Dragon Age is a huge game, much like Baldur's Gate. I don't know that we'd ever make a game as big as Baldur's Gate again, though. That game was just ridiculously huge. That said, there is something to making a game that is substantial like that. The word "epic" is thrown around like there's no tomorrow, but in some ways epic does fit with the scope of the game's story. It's a long story that takes your character through this large arc. It's appropriate for what we're doing.
It is also similar to Baldur's Gate insofar as how much we focus on character. You have all your party members, and I would say almost a third of the writing that's been done is just for the members themselves. The amount of talking they do may in fact be sort of endless. I think for a lot of players that's really important. To this day in any given forum, people will still bring up characters from Baldur's Gate. Some of them are quite beloved. I would like to think as a writer that Dragon Age is the next step from there. Not to knock the Baldur's Gate characters, but these are the characters you'll be interacting with at length for a long period of time ... they're important to the story.
Go for the eyes Boo! Go for the eyes!
It seems as though Dragon Age is very much BioWare returning to its roots. Was that a conscious decision or just a reaction to the way the company and gaming as a hobby has been going?
The company has gotten big enough now that we can have several projects on the go at any given time. Console has its place, of course, and we can't ignore them.
I'm sure a lot of PC gamers would love it if we did, but we can't. What PC players hate, though, is when you have a game that tries to work on a PC and a console at the same time. It has to go for the "lowest common denominator." I think that's a legitimate concern. I think there are games that have successfully worked on both platforms, I don't think it needs to be that way. But here we're focusing on, we're starting on the PC.
"We chose the subtitle 'Origins' specifically. This is where it begins, and we're not abandoning the PC gamer."
We're doing a couple of things differently with this game, though. I mean, we announced Dragon Age really really early. In the normal scheme of things, we would have probably only been announcing it around now for release next year. Instead we announced it really early so that PC gamers wouldn't feel left out. They could look at Mass Effect and know we had huge plans for Dragon Age as a world. We chose the subtitle "Origins" specifically. This is where it begins, this is where the new story starts, and we're not abandoning the PC gamer.
That's something I wanted to mention; origins would seem to suggest a number of things especially for PC gamers. A lot of them still see the Baldur's Gate series as this great franchise that they'll really appreciate forever. Do you see Dragon Age as an attempt to go for that kind of success?
In the end the proof is going to be in the pudding. Rather, the proof is in the eating of the pudding. A lot will depend on how well the game does, right? Before we go crazy with it we want to see how the game is received. I think we're very confident, though, that there's a big group out there that has been anxiously waiting for something like this. I think they'll really respond if we've done well.
I have a good feeling about it, it's not just because I created the world. I watched this game grow before my eyes, I got to start see the cutscenes back, see the world I created take on a life of its own. The coolest thing is when the artists started getting on board. They're one step ahead of me now, instead of me being the one to say "well this is what this should look like". I have that same feeling as I did when we were at this point in developing Baldur's Gate. There's always that point where you're like 'this game is utter crap!' Then it starts to change, and finally we're at the point where we're like 'wow, this game is awesome!'
We really hope this is the launching point for something bigger.