Bioware Tells Sucky Stories, and Here is Why!

Saturday, June 6, 2009 at 10:16 AM
I. Bioware bases nearly all of their storyline on the idea of "Absolute Good versus Absolute Evil" Ever since their inception into the RPG universe with Baldur's Gate, there was a certain familiar feel with their storylines. You can't help but have the feeling that you have been there before, just in diffirent shoes, and maybe with a different reason to be there every now and then. That is because Bioware almost always relies on the classic "A Hero must Rise to destroy a Great Evil that Threatens to Destroy the World!" plot archetype. Now, this is a classic archetype, and rightfully so. It is often found in the likes of mythology and folklore. J.R.R. Tolkien brought this into mainstream with his The Lord of the Rings, and George Lucas even more so with the vast majority of his Star Wars movies. However, just because a story archetype is classic does not mean it is all good either. After all "classic" is just one stone throws away from being "cliche". We need more than just a mold for a story to be good. We need interesting characters, character relationships, a villain that is truly worthy of being called a villain, the development of the characters, etc. You can have all of the plot twists to your heart's desire, but if it does not have a heart, what is the freaking point? Simply put, plot twists alone do not make a story "good". And Bioware seems inept of understanding this fact. In Baldur's Gate, you were a SPOILER! Spawn of Bhaal, the God of Bloodshed,, and you must stop your SPOILER! evil half brother from replacing your divine father, and save all of Baldur's Gate in the process! Baldur's Gate II was a very refreshing change of pace, when you instead were out to kill the bastard that tortured you and killed one of your friends. The villain was also very compelling, and you understood his actions. He was an interesting character, as well as a plausible villain. What was at stake was all that mattered - your own neck. It was an epic storyline for all of the reasons that most people do not think is epic. Unfortunately, Bioware did not like it, and went back to its roots with their next games. In Neverwinter Nights, you must stop an ancient evil from conquering the city of Neverwinter. The singleplayer game was quite bad, but in return, they gave the community an amazing editor, which allowed users to create their own games! Sure, most of them were crap, but a select few were quite stellar, and were worth the price of the game and its 2 expansion packs! With Knights of the Old Republic, you are tasked with saving the Republic from the evil Sith! Oooooo. In Jade Empire you must stop a horrible person from conquering the Jade Empire! Hrm.... where have I heard this before? And in Mass Effect, you, once again, have to stop some horrible evil from destroying galactic civilization as we know it! People, how on Earth is this not getting tiresome? Bioware is recycling the same story archetype 4 games in a row (surely soon to be 5 with Dragon Age in October)! And people praise Bioware for good storytelling? Laughable. Now, I understand that just a story archetype alone isn't enough to condemn a story. It may still very well be a "save the world" storyline, but there could be enough twists and turns and interesting scenarios, well written dialogue, and compelling characters that it will be a good story. Unfortunately, Bioware rarely has any of those things. Their plot twists are far too rare, and rarely do anything for the storyline, that makes them truly effective. Their dialogue is often quite crude, with the appearance that they were scratching them onto stone rather than writing them with pencil. Sometimes, the dialogue is just downright cringe worthy. In some cases with Baldur's Gate, they were even laugh worthy at how campy it all was. II. Bioware Recycles Their Characters for Nearly Every Game Baldur's Gate II is one of the strongest games in Bioware's lineup, and they know it. Not only was it, fun, engaging, an open world, and full of dozens of characters that can be a part of the player's party, but it also had an engrossing storyline, and it was full of strong characters, especially the villain. So, instead of bashing their brain boxes together and trying to think up of ways to recreate the magic in their subsequent games, they decided to just downright copy it, paint it another color, and just call it new! Basically, nearly every single party NPC after Neverwinter Nights can be easily be described as a BGII character with a different name and backstory. This weakens the overall narrative of the story overall. III. Bioware's perception of "evil" is just mindlessly killing people and/or being a bully Let's face it people. Being a murderer is not the sole way in which you can be classified as evil. In the same respect, being a bully, asking for money from someone for just saving their lives, is not evil. Evil is when you totally and absolutely remove all measures of hope and perseverance from someone. It is when you leave them as a lifeless husk, when you screw a woman despite you having no affections for her whatsoever, and right after that going to the local whore house, leaving her on that bed. Evil is using that woman's affections for your own selfish ends. Evil is when you totally and absolutely remove the humanity from people, leaving them as a soulless husk for you to do with as you please. So, those are my 3 main reasons as to why Bioware does not tell good stories. Good day and good gaming.