Dragon Age: More Talk, More Rokk

By Alec Meer on May 29th, 2009 at 1:11 pm.

Oh dear, the last Dragon Age Trailer we posted didn’t half cause a stink. Outrage at the Marilyn Manson soundtrack and silly sex scenes from one camp, and accusations of prudish snobbery from the other. Why… why can’t we all just get along? Sniff. Bioware seem to think similarly, their latest vid-snippet aiming square at a compromise – big, sonorous speeches paired with more heavy rawk. While I don’t think for one second that’s going to be representative of the game itself, it kind of works in this intro cinematic.

It may not be telling us that much about the game itself, but it does reinforce the idea that Bioware are trying hard to appeal to a market other than solely Baldur’s Gate die-hards. It will be fascinating to see if they have managed to incorporate any of that into yer actual game.

Also, a couple of recent videos we missed first time around. Here’s a cute one that’s simultaneously mocking and encouraging the stereotypes of the genre:

And here’s the lead designer giving – gasp! – some genuine details of the game, rather than semi-ironic posturing. A lot of talk on the morality in the game – less binary good/evil in this one and more characters with clouded motivations, apparently, a la Witcher. Hopefully that’s something Bioware can pull off, as they have been a little too reliant on a Mathematical Morality Meter in their most recent games. Also, the near-absence of Brian Manson (save for Gametrailer’s editing in of the sex clip at the end) in this one is probably telling:

Hopefully, our own John Walker will get some hands-on time with Dragon Age at E3 next week, and it will finally become clear exactly what tone and approach this thing’s taking.

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135 Comments »

  1. demonarm says:

    So, this is the new Tim Shafer game set a world inspired by heavy metal album art?

    Oh.

  2. Calabi says:

    I just wish they had that sort of music in the game instead of the same cliche classical, lord of the rings, conan derivatives. Or maybe they have?

  3. skizelo says:

    They can’t talk about Brutal Legend yet. Not until it’s on PC. Come Onnnnnn Schafer.
    I’m looking forward to this, especially if they can keep their word on the morality thing. That is, on the “good writing” thing.

  4. Tei says:

    This game is classic.. NOT!… This game is awesome… NOT!.. This game is finne …NOT!.. This game is ambitieus …NOT!…. soo how much this game will be delayed, and how much bandwith will be wasted in videos, wen that bandwidth could be used to buy and download the game?

  5. somnolentsurfer says:

    There’s a new trailer up for Mass Effect 2 as well. Is it just me, or has there been a complete lack of announcements regarding release platforms for that game?

  6. wake says:

    @Calabi–I dunno, I have mixed feelings on the issue. On one hand, I agree that something besides “epic soundrack #31″ could be interesting, though at the same time I’m not sure how much tolerance I have for people screaming at me under the guise of music. I think COD 5 actually did a good job with their sound design by interspersing period music with some metal pieces and other modern music.

    So maybe something like that might be more what’s in store. Who knows. I’m sure it’ll be a very entertaining game though, as designed or in a more ironic fashion.

  7. Markoff Chaney says:

    At least they didn’t go the Freezepop way with even less talk and more rokk. I’ll take extra talking with my rocking, if you please. Music in game is usually tough. A High Fantasy first outing Mature-A-thon that’s supposed to be old school AND the new shit? Now that’s extra tough. I’d go with Nightwish.

  8. boatorious says:

    The first trailer did make me want to play the game (more), but the whole Let’s-have-a-Marilyn-Manson-song-in-the-trailer-and-then-put-the-name-of-the-song-in-text-in-the-trailer-and-oh-yeah-the-song-title-has-a-SWEAR-in-it — I don’t know. Felt like they were pushing a little too hard on the whole “badass” thing.

  9. gryffinp says:

    I’d watch that movie.

  10. Adam says:

    I think some of the most recently innovative music scores for games has been Gears of War. If I make a game I will hire their music team because playing “Mad World” in the commercial spot for the first Gears of War was amazing and then Gears of War 2 had that other cool song which I cant name for when they were getting sent into the ground. Those two songs have absolutely no place in gaming yet they were expertly used in situations which really made something amazing. I think the music score is very important and really helps with the atmosphere. Think about a shooter and the music picks up into something fast when the action gets heavy, I don’t know about you but I get that invincible feeling and lay on the trigger for some “praying and spraying” when the music kicks it up a notch.

  11. teo says:

    I feel there’s a 50/50 chance this game is either great or horrible

  12. Carra says:

    I’m gonna go and play Jade Empire one of these days. I sure hope I don’t have to listen to that kind of music for the entire game.

  13. Larington says:

    I still regard Manson as a blight that doesn’t belong anywhere near a marketers ‘music’ library. I suspect I’m not the only one who thinks that.

  14. Guy says:

    Oooh, Blandy McBland Bland. Nothing like a clean cut white man with short dark hair to set the imagination alight!

    Morality? Greyness? You called them ‘The Blight’ and ‘Darkspawn’ for crying out loud.

    Didn’t we agree that Dragonlance and all that Californian RenFaire tripe was an abomination upon the world at least two decades ago and promise to never do it again?

  15. Koopa says:

    Just wanna point out that the song in the new trailer is Manson too, but some odd version.

  16. Katsumoto (jvgp100) says:

    Personally I applaud any game which doesn’t feel the need to automatically put generic-orchestral stuff in. Orchestral stuff can often be amazing and perfectly suited of course, but sometimes no effort at all is put in. Compare Quake 2′s amazing soundtrack to Quake 4′s, for instance. I bet you can’t even remember Quake 4′s!

    See Mirror’s Edge or Mass Effect for recent games that didn’t splurge in any old orchestral arrangement and came out the better for it. Or Half Life 2! In fact, I should stop complaining, loads of games have awesome soundtracks! But there are still plenty of examples of boring orchestral scores recently.. Empire:TW for instance. Very bland. Or Fallout 3′s – compare that to the original 2 games. They were far more distinctive in that department.

  17. TwistyMcNoggins says:

    I wouldn’t really recommend playing Jade Empire, because if you’ve played KOTOR and Mass Effect, JE will really show up how most Bioware plots are;

    “Oh no, everyone’s dead! You’re the last of your kind! I suppose that makes you the Chosen One by default.

    Something bad happens next week!

    Go to these four places to get four different things to build that thing we need! Here is a sexy bi-curious womans to help you”

  18. Okami says:

    It’s a fantasy RPG, they aren’t supposed to be innovative. And you always have some irredeemably evil faction in those games, that doesn’t mean that there can’t be areas of moral greyness in the game.

    *sigh*

    People complain about everything these days.

  19. Lobotomist says:

    Its a shame Bioware and Obsidian split up.

    Its generally like this :

    Bioware knows how to code a great game with average story.

    and Obsidian knows how to Make a great story but dont have a clue about coding

  20. Stupoider says:

    I’m mad for the orchestral stuff. Epic music such as Morrowind’s theme is one of the things I most enjoy about fantasy games.

  21. jalf says:

    Since when weren’t fantasy RPG’s supposed to be innovative? I for one am glad the genre has evolved a little bit since the 80′s. And evolving a bit *more* surely wouldn’t hurt.

    Which isn’t to say anything about Dragon Age (which at least ditches the most tired cliches about the setting), but claiming that “fantasy RPG’s shouldn’t innovate” is just silly imo.

  22. Wirbelwind says:

    Oh my god, the previous Manson trailer wasn’t actually a joke?

    This is bad. Bad bad bad. Oh this is bad. All my hopes for the story have sunk.

  23. EBass says:

    Whilst Bioware were and remain great devs, I am of the opinion that their morality options have remained far too clearly “Good choice/Neutral Choice/Bad Choice” for too long, and their plots are somewhat samey. They tell them well but they aren’t at base that good.

    I have high hopes for this game, but the jury is still very much out regarding Bioware’s current direction in my opinion.

    I do cringe a little at all this “Darkspawn” and “Blight” stuff. I mean you can’t get all that much more generically fantasy can you?

  24. Bohan says:

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmm. For some reason this fills me with an inescapable feeling of meh.

    More important news: Keiron Gillen has just been announced as the new assistant in Dr Who:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/8073734.stm

  25. Digit says:

    I’m sorry but this game just looks crap. I find nothing about it remotely interesting, and the links to a ‘spiritual successor’ of Baldur’s Gate vaporised with a quick trip and rummage around on their forums. It will no doubt be wildly popular for all the wrong reasons.

    Also Bioware’s marketing department needs to shoot themselves, as I’ve never seen such a dire campaign before, nearly every piece of footage has no new content, it’s beyond a joke now, it’s been going on for almost a year. :/ Each time I watch a trailer, I keep hoping for something new and instead see the same things I’ve seen the last 10 times, AGAIN!

    *headdesk*

  26. JKjoker says:

    i think its really funny how Bioware went out there with the idea of making an new “unique” and “fresh” franchise and ended up making the most cliched, stereotypical and generic “fantasy” game ive ever seen

    it took them months or maybe years to come out with “undead army attacks the tolkieneske free world”, elves, dwarves and the same crap we have seen in medieval rpgs a few hundred thousand times

    at least with Mass Effect they sort of “tried” not to clone star wars (didnt succeed tho) but at least the gameplay was different from kotor

  27. Rob says:

    “soo how much this game will be delayed, and how much bandwith will be wasted in videos, wen that bandwidth could be used to buy and download the game?”

    That’s a really surreal comment.

  28. Matt says:

    Note to EA/Bioware, this new marketing is awful. This was one of the top games I was looking forward to this year. It was a day one purchase for me, possibly even a pre-order. Now, it’s become a “wait and see” game because I have to be sure that the game doesn’t resemble the gawd-awful marketing as much as I fear it does before I plop down my $50.

    Perhaps you think that you’re expanding into a new customer base with this new marketing, but you’re doing so at the expense of the customers that you already had lining up for this game.

  29. bmorr says:

    @skizelo

    Maybe if more than three people had bought Psychonauts, Schafer might feel more kindly towards publishing on our favoured platform…

    Just a thought.

  30. JKjoker says:

    holy crap, i just noticed the date at the end of the first video, end of october (+delays) wth, theyve been hyping it so much i thought it was coming out on june-july, do they really expect to retain interest in this crap for 6+ months with Manson songs and teasers ? even worse with all the games releasing next month DA is going to get buried

  31. Persus-9 says:

    Looks fine to me. I don’t really care what direction the PR people are taking for advertisement music as long as everything we see regarding the game itself looks ok and I think it does. Except for that sex scene, that looked naff as hell and that’s the only thing that’s really bugging me but they said all that stuff was optional so hopefully I can pretend my characters a prude and play the game without seeing any bad sex scenes.

    @ Bohan: I’m glad I’m not the only one who misread that anouncement.

  32. Stupoider says:

    @bmorr: Psychonauts was an Xbox exclusive before it came to the PC. I’m certain the PC sales outnumbered the Xbox sales.

  33. gulag says:

    Whoo The Witcher.. Ahem

    Really liked the bit where they cut to the fight playing out against white space. Very slick. You could combine Dragon Age with The Black Swan(?) in a mashup game where you have to paint the walls with ork blood to find the level exit.

  34. James O'Hare says:

    I’m hoping that this marketing campaign is mostly aimed at getting folk who don’t much play RPGs interested (you know, the kind of people who think Gears of War is the pinnacle of gaming). It’s definitely not for BioWare’s existing fans.

    BioWare’ve yet to make a game that’s let me down, so I’ve got faith in them. But throwing a bone in the direction of their extant fanbase sooner rather than later would be kinda nice.

  35. Premium User Badge

    Sagan says:

    I’m pretty sure they use the term “high fantasy” wrong. This is definitely high fantasy. They just want to say they aren’t high fantasy because they want to be compared to George R.R. Martin. But sorry, you are definitely high fantasy if you have elves and demons and that much magic.

  36. Hulk Hogan says:

    The Hulkster wishes there wer fantasy games without the tired old “elves, dwarves, hobbits, orcs, and undead” thing that’s been going on ever since Tolkien wrote his trilogy

    IN MY OPINION it should either be all humans or humans + non-human species that actually look the part.

    HULK HOGAN IS GONNA BREAK SOME ELF’S LEGS IF THIS KEEPS UP, BROTHER!

  37. suibhne says:

    Did anyone else notice how Bioware just capitalized the word as “DarkSpawn”? I mean…seriously?

    Hello, Bioware! The ’80s called, they want their adolescent death-metal name back.

  38. Stupoider says:

    @Hulk Hogan: I’m shaking, I’m shaking! D:

  39. Kast says:

    On the plus side, the orcs actually look pretty decent.

    I think I’ll be getting this (if my computer can handle a demo or such) in any case. More complex grey-area choices are always exciting.

  40. James T says:

    What are Bioware gonna do when the Hulkster’s 24-inch pythons go wild over… them?!?!

  41. Jahkaivah says:

    @bmorr

    Pretty damn sure it isn’t Schafer’s choice.

  42. panik says:

    “I just wish they had that sort of music in the game instead of the same cliche classical, lord of the rings, conan derivatives.”

    that would be like drinking from a punch bowl with a human turd floating in it

  43. a rob amongst many says:

    If this turns out to be not rubbish I will be pleasantly surprised but mainly surprised.

  44. Jeremy says:

    I think it is easy to look at out of context clips and just immediately jump to certain conclusions. Granted, I’m not a huge fan of the whole rock music + blood + sex advertising, but more than anything I think they’re trying to make a point. If I thought that it in any way reflected what the game will be as a whole, I would never be excited for it. I just don’t think that’s the case, I think there will be a wide variety of topics in the game, and if you remember up until that video posted everyone was complaining about how they didn’t just want another sugar coated high fantasy affair (assuming Dragon Age would be). Now they show the video and everyone is complaining about how the trailer doesn’t fit and this “fantasy” business is getting sullied. I say… make up your mind. Thankfully, we can all see what it will be some time in October, and I’m going to bet on this being a lot more diversified than any previous BioWare games, and not just a rock n roll blood bath to try and over correct the “morality” issue.

    Speaking on that morality, it also seems like they have an understanding of “gray”. Sure, the demons and the spawn are naturally evil, no doubt about that, even the lead designer didn’t even bother to try and refute that fact. That doesn’t mean everyone is either good or evil, and that there aren’t other motivations and varied levels of black, white and gray. I’m thinking there could be a sort of Machiavellian theme throughout the game, that you have a role as a Gray Warden to create this army to defeat the arch demon, but it is how you go about that, what corners you choose to cut, who you choose to save and how, that will create the gray areas in the game.

    Just speculating though. As are we all.

  45. demonarm says:

    Bioware, E3 2009:
    Bioware present their advanced AI RPG generating device which accepts the parameters genre, decade, clichee density and degree of sexual polymorphy. They demonstrate how both Mass Effect and Dragon Age were both generated with the device. Decade parameter selection appears to be a bit buggy and stuck somewhere in the 80s.

  46. Sinnerman says:

    If Bioware want to target my market they could make a Rock, Paper, Shotgun exclusive trailer focussing on the inventory management system featuring the music of Bettie Serveert.

  47. Calabi says:

    I think the music is one reason why I prefer some eastern rpgs over the west. They at least recognise that the music is an important part of it and try to make it stand out. They dont pay too much heed to keeping the music strictly within one particular genre.

  48. JKjoker says:

    how can you take the clips out of context when they are being released by Bioware themselves ? its not like someone cut the worst parts of a trailer and released them with a random music, those are THE OFFICIAL ones

    @Sagan: they said DA is “dark fantasy” which is nothing like those pussified “high fantasy” settings because, you know, darker and grittier was “in” a few years ago when they started development and they are still running behind the bandwagon

    @Calabi: thats because they have clearer objectives when they make a game, they create worlds, characters and events always tweaking the mood with music, just like good movies do (sometimes they fail spectacularly tho in a “what do you mean its not awesome?” and “im going to take this chip…. and eat it!! *300 like dramatic music playing on the bg*” way), western games only care to run behind trends and bandwagons, they dont really know how to use the media (or they just dont want to and rather playing it safe)

  49. Tei says:

    I disable music in most games, because music break my inmersion. I love good music.. on some areas, like a load menu, or .. why not? a video. But once in-game, I want to be there, not here.
    Theres a guy somewhere game-engine programmer/sound artist, that is trying to create a world, for me, and I want to taste that. Music can get into me, and this world these guys want to show me.

    Re: Jade Empire
    Is a game withouth quicksaves, and the dificulty is unbalanced. I own the game, but I have never pased the “beach fight”, so I uninstalled the game there. Is probablly a game to NOT buy and NOT rent. Another console shody port. Probably the game is cool… if there where a quicksave option.