BioWare's Dr Greg Zeschuk • Page 4

At length on making Dragon Age, the toolset, and the merger with Mythic.

Eurogamer: Changing the subject, can you tell us a bit about how the user-generated content for Dragon Age will work?

Dr Greg Zeschuk: It's only on the PC, obviously. There was actually a lot of work for us to do: we always planned it, but we hadn't taken the steps, so halfway though development we were, "Oh yeah, we have to rip it out from our internal database. Okaaaaay, how do we do that?" Literally months were taken to rip the tools out of there. It's generally the same tools we use. The key thing is that certain elements of the game aren't made in the toolset - things like character models - and we'll make sure that you can import that stuff if you want to go use Maya or 3D Max to make it, and we'll do the same thing for animation. But beyond that, most of the stuff is there: laying out areas, prop placement.

There's sort of a tile system - it's hard to call them tile systems any more because it's so much more advanced than Neverwinter Nights - as well as a terrain system, so you can do both smooth outdoor areas, and really complicated buildings and things. All the dialogue tools are there. For the acting stuff, you'll have to use pre-set emotions, but a lot of that stuff is there.

We had actually toolset events at BioWare and mod guys that worked on Neverwinter came out and worked on the new tools, and one of the fans actually acted out a Shakespeare play. It wasn't super killer, but it was really cool, because you can just see people taking this in really interesting directions. It's only for PC, but we want to try and figure out if we can take that content over to console to play it.

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Eurogamer: How have things changed for BioWare since the Mythic merger? How has it affected your day-to-day operations?

Dr Greg Zeschuk: Interestingly, not that much. I think because we had been already working side by side within EA, we had already been sharing stuff back and forth, so there wasn't any, "Oh no, now we're forced to share things, how terrible." We'll just continue what we're doing, which is actually sharing technology ideas.

I think it will work very much like the Austin studio. Austin is one of the BioWare studios, but they're very independent. They manage the internal processes, they run it like a BioWare studio, but in the Austin vision. They've got stuff they're working on, Mythic's got stuff they're working on, and it's going to be a great team there. We've known the people there for quite a while, so in general, they've got their agenda, we've got our goals, they've got their goals, and what Ray and I do at an overall group level is try and make sure that everything's aligned and all the sharing's happening and everyone's supported and getting the resources they need.

Eurogamer: Will you be using Mythic's experience with MMOs on Star Wars: The Old Republic?

Dr Greg Zeschuk: Oh yeah, without a doubt.

Eurogamer: Does that go the other way, too? Could you be brought in to lend BioWare's storytelling skills to help out on Warhammer Online, which seems to be having subscriber problems? Have you been asked to help give it a popularity boost by association?

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Dr Greg Zeschuk: I don't know. I think we always have lots of opinions to share, Ray and I. We've both played Warhammer, and actually I've still been playing it on and off for a while, so I think for us it's not to much a popularity boost as just the fact that we can probably bring perspectives to the table that will be new and perhaps helpful to the guys from Mythic in the same way from an online perspective they can certainly share with us. To give credit to the Austin team, we have a number of serious MMO veterans on there, so it's certainly not neophytes, but there's absolutely opportunities to share and learn things back and forth.

Eurogamer: Behind the scenes does it feel like there's just one company now?

Dr Greg Zeschuk: Oh no, there absolutely is still BioWare and Mythic, we're not merged at all. That's kind of how it all works. Ray and I, we've never operated by telling people what to do, that's one of the reasons why we have great games: we don't tell our team how to build Dragon Age. We say, "Here are the goals," and they go and figure out how they want it to work.

Dr Greg Zeschuk is co-founder of BioWare. For more on Dragon Age: Origins, which is due out on 23rd October, check out our in-depth hands-on preview elsewhere on the site today.

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