It’s one of those times when one doesn’t know whether one is faced with cold calculation or naivety, whether you’re being played or the other side simply has become careless. With word of the “Retake Mass Effect 3” donation drive in favor of Child’s Play exceeding $70,000 and the heat on BioWare for ultimately botching the trilogy’s ending in no way getting less, another player stepped onto the stage. Whether Mark Darrah, executive producer for the Dragon Age series at BioWare, has been sent to draw some fire off of the sister franchise or some suit decided it might be a good time to force another bitter pill down the community’s collective throat – or whether it’s all just carelessness and coincidence will never be known, but the following excerpts from a statement by Darrah, posted on the BioWare forums, were received with little love.

With last week marking the one year anniversary of the release of Dragon Age II, I wanted to take the time to share some news and some great milestones we’ve had lately with Dragon Age.  And though I can’t say too much, I also want to briefly address what is coming in the future.
And finally, while we will still be keeping an eye out for any issues that might crop up in DAII and supporting the community should any emergencies should arise, we’re moving the entire team’s focus to the next phase of Dragon Age’s future.

Further down the thread, Darrah explains what this means:

We will try to bring some closure to Hawke’s story but likely not in a playable form. Originally we had planned to do an expansion pack but had to stop to focus on what we are working on now.

In other words, the lifespan of a highly advertised AAA title, a game generally met with critical acclaim (metacritic rating of 82% for PC,PS3, 79% for Xbox360), will end after effectively less than one year. Instead of giving players closure on the fate of a character many grew to like, BioWare will yet again change setting and scenery for the third full game in the Dragon Age universe. Darrahs announcement could mean anything, from book or comic pickup of the topic to the trick tried in DA2, namely cameo appearances of former party members reporting of Hawke’s fate to an actual reappearance of Hawke as an NPC in DA3.

It remains to be seen if this strategy will pay off for the developer. Other than a group of naysayers out of principle, the events surrounding DA2 and ME3 are creating and nourishing a group of people with legit concerns regarding BioWare’s games. The studio certainly managed to damage its reputation as a developer strongly tied with the players, snubbing long-time loyal parts of their community.

What seems certain though is that it will take more than alibi-gestures of good will to regain this faith and confidence. For many, BioWare squandered their advance credit with questionable moves and decisions.