Dragon Age: Origins, will be able to extend the experience through 'Awakening,' the hefty retail expansion bearing an equally hefty $40 price tag. While the new trailer coinciding with the announcement was gripping in its own right, many gamers are likely wondering what is deserving of so much coin. Sure, we know it takes place after Origins, we know players will be fighting new Darkspawn baddies and we know there's new items and a raised level cap, but what else should gamers look forward to spending another gazillion hours on?
Well, in a recent interview with IGN, Bioware's Fernando Melo put it all on the line. Basically, the Darkspawn haven't retreated underground after Origins' Blight -- as was the case following previous Blights -- and in the land of Amaranthine, one Darkspawn in particular has evolved to the point where it can talk and reason: the Architect. And if you haven't played through Origins at all and have no character to import, you'll have the option to create a new one that will automatically be placed somewhere between level 17 and 20, around the toughness of Awakening's roster of bad guys.
Then there's the raised level cap. Melo couldn't confirm where it would be when Awakening releases in March, but said it will "probably end up in the mid to high 30s." Also, you'll gain access to a bunch of new followers, complete with all-new banter and micro-managing. This will have a greater affect on imported characters, as Melo says a lot of the choices you've made in Origins carry over and, depending on what point you're currently at in the main game, characters will act accordingly. And if you choose to play Awakening first, decisions there will transfer back to Origins in the same way.
Melo even detailed a bit of the "re-spec" ability you'll have in Awakening. You'll be able to force a reboot of your character's skill points through a tome, allowing you to retain whatever level your Origins character is at, but have a fresh start in terms of where you want to place your points. Obviously, if you choose not to import a character, this feature is moot because you'd be spending all of the points you'll get from starting at the high level Awakening begins.
It's a lot to process and IGN's interview is three very lengthy pages, so if you want to read the rest, head on over and check it out. Just beware of spoilers.