Now I know that the obvious answer is yes, yes they can make sequels, but have they ever made a sequel that is better than the original? To that I say quite simply a resounding. No. No they haven’t. Bioware is responsible for a great many games, most of them arguably great games that deserve praise. Especially in the early 90’s and early 2000’s with hit like Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights. I myself have lost myself to countless hours of Bioware’s RPG ingenuity and I love the company. However, in recent years it seems they have had a major issue and that is in the creation of sequels.
(Bioware, letting you sleep with your choice of woman, or man, since the 90’s)
Now in the 1990’s Bioware wasn’t owned by the greedy EA games, they were owned by a smaller company called Interplay. They were a really small company and didn’t have much experience under their belt. Their first game isn’t important here but what is important is that shortly after beginning with Interplay they created a game that is still sacred today. Baldur’s Gate. Now if you haven’t played Baldur’s Gate, that is okay, it’s old. Again 90’s. However Baldur’s gate was based on of the pen and paper game Dungeons and Dragons and was a huge success.
Baldur’s gate went on to sell over 2 million copies which as we know from my Nintendo article, means it is a critical success. Baldur’s Gate II the sequel successor released in the year 2000 and was just as big of a meteoric success. However things were only beginning for such a small company.
(From humble beginnings)
Eventually Bioware started working for Atari which led to some beautiful games. First and the game to introduce me to Isometric RPGS, Neverwinter Nights. Seriously if you haven’t played this game and like things such as Pillars of Eternity, find it and buy it. Not the MMO though, that’s crap. Eventually we would get games like Knights of the Old Republic and even yes…JADE FREAKIGN EMPIRE! Where’s my sequel BIOWARE! GIVE IT TO ME NOW!!!!
Sorry. I really like that game. Anyways eventually we get releases for Mass Effect and Dragon age under the tutelage of EA. So then that’s where things start to get dicy and the whole point of this post will start to make sense! Yes in the 2000’s Bioware forgot how to make a sequel.
(Seriously, Play Neverwinter Nights)
Forgetting How To make A Sequel
We are going to break this down game by game, except for Mass Effect since I have an entire post about the differences in the two and how Mass Effect 2 is just a steaming pile of EA fecal matter. Regardless, lets begin.
Now we never got a true Bioware sequel to this game. Neverwinter nights is one of my favorite top-down RPG’s of all time. There’s a lot of reasons to this and eventually I will give a really good post dedicated to this game. However, Neverwinter nights could be played like traditionally, where you would play through the game proper getting gear, leveling up, and eventually bedding some demon you met in the pub. All of this led to a great experience, however you could also create your own items, levels and all of sorts of crazy things. You could create entire campaigns if you wanted to.
Neverwinter Nights was a great game with a great attitude. I loved the game and couldn’t wait for more. Neverwinter nights 2 came out and I never played it. It was 4 years later, but from everything I understood it is a pretty good game. It wasn’t by Bioware though so we can mostly ignore it for now and just say that it was probably a good sequel.
(Fiery goat demon thing, I think I’m sold)
Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic I + II
Now if you knew me when I was about 12 years old and came into my room at about 2 A.M. you would have seen the little Platinumist sitting on his black futon in his dark red room with the lights off playing Knights of The Old Republic. That game was my jelly. If I was peanut butter that is. That game is and was spectacular. Star Wars full blow RPG, awesome semi-turn based combat, vibro-swords, blasters and Lightsabers! What wasn’t to freaking love!? I was head over heels with this game.
I played it so many times going from light side to dark side, male smuggler, soldier or even warrior. No I didn’t play female, 12-year-old me was dumb. I fell in love with KOTOR and rightfully so, as most who played it also fell in love with the game. However it did lead way to one interesting question, what would KOTOR II look like? Well you know, it was more Star Wars. Also not by Bioware, it was by Obsidian. So again we can’t even tell if they knew how to make proper sequels.
(It’s everywhere, it’s inexcusable if you haven’t played this by now)
Enough said here. I didn’t get a sequel. I’m still waiting.
I have covered this is an entirely different article which you can find here. I wanted to take a second and talk about Mass Effect Andromeda however. Now we can consider Mass Effect Andromeda the second series in the Mass Effect Universe. Technically if you laid Mass Effect back to back 1,2 and 3 would all make perfect sense, for the most part. They all have the same story threads and all follow the same protagonist, Shepard. However when we get to Mass Effect Andromeda we get a very different story.
Andromeda is a mess, no that isn’t a hit against all of the technical flaws the game has, although it has plenty, rather it is against what the game is trying to be. Mass Effect was always about exploring and discovering a great plot. Something that Andromeda never becomes. In fact the biggest problems with Mass Effect Andromeda is that it is a completely boring plot with boring characters. They introduce new alien species but they never feel as fleshed out as what came before.
(I think I have taken dumps with more class then these new alien races)
To say that a sequel to the original trilogy would come out and wouldn’t make any waves is an understatement, for the most part I don’t hear anyone talking about Andromeda like I did the original 3. I may have my qualms about Mass Effect 2, but I can understand why people like it. Mass Effect Andromeda though isn’t going to be taking any awards home soon. It’s gameplay feels outdated, it’s graphics feel weird and cheesy, and it’s just a kind of shell from the games made in the past. If you want to see the proof that Bioware doesn’t know how to make sequels, just look right at this series, but I think we have a better example coming up.
Dragon Age (Origins, 2 and Inquisition)
Talk about a series that doesn’t know how to stick with a numbering or title system. I loved the original Dragon Age Origins, in fact it is probably in my top ten games of all time (so far). The reason for this is just how beautifully it is made. There are multiple different approaches to the game, Dwarf, Human, or Elf. Then there are even more options as to their backstories or even what classes you can pick. All of this made the original game so good.
When Dragon Age II released I was excited. The originals story was so good, so original that I couldn’t wait to see what was next. Instead of getting a proper sequel where I was exploring all over the world as the next generation of Grey Warden I became someone who I didn’t care about. You are put in the role of Hawke who was a very boring character. Eventually you become the champion of Kirkwall and that’s not even the problem with the game itself.
(Fancy Sliders and Face customizations don’t beat the background stories from Origins)
No, Dragon Age II’s problem was the lack of options. This can be said of Mass Effect 2 and Andromeda as well! Dragon Age Origins allowed for you to be a dwarf commoner or even a Royal. It allowed for deep class customizations from being a Blood Mage to even being an Arcane warrior who used magic and freaking cool swords. Dragon Age II lets you pick one of three classes and there isn’t much customization past there. You could specialize in a certain class type, but it wasn’t the same as what Dragon Age Origins had previously.
Now the rest of the problems are a post for a different day, but what about inquisition, I mean everyone loved Dragon Age Inquisition right? No. I hated Inquisition. I thought that it was the biggest offense to the entire problem. Did they bring back multiple races…yes, but it wasn’t in the right way. The races were cool in Origins because it meant something. Gamers were treated entirely different, sure you were closed off from certain romance options in Inquisition, but it’s not the same.
(So to have maximum bangin’ time play a female elf… got it)
The problem here is that with every true sequel that Bioware does they cut out something from the original. Which does it streamline the experience, absolutely, but it doesn’t make it a better experience. For every feature they cut they actually cut something good at the same time. Inquisition had better maps and more diversity, but in doing so got rid of the combat that made Dragon Age II good. Inquisition brought races back, but forget to create backstories for those races that made you invested in them. The Inquisition is also nowhere near as interesting as being a Grey Warden. It’s problems like these that plague Inquisition and the Dragon age series which leads me to keep asking these questions, Does Bioware know how to make sequels?
The Answer to the Question-
Is Bioware capable of making sequels? I think the answer is pretty obvious, but no. I don’t think they can. In fact throughout the entire history of the company they prove time and time again they don’t. You know what though, that’s okay. I think that is a perfectly okay problem to have. The reality is that the team at Bioware seems like they have the most fun when they are creating something entirely new. Something different.
(I would love bioware to make a post-apocalyptic RPG)
Look at Jade Empire, we will probably never get another one, I want one, but that game is the most out there game of anything they have ever created. I would also say that it is probably one of their best games as well. It is interesting, fun and has such a cool world to explore. Bioware move from world to world and the best work they have is usually in the original game. I would much rather get new worlds from Bioware then another Mass Effect game. I would rather see what they could do in a post apocalyptic zombie world over even another Dragon Age.
I’m serious when I say this, Bioware stop making sequels. Just make good games. I know you can make sequels, but I think we all know at this point, maybe it’s time to stop. Oh and make me another Jade Empire. Okay?