Dragon Age: Origins: Origins

Smash the barrel!

Below the jump is a pleasantly long video showing off Dragon Age‘s conversations, from the perspective of a few different races, and demonstrating the difference that various origin stories will make. Some of the acting is quite a relief – a good degree better than in other videos we’ve seen of the game. And extremely British, which I hadn’t realised. (And amazingly, actually British actors, rather than embarrassing mockney attempts).

There’s also some clips of battling, and a snippet more news about the mysterious Morgan (with a very videogame voice, not like the more naturalistic people earlier in the video). I find myself tremendously looking forward to Dragon Age – I really want a nice juicy D&D to sink my teeth into, which isn’t a feeling I have very often.

From this site

54 Comments

  1. Ben Abraham says:

    The tautological sickness – it is spreading!

  2. Koopa says:

    Looks cool. Hope the different reactions to your character based on your origin affect more than just the beginning of the game.

    Btw, I believe it’s Morrigan.

  3. SanguineLobster says:

    I’m not sure different conversations based on your class or race is really new enough to be worth a video based on it. Or new at all, really. I can’t even think of a PC RPG which didn’t change conversations based on who you were.

    Side note: I will never, ever, sympathize with elves, they’ve been all high and mighty far to long for a little in game racism to change my mind! Damn pointy-ears.

  4. nabeel says:

    Dragon Age does look nice but I badly want the next Mass Effect :/

    nabeel

  5. kafka7 says:

    It really is feeling like a BG game now, which I think worried a few after the last video. Same great storytelling, same visual perspective, same music, but new tech to drive it all. Me want.

  6. Trithemius says:

    Combat looks a bit tiresome so far. I found Mass Effect a welcome relief from the normal ‘watch your computer play some derivation of D&D’ version of CRPG combat. I’m also mystified that someone thinks “just like BG” is a good thing to say when it comes to combat in a computer game. Didn’t someone make that game? In 2002?

    If I really want to watch someone play D&D I’ll drink some beer and roll some polyhedrons myself.

  7. Dorsch says:

    @Thrithemius: They once said something about having fever, but strategically more important combat choices i.e. fewer skills, but more difference between those. Making the SRPGs less complex but more deep is a good step in my opinion, so I hope this works. I also hope they don’t stretch out the game with too many cheap and boring fights.

  8. teo says:

    Oh god, they really haven’t moved on have they?
    I wish they’d stop trying to make RPGs with the RPG template, took a step back and realized how artificial all their conversations are. Nobody would ever have a conversation like those

    You made the graphics better and you came up with a new storyline. Congratulations, I’m sure it’ll be great…

  9. Okami says:

    @Sanguine Lobster: Well, Drakensang comes to mind. The dialogues never ever take your race or class into consideration. Which can lead to all manners of hilariously stupid dialogues. Like, when you play a dwarf and talk to a dwarf in the dwarven capital and the option to break off the conversation reads “Goodbye, little dwarf.”

  10. James G says:

    @Trithemius

    And what do you know, it looks great to me. Not every game has to have real-time twitch combat y’know. (Although to be fair to Mass Effect the combat was slow paced enough that it didn’t feel too FPSey to me.)

  11. theleif says:

    @ Trithemius
    Regression can be a good thing, look at Kings Bounty. The game play is basically 20 years old. Still my favourite game right now.

    This is probably the game i look forward to the most right now. This and Empire: Total War.

  12. Maerd says:

    NWN3.

  13. Pidesco says:

    This really shows nothing new or different. It’s jsut what they’ve been done for the past ten years.

    Also, the conversations are still wooden and artificial, both due to the writing and the animations.

    Finally, if the party NPCs are handled again like in every BIO game since NWN, I’m going to hurt someone.

  14. Binho says:

    It looks like it will probably be a pretty good CRPG. The voice acting seems great, but there are two things that bothered me a bit.

    The first being the animation. The lips look great, but am I the only one bothered about the lack of brow movement? Makes all the characters look rather bored and disinterested.

    The second is really minor, but I actually am getting tired of all the brown and green. They should look into what color dyes existed in the middle ages, and spruce up the colors a bit. Especially in the armor!

  15. Rob says:

    @Ben Abraham

    It’s not tautology. Now if you’d said repetition that would have been sufficiently adequate.

  16. Bobsy says:

    It’s an amazing concept, isn’t it? Using British actors for British roles! Gosh! Golly! Crivens!

  17. danielcardigan says:

    “The lips look great, but am I the only one bothered about the lack of brow movement?”

    Bottox?

  18. The Hammer says:

    I agree with the comments that the animations were very wooden and stiff, and sorta off-putting, but the acting was alright, and so was the script. Not award-winning stuff, but like most here, I really wanna get my teeth into a high-fantasy, party-managing, stat-crunching RPG, especially when it looks that pretty.

    Hope the narrative is great.

  19. James G says:

    @Pidesco

    You get full party control, just like BG. (Although I believe that unlike BG, your main character will have to do the trading/conversation, which is a bit of a shame. Although BG mucked up and assumed the main char was talking on so many occasions that I don’t think the designers really intended players to do this.)

  20. BillyBob says:

    I’m not sure that I’m ready to play another fantasy based RPG, especialy since this one seems sooo classical. Fantasy really is to RPG what WW2 is to FPS. It seems to me that The Witcher did a better job on this particular point.

  21. Rook says:

    It’s nice that they dress the female character in an underbust corset with some sort of scarf draped over her chest. And when I say nice. I mean pathetic.

    Also the voice acting is bad, it’s not terrible, but it’s a long way from good.

  22. Mr Wonderstuff says:

    Shame the voice work on some of the characters is awful…the prisoner for instance…lordy when will they get voices actors who actually sound like they should given their condition/circumstance. Even me with my am-dram background could have delivered those lines better.

  23. Paul Inc says:

    Well the conversations do look quite, but i think bioware has still time to improve on that issue. What i’m really looking forward to is the story( I found Jade empire and mass effect had both very good main quest plots).

    But the best thing ist that bioware has created their own world instead of going back to D&D. You probably wont see elf racism in a D&D universe.

  24. Paul Inc says:

    oops! i meant quite artificial. sorry for the double post.

  25. Nick says:

    “You probably wont see elf racism in a D&D universe.”

    Apart from dwarves.. or everyone hating drow.

  26. jackflash says:

    lots of brown in their palette.

  27. watwutwot says:

    Gameplay and combat look good, if a little traditional. The dialogue looks like a whole load of boring, ugly shit with stiff as fuck animation.

  28. theanorak says:

    Maximum amusement!

    Bethesda’s Fallout 3 is slammed by hordes of Angry Internet Men (quality meme) for being “Oblivion with guns” and not true to the Fallout series.

    Bioware make a “spiritual successor” to Baldur’s Gate and everyone complains that haven’t moved on since 1802 and why-oh-why are we still using the same combat/world/tropes/etc.

    I do love our consistency, fellow PC gamers.

  29. ulix says:

    The Dragon Age hating goes on…
    I found the dialogue and the writing mostly good in this particular video. Not outstanding if you compare it to other forms of drama, but definitely outstanding if you compare it to other interactive media.
    Everybody who wants to tell me something different… well they have no idea.

  30. ulix says:

    It must be nice to be so overly critical that you can’t really enjoy any kind of narrative anymore, I suppose. I really envy you guys…

  31. Heliocentric says:

    One thing that always pissed me off with d&d is magically advised good and evil.

    Morallity is subjective!

    I’d love a d&d without the allignment racial or otherwise. You can still have everyone hate the evil ‘dark’ elves, now you have the real face of racism when it becomes casual.

  32. Munken says:

    It’s allways been about the story for these guys…..
    If its good i’ll put alot of hours in to this game.

    Screw the animations…..

  33. Bhazor says:

    Reply to Paul Inc

    No racism? Go back to BG2 and take the drow woman for a spin. She has some shockingly horrible tales about what’s happened to her and is also a big old racist herself. Then there’s the whole “racial bonus” system.

    I really can’t remember that drow’s name, I seem to think it’s Vicodin but I’m pretty certain that’s a kind of narcotic.

  34. Fumarole says:

    Someone liked Mass Effect’s combat? Wow.

    I’m looking forward to Dragon Age for sure. Story has always been the most important aspect of an RPG. If that’s done well everything thing should fall into place. Bioware’s track record leads me to believe it’ll be a good one.

  35. Rook says:

    Also, now that I think about it, I love (and when I say love, I don’t mean that) how basically Bioware decided to show off this particular choice

    You find a prisoner, do you a) get him food or b) KILL HIM OHHHH YOU’RE SO EVIL!!!!!

  36. Butler` says:

    I’m not feeling it. It’s certainly more Baldur’s Gate than Mass Effect, though.

  37. SofS says:

    I don’t think that conversations are going to get all that much better than this (although the options and responses could have a lot more character) until a new format comes along altogether. This “click on NPC – NPC speaks – player speaks – etc.” style is easy to do, but doesn’t model conversation very well.
    Some sort of atomic approach to language could maybe break down sentences by words, compare them to samples, and decide how the computer should interpret them, but I haven’t yet heard of anything passing the Turing test, so that may be a little much to ask from a game. Perhaps something more abstract, like a matrix of responses derived from choosing a mood and an intention, would make things a bit more interesting.

  38. Unspeakable Horror says:

    Bhazor, her name was Viconia ;)

  39. Thirith says:

    I don’t think that conversations are going to get all that much better than this (although the options and responses could have a lot more character) until a new format comes along altogether. This “click on NPC – NPC speaks – player speaks – etc.” style is easy to do, but doesn’t model conversation very well.

    Still, there are vast differences between well written dialogue that works like this (e.g. Planescape Torment) and the overly obvious “1) Be a paragon of virtue, 2) Be a pantomime villain” that Bioware is sometimes prone to.

  40. Paul B says:

    I think that’s a good thing though. I’ve just finished playing through BGII and BGII:ToB and they’re brilliant. I haven’t experienced any RPGs as good on the PC since they came out, though NWN2:MotB came close. I’ve definitely looking forward to Dragon’s Age.

  41. Nick says:

    BG & BG2 (and expansions) are my favourite games thus far. Sometimes I wish for an Enternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind type scenario so I could enjoyed them for the first time again. That sais I still play and enjoy the series once every few years.

    So.. Dragon Age has me excited in a way no Bioware game since BG series has.

  42. SwiftRanger says:

    I’m also mystified that someone thinks “just like BG” is a good thing to say when it comes to combat in a computer game. Didn’t someone make that game? In 2002?

    Maybe someone wants to see another good game like it? It’s not as if NWN, NWN2, KotOR I and II, JE or ME could even touch the heels of BGII in terms of what it made so good. The combat and the underlying mechanics in Dragon Age look a lot more user-friendly than the D&D stuff (which wasn’t bad once you learned your manual…) although cutting the party back to maximum four members wasn’t needed either. Real-time with pause is always going to be way too easy as well but it’s not that bad and definitely not a worse option than more action focused stuff.

    And BGII was out in 2000, a year no true PC gamer should ever be able to forget if you ask me.

  43. Trithemius says:

    TW games and Kings Bounty are games where the combat is abstracted or scaled up. In TW games the decisions I am making are strategic and operational, with tactical decisions being mostly in the realm of “this hill or that hill” or “charge now, or regroup first”. Combat in Kings Bounty is more like a kind of hallucinatory chess game.

    In both of these examples thought the choices made are meaningful. In the BG games if you are not casting spells or using items your choice is “point my character at this enemy or that enemy”. All the “decisions” are being made randomly by the computer as it plays AD&D2e in the background.

    I can’t help but feel that this is pretty wasteful thing to do with a computer. It’d essentially like watching someone play D&D very quickly with the difference being that you are alone.

    I played Secret of the Silver Blades, Wake of the Ravager, the Baldur’s Gates, the Icewind Dales, Dungeon Siege, and the Diablos. I enjoyed these games when I played them. I just think that now maybe CRPG designers could do something more clever and interesting with their combat systems, something that leverages the capabilities of the platform at bit more. We’ve been doing this stuff for 20 years now…

    (Oh shit, did I say leverage? Jesus…)

  44. Trithemius says:

    @theanorak
    Bioware make a “spiritual successor” to Baldur’s Gate and everyone complains that haven’t moved on since 1802 and why-oh-why are we still using the same combat/world/tropes/etc.

    It’s not the “spiritual successor” bit that vexes me – it’s the it’s the same *game* bit. I’d like something that draws me into the game a bit more, that requires that I respond to in-game events rather than just watch.

    The tropes don’t bother me at all, it’s a deliberate positioning of the colour of the game. It’d be like saying “WTF Nazis again” in a game about the Normandy invasions.

    I’m certain I’ll purchase and play, and quite probably enjoy, this game. I just can’t help but think that an opportunity was lost here. Who better than BioWare is in a position to experiment with this sort of thing?

    For the record, I hate this Angry Internet Man thing. It’s a piece of enabling terminology that allows people discount criticism on the basis that someone else is making similar criticisms in a more strident fashion.

  45. Trithemius says:

    (Sorry for the serial postings, the formatting was looking a bit hinky when I tried to consolidate them)
    @Fumarole
    Someone liked Mass Effect’s combat? Wow.
    ME’s combat felt more like I was playing a computer game and less like I was watching a machinima of a D&D session.
    Perhaps this is a problem for me because I tend to split my time between playing computer games and playing RPGs so I am not seriously jonesing for the next computerised version of tabletop RPG combat?

  46. Angel Dust says:

    Man, it seems like a real step backward from Mass Effect in terms of animation, voice acting and writing.

  47. James G says:

    @Trithemius

    Dragon Age isn’t D20, its Bioware’s own system which although pause and play makes use of more complex calculations that would be possible with a simple D20 system. Furthermore, they have introduced more variety to fighter characters’ approaches, giving them something more akin to the variety usually seen with magic users.

  48. Funky Badger says:

    @Trithemius

    “In the BG games if you are not casting spells or using items your choice is “point my character at this enemy or that enemy”. All the “decisions” are being made randomly by the computer as it plays AD&D2e in the background.”

    So apart from when you’re making decisions, you’re making, umm, some different decisions? I think Oblivion’s at the other end of the “interactive combat” spectrum, as you have to hit a key for each strike, I always thought the BG games’ combat was quite fitting but YMMV.

    And, as James G alluded to, D20 is dead (and somewhat ironically the replacement is becoming a pen and paper version of WoW. Hang on, I didn’t mean ironically, I meant incestuously)

  49. Jochen Scheisse says:

    Looks and sounds just great. I’m really looking forward to this.

  50. Jochen Scheisse says:

    And the replacement for D20 has IMO always been WoD style. Rolling Attributes was old in the 80s.