BioWare and the Frostbite 3 Engine at E3


For a few specific reasons, EA is one of the companies I’m actually more interested to see show their stuff at E3 this year. Most notably I’m interested in their next generation game engine and what BioWare might do with it. I haven’t really seen a massive amount of chatter going on about it.

When EA and DICE unveiled the Frostbite 3 engine along with Battlefield 4, they went on about how the new tech is gonna allow for “more human storytelling” in games, even going so far as to paint the 17-minute gameplay demo as some heart-wrenching story. Pretty much everyone wrote that off, knowing that for BF4 this pretty much just means prettier explosions and maybe larger and more destructible environments. Does anyone really care that BF4 is gonna try to have a story?

If there’s one company within EA that can actually use prettier graphics to enhance their storytelling, it’s probably BioWare, who are already confirmed to be using Frostbite 3 for Mass Effect and Dragon Age. Say what you want about their recent games, but BioWare is one of the few developers in this industry still able to write stories with characters I actually care about. The main reason I even play Mass Effect and Dragon Age to be honest is to interact with each game’s characters.

Think about it: in what other games from EA do you spend more time looking at a character’s face as they move their mouth? Any improved visuals tied to characters and facial animation will definitely see the most benefit in BioWare’s games. On current generation hardware games like L.A. Noire are already trying to combine core gameplay mechanics with narrative by requiring players to read characters’ increasingly realistic faces. Who better to take advantage of this than BioWare? We pretty much already know Dragon Age III is going to be at E3 next week.

Yeah yeah Dragon Age II wasn’t as good as Dragon Age: Origins, but I think at the very least the next game will be better than that. DAII turned out the way it did mainly because of its rushed development cycle. The game only came out 16 months after Origins. Assuming DAIII comes out next year, it’ll have been three years since DAII’s release. I think they’ve learned not to rush the game out this time around.

Whether it’ll actually be as good as Origins was in terms of gameplay is another discussion. I’m really just anticipating what BioWare’s storytelling is gonna look like through the lens of DICE’s new engine.

It’s also looking like we’re gonna see quite the gang of dark fantasy RPGs at E3 going into next year as well. On top of DAIII, The Witcher 3 is going to be shown behind closed doors, and Dark Souls II is already advertising around the convention center (all three games running on new engines too).


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