Interactivity is what sets video games apart from other mediums. So it is odd that Bioware – who brought us the incredible Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect 2 – seem to be the only game developers that bother to make the stories interactive.
While there’s definitely a place for the classic cutscene/gameplay divide, there’s also a lot of games ideas and potential that you can’t help but wish Bioware would bring their unique storytelling and writing ability to. Here’s a simple wish-list to imagine the possibilities.
Whatever your thoughts on the Metal Gear series, you have to admit that creator Hideo Kojima has brought innovation to his games and has told some good stories. His ideas through Bioware’s storytelling medium could lead to something incredible. Their clever exposition and interactivity would fix the lengthy cutscenes so many complain about. Not to mention that as well his ideas, Kojima could bring his directorial skills, and frame the plot with style.
There’s the possibilities of a more interactive Snatcher or Policenauts sequel. Or something totally new! While Metal Gear Solid’s defined characters wouldn’t mesh with Bioware’s optionality – the secret agent drama, the military accuracy and incredible stealth/action gameplay of the series could be used to make something very special indeed.
Remember the critically lauded moments in Grand Theft Auto IV when you had to choose who lives and who dies? Ever since Vice City in which the protagonist builds a criminal empire, some gamers have been yearning for dialogue trees and decision-making.
Ideally, you would be able to configure how you handle missions and what you’re doing, but you could even become more immersed in the world, given the opportunity to talk to people. More importantly, building that criminal empire – deciding what drugs to deal in, what casinos to take over, what gangs to deal with (if you make enemies with Gang A, then their allies Gang B will be after you. If you befriend Gang C, their enemies Gang D might come after you!), being able to talk your way out of a tricky situation like a deal gone bad, etc.
Then there’s Red Dead Redemption…
Hironobu Sakaguchi is the father of Final Fantasy, and it is what is today – without him. Now he’s at Mistwalker sneakily continuing his series in the form of games like Lost Odyssey and Last Story.
If Bioware were to take one of the best creative minds in JRPG history, and use all the good ideas, steering clear of clichés…Think of the perfect East meets West game that could be created. The JRPG story (and perhaps battle system) with Western RPG sensibilities. It could be the next revolution in the genre.
Plus, music maestro Nobuo Uematsu might come along for the ride!
Fans and critics alike have been clamouring for change in the Pokémon formula, and plenty want a full fledged console game. Imagine being able to talk to trainers (think of the trading!) and gym leaders, to having an effect (positive or negative) on the world in the game and choosing what kind of Pokémon trainer you want to be.
David Cage and the folks at Quantic Dream, who brought us the flawed but somewhat brilliant Heavy Rain and Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy are the only developers who seem to make games based in the real modern world. Outside of sports and racing games, anyway.
They could bring their ideas, stories and setting, Bioware could massively improve the writing (they know how to write a romance subplot without surprise zombie sex!) and have full conversation trees and general gameplay polish – like being able to skip individual lines. They could curtail any off-the-rails ideas or plot holes too.
This dream (sorry) team could make a gripping, well-written, gritty, realistic drama that could be a step forward for video games.
The number one complaint amongst fans of the original Fallout games seems to be the poor quality of the dialogue in Fallout 3. Between conversation options for having high intelligence being painfully obvious statements, there were plot holes and excluding that one Megaton decision – a considerable lack of choice.
Bioware would be the perfect solution to the barely passable stories in Fallout 3 or Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion.
Bethesda proved they are very good at building gorgeous, detailed worlds that beckon exploration, whereas exploration in Bioware games is largely done via menus. It’s win-win!
(Honourable mention to Obsidian Entertainment for the good ideas that Bioware could use. Imagine if Alpha Protocol and Knights of the Old Republic 2 didn’t suck!)
Instead of selecting ‘fart’ from a menu until a gauge goes up to a ring symbol so you can ‘propose’ to a generic NPC robot with soundclips…What if you could actually talk to characters with personalities?
Developer Peter Molyneux’s ideas for the Fable series when put together with Bioware would…Be polishing a turd. Even if you replaced it with something good, it’s still generic fantasy with no substance or real good ideas.
Just go play Neverwinter Nights or Dragon Age or something instead.
What developer team-ups would you like to see in games?