BioWare says that console versions of its upcoming RPG Dragon Age: Origins, still shrouded in secrecy, will be "true, actual conversions" that take advantage of the platforms, rather than just straight-up ports of the PC original.
MTV Multiplayer's Patrick Klepek expressed concern last week that Dragon Age: Origins, described by BioWare co-founder Ray Muzyka as a "spiritual successor" to the legendary Baldur's Gate series, might have trouble gaining traction with console gamers more familiar with games like Mass Effect and Knights of the Old Republic. Both games were hits, but more the point they were also considerably different than BioWare's earlier, PC-only efforts, giving players far more up-close-and-personal control over combat with a third-person shooter style. Dragon Age: Origins, however, will feature the top-down, "pauseable real-time" combat familiar to fans of the Infinity Engine.
Klepek noted that combat in Dragon Age: Origins is "different than anything BioWare has attempted for a console game before" and suggested that while extensive changes to the interface might make it palatable for console gamers, "In its current, state, [he] can't see how it would directly map to a controller."
Have no fear, says BioWare, because that's exactly what's being done. "I think really catering the platform to support the console, or whatever platform it is, is key," said Dragon Age: Origins Executive Producer Dan Tudge. "Even though on the PC this is a great core PC experience, when we bring that over it's also an intuitive console experience. We don't just convert it over and say 'here it is' but [make] a true, actual conversion that's true to the platform."
"We really started [Dragon Age] right from the get-go as a core PC title," he continued. "During development, we realized this didn't just have to be PC - the audiences have migrated. [We've been] able to do things that still keep it very old school and (a) very spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate but also make it new and accessible."
It's a tall order but BioWare has pulled off similar, albeit reverse, efforts in the past, overhauling the Mass Effect interface to take advantage of the mouse and keyboard setup on PCs. It's a safe bet that BioWare will be able to successfully translate the game mechanics to the controller, but whether gamers raised on simplified KOTOR-style gameplay will take to the more tactical action of old-school RPGs is another question entirely.
Source: MTV Multiplayer