BioWare co-founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk have been talking to Gamasutra
about upcoming fantasy franchise Dragon Age
, saying they "view it as a platform" as much as a game, with DLC and user-generated content a key part of the experience.
It's an attempt to infuse a single-player game with the kind of community-nurturing, connected features that are a staple of many online multiplayer games. BioWare's goal is to have people share their Dragon Age
experiences with one another without actually playing the game together -- and keep them coming back for more.
"We view it as a platform, and we're launching Dragon Age
as a huge, expansive high-quality game," Muzyka said. "We're planning for a platform around that, that you can dock new things in. Like user-generated content; we're releasing toolsets so people can make their own content. We're going to be releasing a lot of premium downloadable content for purchase post-release that will expand the possibility space of the universe."
He continued, "We're surfacing a lot of the heroic accomplishments and achievements that players do so there can be a social narrative outside of the game where they can share what they're doing with their friends. And those things together will create a very vibrant, strong community and make Dragon Age
a platform, an economic platform for a long time with a long tail."
Single-player RPGs historically don't give players much reason to return; once a story is complete and a character hits max level, a game is shelved or sold. Zeschuk believes that Dragon Age
can change that trend by giving gamers incentive to repeatedly return to the game's universe.
"Even though it's a single-player role-playing game and story, it's still a connected game," Zeschuk said. "We live in this world where everything is getting more and more connected digitally, and from within the game, you're going to be able to search through user-created content that you may want to insert in."
"These are all things that we think are fundamental to being current. Even though the very fundamental gameplay is an enhancement of old-school mechanics, plus a merger of new school cinematics, at the same time, it's connected so that in a sense people are still playing together -- it's just they're not in the same game. They're sharing stuff."
He added that the RPG genre is particularly suited for such a strategy. "We think an RPG is the perfect game to [create a platform] with. It's meaningful enough that people get so attached to them, they want to play it forever. They don't want to leave that world or leave those characters. It's exciting. That's really our goal with it."
You can read the full Dragon Age feature
, where Muzyka and Zeschuk talk about life after EA's acquisition of their studio, status of current projects and the struggles of trying to be original in the crowded fantasy genre (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from other websites).