Laidlaw: Dragon Age II’s weaknesses “must be improved”

Tuesday, 31st May 2011 04:58 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Dragon Age lead designer Mike Laidlaw has responded to criticism of Dragon Age II, thanking players for feedback and standing by the game’s narrative elements.

Writing on the BioWare forums, Laidlaw said he’d refrained from posting while tempers were running hot but hadn’t been deaf to complaints.

“I am absolutely aware of the concerns voiced here,” he said.

“Issues like level re-use, the implementation of wave combat, concerns about the narrative and significance of choice and so on have all been not only noted, but examined, inspected and [have] even aided me (and many, many others on the team) in formulating future plans.

“Further, I’m not only aware of the concerns, but I agree that there are aspects of [Dragon Age II] that not only can but must be improved in future installments. And that is precisely our intent.”

Adding that he felt “very proud” of the development team’s work on Dragon Age II, he said the sequel had pushed the series into a “space that has more potential”.

“Potential for rich stories, for deeper RPG mechanics, for more choice, and for something even more epic to come. The story events of [Dragon Age II] have fundamentally altered the political and power landscape of Thedas, in a way that’s open to intrigue, drama and sweeping conflict in the future, and evolves a world that, while still very much involving the Grey Wardens and Darkspawn, is about more than just that one struggle.”

The designer said the studio is looking at some way to formalise feedback from fans, since it had been so helpful.

“Hawke’s story was a departure from the usual tale, and in crafting it and the game around it we learned a lot. Some from what worked, but even more from what didn’t. Such is always the way.

“I hope that in the future we’ll be able to discuss how we’re addressing your concerns and even solicit feedback from you on future plans in the process, but for now, I hope a simple thank you will suffice.”

Laidlaw also posted a number of environmental artworks, again dropping slight hints of upcoming DLC.

Dragon Age II released to mixed reviews, drawing criticism for recycled assets, limited environments, and repetitive combat and quests.

Thanks, CVG.



  1. KingCancer

    refreshing to hear a lead speak like this. better than the usual tirades like “you don’t understand my game.” wha wha.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. aleph31

    Another issue imho is that the abilities system wasn’t entirely selectable: you had to bear in mind all the time the possible combos and interactions with other character’s abilities, to obtain pluses that were mandatory to achieve victory in combat. All this imposed big reductions in the catalogue of specializations to choose from. That sucked a lot. In my case, I became aware of this too late, so I end up stuck near the end of the game. To redesign the strategy assigning XP to abilities meant that I needed to restart the game, something I didn’t do of course.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Gurdil

    @2 Hum I think you can reassign your XP without restarting the whole game. I’m even sure of that. I don’t recall exactly how you do it cause I only used this feature once to change Merrill into a healer (that was weird btw) cause I chose not to support Anders in one of my walkthroughs but I think it had something to do with the Black Emporium.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Maximum Payne

    Well first, armors for everyone!

    #4 4 years ago
  5. deadstoned

    Nice to see they’re addressing the wave combat and recycled environments. Those aspects really annoyed me and made the game just feel cheap :( .

    #5 4 years ago
  6. DSB

    Seems like Bioware are having a hard time selling their new style to their own staff.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. bpcgos

    Seems like CD PR (with the witcher 2) have been able to push Bioware so that they feels necessary to give some respons toward DA 2 flaws (they ignore it by keeps silence until TW2 launched). Nice, CDPR! You’re trully the Assasins of the kings!

    #7 4 years ago
  8. TheWulf

    My major complaint is that their setting in Dragon Age is so dull as to the point where it puts me to sleep. If you look at some of the best fantasy authors out there (I’d like to cite Gaiman, here) then it’s obvious what you can do with it. It can be amazing, it should be fantastic. But what they’ve gone with is a far too serious medieval setting with some magic bolted on.

    Yawn. It’s fantasy, damn it! At least show some initiative, Bioware. Or hire people with imagination and drive to do that for you. Good grief. Really, the settings of their games have consistently been as dreary as they possibly could be.

    “Let’s do a gritty take on Lord of the Rings with a sort of gangsta vibe, yeah, that’ll inspire people!”

    Except no, no it won’t. Lord of the Rings if fantasy from the distant past, various mediums (especially books) have been advancing what fantasy can be for a long, long time now. I look at Dragon Age and I could cry due to all the wasted potential and resources.

    If they want to make fantasy games that’ll sell, all they have to do is hire some truly imaginative and creative people. Actually put the genre of fantasy to good use.

    Wizardry 8 was fantasy but it had a bloody talking spaceship in it, and despite how strange that is, it was all well explained within the confines of a really well told story. So I can’t help but feel that somehow now we’re going backwards.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. IL DUCE

    @1 pretty much made the same point with a lot more words

    The metacritic score dropped about ten points from the first to second so that should pretty much say it all…they didn’t need to make such a drastic change to this stylized whacky combat, pretty much take Origins combat and make the buttons respond immediately and your fine no need for these overly acrobatic combos…but that aside, its different when they took some rpg elements out from mass effect to mass effect 2 but you cannot do that to a legit fantasy rpg because it makes no sense and turns it into an action adventure game instead of an rpg…basically Laidlaw’s dumb ass shouldve stuck with what worked the first time and improved upon it not completely overhaul the franchise and while the story telling aspect was unique and fresh it was also kind of stupid…maybe they should do some research and take a few hints from a little something called Skyrim which drops in 5 months…

    #9 4 years ago

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