People are ready for deeper role-playing video games -- the problem is that a lot of them just don't know it yet, according to BioWare's Dragon Age II
lead designer Mike Laidlaw.
"For me, I guess, fundamentally, there are more people who are ready to play RPGs than realize it," he said in a new Gamasutra interview
"These are people who will play FarmVille
," he added. "These are people who have shot enough people in the head that they've leveled up in Medal of Honor
. They've gained XP and have received awards as a result. That's an RPG mechanic. They've played [Grand Theft Auto] San Andreas
and they've run enough, and gotten buff enough, that their endurance is a higher. They've leveled."
Laidlaw continued, "It's honestly on RPGs to try to figure out how to take the mechanics that people are actually loving in other genres and say, 'No, no, no. We had those years ago, but we understand that they kind of were scary.'"
Laidlaw was addressing the question of how BioWare plans to target a wider audience with Dragon Age II
, due next month and published by BioWare parent Electronic Arts. The game is the sequel to 2009's Dragon Age: Origins
Fans of the original game have expressed some concern that BioWare would "dumb down" the sequel in order to achieve wider commercial appeal. But Laidlaw said there was no mandate to sell a certain amount of copies through dumbing down the original game's design.
"...The combat has become responsive and faster [in Dragon Age II
]," Laidlaw said. "I think that from a certain point of view that means -- to use internet parlance -- 'OMG you are dumbs down like action game!'"
"I mean there were decisions that we made as a team that said, 'Okay, this is, I think, more welcoming,'" said Laidlaw. "Not 'dumbed down' or anything like that, but welcoming."
For more from Laidlaw on the tricky act of accessibility in RPGs and listening to community input in the creation of Dragon Age II
, read the full Gamasutra feature
, available now.