Dragon Age: Origins Preview

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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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Have sword, will travel.

Baldur's Gate (1998). Shadows of Amn (2000). Neverwinter Nights (2002). Knights of the Old Republic (2003). These games are a veritable history of modern CRPGs. They also have one major thing in common, aside from redefining the genre, being based on best-selling licenses, and garnering numerous game-of-the-year awards. They are all developed by Canadian company BioWare.

Recently, BioWare has been busy with a completely new project: Dragon Age. Dragon Age (is a spiritual successor to all of BioWare's past role-playing games,) and will most likely redefine CRPGs once again. The game, unlike other BioWare games, will be an intellectual property owned by BioWare. The official FAQ lists a host of new and interesting features, not the least of which is a background dependent storyline. Character generation plays an integral part of the overall storyline. According to BioWare:
    (For the first time, you choose how your character's story begins and that choice changes how your story unfolds. From a grim barbarian wanderer who is the last of his kind, to an exiled dwarven prince betrayed by his brother; each of the many 'origin' stories spins its own heroic tale of intrigue and romance.

    Each origin story completely changes the setting and events of the game's first chapter and unlocks different storylines, villains, romances and items throughout the course of the game.

    As you play, your actions shape the destiny of the world. Unite a powerful kingdom under your wise and just rule, enslave nations beneath the tyranny of your powerful necromancy or forge a legend of your own making.(
Not only does this sound very promising, it adds immensely to the replayability of a game that already boasts an extremely robust, 40 to 50 hour, single player experience. In the replayability department, Dragon Age also offers an entirely different multiplayer storyline and a new end user toolset for all those modders and module builders out there. In addition, BioWare states that the game will be a party based RPG, utilizing BioWare's signature interparty banter and character growth.

The new universe, from the minds of the development team, will be both epic, in a high fantasy tradition, and personal, allowing advanced interactions with the environment, adding verisimilitude to the immersive world. The characters will react and sometimes comment on what is going on in their surroundings in a more advanced manner than previously attempted. Small touches that don't really have an effect on gameplay but serve to plunge the player into BioWare's world.

According to the BioWare website, a linguistic expert has worked hard to develop several new languages for the game. This should add a whole new dimension to the game as the player learns the languages of Elves, Dwarves, and other playable races that have yet to be announced.