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Dragon Age Producer: Dedicating Resources To Distinguishing PC, Console Versions 'Paid Off'

A combination of platform-specific development, the rise of digital distribution, and commitment to storytelling propelled Dragon Age to strong commercial success, producer Fernando Melo tells Gamasutra.
Despite being a three-system game, BioWare's Dragon Age: Origins had much clearer platform differentiation between console and PC SKUs than most modern games do -- and online producer Fernando Melo tells Gamasutra that effort has "really paid off" in the game's commercial success. "When we originally started talking about Origins before it came out, there were a lot of questions about, 'Is the PC market dead?'" Melo recalled. But despite those concerns, the PC version of the game "is doing really, really well," he said, adding, "It was really a surprise." "I think the market was always there," Melo said. "Perhaps the idea of taking a console game and porting it back to PC wasn't working, but something like this -- which was built first for a PC audience -- I think that’s really paid off." Of course, that applies to console platforms as well, Melo stressed. "We invested quite a lot of time making sure that it made for a good console game as well, as opposed to just doing a port," he noted, "because the same is true both ways." Melo said digital distribution was also a key factor in the game's success on the PC. "That has helped quite a bit," he said. "It’s done very well on there." That claim is supported by statements made by EA in its recent quarterly financial results. The publisher said its digital distribution business grew 30 percent year-over-year to reach a high of $152 million for the quarter. But perhaps more than any of those factors, Melo believes Dragon Age's success was driven by the core philosophy of the development team. "We always felt very strongly about this kind of game, and I think we were going to make it regardless," he recently told Gamasutra. "What this has shown is that people love great story; people love good games of any fashion. It's really helping the team to validate that, yes, this is something people want."

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