– Et moderne Baldur's Gate

I kveld stilte kunstnerisk sjef Dean Andersen og sjefprogrammerer Ross Gardner fra respektable Bioware opp i nettmøte på, for å svare på spørsmål om Dragon Age: Origins.

Dragon Age: Origin blir mørkt, blodig og proppfull av spennende eventyr.
Dragon Age: Origin blir mørkt, blodig og proppfull av spennende eventyr.
Ross Gardner (topp) og Dean Andersen fra Bioware stitle i nettmøte.
Ross Gardner (topp) og Dean Andersen fra Bioware stilte i nettmøte.

Som det antydes i tittelen, går det kanadiske studioet tilbake til velkjente røtter. Dragon Age foregår i en ny og spennende fantasiverden, med utforskingen og kampene vi kjenner fra Baldur's Gate-serien. Det hele kjører på en helt ny spillmotor som skal sikre en flott visuell opplevelse.

I stedet for å følge en enkelt og fastlagt historie kommer Dragon Age med en fullstendig åpen historie, og hva du opplever er avhengig av hvilken karakter du starter med, og hva slags valg du gjør underveis. Etter hvert får du muligheten til å påvirke spillverdenen på din egen måte.

– En oppslukende opplevelse

– Et av våre hovedmål med Dragon Age: Origins var å skape en episk historie med virkelige valg og konsekvenser. Vi er ikke bundet til en lisens og har full frihet til å gjøre det vil i spillverdenen. Hvis vi vil ødelegge en by, eller endre verdenens fremtid, så kan vi gjøre det. Vi vil gi den muligheten til spilleren, skrev Gardner i kveldens nettmøte.

Det er tydelig at man ønsker at spilleren skal bli rivd med:

– Dragon Age tar sikte på å levere en oppslukende opplevelse, med karakterer som spilleren virkelig tror på. Du vil oppleve romanser, forræderi, latter og tap, forteller Dean Andersen.

Tøff motstand

Det blir ingen flerspiller i Dragon Age, men det vil være viktig å benytte seg av andre allierte karakterer underveis.

– Det blir utfordrende å spillene alene i Dragon Age: Origins, med mindre du senker vanskelighetsgraden. Når det er sagt kan du alltid bruke gruppen din for de vanskeligste delene, og så være eventyrer det meste ellers, forteller Gardner.

Her er alle spørsmålene Bioware-gutta rakk å svare på:

  1. Apples

    Spørsmål fra Ludvig Dereksen:

    Now, I know this might sound a bit weird, but for me to understand the answers that are actually related to the game, I need to understand the person behind them, and the best way to do that is to ask this simple question:

    What colour do you prefer on your apples? Red, green or yellow?


    Dean Andersen: Hello!  I thought I would tackle the hardest question first.  Definitely Red, bloody red with a sick ochre rotten inside and gooey green slime trails left by festering worms.

    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 18:35
  2. Dragon Age Goal

    Spørsmål fra Adrian S. H:

    What is your goal with Dragon Age? What do you want to achieve?

    Ross:  Our goal with Dragon Age was to go back to our roots, and bring the Baldur's Gate Series into the next decade.  It is almost exactly 10 years since the original BG, so it is fitting that we are getting closer and closer to our release date.  It actually feels like it did when I worked on the original BG interestingly enough.  This is a PC rules based RPG for all of those people that love our stories and our characters.
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 18:38
  3. Romance

    Spørsmål fra roger:

    Will there be romances, like in previous games?

    There will definately be romances.  :)
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 18:39
  4. Magic

    Spørsmål fra Christopher Kenny:

    How many different spells are there in the game?

    Ross: There are tons of spells.  There are between 150-200 different unique abilities in the game.  A huge chunk of that is spells.
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 18:42
  5. Music

    Spørsmål fra René M:

    I know by experience that not all games does have music as a strong side in a game. In MY opinion it has alot to say for creating the right ambience and atmosphere in a game.
    How is this going to be in Dragon Age?
    What is YOUR opinion on music in games generally?

    I'd also like to tell you guys you're one of the best on game making. I've played previous games from BioWare and they have never disappointed me in any ways.


    Dean Andersen: One of Bioware’s key pillars is Story Driven games.  Music (audio tracks and effects) has a huge impact on the atmosphere, mood and direction of a games story and is critical to giving the player a truly immersive experience.  I am confident that you will enjoy what our audio department has put together!

    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 18:43
  6. PC

    Spørsmål fra PC-man:

    I hope that you have in mind of creating Dragon Age for PC first and foremost. And not, while programming etc, have the XBOX360 or PS3 in mind, when coming to gameplay.

    There is alot of recent games in which the PC platform gets second priority..which results in a less good game.

    Ross:  As a PC gamer I'm happy to say that Dragon Age is being developed as a PC game.
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 18:44
  7. Choice and consequence

    Spørsmål fra Carl Christian:

    For many hardcore fans of RPG, choice and consequence is one of the most important things. I've been playing Bioware-games since Baldur's Gate, and noticed that the CnC in your latest games has become almost superficial. Sure you have a lot of dialogue options, but most of the times they lead to the same thing. It's the same for Bethesda's Fallout 3 and Oblivion. The only games (I've played) lately that hasn't dumbed down it's CnC, is The Witcher and Mask of the Betrayer, and it concerns me.

    So my question is, how important will CnC be in Dragon Age? Or will you continue catering to the lowest common denominator?

    (Please don't forget what made you one of the greatest game developers in the first place.)

    Ross:  One of our main goals in DAO was to bring an epic story with real choice and consequences.  Not being tied to a license (read D&D) we have complete freedom to do what we want in the world so if we want to destroy a town, or even change the future of the world - we can do that.  Our goal was to give that choice to the player.
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 18:51
  8. Dean Andersen

    Spørsmål fra Irenicus:

    Do you decide what "graphical" theme, or what surrounding this game has ?

    And how was it to make a game from scratch? No ruleset, new world etc.


    Dean Andersen: I work closely with all of the creative groups (design, audio, art) to ensure that our goals (thematic) are the same and that the intention of an asset is clear.  Once the subject matter is defined I set out to visualize it based on our Dragon Age visual guide.  The visual guide is a template of do’s and don’t independent of specific locations or creatures.  This allows design the freedom to explore all corners of the continent and still have a consistent theme present through out.  To create a world and visual style from scratch is both fun and difficult.  Having no boundaries really allows us to do anything and explore anywhere, however at some point it needs to be pulled in so that one consistent style is present.

    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 18:51
  9. Multiplayer

    Spørsmål fra Lynkevs:

    What does the "multiplayer-gameplay of NWN" entail exactly?

    I'm a huge fan of the BG series, and I play NWN online to this day, but will it have the same freedom in regards to toolset and the game's hardcoding/softcoding? If it does, will this be a more worthy successor to the enormous online persistant world community NWN created, than NWN2 is at the moment?

    I find myself disappointed in many of todays titles, but promising the spirit of Baldur's Gate and the NWN multiplayer experience is definitively hard words to live up to. It sounds too good to be true and I hope it will be more than another lackluster RPG

    Ross:  Dragon Age Origins is a single player PC RPG.  Unfortunately DAO has no multiplayer at all.  We made this decision in order to be able to focus completely on the single player story experience.  We are working with the NWN community to release our toolset, but unlike NWN it is still a single player engine.
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 18:54
  10. Characters

    Spørsmål fra Sverre:

    Bioware(black isle) has obviously a tradition of giving out quality games.

    Even though Neverwinter nights were good games, the game(s) would have been more epic if you from the beginning ran around and bumped into characters the way you did in BG2. Choosing what characters to carry on with, and stick with those. Like going into a tavern, talking with adventures and accept them in to the party.. Or stumbling upon a drow elf that is about to get hanged.
    NWN2 got better, sure, but the idea of having all characters avaible all the time wasn't as special as selecting some characters and then carry on with them through out the game.

    Ross:  DAO has a party system more similar to BG than KotOR.  As you are exploring the world, you will stumble upon characters.  Some you might just speak with and learn from, others might join you in your quest, or maybe you'll choose to just kill them instead.  We have put a little twist on it though, and we've developed some really interesting gameplay surrounding your party.  Based on the decisions that you make throughout the game, some of your party members can get increasingly pissed off and leave you.  You can also tell them to leave at any time, however you have the choice of keeping them so you can add or remove them from your active party.  It really leaves the decisions up to the player.
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 19:02
  11. Dragons

    Spørsmål fra Mikael:

    Being titled Dragon Age, I have to say looking at the info available there doesn't seem to be dragons.
    I myself am a dragonophile, so my question is:
    Will there be Dragons to interact with or even better ride? =)

    Ross:  There are definately Dragons.  I'm not going to go into details, but if you like Dragons you won't be disappointed.  :)
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 19:04
  12. Interacting

    Spørsmål fra Anders Tveit:

    How will DA:Origins feature interacting and dialgoue? Will it be a conversation-system similar to the one we saw in Baldur's Gate (2), or will it bear similarities to Mass Effect's newer dialogue system? Or, maybe something entirely new? :) Good luck, and thanks in advance.


    Ross:  It is a little in between.  It is definately cinematic like the ME system - you'll see the settings, facial expressions, ingame cinematics, and the quality voice acting much like in ME.  However, we have a lot much more dialog than ME so the difference is that the player does not have VO, you choose the players response after reading text responses much like in the BG series.  I don't want to imply you 'have' to spend a lot of time talking - if you want to get in there and just fight you can certainly play the game that way.  However DAO has a huge amount of depth that is there for players to explore - especially with your party members.  In many ways it is very similar to BG in that sense.
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 19:11
  13. The artwork

    Spørsmål fra Andreas Håndlykken:

    Hi there!

    Part of what gave the previous BG (and IWD) games so atmospheric and memorable was the beautiful artwork. Justin Sweet's character portraits come to mind, and the sketches for each item in the inventory was also a great touch. I've felt that this aspect was lost when games moved to 3d. Will you incorporate more 2d art in Dragon Age?


    Dean Andersen: There are many elements in Dragon Age that have beautifully painted art!  While Dragon Age is a 3d game it was important to me that we retained a lot of the 2d\landscape feeling that I had done in the BG series.  One of the awesome developments we have made on Dragon Age is the ability toutilize both a 3rd person 3d view (similar to many current titles,

    Mass Effect, Oblivion etc.) as well as a top down tactical perspective, more akin to the traditional 2d\Baldur’s Gate series.

    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 19:13
  14. World Affection

    Spørsmål fra Anders Kruke:

    Many RPG's promise that your actions will affect the world in some incredible ways, and from what I've gathered Dragon Age is no different. Do you have any concrete examples on some major world affections? (i.e. Blowing up Junktown in Fallout 3)

    Ross:  Unfortunately I can't give you specific examples as that would spoil the fun, but I can tell you that you will be able to make choices that throughout the game will effect the entire future of a nation.
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 19:14
  15. characters

    Spørsmål fra Andreas:

    Hi !
    I loved Baldur's Gate ! Will there still be possible to sit for hours rolling dices when creating your character, hoping for high attributes ?

    Ross:  Currently we have a point allocation system so you don't get to roll the dice when making your character.  You start off at a base, and then get a certain number of points to allocate.  But who knows, maybe we can try and put that in for the special edition ;)
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 19:17
  16. Minsc & Boo

    Spørsmål fra Andreas Løwe:

    Will there be a character like Minsc & Boo in Dragon Age?


    Dean Andersen: There will be a wide variety of very memorable characters in Dragon Age!  The interactions, banter and choices you make along your journey really make these party members come alive!

    Ross:  I wish we could put Minsc and Boo in the game, but unfortunately they belong to a different IP.  There are definately memorable characters though - you'll see. :)

    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 19:20
  17. Gameplay - pause

    Spørsmål fra Karl:

    One of the best features I like in Baldurs Gate is the possibility to pause the game and give commands to all the characters I control and then unpause to have them complete it.

    Will this be possible in the upcomming sequel too?

    Ross:  Yes!  I'm a pause junky myself.  I love to control every aspect of the battle, down to where my characters stand and what they do each second.  You can definately do this in DAO.  I'll talk a little more about combat tactics in another question  :)
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 19:23
  18. Caster classes: Range

    Spørsmål fra Christoffer Karlsen:

    Are there gonna be any caster/ranged classes in the game?

    If so: How do you solve the range problem?

    What I'm thinking is that ranged classes, especially magic based caster classes, in various games rarely are abel to withstand any amount physical damage.

    Of course this is because they've got the advantage of the ranged attacks, BUT how am I supposed to maintain that range unless some tank is keeping the bad guys busy?

    My personal experience is that if you're going to play by yourself, you've got to choose a though class, or you'll die the minute the baddie is within melee-range.

    Ross:  It is going to be very tough to play by yourself in DAO.  Unless you lower the difficulty setting.  It is going to be a hard game that doesn't pull it's punches.  That said you could always grab your party for the hard parts where you get your butt kicked, and then adventure alone most of the other times.
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 19:25
  19. Dragon Age

    Spørsmål fra Crazy for RPG:

    How will this game differ from Baldurs Gate 2?

    I loved how the subquests often had a link to the main-quest line. Like a quest where your party was asked by a dragon(in human form?) to venture to a castle to get it cleaned, before you actually met the dragon, which had affiliates with Irenicus.

    Ross:  There are many similarities in that way to BG2.  There are tons and tons of sidequests and some of them will have an effect on the main story, and some will not.  In fact, some of them will have a major impact on the main story.  For instance if you do a certain subquest, it can make a situation later in the game either much easier or much more difficult depending on what your choices are.  I you liked BG2 for this, you will definately like DAO.
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 19:29
  20. Dragon Age Gameplay

    Spørsmål fra Martin:

    Will the gamplay be like Baldurs gate and NWN with its "click and move"? And will there ever be another baldurs gate game??

    Ross:  In bringing BG into the next decade we had a LOT of challenges, one of the big ones being movement.  You can't have tactical combat with out a top-down point and click to move system.  However, in order to really be immersed in a 3D realm you need to be able to look around and explore the world in more of a 3rp person perspective.  It has taken us a long long time and many iterations but I think we're on to something that really works.  Our main goal again here was giving the choice to the player so you can play the way you want to play.
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 19:45
  21. Hi

    Spørsmål fra tuborg:

    I just want to say i really liked never winter and kotor. however i found NWN a little confusing with all the D&D rules, this have also put me off trying to play the baldurs gate games. I want to know what kind of class systems origins will have, and if i have to spend lot time planning how i want to build my charachter and read up on a lot of stats before playing.

    thanks for making great games!

    Ross:  As much as I love the D&D system, I have to agree that it is a little daunting for people who haven't sat down and played a session.  One of our goals was to make a rules and combat system that is more intuitive and easier to learn and work with.  We have tried to balance it so that the choices that you make as you build up your character are easier to make and will help you get through the combat in the game.  You could say that the combat system in DAO is sort of like a car.  It is very complex under the hood, and if you want to get under there and understand how it all works that will certainly give you an advantage (that's where I like to be :).  However if you just like to get in and drive, then we want to give you that opportunity as well. 
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 19:54
  22. combats

    Spørsmål fra feitameita:

    Will the combats still be turnbased, like in baldurs gate where u can press space to "pause" the fighting?

    Ross:  Yes it is a dynamic turn based, and allows you to pause and give your guys orders.  The neat thing about DAO is that after you do that you can zoom in and watch the bloody action up close  ;)
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 20:01
  23. Hello Bioware

    Spørsmål fra Magnus:

    What would say is the most significant difference between the old baldur's gate games and Dragon Age? Except the obvious (graphics etc).

    I really look forward to the game.
    Can't wait!

    Ross:  The D&D license really handcuffed us before with what we could do.  They had a strict approval process that we had to jump through, and frankly we had to cut or change a lot of content that we wanted in the game.  With DAO we have complete freedom to do what we want, both with the story and the world (and the combat system :).  That really allows us to explore real choice and consquences, mature themes; we have really had the freedom to scult DAO into a truly epic experience, with player and his choices driving the whole experience.
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 20:06
  24. Regarding similarities with Baldur's Gate 2

    Spørsmål fra Eirik :


    I have a question regarding the similarities with the great classic Baldur's Gate II. One aspect of BG2 was the immersion one could have with your fellow group members -- a feature I find often disregarded in modern RPGs. I know other, more modern, RPGs have tried in a way, Mass Effect being one of those, but I feel that Baldur's Gate was truly something unique (excluding Planescape:T, bless that game) -- the way you could have one character carry the birth of your child, one could become either a knight of the radiant order or a disgruntled cleric, etc. It's hard to see if these features are implemented in your new game, though I'd imagine the few trailers I've seen can't effectively show this. So the question is, does Dragon Age share this similarity with BG2? I understand this is basically a yes/no question, but if yes could you please elaborate on the answer then that would be much appreciated.


    Ross:  One of our top priorities was immersion in both the story and your party members.  The conversations, the arguments, the memorable one liners, the romances.  We recongnize that as one of our pillars and have really tried to bring that to you with Dragon Age: Origins.  Another pillar of the immersion (which was something Baldur's Gate had) was the detail in the environments - the lighting, the scenery, that painted look - that was a top priority of the level art team.  They really wanted to bring the concept of a 2D painting into a 3D environment.
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 20:08
  25. Mod Tools

    Spørsmål fra Christian S:


    First I want to thank you, Bioware are one of the few top-tier developers that continue to deliver great titles. I have yet to be dissapointed by any of your games.

    My question is:
    I've heard you're planning to release mod tools for Dragon's Age. How much freedom do you get with these tools? Will it be more for level design (being able to create geometry instead of just adding meshes), or something like Bethesda is using for Oblivion Construction Set. I assume the latter. Maybe you could specify any differences between your mod tools, and other mod tools?


    Ross:  Yes, we have a team working on modifying the tools and working with the community to deliver the experience that they want.  I'm not familiar with the Oblivion construction set, however I can say that the tools for DAO will not be as simple as the tools for NWN.  Our toolset is incredibly powerful (and not for the feint of heart), as our focus for DAO was to make a toolset that will let us tell a single player story (more akin to the BG series) in this modern era of amazing 3D environments and cinematics.  As such it will have a much steeper curve.  You can visit the website to learn more, but the plan is to release the designer side of the toolset first (you won't be able to create new environments).  There are significantly more challenges to bring the environment editor into the hands of our community, but we are working on it with no estimated ETA at this point. 

    One big difference between DAO and NWN is that the combat system is entirely implemented in scripting.  This will actually give some dedicated power users the ability to essentially play at creating their own rule system which is something that was just not possible with the NWN toolset, and really opens up some exciting doors I think.

    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 20:17
  26. Animations

    Spørsmål fra Edvard Holst:


    My favorite game of all time must be Mass Effect, and I one of the things I loved so much was how well the character animations were done, something that made interaction with other characters so interesting. Oblivion for example has little or no character animations when you talk to them making them feel less life-like and interesting.

    How will this turn out in Dragon Age? And what about voice acting? The casting in Mass Effect was amazing, and I really wanted to hear what they wanted to say!

    Kind Regards


    Dean Andersen: Character driven games are something that Bioware loves and is truly great at.  Dragon Age is picking up the torch to deliver an immersive experience with characters that the player can really believe in, getting caught up in romances, betrayals, laughter and loss.  In order to do that we believe that the characters that you interact with need to be as lively as possible, this includes emoting expressions, excellent voice acting, active body movement and strong writing.

    Ross:  DAO is definately going down the same road as ME with the animated cinematics and characters.  We have the same team working on the VO, so the quality will be similar.  We have a lot more dialog than ME so our focus was slightly different, focusing on giving the cinematic designers the ability to turn some knobs and dials (technical terms there:) and quickly come up with the look they were going for in a conversation.  They of course have the ability to fully customize any scene or dialog, but in that they are only limited by time - this game has to come out sooner or later=/

    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 20:23
  27. Playtime

    Spørsmål fra Knut Agnar Bøstein:

    Im wondering if the game will be longer than what baldurs gate 1 and 2 was?

    Ross:  I can't speak to the exact length as so much depends on how many side quests you do, how much time you take to explore dialog and the codex, how much time you spend speaking with (or arguing with) your party members - but the game will be in the same ballpark as the BG series - definately longer than any of our games since.
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 20:25
  28. "Dumbed down" RPG's

    Spørsmål fra Ask Aas:

    Im a very big fan of older RPG's and Baldurs Gate 1-2 are on my top five list. And I think that some of the factors that largely made these games so great, is that they arent so simplistic and forgiving as the new trend of RPG's mostly are prone to be. Will dragon age be as simplistic or "dumbed down" as for example Mass Effect? And will the gameplay demand some unforgiving tactical choices, or can i just walse through it as most new RPG's without much thought to what im doing?

    Dont get me wrong, I love what you guys do and nearly all your games are killer.

    Ross:  This will definitely not be "dumbed down".  Our goal is to make a challenging tactical experience for those that want it, and in order to push people to think tactically the game needs to kick your butt frequently to force you to rethink your strategy.  Some of my favorite games have been the hardest, and DAO will deliver that - especially with a BG style save-anywhere-out-of-combat save game system to help you out. :)
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 20:26
  29. Focus on singelplayer or multiplayer?

    Spørsmål fra William K. Holmsve:


    I am one of those who prefers games that focus on singleplayer, rather than multiplayer games. I loved Mass Effect for instance. On the other hand Neverwinter Nights was a slightly dissapointement, in my opinion. Of course a great game, but still...

    So what can you tell me about DRAGON AGE? Will the focus be on singleplayer or multiplayer? (What I am trying to say is; is the singleplayer going to be satisfying?) :)

    Yours truly

    William K. Holmsve

    Ross:  Well you're in luck, DAO is singleplayer ONLY.  We have no MP in the engine so there is no distractions.  Our goal was an immersive Single Player experience, just like the BG series - minus the co-op LAN unfortunately.
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 20:29
  30. EA and changes.

    Spørsmål fra Matias Lange-Nielsen.:


    First a quick thank you for your work, you make the world a better place with your games!

    The question:
    Has the EA-ownership affected your design and implementation of the games you develop in any way? I do not mean the financial part, but if they interfere with the way your games are developed.

    Thank you for your time, you are all an inspiration to aspiring gamedevelopers and a dream for all gamers!

    Ross:  To tell you the truth I was scared as hell when I first heard we were being bought by EA - they didn't exactly have a good reputation with me.  But I've been blown away by things this whole year.  Interestingly enough John Riccitiello (the CEO of EA) was our old boss under VGH corp., so we have history with him.  He has really made a LOT of changes at EA with a huge focus on quality, which is part of the reason I think that they wanted BW.  So if anything things are better now - we are a part of a publising organization now, that can market our games better than we ever could have before.  We have access to a HUGE store of technology, knowledge, and support.  And we get to keep making the games that we want to make.  The ownus is on us as a studio to be fiscally responsible - which is how it should be.  I couldn't be happier about it.So in order to keep making these games (like DAO and ME) everyone needs to keep buying them :)
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 20:38
  31. Co-op campaign

    Spørsmål fra Christer:

    Something of the most important thing for me with any games is that I can beat the story (a good story) together with my friend. What degree of multiplayer will dragon age offer, and to be more specific; can I play through the campaign with a friend and get the same story telling experience I would get if I played it alone?

    Ross:  Unfortunately we have no MP Co-op in DAO.  That might be something we can look into in a sequel.
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 20:40
  32. Dragon Age:Origins.length;

    Spørsmål fra Tim Hanssen:

    Will Dragon Age be as long Storywise as Baldurs gate 1 and 2?
    keep up the good work!

    Ross:  Yes, same ballpark for sure - hard to say if it is longer or shorter in a game this big.
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 20:41
  33. Combat; Intelligent or Hack`n`Slash?

    Spørsmål fra Jakob:

    One of the things I really enjoyed about Baldurs Gate 2 was the ability to control a group of characters in combat. Pausing the battle midfight and then sitting back to contemplate your next move made the combat really interesting for me.

    In what directions are you taking the combat in Dragon Age: Origins? Are you aiming at a system that is intelligent and challenges the player? If so, how and in what way?

    I am looking forward to playing Dragon Age: Origins. It looks very interesting so far, so keep up the good work!

    Ross:  Good question.  I too love the pause and tactical play of BG, I am a certified pause junky.  DAO combat is a tactical experience, that was our goal.  As such there are many intelligent things that you can do in combat to help you out.  I'll talk a little more in the 'The Combat System' question below about this, but suffice it to say that if you like that style of combat you are really going to enjoy this game.  The combat feels more like BG than any game I've played since (the infinity engine), in fact I think it is better because we aren't limited to the D&D rules.
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 20:45
  34. Companions and Story

    Spørsmål fra Tommy:


    What remains deeply embedded in my (very) nostalgic feelings towards BG I&II is the way the companions personalities seemed not only to be caricatures of their classes(as the typical thief, fighter, barbarian etc.), but even with the restricted interaction they had with the enviroment, the banter of Minsc(!), Jaheira, Khalid, Xzar and Edwin (to name a few) managed to drag you deeper into the atmosphere of the game. By visiting wikiquote one can start to appriciate and understand the kind of work that was put into moulding these personalities.

    Can we expect in-depth personalities of the PCs in Dragon Age?

    The atmosphere in BG was exeptional, much through to the fantastic music(only next to Diablo imo) and the deep main story ; "The Lord of Murder shall perish. But in his doom he shall spawn a score of mortal progeny. Chaos will be sown from their passage. So sayeth the wise Alaundo." Chanter in Candlekeeps.
    Legandary:) I've read that there will be "an open story attached to character development", which is so popular these days. What I fear and find is that several games with this approach thins out the main story as it must be placed on top of a character, instead of the character being placed in the story.

    Have you had any thoughts on this issue during the development process?

    Thanks for putting your necks out there, the mention of BG will certainly raise some expectations from the fans of the greatest game, ever ;).

    Camaraderie, adventure, and steel on steel. The stuff of legend! Right Boo?

    Ross:  Then I think you will really like this game.  I'm not a designer so I get the luxury of playing it, and I can tell you that the characters are overflowing with personality.  I could talk about my experiences playing so far for hours, but I will say one thing: the character is definately IN the story.  You find out quickly that the world is changing and events are happening all over that are out of the players control - the open part of it is that you get to decide how you want to be a part of those events.  Definately the stuff of legends!  ;)
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 20:51
  35. Games for gamers

    Spørsmål fra Mary Poppins:

    Baldurs Gate is probably the best game I've played, and KOTOR is another favored game. Obviously I have sky-high expectations to this game. My only fear is that most of the high profile games these days are made to be accessible to "anyone". This is understandable, since companies will want to sell as many games as possible. However as a ?hardcore? gamer with 25 years of gaming-experience, I often find these games to be to ?easy?.

    Will Dragon Age follow this trend, or will the focus of the game be gamers? And can you promise that the game will be supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?

    Ross:  This is a hardcore PC RPG.  As I mentioned above we have tried to make the rules system more intuitive and easy to get into and use.  But if you're interested, there is a LOT of complexity going on under the hood that you can try and wrap your head around.  One thing for sure.  This game will kick your ass many times. :)
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 20:55
  36. difficulty in the baulders gate series

    Spørsmål fra thomas lynghjem:

    1. Companions
    Will "Dragon Age" have a companion system ala BG2? Or will you lean more towards that of Mass Effect?
    Will they fight among eachothers?
    Leave your group if you makes choices they dont agree upon?

    2. Consequnses
    Will there be temporary and/or permanent consequnses like in BG2?
    Are "Dragon Age" following KoTR in the easy savegame switch of dark/light towards the end?
    Or will your actions trought the game actually have an impact on your ending?

    3. Graphic or story
    Will your game focus more on a filling story and a wide world? Or will you focus more on a fast-phased story with amazing graphic?

    4. Challenging
    What level of challenging would you say Dragon Age falls into, if compered to BG2 and Mass-effect?
    Will there be a easy way of reaching your destination?

    Ross:  Yes, they definately fight amongst each other.  They will leave if you piss them off, or you can just kill them.  There are certainly big choices that you can save game switch on, but there are many of those big choices throughout the game and as such you won't be able to explore the whole game with this type of thing, especially with the origin stories.  If you really want to explore all the aspects of DAO you'll have to play through several times.  DAO will definately be tough, but if you are really having problems there will be some options to help you out and if all else fails there will be a difficulty slider.
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 21:00
  37. Multiplayer

    Spørsmål fra Joachim:

    Hello Mr. Gardner,

    Will there be the same type of mp as in others games like NWN? which was awesom, where players could create their own worlds that other could play

    Ross:  Unfortunately no, this is a Single Player only game.  Maybe in the future we can explore more MP.  You will be able to create your own world that others can play, but only 1 person at a time.
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 21:02
  38. Customization

    Spørsmål fra Thomas:

    It is pretty evident that you are focusing on a lot of different dialogue options for the main character, and I love how you guys have handled that in previous games. It really makes the character you play feel like your own. But what about customization in terms of apperance? Will you able to choose from a wide range of faces or have sliders for weight and height?

    Ross:  Yes, you have a full range of customization in DAO.  What kind of RPG would it be without that ;)  We also have a full face system similar to ME, but with more choices - as you can pick a race as well.
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 21:04
  39. LAN

    Spørsmål fra LaNpHrEaK:

    Hey Dean and Ross!

    Was just wondering if it will be possible to play through the singleplayer storyline with my friends in a LAN setting?

    I miss the good old times where people actually MET to play together. :-)

    Ross:  Unfortunately no.  Maybe we could do that for a sequel. 
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 21:05
  40. Concerning side quests

    Spørsmål fra Tor:

    My primary concern for DA is length, after feeling dissapointed over how short I thought ME was. I realize that developing games with storylines the length of the good old BG-games is not near profitable, but how do you feel about the length of ME, and will DA be about the same?

    Anyway, keep up the good work you are doing, I still have absolute faith in that BioWare will always deliver the best game experience.

    Ross:  DAO is definately longer than ME.  It is HUGE, you'll be able to run around exploring for a long long time - much like with the old BG series.
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 21:07
  41. How about 2D?

    Spørsmål fra Simen:

    1. Have you ever considered making the game in 2D graphics? Like the Baldur's Gate series, but preferably higher resolution and better effects? Why / why not? I prefer the graphics in Baldur's Gate 2 over Neverwinter Nights any day.

    2. I think games are a great way to tell a story, and that storywriting in games is more or less alpha and omega - in some genres more than others. Aren't you afraid that some of the qualities you can put into the story will be completely lost with an so-called "open storyline"?

    Ross:  Then I think you will like DAO.  In NWN our hands were tied a lot visually because of the big focus on the toolset, and making it tile-based.  DAO is a painting brought to life.  We have tried to bring the BG series into the modern day, and it is hard to set the mood and atmosphere in a 2D world now-adays without it looking old.  So we tried to really give the player the best of both worlds, with essentially a 2.5D tactical game (like BG) in a 3D modern world.
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 21:11
  42. Requirements

    Spørsmål fra Gareth Nilsson:

    So, how expensive equipment do you need to have fun with this game then?

    Ross:  We realize that a lot of our fans don't have Uber high end machines, so we have tried as much as possible to make it accessible for someone with a machine that is 4 or 5 years old and I think we have succeeded in that very well.  We don't have any min-specs nailed down yet but the requirements for it to look good and have fun will be very modest.
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 21:15
  43. Well developed NPC's?

    Spørsmål fra Erling:

    The BG-series has been my fav series for years, and what really separated them from most other games, were the stories and interactions of the npc's.

    My question is, will we see something along the same lines in Dragon Age? Npc's with meanings, feelings and stories really enrich the game world.

    I am impressed by what I've seen so far, and will most definitely pre-order the game :)
    My biggest concern however is that the "need" for voice acted communication has come at the cost of longer, richer dialogues, where more people have something to say.

    Well, good luck to you, and we all hope for the best!

    Ross:  The characters, stories, and interactions are really going back to the BG days.  All of our lead developers worked on the BG series so in many ways DAO is going back to those roots.  It is refreshing, I had more fun making the BG series than I've had working on any games since - until now :)  We have a small army of writers that have poured their heart and souls into this game so I really think you will enjoy that aspect of it.
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 21:19
  44. The combat system

    Spørsmål fra Fred R:


    What can you tell us about the combat system? I guess it must be a challenge when taking into consideration that the D&D system was so successful in BG and ICWD, and seemingly you want to keep the spirit of this turn-based action while still inventing something new. Why didn't you just stick to d20?


    Ross: The d-20 system, while great for pen and paper (and well know to D&D players) is not meant for a computer combat system.  As our lead combat designer is fond of saying, the D20 system is based on the fact that people need to calculate combat quickly in their heads.  In a computer we have much more power to add situational and strategic complexity - for example we can take into account flanking or whether you are on higher ground.  We have really tried to bring (and improve upon) the tactical combat aspect that the BG series had, and really try and make it intuitive - so that you can really get immersed in the strategy of the combat - without necessarily understanding all the math that goes into it.  Of course if you do want to try, it will obviously give you a tactical advantage.  One example is that in DAO friendly fire is ON, so if you want to fireball (and I'm not saying that we have fireball;) you'd better make sure your party is out of the way, or at least has some healthy resistance to fire.  If you want your archers to be more effective, put them on a hill or a balcony - preferrably something with some cover so they can duck while they reload.  We are constantly trying to add this type of diversity to combat to allow the player to explore and find a style of combat that they like and that works for them - at least until the game kicks your ass and you need to rethink your strategy=)

    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 21:28
  45. Char creation and combat system

    Spørsmål fra Cilveran:

    First of all, thank you very much for leaving the D&D system, especially with the tragic 4th ed having been launched...

    My question then becomes, can you please explain a bit about how character creation and attributes work in DA?

    What is the basis of the combat system you're using? Percentiles? Something else entirely?


    Ross:  Read my post below in "The Combat System" for some more details.  I think you'll really like what we've done.  The combat system is floating point based, with a lot of situational complexity mixed with a random combat 'roll'.  We have made a few intuitive changes though, for instance Armor doesn't make you harder to hit - it simply makes you take less damage (from most weapons).  However, certain types of weapons don't necessarily do a lot of damage, but they are very easy to dig into the cracks in heavy armor - negating it's usefulness.  Like I mention below, the combat system is quite complex if you want to dig into it - but if you just use some common sense you won't need to.  For instance if I sneak up behind someone to attack them they will be much more vulnerable than a frontal assault.  How good you are at capitalizing on that depends on your abilities  ;)
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 21:35
  46. Environments

    Spørsmål fra Sebastian:

    Hey! The game sure looks good, but will it mainly be in dungeons and caves, or in great epic outdoor battles as well?

    Ross:  There is definately epic outdoor battles.  Not on the scale of Total War or anything like that of course, but in the scope of party based combat - there are lots of epic battles.
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 21:37
  47. Release Date

    Spørsmål fra Growgy:

    Is there any Release date set for the game yet?

    Q1 2009 is all I can say att.
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 21:39
  48. How will deaths be?

    Spørsmål fra Jonzen:

    Will there be permanent death for your character like baldur gate or will there only be knockouts until end of combat if you got surviving party members?

    Ross:  We have a knockdown system similar to KotOR, where they will get up only if you defeat all the enemies.  This is done to allow the player to focus on the combat itself, and not worry as much about the in between.  That won't help you get through a particularly hard battle though, as if your whole party dies it's game over  ;)  Well, at least until you reload your last save - hopefully right before the battle.
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 21:45
  49. Dragon Age vs Baldurs Gate

    Spørsmål fra Lars:

    Personaly do you think Dragon age have better story than Baldurs gate saga? I understand that you will marketing Dragons age at your best means, but still? Does the player get that involved in the story (as i got when i played Baldurs Gate) or does Dragon Age focus more about Gameplay and graphics? And last question, who composes the music in Dragon Age?
    Thanks and good luck.

    Ross:  Personally (from a non-designer perspective) I think the story in DAO is better - more engaging and epic.  It really feels like I'm part of something bigger than me, and I have the ability to shape the way that it all turns out.  I get sucked in every time I play - generally between 6 and midnight.  It has actually kept me up until the wee hours of the morning several times, even though I pay for that the next day.
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 21:49
  50. Like home?

    Spørsmål fra Karl:

    First of all, i would like to say i loved the previous BG games. The gameplay, the story and at the time, even the layout of the graphics. Now, i realise that games have come a long way from that time, and that the graphics and gameplay has had to change to attract new players to the game, I also know that this is not BG3, but instead a spiritual followup. BUT will we; the old fans of the BG series feel like we are coming home? will the immersion of the game be as vast as it was in the previous games, and will the story be epic enough, yet so down to earth that it truly feels like a BG game, or will it just be another graphics>gameplay game as we have seen so many of the last few years?

    Ross:  This is going to be my last post as I'm hungry and way behind on my work today.  But I saw this and I couldn't not answer it.  It honestly feels to me like working on the original BG series.  Any time I'm not working I want to be playing, and it sucks me in in the same ways - both the story and the combat system (I'm a tactical combat pause junky).  So to ME it feels like coming home to the first game I worked on (BG).  My hope and our plans were that it would feel like that to all the old BG fans out there.  And hopefully we can bring that series (through DAO) out to a whole new generation of gamers as well.  Speaking in the context of myself as a huge BG fan as well - this game is for us. =D
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 21:55
  51. Why?

    Spørsmål fra Ivar larson:

    Why are you guys so awsome?

    Ross: I wouldn't know about that, we're just a bunch of geeks making games :)
    Besvart: 12. nov. 2008 22:55

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