Former Bioware general manager Aaryn Flynn weighed in on Dragon Age‘s past, stating that the game should have been “PC-centric” and mod-friendly like previous fantasy titles from the studio.
In an interview with Edge magazine, Flynn outlined his wish that fantasy RPG Dragon Age had kept a “Neverwinter-like identity”, prizing versatility and scope for modding. As part of the interview, Flynn spoke fondly of the design approach behind Neverwinter Nights. One of the best RPGs of its time, this earlier title from BioWare spawned an active and long-lived community sustained by fan content and mods.
“We wanted everybody to be able to say ‘I, as a modder, can build the same thing that Bioware does.’,” said Flynn. “We didn’t want any exceptions to that.”
Speaking on how this approach influenced Dragon Age Origins, Flynn made it clear that the first entry in the Dragon Age series “had its fair share of identity crises. Was it going to be a tools-driven, modding-driven game like Neverwinter Nights? Was it going to be a big single-player RPG like The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion?”
Though Flynn was happy that “Dragon Age [Origins] on PC shipped with the toolset”, he expressed his disappointment that this trend didn’t continue for Dragon Age 2 and Dragon Age: Inquisition.”I wish we’d kept that up and stuck to that. Unfortunately, we got, I’d say, a little too homogenous between Mass Effect and Dragon Age. I wish we would have kept more of a PC-centric, Neverwinter-like identity for Dragon Age.”
Having departed Bioware, Flynn became founder and CEO of Inflexion Games, who are currently working on upcoming Victorian-inspired survival title Nightingale.
Though we do not yet know the extent to which Dragon Age: Dreadwolf will return to these mod-friendly roots (if at all), wildly popular fantasy RPG Baldur’s Gate 3 is set to receive official mod support of its own in the near future, perhaps ushering in a return to the era of open-ended, mod-friendly RPGs.