The Writers of BioWare

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The Writers of BioWare

The characters in Dragon Age: Origins feel a little...familiar.

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Sagacious Zu a remorseless killer? That guy was moaning over his "sins" all game, and Canderous Ordo was a warrior with a set of personal values and beliefs that defined him as that, not just some killer.

Good point, but I think that BioWare has managed to characterise their "archetypes" so well (both voice actors, backstory and visual design) in their different games, that it doesn't really stand out as a cliché or something cringeworthy.

APPCRASH:
Sagacious Zu a remorseless killer? That guy was moaning over his "sins" all game, and Canderous Ordo was a warrior with a set of personal values and beliefs that defined him as that, not just some killer.

Well he WAS a remorseless killer before the time of the game, only to repent. I'd say the role was more suited to Death's Hand, but he's not a follower.

I agree with you on most of these except for Alistair and Garrus.

How is Garrus emo?

Having never played any other Bioware games previously, it really wasn't a problem for me. I thought all the charactors had a really good amount of depth to them and none of them had something that was unbelievable about them.

I think there are more similarities between their games than just the writing.

I am SO glad that I'm not the only one who has noticed that BioWare just keeps rehashing the same story and characters over and over and over and over again.

"You and your band of archetypes must go kill this thing (which is older than time itself) before these evil group of people get to the thing to use it against humanity."

And people complain about the Halo series, Modern Warfare 2, and the like being thin on story?

Seasons of Bailey:
I think there are more similarities between their games than just the writing.

Yeah, like everything else.

level250geek:
I am SO glad that I'm not the only one who has noticed that BioWare just keeps rehashing the same story and characters over and over and over and over again.

"You and your band of archetypes must go kill this thing (which is older than time itself) before these evil group of people get to the thing to use it against humanity."

And people complain about the Halo series, Modern Warfare 2, and the like being thin on story?

Oh, and you usually see the bad guy at the start of the game.

Ehmm....
CAAAAAAAAAARRTTHHHH!!!

Good, that's out of the way.
Funny, I was thinking about the same thing. But I have to disagree in one very tiny little point:
HK-47 is awesome.
Seriously.

But you're right, Kotor 2's storytelling and characters were pretty different. I dunno... somehow the whole "big quest to save teh galaxyz" was just a little bit more personal.
And the ending sucked. But the game was still great.

You forgot to mention Minsc in the Berserker category.

And, frankly, if Minsc popped up in every Bioware game, I'd buy them for that reason alone.

As long as the games sell like hotcakes, they'll keep to their formula. When and if the market changes, they'll update the formula, but not before.

Just ask Coca-Cola about their experiences with updating the formula...

You're calling Garrus emo an *NOT* Kaiden?

Garrus schtick was "Rogue Cop", as in "I can get things done, the hell with the rules!" The only things he whined about was not becoming a Spectre and not getting the guy that got away as part of his sidequest.

Kaiden would tell you his life story growning up in the abusive biotic training camp, at length. -_-;

The only reason I can understand for not including him in the list is he's voiced by the same VA as Carth Onasi.

I always thought I saw similarities in some charaters, but I totally disagree with you, Shamus.

I mean, I thought you would say Kaiden Alenko and Carth Onasi were going to fill the same archetype, but you didn't. (They even have the same voice actor...!)

The thing is that people in the real world are going to fill these arcehetypes the same ways. There are "types" of people, and despite the small differences in their personality, if you spend enough time with a person you can figure out what their little archetype is.

I think the Bioware writers are very good at what they do, despite the similarities that their characters have across the games. I've always loved Bioware's stories. It's why I can stand the combat of KotOR and Dragon Age. Honestly, who wants to just stand there and watch someone do the attacking for them? Not I, but I love the game's story. The combat just doesn't matter anymore at that point.

Well, actually these standard characters appear quite frequently in both video games, movies, manga, anime and so on. They are some of the classic main-characters-cliche that fill a lot of entertainment today. Sure BioWare use these over and over again, but many do! I'm sure you could find the character cliches in Harry Potter if you gave it a shot, and I'm confident almost every anime out there will include some of the classic characters that we know and love. The dark one, the happy cheery and innocent one, the careless one and the mean one. D'uh...

You can see certain character types a rehashed, but for some reason with Bioware games it never seems to bother me so much. I started playing Dragonage and the minute I met Morrigan I wanted to paint her skin black and give her pointy ears. . . and it didn't bother me in the slightest. I just enjoyed the fact I had Viconia in my party again after a very long hiatus.

That being said, when Obsidian took over it meant you had Chris Avalone doing the story for KOTOR 2. He's one of the best at what he does, and what he does is tell good stories by circumventing established tropes (Torment, Fallout, ect). I don't blame the end of KOTOR 2 on him because it was a result of pressure from Lucas Arts. As good as Bioware's writers are, there are very few Chris Avalones in the world.

Regardless of their "rut," the story telling is still the best in the business.

I actually really enjoy Morrigan's quips. Her and Alistair have some pretty amusing exchanges. I keep them both in my party even though I'd rather an ice mage than a shapeshifter just because I like the dynamic. Morrigan's character fits her background. She was alienated from human contact since she was a child.

I hate Sten. I save his life and what do I get? Always with the question dodging and saying I smell like wet dogs. Fuck you, you cornrowed Andre the Giant baby killer!

BioWare is kind of like the George Lucas of gaming. They'll produce something flashy and well-polished that's worth experiencing, but they're simply not skilled enough to get past a certain point. Obsidian's in the reverse situation. They've got skilled writers, but can't quite get the polish right. Their games are often buggy or clunky in some way.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I'll be getting ME2 when it comes out, but I'm not expecting anything above blockbuster action movie from the script. And I'm gonna enjoy it for what it is.

Seasons of Bailey:

level250geek:
I am SO glad that I'm not the only one who has noticed that BioWare just keeps rehashing the same story and characters over and over and over and over again.

"You and your band of archetypes must go kill this thing (which is older than time itself) before these evil group of people get to the thing to use it against humanity."

And people complain about the Halo series, Modern Warfare 2, and the like being thin on story?

Oh, and you usually see the bad guy at the start of the game.

Yeah, it was the voice actor that tipped me off.

But yeah, I did notice that all BioWare games seem to have their token comic relief badass (Beserker in this article).

Yes, I realized I omitted Kaiden after I'd submitted the article. He was more Emo than Garrius.

I like their stuff, but I do notice some ideas getting over-used.
KOTOR1 and 2 both had their perks as far as scripts went.

I thought it broke new ground to put an old woman in a game. How many other games have an old woman in them?

Also, in each 'category' the members differ a lot. Bastilia is haughty and fears she's not met the perfection she demands of herself; Morrigan is sarcastic and troubled by her past. Carth is sort of wide-eyed and excitable, while Alistair is sort of self-deprecating and nonplussed. Sten was brutal, while Ordo was more noble. HK is upbeat while Wrex is...well, pissy. Leliana is bright and sunny while Mission was more worldly without being cynical. Wynne is serene while Jolee was cantankerous. As for pets, well, there's not much to differentiate them, but one's a tank and the other is a complete support character.

Sure--all BioWare characters and plots and such have a lot in common. However, to just lump them in categories (which really have as much to do with their functions--an issue all RPG suffer from, I mean, does an emo tank make much sense?--as with the writing) kinda glosses over just how different the characters are.

Garrus? Emo? Wash you mouth out with soap!
The only thing Garrus complains about is C-Sec. If you were in as much buerocracy as he claims it to be, then you'd complain too.

Cheeze_Pavilion:
I thought it broke new ground to put an old woman in a game. How many other games have an old woman in them?

i know it's not bioware but it is a bioware series...KOTOR 2 *COUGH* Kreia the old lady sith lord *COUGH*

VegetaPrinceofSaiyans:

Cheeze_Pavilion:
I thought it broke new ground to put an old woman in a game. How many other games have an old woman in them?

i know it's not bioware but it is a bioware series...KOTOR 2 *COUGH* Kreia the old lady sith lord *COUGH*

*SNIFFLE* that's one *SNIFFLE*

Notice how I said "how many other" as opposed to "no other" ;-D

Bioware is in a rut...? News to me what with Dragon Age earning rave reviews & Mass Effect 2 and The Old Republic on the horizon...

God damnit Shamus, now I'm no longer in ignorant bliss! Now I shall always notice!

Cheeze_Pavilion:
I thought it broke new ground to put an old woman in a game. How many other games have an old woman in them?

KOTOR2 had an old woman. And Wynne can't really count as an old woman... she was way too dirty minded. Some of the things she said had me going "Oh my god... no... my ears." followed by laughter.

Jou-LotD:

Cheeze_Pavilion:
I thought it broke new ground to put an old woman in a game. How many other games have an old woman in them?

KOTOR2 had an old woman. And Wynne can't really count as an old woman... she was way too dirty minded. Some of the things she said had me going "Oh my god... no... my ears." followed by laughter.

Heh--that was the other great thing about Wynne: she was old but it wasn't, like, 'Grandma Death has joined your Party'.

Oh, a twist. Here in the beginning I thought you were complaining about the archetypes, and then in the end you seem to imply it's a good thing. I think. There was that comment about changing writers... Okay, I'm a little confused.

Xandus117:
I agree with you on most of these except for Alistair and Garrus.

How is Garrus emo?

Personally, I wouldn't even call Alistair emo. At least in this neck of the woods (and in certain circles) emo has come to signify someone acting moody and depressed with no good reason to do so. In Alistair's case, seeing your close friend and long term mentor die due to a last minute act of betrayal and also bearing the potentially huge responsibility of having to be King someday, despite the fact the very prospect scares the hell out of you. seem like viable reasons to me.

Though touching on similarities between Bioware games, at least ME and DA:O, being the only two I have played, they themselves both seem to follow a particular template:

Character with a specific background chosen by the player is inducted into an elite order (Spectres/Grey Wardens) then proceeds to recruit an assortment of allies in order to aid them in combatting a periodically recurring threat (The Invasion of the Reapers/The Blight) that threatens to destroy all life.

Just for fun, and in light of Mass Effect 2, I can predict characters of the following ilk will be appearing in the follow up to Dragon Age, along with who they will be replacing.

Leliana will be ousted in favour of a brash, heavily tattoed rogue who sings loud songs about the violent exploits of the Antivan Crows and gets her kicks from slaying chantry sisters in her spare time. She also swears a lot.

Shale will disappear in favour of a another golem, imaginatively named Crush, with a penchant for charging head first into enemies and generally being irrationally violent and incredibly bland at the same time.

Alistair will be replaced by a new renegade Templar character that likes to adorn his armour with the bones of Apostates he has slain for abandoning the Circle. After he has tortured them and feasted on their flesh of course.

Ok, maybe this is getting a bit ridiculous, but I had to give it a go anyway.

MarsProbe:

Xandus117:
I agree with you on most of these except for Alistair and Garrus.

How is Garrus emo?

Personally, I wouldn't even call Alistair emo. At least in this neck of the woods (and in certain circles) emo has come to signify someone acting moody and depressed with no good reason to do so. In Alistair's case, seeing your close friend and long term mentor die due to a last minute act of betrayal and also bearing the potentially huge responsibility of having to be King someday, despite the fact the very prospect scares the hell out of you. seem like viable reasons to me.

Though touching on similarities between Bioware games, at least ME and DA:O, being the only two I have played, they themselves both seem to follow a particular template:

Character with a specific background chosen by the player is inducted into an elite order (Spectres/Grey Wardens) then proceeds to recruit an assortment of allies in order to aid them in combatting a periodically recurring threat (The Invasion of the Reapers/The Blight) that threatens to destroy all life.

Just for fun, and in light of Mass Effect 2, I can predict characters of the following ilk will be appearing in the follow up to Dragon Age, along with who they will be replacing.

Leliana will be ousted in favour of a brash, heavily tattoed rogue who sings loud songs about the violent exploits of the Antivan Crows and gets her kicks from slaying chantry sisters in her spare time. She also swears a lot.

Shale will disappear in favour of a another golem, imaginatively named Crush, with a penchant for charging head first into enemies and generally being irrationally violent and incredibly bland at the same time.

Alistair will be replaced by a new renegade Templar character that likes to adorn his armour with the bones of Apostates he has slain for abandoning the Circle. After he has tortured them and feasted on their flesh of course.

Ok, maybe this is getting a bit ridiculous, but I had to give it a go anyway.

And throughout the entire story Sheperd.. ahem, Warden will be followed by a mysterious Darkspawn that has become so obsessed with him/her that they wear old pieces of their armour. Which they won't be short of due to the amount I discarded old boots during Dragon Age.

I do seem to notice this as well, but it's not necessarily a bad thing , and they always put some sort of twist on the archetype with the character(s) in each game. Xan was basically GENERAL emo, but I still enjoyed having him in my party...only reason I didn't keep him was 'cause Dynaheir could cast fireball and minsc would leave without her... Although, I noticed that while minsc and perhaps xzar might fit the Token Badass Comic relief, I never really classified Montaron or Khalid...and I tremendously enjoyed both Imoen and Aerie even though they were pretty much spot-on The Pilgrim. I agree gorion fits the mentor role, but you don't really see too much of him. Also, Jaheira was one of the funniest shrews I met XP ("Jaheira, why do you always scowl?" "silly child, if you knew me better, you'd know this is how I smile")..that made me laugh.
Huh...and I thought I wouldn't find many of the archetypes in BG...I noticed them a bit in the KOTOR games, but shrugged it off.
No matter, I'm still a huge bioware fan, if only 'cause of the sheer variety they add. I wonder...what if hideo kojima joined bioware...
/end late-night/early-morning rant

level250geek:
I am SO glad that I'm not the only one who has noticed that BioWare just keeps rehashing the same story and characters over and over and over and over again.

"You and your band of archetypes must go kill this thing (which is older than time itself) before these evil group of people get to the thing to use it against humanity."

And people complain about the Halo series, Modern Warfare 2, and the like being thin on story?

ha yeah....but i enjoy them all heaps,it's not just bioware, rockstar have had some pretty annoying repettive stuff, every game they make seem to be a revenge story where you were friends with some guy and then he shot some guy that you were also friends with and then you spend the whole game trying to shoot him for revenge. it happened in GTA several times and they are releasing a new game call "red dead redemption" which follows that storyline exactly except its about cowboys instead of gangsters.

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