In an Interview with Eurogamer EA Games president Frank Gibeau admitted that the Dragon Age franchise lost some fans with the release of Dragon Age 2.
While the publisher is proud of the game and is positive that it was embraced by many new fans, the mixed reviews and the harsh criticism by many of Bioware’s long time fans is still considered regrettable.
Gibeau stresses quite a lot on the fact that Dragon Age 2 was supposed to “innovate” the genre.
As a personal note from one of the “lost fans” Gibeau talks about, I’d like to point out that seeking innovation can be a very fine undertaking, but only under certain conditions.
First of all, when a developer is almost the sole provider of a distressingly rare genre (hardcore PC RPGs), it’s obvious that innovation that steers away from what makes that genre unique won’t be well received by many.
Secondly, innovation needs to be real innovation, and not just a set of derivative changes that make the game quite a lot more similar to a genre that’s very widespread in the market already (Console-friendly action RPGs).
Maybe Bioware should weigh their existing niche (but solid, at least for now) fanbase against the bigger (but whimsical) market that’s already quite saturated by Action RPGs. Quite often catering to a relatively smaller market, but facing less competitors, can be a very profitable choice.
Gibeau promises that the negative feedback about Dragon Age 2 will be carefully considered to improve the sequel.
We can only hope.