Notes on Bioware (PAX East)

It’s been a while since PAX East, but I’ve been sitting on these notes from the Bioware Base panels. While I didn’t get to turn these notes into a vid in time (thanks GDC…), wanted to share these for your viewing pleasure.

Here’s my collection of notes from all the Bioware Base panels I went to:

How to Get a Job at Bioware

  • Best advice from HR team: “Have a blog” with all your writing and art samples for easy use
  • If you’re good at it, showcase it! Your passion and dedication to what you’re good at must show.
  • "QA testing is NOT a stepping stone”

Voice Acting - Tips, Tricks and How to get Started

Raphael Sbarge-specific Tips

  • Demo reel should be short, 1 minute max
  • Finding an agent is very beneficial, given you can find one who is suited towards your needs
  • Location is not the biggest concern, because of internet at your fingertips (but expect jobs in centralized areas, like Los Angeles)
  • Theater was his best training, to develop acting skill
  • Not about the sound, but the connection you produce

Bioware Games

  • Previous Bioware games subject to overwriting - “I am angry!” transitions
  • VEDA, Bioware’s in-house proprietary software: allows voice actors to be in sync with cues in the script
  • Human noises hard to make, harder to latch on because of accents and quirks
  • Will hire out of specific areas to keep authenticity (i.e Dragon Age VA’s out of Europe)

Dragon Age: Thedas Unlocked

Thedas Lore Book

  • Currently Volume 1, but expect more to come in the future

Comics

  • Most of the comics feature huge foreshadowing
  • Expect content to be at least touched on in DA3 and future titles

Insights into DA3

  • Good mages will be present in DA3
  • At least ONE mage isn’t crazy (supposedly not talking about protagonist)

Frostbite Engine

  • Integrating conversations and armor customizations were hefty problems
  • System has been modified to allow designers to use freely
  • BW loves fans who engage in modding, but…
  • Modding in Frostbite will be difficult. If a toolset can be done, they’ll approach it (though rumors of toolset for Frostbite engine already floating)

Notable Facts

  • Mike Laidlaw, Creative Director (DA3): Merrill fixing the mirror was a ‘bad call’
  • Fan asked about Sebastian; devs extremely tight-lipped on his involvement
  • How do you like winged quadripeds with swords? Cause Frostbite doesn’t like them.

BioWare: Behind the Scenes

  • Kai Leng was rushed (Surprise, surprise); devs wanted to integrate his story more
  • Thane will be in comics again
  • Shepard’s dances came from a military guy randomly dancing during mocap session
  • You can thank John Dombrow (Senior Writer, Mass Effect) for the infamous “I should go” lines in Citadel DLC

Mass Effect: Exploring the Universe and ME Trilogy: Retrospective

Developing Mass Effect 3

  • Tali wasn’t supposed to be in ME3; Patrick Weekes demanded her back
  • Devs wanted Thorians integrated more in series, but did not mesh in 3rd installment
  • Earth mission was first to be done and polished

Future of Mass Effect

  • Legendary Entertainment is behind the new movie
  • New Mass Effect game in development by Bioware Montreal
  • New IP to be released in the future

Notable Facts

  • Xenon was Mass Effect 3’s first name
  • Writers almost messed up Project Overlord: square roots calculated wrong
  • Dusty Everman, senior level designer (ME3): “You can’t trust a cow that can milk itself” - regarding space cows in Project Overlord