“Skyrim changed RPGs completely,” says Dragon Age producer

By Matt Martin, Monday, 3 November 2014 15:41 GMT

Bethesda’s role-playing game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim brought a whole new audience and expectations to the RPG genre, says the producer of Dragon Age: Inquisition.

skyrim

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, BioWare’s Mark Darrah said that since the developer released Dragon Age II, and following huge sales of Skyrim, a player’s concept of exploration and value for money in an RPG are now completely different.

“Skyrim changed the landscape for role-playing games completely,” he said. “I mean Oblivion probably sold six million units, basically that range, Skyrim sold 20 million. So that, to some degree, changes everything.”

“People age, they typically have less time for games, so it changes their expectations in terms of gameplay segments. It also results in some nostalgia. So they may become even more firm in their attachment to previous features.

“I think that’s what we may be seeing here. I don’t know that role-playing games will be necessarily dominant but I do think we may see open-world exploration games being the dominant genre of this generation.”

“Now suddenly you have 15 million people that have basically had the first RPG they’ve ever played as Skyrim. They have totally different expectations of what storytelling is, what exploration is, and I think exploration is really where we’ve seen the biggest change.

He said that with a change in hardware comes a change in the dominant game genre, and that open-world games may come to define the Xbox One and PS4 generation.

“The hardware has brought back the ability to do big again and I think that’s what’s bringing role-playing games back to the forefront. What we’ve traditionally seen is that as a console generation turns over the dominant genre has changed. Shooters weren’t the dominant genre a generation ago, it was racing games. If you go back before that, to the PlayStation 1 era, it was actually role-playing games. I think that’s what we may be seeing here. I don’t know that role-playing games will be necessarily dominant but I do think we may see open-world exploration games being the dominant genre of this generation.

Darrah also revealed that Bioware had at one point been working on a multiplayer-only Dragon Age game codenamed Blackfoot, the technology of which was incorporated into Inquisition.

“We actually had a project code-named Blackfoot which was the first game we had that was looking at Frostbite. It was a Dragon Age game, multiplayer only, that was in development before Dragon Age II came out. That became the core of what became Dragon Age Inquisition, the techlines, more than any of the development, so we’ve actually been looking at this a long time.”

The full interview can be read here.

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