July 16, 2024

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The director of Dragon Age: The Veilguard talks role-playing systems, skill trees, and inspiration from Final Fantasy XII

The director of Dragon Age: The Veilguard talks role-playing systems, skill trees, and inspiration from Final Fantasy XII

Dragon Age: Veil It was fully revealed through a series of exciting activities this week, with BioWare releasing a trailer, some gameplay footage, and a bunch of information. But since the promotional materials focus on courting the mainstream with dazzling action-driven footage and a cast of characters, this has of course led to one major fan protesting: Is it still a role-playing game?

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Naturally, we were interested in that too. The hands-on provided glimpses of an amazing character creator, interesting dialogue choices, and some of the consequences of those choices – all of which are essential elements of role-playing. But what about combat? What about good old RPG character progression and growth, which in many ways is the bedrock of the genre?

After watching the hands-off demo, we had the opportunity to chat briefly with Dragon Age: The Veilguard director Corinne Busche – who immediately flaunts herself as a true RPG geek. I get the impression we could sit and talk about classic RPGs and their mechanics for hours; She is one of us. In our short chat, she expands on how The Veilguard’s progression, growth, and skill tree work – revealing subtle information not found in the demo shown thus far. Here is our conversation.


RPG website: So, can you talk to me generally about… In that preview, we don’t even see the menu, right? So, can you talk to me about where the game is and what it’s like in terms of RPG progression, from a hardcore RPG fan’s perspective?

Corinne Bush: Incredibly deep! So if you are the opposite Mass effect Reverse Dragon AgeFor example… I really consider Mass Effect an ARPG. Great action, minor RPG. We’re almost the exact opposite of that.

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So, after a few missions, you can instantly unlock the skill tree, and at each level up, you get skill points of course. The skill tree is absolutely massive and is specific to your class. So when we talk about specializations, we know that skill trees can be confusing for players as well. So what I like – I will try to paint you a picture….

When it opens, imagine a huge spider web-like visual spectacle. And if you’re a wizard, that’s what a wizard’s group is all about.

RPG website: So I’m going to interrupt you here briefly and say something – this may resonate with you, maybe it doesn’t – but when you say that, I think, er… Final Fantasy X Sphere Grid.

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Corinne Bush: Strongly affected! definitely. Final Fantasy X – One of my all-time favorite games. I will tell you that issue 12, especially the Zodiac version, is my favorite. The level of ability selection, passives, in our case also attributes – I would say the amount of customization is more similar to that. The organization is more similar to the Sphere Grid.

So Final Fantasy XII might be in my top three favorite games. I’m very impressed with that when it comes to our progress. But if you want to draw a picture, the spear net is more… not exactly identical, but closer together.

However, what we’ve done, to make it more intuitive, is that each of the specializations is on the outer edges of the grid.

RPG website: So you start from the inside, and work outward, but you have to choose the direction in which you will practice?

Bush: Yes. I know where to start. I have an idea of ​​what specialization looks or sounds cool – this really helps players chart their course so they don’t get lost in the wilderness.

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RPG website: That’s why I explained that in the beginning – not just showing the basic classes, but also what the specialization options are, that’s in the character creator, right? Because you want people to know, “Oh, I’m a warrior, I have this specialty here, and this here,” and choose your direction.

Bush: We also put up some helpful stickers along the way. So it is divided into three sections as well as specializations. In the case of Warrior for example, you have a more defense-oriented section, a more weapons-oriented section, and a more ability-oriented section. So what you might do when you’re trying to get to the Reaper specialization, for example, is go… Instead of going up through Defense to Reaper, I’ll go up through Ability to Reaper.

RPG website: It’s a great and easy way to sell it, really – talking about the licensing network, the football network… People, our fans, definitely understand that. Can you talk, within that, about the scope of skills and how often you’ll get new things?

Bush: Therefore, skills are unique to each class. In each level you get a skill point, there are other activities on the site to get a skill point… We are very player friendly; You can get your last, full refund…

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We have a level cap of 50. One of my frustrations with some other games that have similar skill tree systems is that getting to a specialization can completely use up all your skill points, and then you won’t have anything else.

We are quite the opposite. You get into your specialty in the middle of the game, and then you can really branch out.

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RPG website: What about party members?

Bush: They all have unique skill trees as well. Now, these – we don’t want to confuse players. So their skill trees are organized around their individual abilities. So, when you unlock their full set of abilities, each one of them has a skill tree full of options where you can gain independent use, lower cooldowns, or add additional effects to the ability.

RPG website: How extensive are their actual physical capabilities? Like, are the characters fully described by a few basic abilities, or is it a larger number where the player chooses which ones are on the ability wheel?

Bush: So every follower, every companion has five basic abilities. There are decisions you can make along the way that add mechanical changes to each ability.

Now, back to your question – Nev and Belara are both wizards, so they share basic wizard abilities, right? However, the other three are a unique class or character. Neve is an ice witch, and Belara is not – so Neve will have special ice powers that are unique to her.

RPG website: I’ve been told we’re out of time, but first, just on this topic – the basic stuff. There’s been a growing trend of some games making elementals just a visual thing… but you mentioned ice magic there. Are elements a factor in combat? Or does it not matter?

Bush: Oh yes. Oh, this is really important!

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RPG website: good! Thank God for that. [laughs] Thanks for your time – we hope we can learn again before launch.