Mike Laidlaw, Dragon Age II's lead designer, posted a response to fan criticism on the BioWare forums earlier this week, acknowledging some areas of the game that weren't perceived as being up to scratch, thanking fans for their patience and support and standing by the sequel's movement of the series into a 'space that has more potential'.
We all know that the internet is where fans comes together to talk shit about the things that we don't like, to pick apart any and all inadequacy in ruthlessly pedantic fashion. Which is why it's worthy of applause when a game designer holds his or her hands up and responds to critical mutterings in a professional manner, something Laidlaw acknowledges he found difficult initially after a number of criticisms became rather personal. But moving to clear the air, he stressed that 'while I haven't been posting, we have been listening', and outlined a number of things that the team had taken onboard.
I am absolutely aware of the concerns voiced here. Issues like level re-use, the implementation of wave combat, concerns about the narrative and significance of choice and so on have all been not only noted, but examined, inspected and even aided me (and many, many others on the team) in formulating future plans. Further, I'm not only aware of the concerns, but I agree that there are aspects of DA II that not only can but must be improved in future installments. And that is precisely our intent.
That said, Laidlaw also stood by the work he and his team did, saying that 'I am very proud of what the team accomplished with Dragon Age II', highlighting the increased accessibility and suggesting that Hawke's tale means 'there's also more potential for rich stories, for deeper RPG mechanics, for more choice, and for something even more epic to come'.
Hawke's story was a departure from the usual tale, and in crafting it and the game around it we learned a lot. Some from what worked, but even more from what didn't. Such is always the way.
Laidlaw also spoke briefly of hoping to create a process by which the studio might 'solicit feedback from [fans] on future plans in the process' and signed off with a 'simple thank you'. You can read the full thing here. [via CVG]