BioWare’s Future IP is Story-Based, and Aaryn Flynn Talks BioWare’s Future and Direction
You know, Mark Darrah has been dropping hints about a game. A Dragon Age game in the works and there’s a confirmed game in the making. Is it a coincidence, or does BioWare have more than one IP in progress right now? Thus far, no one has spoken in plurals. General Manager at BioWare, Aaryn Flynn, sits down with Game Informer to talk about the new IP (intellectual property), the status of current games, as well as the current and future going-on’s of BioWare. The main focus was on Andromeda, however. Much of the conversation focused upon the hype leading up to Andromeda’s release still set for Spring of 2017. Flynn speaks extensively in relation to the behind-the-scenes process of the highly anticipated game, and the future of Mass Effect.
However, Flynn is a tough one to crack, careful not to divulge too much about the progress of the new BioWare IP. He succinctly states:
We’re not going to talk about it until we’re confident about what it’s going to be and everything. We’ve been doing reviews with [EA] CEO Andrew Wilson, and I think he likes it. So, knock on wood, we’ll keep working on it and we’ll keep doing it. Hopefully, you’ll hear more about that once Andromeda’s done and we’ve satisfied fans with that game.
Being prompted as to what the EA CEO had to say about the new game during the interview, Flynn responds by saying Wilson thinks the game is more “done” than he expected, at this point. It seems as though the title chugging along at a good pace. “The new IP is interesting. There will be a whole other video chat on that one day, for sure. Lots about that,” said the general manager. Safe to say, he certainly knows how to keep fans on their feet. And it seems everyone is in on it. Nodding to you Darrah. When it comes to developing new projects, says Flynn, it’s a struggle to find balance between taking different approaches while staying true to the company’s reputation.
You have to ask yourself, ‘Do you want to do something that fiercely different or do you want to do something that’s very recognizable?’ ‘Do you want to take something that you’ve done and put a spin on it, or do you want to wipe the slate clean and say what would we do in this.’ And for us, what we said was ‘We’re BioWare’. So, we have a certain kind of game that we love making and we know our fans would love, so we started with that and that’s a game that has as its heart – stories and storytelling. So, we decided we’re going to stick with that. We’re not just going to walk away from that.”
Furthering the conversation on secrecy, Flynn mentions that the lamentable cancellation of Shadow Realms has certainly taught them to keep things a tighter: “The lesson I took away from [Shadow Realms] as the guy running BioWare Canada at the time was simply, ‘Don’t announce things too early.'”
As for Mass Effect: Andromeda, the entire process has been a grand learning experience not only for him, but for Mac Walters, writer and creative director for the Mass Effect trilogy, as well. The two were surprised and impressed by the enthusiasm of the developing team for Andromeda, realizing just how young the company and their franchises really are. Seeing as the first Mass Effect installment was only released in 2007, and Dragon Age just two years after.
…for the first time, people joining the team to work on these games and work in this fiction who started off as gamers and players first, and then became game developers who wanted to build the game that they loved a decade ago. And when we made that realization, we were like ‘Okay!’ So, we sat down with some of them, we talked to them. What Mass Effect meant to them in their heads was so amazingly different than what it meant to us because sometimes we get bogged down in the realities of making computer games, right?
It was a “refreshing” perspective for Flynn. And possibly, realizing the impact their work has made in the gaming industry, as well as the lives of those who have played their games. Without a doubt, it demonstrates the progress BioWare has made as a company. Later, Flynn goes on to answer some inquiries regarding the future of cooperative campaign for the Mass Effect franchise. It is within the realm of possibility and BioWare wants to embrace it.
We love co-op campaign and there is a kind of a story, I think, that lends itself beautifully to co-op campaigns. We did this with SWTOR, right? There are elements of the story you could play with your friends and stuff. There were successes and failures within that execution. But yes, I think co-op campaign is an extremely exciting opportunity for story-telling especially, and it’s one we think about a lot over here.
What do you think BioWare fans? What are your theories on the new IP? Is it the next installment of Dragon Age? Perhaps a new age within the Dragon Age universe? Or something entirely different? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!
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Hoi is an elusive figure at DFTG, whose favorite past-times include chillin' in the Fade, reading manga, watching anime, collecting novelty items, and gaming.