Dragon Age: Origins Interview

Article Index

Eschalon: Book II

Publisher:Electronic Arts
Developer:BioWare Corp.
Release Date:2009-11-03
  • Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Third-Person
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GB: How many attributes, skills, spells, and other character traits do you intend to implement into the game? How can such abilities be utilized during non-combat situations?

Dan: We're not revealing specific numbers but I can say that customization and character progression are key design pillars in all of BioWare's games. The character creation system is very robust, so you can make your character male or female, and customize their appearance in great detail. There are a wide variety of talents and spells available, and you can choose to progress those down a number of different paths and specializations. A character who has a high (Persuade) ability, for example, may get different dialogue options, which may lead to different character reactions and storyline outcomes.

GB: Are there any factions we'll be aligning with or opposing during the game? If so, are there any notable ones you can tell us more about?

Dan: You'll be recruited into the Grey Wardens who are a legendary group of warriors charged with defending Ferelden against the darkspawn. There are many different types of darkspawn, like the Hurlocks and Genlocks we've shown in our demos, but there are plenty more types of creatures that have yet to be revealed.

GB: How linear is the game? Can players break away from the game's main quest at any time to participate in side quests?

Dan: Absolutely. You could stick to the main quest, but you'd be missing out on a lot of fantastic things to see and do if you didn't explore the world. Players will have the freedom to explore the world and pursue the story in a number of different ways.

GB: We've seen the ogre from the E3 footage and, with a name like "Dragon Age", we assume the game will feature dragons. Aside from those two creatures, what other monsters might we be going up against? Are there any creatures you can tell us about that are unique to the DA universe?

Dan: You may have seen the Genlocks and Hurlocks from some of the Dragon Age videos out there. Genlocks are the shorter of the two, but they're the most numerous of the darkspawn and are notoriously difficult to kill. Hurlocks are the most common darkspawn footsoldier because of their raw physical power, and they often form the strongest part of their armies, wielding primitive swords and axes and wearing patchwork armor. Gamers should definitely check out our videos so they can see these creatures in action, but rest assured there are plenty of other deadly creatures you'll have to face in the Dragon Age world.

GB: How will inventory management be handled in the game? Will be carrying around a set number of items per character (Baldur's Gate), will all items be grid-based (Diablo), or will we be working with a totally new type of system? Is encumbrance a factor we need to worry about?

Dan: You and your party have a shared inventory based on slots, so the amount of items you can carry is based on the number of slots you have between your party. The inventory management screen uses a very fast and intuitive drag & drop system. You can also instantly switch from a primary to a secondary weapon with just one click, which is very useful for archers who want to quickly draw their sword instead.

GB: How did you arrive at the decision to make Dragon Age: Origins single player only? Is there a possibility that we might yet see some type of small-scale co-op multiplayer support like we had in Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II?

Dan: We wanted Dragon Age: Origins to immerse the player in a rich story that really made them feel that it was their own unique story, and that their decisions had a meaningful impact on how the story unfolded. We don't currently have any plans to make it co-op, but it's still a party-based game where you'll adventure with a number of interesting characters along the way. Ultimately this story is about your character and your own choices.

GB: What can we expect from the game's toolset? Will it be on the same level as the Neverwinter Nights toolset or something smaller in scale?

Dan: The Dragon Age toolset provides players with developer-grade tools. Using these tools, you can take the rich set of Dragon Age assets and locations as starting blocks and then modify them by adding new quests, characters and scripting to create your own adventures, conversations and cut-scenes. You can also fully customize combat and creature AI, allowing you to create detailed action sequences. And of course we plan to fully support the toolset and our content creators community with additional assets and features for the toolset in the future.

We appreciate your time, Dan!