A little birdy reveals Dragon Age III. Anyone surprised?

As is the norm for modern day reveal, BioWare have chosen Twitter as a good place to coyly announce the development of Dragon Age III. Yep, a third is on the way, hot on the heels of the second which released just a few months ago. Senior director of creative development, Alistair McNally, tweeted the studio’s need for “exceptional environment artists,” purposely using the tag #DragonAge3 to cause all kinds of “OMG”s on the social site.

It’s no surprise that game number three is in the works for a franchise as popular as Dragon Age but it amused me to read the want for more environment artists after the criticisms of DA2. One of its sticking points was how you seemingly visited the same location over and over again, heavily relying on recycled backgrounds. Are BioWare looking to right the wrongs of repetition? It would appear that way.

Lets hope the team get a little longer to work on Dragon Age III than they did with the second though. A famously short development timescale soured more than an ignorable number of gamers but EA boss John Riccitiello has gone on record (via That Video Game Blog) with his desire for annualising the publisher’s top properties. That could very well mean Dragon Age, Dead Space and Medal of Honor (to name a few) would have yearly iterations instead of the 18 month – 2 year breathing space that is good for certain IPs. This may not be a such a bad thing as it clearly works for Call of Duty and sport games so why not for all types? Well we’ve seen the crushing effect of milking a franchise for all its worth with the demise of Guitar Hero and subsequently Rock Band too. Given the breadth and scope of fantasy RPGs like Dragon Age, the more time they have, they better then experience and less likely they are to have you running around a dungeon wondering whether you’ve been there before.

Still, a third Dragon Age huh? Cool. I’d best get cracking on the second one just in case it does appear around March 2012.


Dragon Age II demo confirmed

The ‘will they, won’t they’ saga of BioWare releasing the rumoured Dragon Age II demo to consoles has come to an end with the developer announcing that it will indeed and in a matter of weeks too. February 22nd is the date for Xbox 360 and PS3 owners to circle in their diaries (if you keep a diary and not rely on scraps of paper as I do!), introducing us to Hawke, DA2‘s protagonist as well as three different classes. The demo gives us the chance to play through the game’s prologue where on completion, a brand new location, Kirkwall, becomes available. There, Isabela, a romantic interest and smuggler will be waiting. Once all the schmoozing is out the way and the demo wraps up, anyone who goes on to play the full game of Dragon Age II unlocks Hayder’s Razor, an dwarven blade with the ability to increase health, mana and combat abilities.

So what will the world make of Hawke and the new console-focused control scheme? The original Dragon Age didn’t have a pre-release demo, nor did a lot of BioWare properties, suggesting that maybe the team feel they have something to prove, that DA2 will be as good a game as the first if not better. A large number of media outlets have positive previews about the game and being a developer with such a brilliant track record, I don’t think there’ll be much to worry about.

The rights and wrongs of Dragon Age as told by the developers

You may love Dragon Age: Origins for its story, tactics and acceptance into the high-fantasy world it called home but like all proud parents of an over achiever, BioWare only want more. In this video (after the break), executive producer of Dragon Age 2, Mark Darrah and his band of merry developers, talk openly and critically about the highs and lows of their first Dragon Age game and how that effected its sequel. One thing that seems constant throughout is how the characters get utterly covered in blood! I mean really, someone get that dude a wet wipe or something.

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Lonely? Meet My Wife

If like the alleged 83% of Japanese Xbox 360 owners you’re without a significant other, then Idea Factory have made the game for you. Sporting a name more familiar to swingers parties than marital bliss, My Wife: A Wife just For You lets you create your ideal wife from a number of preset personalities; Childhood Friend Type, Cinderella Princess Type, Older Sister Type (how very disturbing), Gentle and Natural Type and probably the most questionable, Little Sister Type. Once you’ve picked her demeanor, voice name etc the ‘Lover Chapter’ begins, taking you back to when the pair of you just met. Soon you’ll find yourself at ‘Wife Chapter’ where ‘Dinner Mode’ and ‘Sleep Together Mode’ (seen after the break – it’s not rude so don’t worry) become available and mini games like a simple quiz or clothes drying game make up the gameplay elements.

It’s very odd to view this with western eyes since culturally, these kind of games are so Japan-focused that it’s hard to understand the appeal. But there has been a renewed shift in western ideas with games like Dragon Age and the Mass Effect franchise actively rewarding you for flirting with in-game characters. Sure it’s nowhere near My Wife: A Wife Just For You in terms of severity but BioWare have expressed their interest in making a dating-only add on for Mass Effect 2. With all the ignorance towards videogames, I doubt the west would produce anything similar to these dating sims for fear of the media misinterpreting them. It’s not a genre that particularly interests me but I’m all for open-minded views towards gaming.

My Wife: A Wife Just For You goes on sale in Japan in August with voice changing DLC for the wives and additional costumes all coming shortly after.

{Thanks Andriasang}

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