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BioWare: Mature industry can drop violence from games

Mon 06 Jul 2009 10:13am GMT / 6:13am EDT / 3:13am PDT
Development

Triple A titles that don't rely on combat as main hook are on the horizon, says RPG studio founders

EA BioWare

BioWare develops high quality console, PC and online role-playing games, focused on rich stories, unforgettable...

bioware.com

It may have been a staple of game design since the industry began, but BioWare's founders believe that soon mainstream blockbuster games could drop the reliance on combat and violence to attract players.

As the audience for games expands and becomes more mainstream, even more players can be attracted to gaming for its storytelling rather than combat thrills, said Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka in an interview published today.

"We talk a certain amount internally about whether you need to have combat as part of the experience. Are there possibilities to actually start separating pieces of the game and actually tailor it to the audience?" said Zeschuk, creative officer of BioWare. "Certainly the core gaming experience, folks that are used to playing games over the last ten years, they want to have those battle moments, and the fighting. But there are different audiences that would maybe just enjoy the story.

"I think it's actually possible. I think the interesting thing about it too is I don't know if it's even necessarily a technology thing. I think once we've got the breadth of audience available to us, there could be really good opportunities created by different people coming to games that are story-driven."

Co-founder of the studio Ray Muzyka agrees with Zeschuk, adding that the industry is now confidently maturing and opening up to multiple possibilities in a similar evolution to the movie industry.

"I think you look at the last 20, 30 years of the industry, saying the videogame industry took off in the 80s, where we are now is almost like the mid-point of maturation of the industry. It's almost like we finally got our camera built in the movie sense.

"It took a long time, decades in the movie industry, where we went from black and white to talkies to the point where we actually started to get rich acting and direction and the subtle moves of camera and things like that that are now accepted practices.

"From that point on the industry just flourished, and I think the videogame industry is at that point now where you're going to start to see this blossoming of all kinds of really cool, multiple dimensions of different kinds of settings and genres and kinds of characterisation as the gaming industry moves from early adopters to early mainstream, to the mainstream who are now embracing games as their main form of entertainment.

He added: "It's exciting to be in the industry at this time particularly with something as compelling as emotion and engaging narrative. For BioWare that's our vision, to really create these stories and characters that people believe in and they get emotional reactions to. They feel something. We're excited about it."

The full interview with Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka can be read here.

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