DICE's Frostbite engine is like an unwieldy weapon. In the right hands it's tremendously powerful, but for the most part it's heavy and hard to control. The engine is great for shooters, but not so much for the kind of RPGs BioWare likes to make. Now ex-BioWare boss Aaryn Flynn talks about how Frostbite both enabled and inhibited the studio during Dragon Age: Inquisition and Mass Effect: Andromeda's development.
In 2010, BioWare made the decision to switch from its internal Eclipse games engine over to EA's new standardized Frostbite from DICE. Frostbite was complex, potent, and had lots of potential, but it was a thorn in BioWare's side from the start. The engine is extremely powerful and can create some incredible atmospheric effects and physics systems wrapped in high-fidelity graphics. But there was so, so much that was missing from it: Frostbite wasn't built for RPGs, and BioWare had to create a lot of its UI, camera, and basic RPG systems from scratch. With how much work and iteration BioWare had to do on the new engine, it's a miracle that Dragon Age: Inquisition even shipped at all.
Now in a recent talk at Reboot Develop Red, Aaryn Flynn shares what it was like to use Frostbite to make games like Dragon Age: Inquisition and Mass Effect: Andromeda.
"My experience with Frostbite was very much like this: you could do amazing things and go very fast in some elements. But it's very delicate and very hard to manage," Flynn said.