Dragon Age: Origins

By Jim Rossignol on July 12th, 2008 at 9:06 am.


The Dragon Age site has changed to reveal a link to the already-populated forums, a subscription link for a newsletter, and a link to the apparently-in-engine trailer on GameTrailers. It has also picked up a subtitle, which is odd, because “origins” is usually a title you tag onto something further down the line, when you feel the need to do a prequel, right? Anyway, the not-actually-CGI trailer is after the jump.

And I think the trailers coming out of E3 this year might just make me snap. I know I can be a bit of a fascist about cinematics and cutscenes generally, but in all seriousness: what value is the trailer for a game when it shows nothing of the game itself? The Dragon Age trailer is reportedly in-engine, but it shows us little more than that there might be fantasy battles in Dragon Age. Movie trailers only get away with not showing anything of the film when they’re very clever indeed, and most FMV game trailers are not clever at all. We want to see actual game footage, even if it’s a ludicrously faked-up impression of what the game might look like one day. Please? Thanks.

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47 Comments »

  1. Acosta says:

    I think I have read somewhere that is not CGI, but a cinematic sequence using the engine, but I have no way to confirm this. In any case, is all about the content, I need to know details of the world, the classes, the magic system… hopefully we will know a little more for E3.

  2. Jocho says:

    As far as I know, devs often make CGI trailers to sell the game to the people with big wallets in hope to get some money to develop with. Fund raisers, in other words. I dunno why they give *us* such trailers, but perhaps they want to use a trailer they’ve made for marketing?

  3. Jim Rossignol says:

    Generally the actual “game selling” trailers are different again. I’ve seen an internal trailer for Dawn Of War 2, for example, which was actually pretty good (although not in-engine) that the wider world will never see. That goes for a lot of big games. Occasionally they get released to the wider world by accident, like that really bad footage of Warhammer Online that turned up a few months ago.

  4. Pidesco says:

    Underwhelming, regardless of whether it’s CGI or not.

  5. Pavel says:

    Extremely underwhelming.From PC exclusive RPG that is in development for several years, I expected something more than just some LOTR like battle about bullshit.

    On the other hand, Mass Effect is pretty good (playing it now), so am still looking forward to this.

  6. Newblade says:

    It’s in engine.

  7. Theory says:

    Yeah, I definitely thought it was real-time when I was watching it.

    It was more exciting than 99% of the other fantasy guff I see, so that’s a plus. :)

  8. Freeid says:

    Yeah its been confirmed that that is all in engine, In would imagine heavily scripted but all still in engine.

    Which to be fair is quite impressive.

  9. Jim Rossignol says:

    That is quite a pretty engine, but I think the point still stands: it’s an scripted FMV sequence, with no actual game footage. It’s not even *suggestive* of how the game might play, but just scene setting narrative that could come from any game.

  10. Albides says:

    No, that’s not Dragon Age! That’s an old trailer for LotR: Battle for Middle Earth, isn’t it? No? It’s the big battle intro for Temple of Elemental Evil! You sure? How about Warhammer: Mark of Chaos? There was definitely a demon of Khorne there.

    Oh, forget it.

  11. MaW says:

    A bit disappointingly generic high fantasy. Perhaps we’ll get some interesting twists later on…

    Mind you, Mass Effect wasn’t exactly an innovative setting.

  12. sigma83 says:

    I’m excited about dragon age _precisely_ because the setting is so generic. They’ll HAVE to do something awesome with the game itself, right right right right? (hopeful!)

    okay I lie. Fantasy is usually quite bland for me. Oh well. Bring on the game anyway.

  13. Al3xand3r says:

    Exactly Jim, it’s a pretty decent video but it doesn’t give us anything on the game. I don’t see any old school RPG goodness from it while I get a Mass Effect vibe which I hope is far off the mark… It could have been any kind of game really, as others have said already. Nothing of the style or scope is shown.

  14. Matt says:

    Well what is more exciting than the LotR feel is the possibility of a toolset with this game.

    I agree with other comments above it does look a bit like the Unreal engine.

  15. rob says:

    Looks a lot like NWN2 to me.

  16. skalpadda says:

    Very underwhelming.. it doesn’t even give anything to discuss other than the fact that it doesn’t..

  17. Nuyan says:

    Definitely no MMO.

    Could be an interesting RPG however, although I do kind of dislike the fantasy stuff.

  18. Bas says:

    Holy crap Bioware, redo this at once. I want to play Dragon Age, not a shitty looking LotR.

  19. Schadenfreude says:

    Impressive engine; some gameplay please.

  20. N says:

    “Not-actually-CGI”? Was it filmed instead?

    Is it Computer Generated? Check. Is it Imagery? Check.

    OF COURSE it’s CGI. Whether it’s in-engine or not, pre-rendered or realtime are the questions.

  21. Calabi says:

    That was totally underwhelming and unexciting. I shall be looking forward to how totally rubbish and cliched it will probably be, as indicated by the trailer.

  22. cyrenic says:

    Well, at least we’ve seen a little bit of what the engine looks like. Previously I’ve only been able to think of the game as an isometric 2-D game, for some odd reason.

    Yes that was pretty generic and the bad guys look kinda like the Locusts from Gears of War but trailer quality aside let’s not judge the game before we see it :P.

  23. teo says:

    “OF COURSE it’s CGI. Whether it’s in-engine or not, pre-rendered or realtime are the questions.”

    Breaking down an acronym word by word doesn’t change the meaning the acronym has taken on over time

  24. Troy Goodfellow says:

    I’m with Jim on the issue of trailers with zero real game imagery; I made this exact same point yesterday on my own blog re the Empire: Total War trailer. A complete waste of time for both prospective gamers and developers.

    There is no indication of how close this trailer is to the final engine and no hint as to what the plot is besides gouging evil from its shell. And there were man hours dedicated to putting this teaser together that could certainly have been better spent.

    But you know what? It works for most gamers. With the constant need of the gaming audience to get any new information about anything as soon as they can, there is an appetite for empty calories like these cinematic trailers.

    (Of course, I’m one of those people who hates the intro movies in most games, too. Because I am old and cranky.)

  25. Al3xand3r says:

    Cyneric why would you think that? They had released screenshots in the past which were anything but 2D. Not close to the quality (in visuals, but they actually showed the game’s style) of this video but still good 3D (for the time they were released).

    http://www.anaitgames.com/wp-content/dragon-age-screen.jpg
    http://www.doupe.cz/Files/Obrazky/art2/d/DragonAge/dragonage_03.jpg
    http://www.rpgcodex.com/images/content/dragonage.jpg
    http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i69/Andrewgosu/PCgAMES2007/50_DragonAgw.gif
    http://medialib.computerandvideogames.com/screens/screenshot_174677.jpg

    I guess they’ve gone past those by leaps and bounds. The indoor environment looks pretty sweet still in the old pics but everything else is way below the level of this video.

  26. RichPowers says:

    Generic, yes, but it’ll be awesome if the game allows you to participate in massive battles like that.

    Anyway, Bioware needs to hire a new marketing director and do a proper unveiling with REAL gameplay footage.

  27. Al3xand3r says:

    I doubt we’ll play out massive battles, I don’t expect more than 5 or 6 characters per party, more enemies are possible though I guess. I still consider it a 3D Baldur’s Gate with a new setting and hopefully better than D&D rules since it’s what they’ve more or less promised for it…

    A proper party based CRPG finally…

  28. tmp says:

    Quick, someone page Blizzard they’re totally wasting time on their cinematics teasers and trailers, that only serve to enrage the players.

  29. Binho says:

    That was terribly generic and underwhelming. From the drab brown gray color palette, to the not very inspiring music, and the generic fantasy character design. More bloody orc/zombie-things and demons as well? Give me a break.

    And here I was thinking this would be something new and interesting.

  30. DarkXaero says:

    Its in-engine, whats so hard to believe about it? It doesn’t look that spectacular.

    For those saying that its another generic high fantasy title, its actually dark low fantasy. I’m not defending the game but at least get your facts right before you start bashing the game and look like elitist pricks.

  31. Janto says:

    It certainly left me with the vague wish they’d taken a hell of a lot more from A Song of Fire and Ice than they seem to have done, and makes me doubt that they’ll actually explore the themes behind that setting in their own.

  32. Vollgassen says:

    Cinematic cut scenes should never be more exciting than the actual gameplay

  33. internisus says:

    So this is Bioware’s original fantasy IP? The fantasy analogue to Mass Effect? There was not a single aesthetic element present among that setting and those characters that sets it apart from every other fantasy IP. Very disappointing, even beyond the uninformative cinematic approach of the trailer.

  34. DragonSix says:

    What would you expect from a game called Dragon Age? xD

    At least the generic name is fitting well.

  35. DSX says:

    “The Dragon Age trailer is reportedly in-engine, but it shows us little more than that there might be fantasy battles in Dragon Age”

    Disagree – I feel it indicates the engine supports, (and thus the player has the potential to be involved in) large scale battles with superb graphics and frame rate from a first person perspective. Something Oblivion, Witcher, and other fantasy AAA titles can’t.

    NWN does to some degree, but you’re not meant to play the whole game at first person like it appears you can here.

  36. Al3xand3r says:

    Um, where exactly do they show you can play the game in first person? Just because it looks pretty enough you make that assumption?

    As for taking part in large scale battles, cut scenes are just cut scenes, in engine or not doesn’t mean you’ll play such parts. It’s still meant to be an old school RPG, I wouldn’t expect more enemies than seen in the likes of NWN, KOTOR or even BG. Not to mention that if the combat system is optimised for smaller parties like those games, taking on whole armies regularly (as in, more than just once or twice for a couple of “wow neat” story parts) would soon get tedious and give the game the dungeon crawler label.

    In the original media you can also see a part with many soldiers fighting it out in gameplay screenshots, but it’s also made pretty clear you’re not fighting alongside them (the characters actually travel on a bridge above the battle), you’re just able to view the war at parts.

    Having a good engine doesn’t mean the game will have some sort of RTS scale battles for you to take part in. It could, but a cut scene doesn’t mean shit about it really.

  37. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    The announced announcement has turned out to be an announcement of what is most likely an announcement teaser (I think a Blizzard-style gameplay footage splurge might be too much to hope for).

    I hate it when I’m right, sometimes.

    Um, where exactly do they show you can play the game in first person? Just because it looks pretty enough you make that assumption?

    Indeed, I seem to recall that the previews indicated that the game would have over-the-shoulder third-person and high angle isometric cameras. Those might have changed, given the previews I’m thinking of are over a year old now, but there is nothing in the trailer that suggests they have.

  38. DSX says:

    @Al3x um, I got the idea that you can play in first person from the screen shots you linked to? Several of them appear to be from that perspective, though one is “top down” ala NWN. My definition of first person is loose enough to include the “over the shoulder” perspective though, so perhaps my bad for not being more concise with terms.

    Anyway, my non-professional non-game reviewer guy on the street opinion is that if trailer is in engine, then that could possibly be happening in game around you.. optimistically. You could be right too though, and it’s all just visual fluff for the sake of keeping us interested.

  39. Al3xand3r says:

    So you never describe games as third person? Okay that solves the mystery then.

  40. MisterBritish says:

    A second Dragon Age trailer is up at GameTrailers.

    Well, it’s a different cut of the first one, with a few different shots. Hounds!

  41. Al3xand3r says:

    Direction seems much better with this extended version. It was too abrupt in places previously, they should have never shown the original. What’s the point of separating it into normal and extended versions anyway? They think this helps hype? Sheesh. They better show some gameplay at E3 or at least have a lot of gameplay information and example screenshots for the press…

    Edit: Bleh, this one’s missing the melee part with the demon thing…

  42. Schadenfreude says:

    Never mind hounds; that’s a lot of bodies on screen. Still no sign of gameplay but the engine certainly won’t have trouble with scale (Something both Neverwinter games had trouble with).

  43. Al3xand3r says:

    Of course, our PCs could have trouble with scale, who knows what monsters they have @ Bioware HQ to take these videos with…

    Is this still Bioware’s own engine or did they move development to Unreal Engine 3? The rendering does give me a Mass Effect vibe and it also looks far different (not just better) to the screens they had shown all those years ago. But they have also said they would include tools… Of course, that could mean a modified UED version or even a brand new compatible level editor created by them with some quest development tools on top of that… Any mentions?

  44. MisterBritish says:

    I don’t remember them releasing any technical stuff, but I wouldn’t be suprised if they modified UE3 into their new ‘Eclipse’ engine.

    Admittedly all I’m going on is the ‘look’ and that all the artists/programmers would have got used to it on ME and it’s always a good idea to stick to the same engine for a while, especially if it’s not been outdated.

  45. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    Open you eyes sheeple, the Feraldan tower explosion was an inside job (via Qt3)!

    Also, the first proper screenshot does look rather nice.

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