Do you think something like Mass Effect 2 might have the potential to get someone who is less roleplaying-inclined to become slightly more interested in what might happen in that kind of scenario?
GZ: I think it definitely would. I think the key is to obviously get them to try it. They've got to try it, they've got to play it. And then when they find out... Say they're a shooter player, a very significant portion of the game, they're very familiar with and very good at already, they'll be more inclined to play it.
The key thing with the story delivery is to ensure that it's not intrusive or heavy-handed or overbearing. It can be fast and entertaining and keep pacing really fast, and then draw people in. It's the kind of game that like from a hit-buyer's perspective, everyone should try it.
I think of any of our games, this is the one that's the most of a calling card. And then they'll see the customization, and they'll go, "Oh, this is not so bad. I kind of like it." And they'll be open to more and deeper experiences. Or just more of the same.
I've actually been asking this question of quite a few people. Do you think there is potential to create a game that pretty much has a reverse of the Mass Effect 2 action-to-dialogue ratio -- very exploration and discovery-oriented?
GZ: I think those are Bethesda's games. [laughs] You know what I mean? It's interesting in the sense... And I respect them. Actually I love their games. What's interesting is it really emphasizes what we're all individually as companies are good at and what we have determined to be our secret sauce, or whatever it is. And you push it, push it, push it.
You can see this direct linear relationship over time of where we've been going, and you can do the same with them. It's really neat. I look at their games. They've added a little more story and obviously in Fallout 3 than they had historically, but really the backbone of that game was just the ability to cruise around all over the place. That was just stunning.It's interesting you say that, because for me, in Fallout 3, the main thing that was great for me was walking from point A to point B, I see something to distract myself and more stuff to discover.
GZ: It's crazy. [laughs] The thing is I spend so much time not doing things, I was like, "Oh man, I spent 40 hours, and where's that story again?" And I have to turn back.Dragon Age is pretty much an offline MMO on the PC side.
GZ: A large part of it is, yeah.
How do you intend to differentiate it from your upcoming MMO?
I think the key thing that we've accomplished with Star Wars: The Old Republic is having all the really great stuff you have in an MMO, just stuff you expect like crafting, the trading, and all these crazy things that really you need to sort of drive it, and then pairing in story.
What's interesting is we're in a testing phase now for the games. We're playing it and testing it and seeing how it works. I think the key thing will also be, how do you share quests and how do you interact together?
I think one of the most interestingly differentiated elements is that ability to share conversations. I think that's going to be something that really will be very, very interesting, because we have discussions around how you resolve these situations. You know, disagreements create a whole new social level that hasn't existed. So, I think that's actually going to be really fun.
As social networks proliferate, I haven't quite seen someone integrating what's good about Facebook, and your ability to talk to friends, and see what they're up to with an MMO that is of a large scale. Do you see potential there?
GZ: I see some potential there. I think for me, Facebook is the place to share the info with your friends, but I think it's also a double-edged sword. I mean, we all turn off the feeds of games and apps that spam us like crazy. You have to be careful about it. I think we keep the amount of apps or widgets that are like user-driven that you can then sort of use those... And I think actually, my understanding of where Facebook's going, too, is not so much info on the feed but more in applications and stuff.