Dragon Age

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BioWare "Surprised" by Mainstream Success of Dragon Age


Dragon Age: Origins Online Producer Fernando Melo says BioWare was surprised by the mainstream success of the hit fantasy RPG and suggested that the studio might someday consider translating the game into the MMOG genre.

Released in November 2009, Dragon Age: Origins has received widespread critical acclaim, including sky-high review scores, numerous Game of the Year and RPG of the Year awards and perhaps most important of all, more than 3.2 million copies sold as of February 8, not a bad total for a game that billed itself as an old-school, party-based fantasy RPG.

"I think we've been really pleasantly surprised, obviously," Melo said in an interview with IncGamers. "I think we always believed in the game, we always wanted to make this kind of game, but having that kind of validation where it's not just the PC press or gaming press in particular, but mainstream press! We hear about Dragon Age now in TV, news, newspapers, and other media where I never would have expected to see Dragon Age, typically."

As a game created to follow in the footsteps of the decade-old RPG classic Baldur's Gate, Dragon Age: Origins could count on a small but dedicated following of old-timer RPG fans, but Melo noted that the game's audience has grown far beyond that. "We start to see people that are blogging on business sites and they mention Dragon Age, and relationships, and all these other things that I keep seeing cropping up, and it's crazy! It's fantastic," he said.

As for the future, BioWare plans DLC, expansions, sequels and, Melo suggested, maybe some thought about a move into the MMOG space. There's "enough material there and there's enough richness to the world that we could do it," he said. "Whether we want to or whether it's something that we would consider doing, time will tell."

Dragon Age: Awakening, the first expansion to Dragon Age: Origins, is set for release on March 16 in North America and March 18 in Europe.


Thats because its a good game.

Bioware make some of the best RPGS on the planet, they deserve the attention.

I'm actually surprised it's so popular. I'm a big RPG fan (and a Bioware fan), but I thought Dragon Age wasn't all that great. In my opinion, it's a pretty mediocre game (at least on console, I never got to try out the PC version).

When you're a major studio, name recognition goes a long way. I like 'em.

Although, they really suck at making DLC. I'm never getting Bioware DLC unless its free.

*goes back to playing Final Fantasy 13*

Once I'm finished this, I might get around to finishing ME2, and then...finally beating Dragon Age. For the first time.

I was surprised too. Never thought that something as generic as Dragon Age would do so well, especially when stuff like Oblivion, Fallout 3, and Mass Effect 2 is out and rocking.

Hurrah for Bioware!
As a rabid Bioware fanboy who wants to name his future daughter Imoen (Though the wife is stonewalling that one), this is excellent news. I've been holding off my full 2nd playthrough of Dragon age until Awakening comes out, and I'm pretty excited!
Great games deserve great praise.

I am surprised too! The game had shitty trailer-music.

Although it was a pretty dang good game.

I'm glad the game did so well, it will encourage developers to continue making solid single player games.

Why so surprised?

Its a game full of blood and violence and massive-huge swords, where the main enemies are (to all intents and purposes) zombies and the end boss is a fat-huge fire-breathing magic demon dragon. Oh and the writing, outside of the rather generic main campaign, is first-class.

Apart from being rather buggy on release (in my experience at least), there aren't many negatives.

I quite liked Dragon Age. It was quite good fun, a good length. I'm surprised that it sold so well, given that it's sort of niche.

Perhaps it had a lot to do with timing. There weren't a lot of RPG's to choose from at the time. Of course, being a Bioware game certainly helped. I personally didn't dig the game much, but I'm way too ADD these days to properly enjoy a game so thick with conversation.

Meh I'm waiting for goty edition with all the dlc. It isn't worth paying $120 for a complete game. There hasn't been a good RPG since Oblivion. And even that failed in the story department.

This is what happens when you make a great game and actually promote it to people other than the ones who you know are going to buy the game anyway. Kudos to Bioware on the sales numbers.. now, when's DA2 coming? Hehe

It had it's moments of awesomeness for me but after awhile i got a little bored of it.

Honestly, I'd be opposed to a DA MMO simply because of its typical fantasy setting. If they want a successful MMO that can compete with WoW and the like, I think their niche lies in either big franchise adaptations like ToR and/or settings not overtly common in the MMO genre (fantasy being the most common setting of course). Here's hoping we get an awesome Mass Effect MMO one day.

They are surprised with the success of a great single-player game and the first thing they consider is making it an MMO? DA goes KOTOR.

well lets talk about a Bioware mmo after the new Old Rebublic comes out.

also, there's a lot of dnd nerds out there, and DA:O fits that style really well. Not all video gamers are just into shooters. Im not surprised at all

Um... am I the only one that thought dragon age was a bit like a single player WOW. It was good but an MMOG would seem like a WOW ripoff, even if its not trying to be.

One of the things that I like (from what I have read, having not played it due to being too poor to afford it) is that the use of magic has a price and that price is your sanity. It's definately Dark fantasy, and that's something you don't see too much of these days in non-Japanese RPGs.

Onyx Oblivion:
I'm never buying Bioware DLC unless its free.

Sorry, I just had the mental image of someone demanding to pay for content because its free of charge.

OT: It was an exceptionally good game, they deserve it.

I'd go broke playing TOR and the DA MMO.

Actually I think the success was because RPGS have always been a *BIG* Niche market, something people in their constant search for tapping the mainstream market tend to forget. Dragon Age succeeded because it was more or less a real RPG with tons of numbers, customization, and really no "twitch" in the combat at all. This brought in the RPG fans who have always been a market force, who had been waiting for a game like this for a looong time now given the way RPGs have been turning into glorified action games with some customizable components which wind up irritating both crowds. Dragon Age had many flaws, but it was an attempt to do a straight RPG with a decent budget.

The success of Dragon Age is also noteworthy because I think that the RPG niche market isn't diluted because there isn't much in the way of competion anymore. It's not like when you had a bunch of RPGs coming out every month, and had big franchises like Might And Magic, Wizardry, and Ultima all competing for the same basic audience along with all the other lesser productions. This means Bioware pretty much got the entire market for their product, or at least a good portion of it that wasn't paranoid due to all the disappointments. In comparison tons of people are releasing action-RPG hybrids and "compromises" and such which means that the market for those games is getting split up every which way as people with limited budgets go to specific products.

I also suspect that Dragon Age: Origins helped Mass Effect 2 quite a bit in sales because it got a lot of real RPG players to buy it who might otherwise have skipped it, hoping it would be like DA:O. I also think that while ME2 was a success this is one of the reasons why it's gotten sume very negative responses from some people because it was just barely could even claim to be a hybrid, never mind a full bodied RPG.

Such are my thoughts.

The RPG Niche Market can support a number of developers, but can be saturated (it has happened before) right now it's rife for exploitation.

Considering the amount spent on advertising Dragon Age, I'm thinking Mr Melo is acting a bit too surprised. Just saying.

Oh god, they want to move another perfectly good series in a MMO? Isn't KoTOR enough? Must you sacrifice more?

The only consolation is that MMOs compete heavily with each other, meaning there probably simply isn't enough markets for a Dragon Age one.

I don't get their fascination with the genre anway: Bioware's games are deeply solitary ones, focusing on guiding your personal characters through a story-rich experience. It makes no sense to me that they would want to turn games like that into MMOs.

Well, good for them. I've never been blown away by Bioware games, but they're certainly not bad. I just don't understand why nearly every developer seems to think the logical next step for an IP is to make an MMO out of it. As has been seen before quite frequently, the MMO formula is not a recipe for instant success. In fact, it's just as likely to send the series crashing and burning, and I'm afraid that's what'll happen here. Let's face it: a Dragon Age MMO would look like every other generic fantasy MMO on the market right now, and do very little to attract new customers. If Bioware do decide to do an MMO, I hope they try something drastically different from the norm.

I disagree. I think that the success of DAO resides in the structure of the game. Every big quest rewards you really well, the NPCs are deep and interesting, the leveling mechanic is simple enough that anyone with an elementary knowledge of RPGs can make a decent character, but complete enough so that someone who knows their shit will make a killing machine. There are hundreds of items and they almost never feel like generic copy+paste of other items, of just simple upgrades of the weapon you have. The map allows you to play for dozens of hours in sidequests, but you can go back to the main storyline anytime you want to.
Everything just fits beautifully, and even though the game has its faults, the good parts are so well done that I keep going back to it even though I've finished the game with three characters.
Oh and it's a good thing that the hard mode is pretty god damn hard. That's what hard mode is supposed to be, the last obstacle after you've had your share of Normal.
If I had to call it something, I'd call it "solid".

The conversations and characters were amazing, but I don't think it'd do well for a MMO.
Like a poster above stated, it'd be a little too much like WoW, nevermind the fact it probably wouldn't be able to keep its quirky humor intact with the lack of AI dogging after you.

I love reading this thread and all the "Oh, it's popular now? Well, I didn't like it!" replies. Granted, that's to be expected on the internet...

That is all we need. Yet another worthless MMO.

translating the game into the MMOG genre.

Wouldn't that just be WoW, except with the brightness setting turned down? Or Warhammer Online? Or Age of Conan? Or Lord of the Rings Online? Or that D&D MMO? Or any of those attempted fantasy MMOs that start out strong but quickly have to shut down 90% of their servers because people try it and realise that it's nothing new?

Personally, I didn't like Dragon Age that much. It was an incredibly solid, well-polished RPG, but not much more than that. I suppose I did enjoy it for quite a while, but there just wasn't enough imagination or uniqueness to keep me playing for the dozens of hours required to see it all the way through.

I'll be honest. I only bought Dragon Age because it was made by Bioware. And I was pleasantly surprised. It was quite an enjoyable romp, and I need to replay it while not rushing through the story.

Besides, can anyone sit here and say that all the characters were one-dimensional? No. They were all, if you took the time to get to know them, quite well-developed. Or stared at Morrigan to declare her well-developed.

I'd much rather have Dragon Age 2 (minus the loot stash bum rape they performed) then a Dragon Age MMO, personally.

I thought all of Bioware's games sold very well? This is a surprise? Ah well good for them.
Can't wait for the expansion.

I'd much rather have Dragon Age 2 (minus the loot stash bum rape they performed) then a Dragon Age MMO, personally.

I'd be willing to bet you're going to get your wish.
It's easy to say "One day we'd like to maneuver this successful single player game into a giant MMORPG that gets us 15 bucks a month from everyone who plays it". But then you look at how many soldiers have fallen in the war fields where WoW reigns supreme and you realize that making just a few hundred million dollars by putting a second game on steam is good enough.

That's very good news, if Origins sold well it makes future Dragon Age games much more likely.

Baby Tea:
Hurrah for Bioware!
... wants to name his future daughter Imoen (Though the wife is stonewalling that one)...

My brother can sympathize with you on that.

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