Our interview with BioWare CEO Ray Muzyka and president Greg Zeschuk concludes in this second part, which finds them continuing to discuss the PC gaming scene and additionally talking jokingly about their dream game and what games they're looking forward to this year... (Missed part one of the interview? Fear not, as you can play catch-up simply by hitting this handy link).
What's your take on Microsoft's Games for Windows initiative? Do you think this is a driving force that PC gaming needs?
Ray Muzyka: The Gaming for Windows initiative is a very good idea and we're definitely excited about it. It holds the promise of bringing more awareness of PC games to gamers by thinking about PC gaming as a platform in its own right.
Windows Vista of course heralds the arrival of DirectX 10. What excites you about Microsoft's new version of DirectX and how do you see it being employed to change the face of PC gaming as we currently know it?
Greg Zeschuk: DirectX 10 is only part of the picture and the core features of Vista itself potentially will do more to drive the success of PC gaming. DX10 will add significant performance improvements across the board and it will make things much easier for developers, but the Vista features like easy Install, parental controls and the Game Explorer will make it easier and more seamless for people to manage, install and play games. PC gaming has been challenged significantly by things like the 45 minute install and I'm hopeful that Vista will provide a much better user experience for not only the gaming, but also everything else surrounding the experience of actually playing.
In what areas do you think the PC gaming scene needs to develop, and as a developer what efforts are you making to move it in that direction?
Ray Muzyka: In many ways the PC gaming scene is developing in the ways we think it should - developers are taking advantage of the PC's strengths by building online-enabled games (both MMOs and games with connectivity, strong post-release content as featured in BioWare's Dragon Age etc). Some developers are building the more casual games which draw in non-gamers to the PC gaming market and others are focusing on episodic content - both are exciting initiatives.
At BioWare we're trying to be innovative and push the realm of story- and character-based games in new directions. In our upcoming title Jade Empire: Special Edition for PC, we're combining a couple of different ideas - a really strong role-playing game with a great storyline with a martial arts setting and combat system. With Dragon Age we're pushing the boundaries of post-release content and user-generated content - we're really excited about what we have planned for DA to continue the storyline and expand the epic world for our fans.
And for the BioWare Austin MMO we're incorporating a really compelling non-linear storyline and strong characters, together with all the fun things MMO players expect and deserve (great progression and customization, social systems and exploration) - truly a first and what promises to be a major innovation in the field of online massively multiplayer gaming.
Let's enter dream land for a second - if you asked Santa Claus for your perfect or dream videogame, what would that videogame be and why choose it?
Greg Zeschuk: Hmm...Viva Guitar Hero Zelda Pinball Music RPG. I'd explain the features but it'd take too long :)