Mass Effect, Dragon Age dev BioWare defends fan criticism

"It's interactive, so you're going to have your say."

BioWare has addressed the importance of gamer feedback in the wake of the Mass Effect 3 ending furore and the company's recent request for fan suggestions on the future of its Dragon Age series.

Engaging with gamers and listening to their comments does not necessarily mean the developer is pandering to fans, BioWare Montreal development director Dorian Kieken told Gamesindustry.

"If someone gives a well thought out criticism, something that is tangible, those are the people that we try to reward as much as possible. And we want to reward them, because that feedback is how we make better games," Kieken explained.

"On the opposite side, opinion that is too emotional, we won't reward that in the same way. The more you put that as your philosophy, the more you start to have a culture where people are trying to be more analytical with their feedback."

In short, Kieken believes BioWare profits from listening to fans. But the key to acting on feedback is taking a "balanced approach".

"It's a fine line with dangers on one side or the other, but it's the healthy one. And I think it's representative of what gaming is. It's not a two-hour art-form that's imposed upon you. It's interactive, so you're going to have your say on it."

In the same breath, Kieken explained the importance of making successful games; that despite being owned by publishing giant Electronic Arts, BioWare does not have a guarantee of financial stability.

"If we have two games in a row, as expensive as we are, that don't do well at all... we need to be careful," Kiekan explained.

Examples of BioWare engaging with fans include the recently-announced Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut DLC to better flesh out the game's controversial endings. It will be offered free after BioWare admitted fans needed "more closure" to the sci-fi trilogy.

The company has also been sharing material and ideas for the next Dragon Age project, before it has been formally announced.

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Tom Phillips

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