BioWare: EA helped us "see everything"

Didn't understand DLC when independent.

BioWare's full of praise for new owner EA, which has helped the RPG-maker see the light in terms of creating, pricing and planning downloadable content.

"What's cool is there is a lot of knowledge and information sharing, so that leads to a consistency in behaviour among a lot of the EA studios," Greg Zeschuk, co-boss and chief thinker at BioWare, told UGO. "Someone says, 'Hey, we've been very successful in doing it this way,' and everyone sees that and goes, 'Great, let's adapt it or adapt our own way of doing it.'

"It's actually more of a carrot rather than the stick, quite literally. We all collectively want to be successful, so if someone cracks the code on a concept we all tend to look at it and try to adapt it to what we are doing. I think itís the positive thing about being in a big company.

"When we were an independent, we never had that information; we never knew what other companies' products did or how they sold DLC," he added. "Now we see everything."

Downloadable content is a fundamental part of BioWare's plans for the Dragon Age and Mass Effect franchises, and as such has been "invested in". That means we're never apparently going to be in a position where content from the main game is sacrificed for release at a later date as DLC.

"We learn every game with what thing works. It's important for fans to understand that we finish our main games, and we aren't carving things off to release as packs," chimed BioWare's other half, Ray Muzyuka.

"It's not like a piece of lunch meat," Zeschuk added, explaining that a team works in parallel to the main game to develop the new content, enabling a speedy and full post-launch DLC schedule.

Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect 2 are also frontrunners of EA's Project Ten Dollar initiative, which aims to dissuade used-game-sales by offering first-hand buyers a code for a free lump of DLC worth around $10.

BioWare doesn't apparently think about the effect this has on used sales, but rather concentrates on the long-term plan: "having a good relationship with the customer," said Muzyka.

Dragon Age: Origins has just received its first expansion pack, Awakening, which we thought was superb.

Mass Effect 2 gains the Firewalker pack later this month and with it the Hammerhead heavy assault vehicle. This will be free to all first-hand buyers that redeemed their Cerberus Network code. Then, on 6th April, arrives Kasumi's Stolen Memory, which introduces the twelfth and last recruit to the game.

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