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BioWare: why sequels are good

"From a gamer's perspective it's a positive."

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Image credit: Eurogamer

Some criticised game show E3 2011 for its focus on sequels, but for one game developer they're a good thing.

That developer is BioWare, creator of Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 3, the third game in the science-fiction shooter role-playing series.

"There are a couple of reasons why sequels are actually good in the games business," BioWare boss Greg Zeschuk told Eurogamer.

"Actually making one game is really hard. When you have a chance to leverage your tools and technology for a follow-up, it gets easier.

"We talk about how this is probably one of our best demoes ever here for Mass Effect 3, and the game itself we feel will probably one of our best ever. It wouldn't have been that way if it was just a one off. From a gamer's perspective it's a positive."

E3 showcased the likes of Battlefield 3, Modern Warfare 3, Uncharted 3 and Halo 4. For some, it was evidence of a lack of innovation, but for BioWare, that's not necessarily the case.

"You have to innovate," co-founder Ray Muzyka said. "Innovation means taking some risks creatively. When you're doing a sequel, if you're thoughtful and you understand your audience well and you spend a lot of time listening to what they like and don't like, you take risks – sometimes they pay out, sometimes they don't – but if you listen you can continue to refine and make the games better and better.

"You can adjust the right variables in a sequel. They're good if you do them right."

"When it can be a negative is when people get lazy and rest on their laurels and don't use ambition for the sequel and create something that's predictable and there's nothing unexpected," Zeschuk added.

"We use the phrase, 'surprise and delight' our fans with our games, and if you fail at that..."

Muzyka and Zeschuk's comments echo those of Quake and Doom developer id Software, which told Eurogamer at E3 that it hopes to make sequels to upcoming first-person shooter Rage.

"Games that are sequels are unfairly criticised," CEO Todd Hollenshead said. "One regard is they're not original. You can do a lot of original things in a sequel as long as you're consistent and true to the universe that game comes up in."

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