Dragon Age: Better In Pixels Than Reality

Like Willow, but slightly different

Here’s the trailer for that live-action Dragon Age TV series, starring that woman people on Twitter all have a crush on, and it’s… Well.. It’s. Well. Well, it makes Dragon Age II seem an awful lot more palatable all of a sudden. Bless everyone involved, but the budget’s just not there, is it?

So, there you go. That’s Dragon Age: Redemption, the first of whose six parts kick off online on October 11. “The series tells the story of Tallis, an Elvish assassin, who gets a last chance at redemption when she’s sent to capture a rogue Qunari mage intent on wreaking havoc in the world.”

Tallis – and Felicia Day’s voice – will also appear in the next Dragon Age II DLC, Mark of the Assassin, which arrives on the same day as Redemption. Here’s how that looks (hint: much less awkward, thank you very much).


  1. skalpadda says:

    Ye gods, why would they do this?

    • Navagon says:

      Wait, you’re asking why “we’ll steal all your games if you don’t play them exactly the way we want them to” EA would do something like this?

    • DaFishes says:

      Because EA’s marketing team is trying to “target a wider audience” by dangling nerdgirl candy in front of all the folks who were butthurt about DA2.

      That’s why.

    • MattM says:

      Worst part is its working on me. I think I am probably break down and get DAII when the complete version comes out. BUT HELL NO ON ORIGIN.

    • Reiver says:

      While i’m not exactly pro-piracy what PB has done is a much more effective method of persuading Bioware to shape up than i have.

      I pre-purchased the game thinking we’d see a similar switcheroo of terrible promotional material versus solid game we did with the original. Damn was i wrong! Instead i was ladden with a a £35 turd that i actually had to force myself to play in the hope that it would somehow improve. Sure i gave (constructive) criticism on the Bio forums but everything i’ve seen in interviews and forum suggests that Bioware aren’t wholly penitent about DA2 and at the end of the day my purchase is one of the ones they flashed up to justify their choices.

      It seems the industry looks at sales rather than qualitative feedback so by depriving them of a sale of a crap game PB has done much more for gaming than i have by blindly purchasing it.

    • f4Ri says:

      Considering most games don’t even release demos anymore I’d say pirating has become the only way of finding out whether or not the game is worth buying or not. I know I’ve saved hundreds of dollars on games that I shut down 1-2 acts in because they just didn’t cut it, they weren’t fun, they had no future for me and I knew I’d never play them again. Now imagine the frustration and resentment I’d be feeling if I had quite literally wasted all that cash on shit that I’d have thrown out.
      I buy the games I do enjoy and I’m conscious enough to not play through shit. The games industry isn’t about making good games anymore, it’s about making similar games as everyone else and screwing the customer with dlc. I refuse to fund this development with my money except when I feel that they’ve created a product worthy of both time and money. The developer is not really an issue. In the end it’s about not regretting a purchase.

    • misterk says:

      Tell me about it! The other day, I stole this sofa from DFS, and it was just incredibly uncomfortable. Honestly I feel like they’re not putting any effort into making furniture, just into those adverts that always reel you in. Imagine if I’d spent money on it!

    • mejoff says:

      “fuck anyone who ever voluntarily paid money for it.”
      Didn’t we just have a post about insulting other users here? Some of us have it and didn’t pirate it, some of us don’t even hate it.

    • Aldehyde says:

      @misterk: Your argument would hold up if it wasn’t for the fact that you can actually sit in the couch you want to buy before you buy it.

    • misterk says:

      I.. goddamn it, I had to pick one of many commerical items that you CAN try before you buy.

    • Kdansky says:

      While DA2 certainly wasn’t as good as The Witcher 2 or Deus Ex HR, it can still stand on equal footing with the ME2 everyone loves so much.

      But the TV thingy looks embarrassing.

    • Saiko Kila says:

      DA2 has a demo. I played it. I have abandoned my plans to buy and play the game thanks to it.

      So in this case piracy is not needed. But I understand the people who “pirate to decide”, and I understand the developers who don’t release demos for crappy games anymore.

  2. Text_Fish says:

    If it weren’t for embarassing shit like this I’d probably tell more people I’m a gamer.

    • brecherbernd says:


      Looks awful, dumb and deadly dull.

      If only the second season of a game of thrones would be finished allreday… :-(

    • danimalkingdom says:

      Oh God that’s it isn’t it- that’s why i don’t tell people. It’s because of awful tie-in movies, fan fiction and Uwe Boll.

    • Quinnbeast says:

      It’s all very “LIGHTNING BOLT!” though isn’t it?

    • gmcleod says:

      “If only the second season of a game of thrones would be finished allreday… :-(”

      More like if only Martin would finish the last books already.

      After viewing that, I think it would have been better if Day wasn’t in it.. I guess it’s my fault really, for liking Dr Horrible and The Guild too much.

    • Novotny says:


    • RF says:

      But, gmcleod, BOTH of those would’ve been better without them in. She dominates the shows not by acting force or anything like that, but by how she’s written in. “Oh, I am such a pretty girl TEE HEE. Look at me play my ARR PEE GEE. All the geeks LOVE ME!”

      Also, she’s a mediocre actress and a terribad singer. Every single song in Doctor Horrible would’ve been better without her (especially with NPH’s surprisingly good singing voice).

      Oh, whatever. I really don’t get what people see in her.

    • BurningPet says:

      Medicore actress, a very thorn in the desert syndrome. just like any other not too ugly gamer woman.

    • RF says:

      @BurningPet: Don’t you mean WATER in the desert syndrome? Or any port in a storm? Or anything other than “thorn in the desert”? D:

  3. Wizardry says:

    Didn’t Wizardry and Ultima get animes? Not sure which is worse.

    • Casimir Effect says:

      Those exist? Please, tell me their names and also if they happen to be so fantastically bad I can wring enjoyment out of them through the addition of a drinking game?

    • Kaira- says:

      Wizardry I could found, and there are some references to Ultima cartoon/anime, but I haven’t been able to find the name. Apparently the Official Book of Ultima could tell us more about that one.

    • Wizardry says:

      @Kaira-: Hey, that looks like it’s based on the very first Wizardry game.

    • Kaira- says:


      Yeah, the description says that, I don’t know if there’s any more. And I’m not really sure I want to watch that even. :P

    • steggieav says:

      Makes sense, as Wizardry is very big in Japan. They have their own spinoffs and everything. They are a lot more tolerant of turn-based combat.

    • Casimir Effect says:

      I must find this! It’s going to be legendary

    • JackDandy says:

      I watched the Wizardry anime. Pretty basic, but sweet. Google “bakabt wizardry” if you wanna get a torrent. It’s subbed.

      The Ultima anime is a damned enigma, though.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Here’s what the Official Book of Ultima (second edition) says about the cartoons:

      the Japanese distributors launched an all-out media blitz to promote the Nintendo Ultima III. Ultima comic books, an Ultima album on compact disc, two kinds of wrist watches, a tape dispenser, a pencil holder, a board game, a jacket, and even an Ultima beach towel took the island by storm, and animated cartoons soon brought the Ultima story to television audiences.

      This was in 1989, apparently.

  4. Rich Tea says:

    Unlike Dragon Age 2, I can’t trade this in after three hours.

  5. Unaco says:

    Aww bless ’em. They’re trying at least. Failing, yes… but at least they’re trying.

  6. admanb says:

    It doesn’t look that bad to me. Did no one ever watch and enjoy 80s-90s fantasy/sci-fi? Xena, Hercules, Star Trek? This looks much better than that. Could be decent, could be crap.

    I do find it weird that it’s coming out under the Machinima.com label…

    Side note: I kind of thought RPS was better than to refer to a professional creative woman as “that woman that people have a crush on.” Does she get a name?

    • Zenicetus says:

      Spock’s ear looked a heck of a lot better.

    • Koozer says:

      I think the problem is it’s now 20 years later, and those old shows new when to use the blue paint and fake horns sparingly but effectively – why do you think all Star Trek aliens look like humans with funny heads and dodgy dress sense?

    • Unaco says:

      “Spock’s ear looked a heck of a lot better”

      I said the very same thing on the original article about this.
      Here. Great minds think alike, eh.

      Also, for me, one of the reasons this looks a little shoddy is that I’ve been spoiled by Game of Thrones.

    • briktal says:

      I think the main problem is the camera/lighting.

    • ninjapirate says:

      I’m fine with it looking like Xena/Hercules.
      Either way I’d rather have an engaging story than a Hollywood high production value, I’m certainly going to give the show a shot until I make up my mind.

    • formivore says:

      Yeah this looks fine, it’s kind of uncharitable for Alec to be so harsh on it. As briktal says, it doesn’t have those camera/lighting things that make it look expensive. People are just reacting negatively to DA and Ms. Day.

    • yutt says:

      I’m no Felicia Day adherent, and I can’t stand Dragon Age (1 or 2), but it looked amusing to me as well.

      Very Sam Raimi/Buffyish.

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      Her name is Robert Paulson.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      Her name was Michael!

    • JiminyJickers says:

      I have watched and enjoyed way worse than this, haha.

    • bill says:

      I watched it with no sound, so maybe it has terrible voices/acting. But it looked ok to me. Except for that guy’s plastic armour.

      None of the monsters looked any worse than Buffy or Xena.

      Actually, I was thinking yesterday – what’s the Xena of today? I suddenly fancied watching a dumb action fantasy/sci-fi tv series and I realised that everything these days seems to be much more dark and serious… which is ok some of the time.

  7. thesundaybest says:

    I stopped playing Dragon Age II at the start of Act 3. I just…lost interest entirely. I never really cared about the crazy blood mages and the crazier templars and who might be right in all of it, but the bizarre, tacked on love stories – in fact, all the stories – just ground me down. Nothing mattered ever. I know this was covered at length before, but just needed a late-to-the-party rant. I’ve never not finished a game before.

    All of that to say – I will not be watching this. How about a Dragon Age: Origins movie?

    • Doesn'tmeananything says:

      Not sure if incessant tedious battles would look better on cinema screens.

    • Koozer says:

      Transformers 3?

    • Nesetalis says:

      I kinda feel the same way… Dragon age II isnt a story about anything.. its just a story about people after a war… theres no overarching threat, theres no deep plot, just a series of events that happen to you while you’re trying to live your life… its interesting, but hardly noteworthy and not nearly as epic as da:o.

    • almostDead says:

      Off topic and kind of random, but…

      I wish Steam would accelerate and expand it’s swapping/selling stuff thing. Not going to happen in the way I want though.

      I would happily give someone my DA2 if they could derive joy from it. I vowed never to preorder again after I did for DA2. Then I broke it again for RAGE and feel even more stupid than normal.

      It makes me want to ask RPS to consider a Sunday new article called ‘wot I think we might write this week’, so that idiots like me might expect a RAGE article upcoming and prevent me being stupid taxed into RAGE.

    • LostViking says:

      You made it to Act 3?
      Good for you!

      The annoying spawning enemies and constant rehash of levels made me lose interest even sooner.

    • Nesetalis says:

      yeah reusing every single fucking level was retarded… as a artist i know its not particularly easy to build worlds… but dungeon crawl areas… are easy in comparison. Just a simple winding cave is VERY easy to make.. so have a unique one for each section, seriously! you can reuse assets but not the exact same layout!

    • malkav11 says:

      You missed nothing. I more or less enjoyed Acts 1 and 2, with significant caveats, but Act 3 jumped off a cliff.

  8. Meneldil says:

    Well, it looks just as bad as I expected. What a shame, I kinda liked her WoW-parody.

  9. stinkypickle says:

    I don’t think budget is really the issue, just lack of imagination.

    • Wulf says:

      Pretty much that, yeah. Look at what old Who episodes did with an incredibly limited budget, and look at some of the things people have managed to pull off on Youtube with a similarly limited budget. There’s some amazing stuff out there.

      A limited budget can frankly sometimes bring out the brilliance even more.

      This is just a lack of imagination, plain and simple. It’s a boring world filled with dull people, it’s a yawnfest, and it’s something that’s been done a billion times before.

      I find this better in every conceivable way. And that was on a far, far more limited budget than what these guys had to play with, I’m certain. (Check out the budget of that fan film and see for yourself.)

      (I’ve got nothing against Felicia Day at all, as you can gather from my other posts, it’s just that she’s been in better than this drivel, really.)

    • HermitUK says:

      I had no idea the Nuka Break series was starting to come out now as well. Awesome.

    • dorkus1218 says:

      yeah, this looks better than a majority of the stuff on the sci fi channel in terms of production values. it just looks tacky as hell.

  10. MuscleHorse says:

    I didn’t ask for this.

    • codename_bloodfist says:

      Just wait until the emo elves show up and start hitting on the knight guy.

  11. Koozer says:

    “Tell me, do you flirt all the time?”
    “I don’t have to.” *flutter*


    Reminded me of Hercules actually, but with somehow even worse narrative.

    Also: bloody elves.

  12. Pidesco says:

    This looks as good (shit, that is) as any of Bioware’s efforts at narrative and *cinematic* cutscenes. People just have lower standards when it comes to games.

  13. BatmanBaggins says:

    Had to watch it without sound so I don’t know how bad the acting and wording is, but based on the description I expected it to look worse. Looks cheap, sure, but I was expecting something like a home-made LARP video.

    • toomian says:

      You should listen with sound. I think it uses the games sound effects as foley and it sounds awful. backflips make WHOOOSSHES

  14. Outright Villainy says:

    So it’s back to 90’s low fi tv sensibility, eh? I think the awfulness has been hyped a little though, it didn’t look that bad, just… odd. Like Xena or something.

  15. Casimir Effect says:

    Fantasy should really only be done in 2 ways:
    High-budget or well produced (LOTR, Hellboy 2, Willow)
    Camp, cheesy, ‘so bad it’s good’ style (Dungeon Siege ITNOTK, D&D: Wrath of the Fire God)

    This always had the look of what happens when someone writes a fanfic starring their character, Bobby the Magic Elf.
    “Bobby killed the wizard and then Bobby killed the dwagon and then he got a big sword and then he was made king by the king and then he discovered space and then he ate bees and then he married the prettiest princess and then he beat the devil etc”.

    • Gadriel says:

      I’m not sure why “and then he ate bees” made me laugh as much as I did.

    • Srethron says:

      Are you saying bees *shouldn’t* be eaten?

    • LionsPhil says:

      No; they’re too ecologically important and their numbers are in decline.

      Be environmentally concious. Eat wasps instead.

    • formivore says:

      God I hate wasps. Pure evil.

    • Thants says:

    • Stephen Roberts says:

      A man called Thants with a picture of Julian Baratt as his avatar and he posts a youtube link? It just can’t go wrong.

      Thanks, Thants.

    • Thants says:

      I realize now that I just referenced three English comedies at once and I’m not even English.

  16. Bull0 says:

    Could’ve been worse.

  17. HermitUK says:

    Wasn’t until after I’d watched the trailer that I realised the guy with the latex mask on was supposed to be a Qunari. Pretty sure it’s a leftover Power Rangers prop, that one…

  18. cocoleche says:

    Is it really that bad? Seems on par with the stuff networks crank out and label fantasy/scifi. Not saying that that makes it better, just that it’s standard.

  19. Domothy says:

    Looks like bloody Power Rangers.

    • Stephen Roberts says:

      That’s my hunch. The cast of younger, smooth skinned actors. The lack lustre armour and props. The feeling of a student project about the whole thing, inspired by the dialogue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

      I’m sure it’ll have a semblance of a story line but I think it’s a shame that recreations of games have to be so upfront about the source material. To esoterically counterpoint this: I just watched a recent film called Drive (which is excellent) and the guy in it wears a Scorpion Jacket. If it was a Just Cause origins story and that was all they did to reference the game as source material it would be fantastic.

    • Hidden_7 says:

      That would be one of the absolute worst adaptations of all time. Drive was a fantastic movie, but it is nothing like Just Cause in any way, and if you think it would he an adequate adaptation, then maybe you don’t know what adaptation means?

  20. Demiath says:

    I’d say that trailer was better than what we’ve seen so far. When Redemption was first announced I failed to see the point but with Mark of the Assassin I feel the pieces start to fit together a lot better. Both the short series and the DLC could still turn out to be crap, of course. Only time I can remember that any promotional life action stuff turned out to be quite alright was with Alan Wake, which was accompanied by an eminently watchable sixpack of moody Lynch-lite offering more effective and less uneven storytelling than the actual game itself.

  21. Red_Avatar says:

    This is a fan made thing, right? As in, a joke? Because this doesn’t even look suitable for Turkish TV.

  22. romanlevin says:

    Uhm, it’s really doesn’t look as bad as you make it out to be, Alec. It doesn’t look like anything I’d watch, but not worse than a lot of fantasy television I’ve seen.

  23. Maldomel says:

    I guess it could look better if the acting was better, and some makeup-effects not so dated.

  24. Ringwraith says:

    Is it a bad thing that I have more issue with the horribly obviously-CG blood effects than anything else?
    They just stick out so much at me for some reason as something that just doesn’t belong…

    • icupnimpn2 says:

      Agreement. I don’t like giant, gaudy blood splatters as a rule in games. Seeing them brought into a live action production just shows how ridiculous they really are. Can we get rid of them?

      If you have to put some effect on an attack motion, might as well make it a glowing slash or something obviously fake. The blood is absurd because it’s something obviously fake trying to convince us of being plausibly real.

    • Ringwraith says:

      At least it tends to fit in games, and doesn’t look that horribly out of place.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I like it in Unreal Tournament, but the ones in Dragon Age were ridiculous. In the next Dragon Age they should have a toweling yourself off animation. But yeah, it does look even worse brought into live action stuff.

  25. strangelingo says:

    It even has dialogue!

  26. JiminyJickers says:

    Uwe Boll?

  27. PatrickSwayze says:

    Does tomato ketchup cost that much?

  28. Persona Jet Rev says:

    Less painful than The Guild. The production values look like your average SyFy channel production and they still exist, so it must be enough for some people.

    Funny that they put the ESRB rating after the trailer, when you’ve already witnessed several stream of blood and a torture victim.

  29. Cinnamon says:

    The Elf to Dwarf ratio in this is all wrong. All wrong.

  30. Mctittles says:

    Wait, is that Martin Short?

    • JiminyJickers says:

      Haha, yes! I knew there was something familiar about the picture.

  31. The_Great_Skratsby says:

    Oh dear.

    I didn’t ask for this.

  32. The Magic says:

    Man, Hercules was awesome so although this looks like a much lower budget production than that, I’m hopeful… relatively speaking ofcourse; Hercules wasn’t THAT good.

  33. sonofsanta says:

    It’s like a 21st century Hawk the Slayer!

  34. 1R0N_W00K13 says:

    This looks bad.

    Has anyone here seen the Witcher live action series? I am aware it was made before the games, but how is it?

    • Unaco says:

      I haven’t seen it myself, but from what I’ve heard, it’s just as bad as this seems to be. However… I’m currently downloading it, to give it a watch. So I’ll know for sure in a week or two.

    • Srethron says:

      It’s all on youtube, so you can have a gander. Richard Cobbett reviewed the movie, which is a shortened, spliced together version of it, for his Crap Shoot column, so you can also read that if you want.

  35. Duffin says:

    Looks as shit as the game turned out to be. Quite shit.

  36. The love doctor says:

    I’m actually kind of shocked at how good the visual aspects were – the makeup was better than most mainstream scifi/fantasy TV shows.

  37. Makariel says:

    Looks a bit like that Hercules tv-series minus the self awareness of later seasons. Also, has the ‘amazing hair’ problem (for reference see ign video on the halo odst trailer: link to youtube.com ).

  38. Branthog says:

    I stopped caring about Dragon Age as soon as I finished playing it, which itself was a grueling test of endurance versus crapfest. You won’t find me touching any of the DLC or replaying the game or . . . unless they really turn shit around, even playing Dragon Age 3.

  39. PredOborG says:

    Looks like the worst dressed cosplayers at the latest WonderCon became actors here…
    I plan to go to the next WonderCon dressed as a walnut and they will pick me for the Plants vs Zombies movie for sure!

  40. Kaira- says:

    Well, I just looked at the trailer actually and… well, it doesn’t seem THAT bad. Might as well watch it, I guess. Especially if I grab few beers and watch all episodes.

  41. Birky says:

    Hmmm I suspect this might have squeezed into acceptable as a niche Xena clone if it had been produced about a year ago. A year ago being when the awfulness of low budget fantasy had slipped far enough into memory to be nostalgic.

    Unfortunately Game of Thrones happened to TV and I fear this will suffer badly due to that fact.

  42. Zealuu says:

    The Redemption stuff is great if you add your own Bollywood soundtrack.

  43. Niko The Maestro says:

    Is it strange that this brings back flashbacks from whorecraft (the world of warcraft porno)?

    • Unaco says:

      Surprisingly, I think that porn parody has better effects. While on the subject of video game Porn Parody, let’s not discuss ‘Left 4 Head’.

  44. non_entity says:

    Love Felicia Day (could never get into The Guild for some reason though, not my thing), she looks great, don’t get me wrong, but she does NOT have the face for an elf. Why does she have to play an elf? If the rogue had been human it would have been totally fine.

    But yeah, from the first time we saw a trailer about this thing… not impressed. Way too generic fantasy, kinda cheap looking, not all that interested in watching it, especially after Dragon Age Meh… uh 2.

  45. kibertoad says:

    People, people, people – you all DO understand those are the WEB SERIES we are talking about? Not the extremely high budget television series like “Game of Thrones”?

    More appropriate comparison would be “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog”.

    Which was cheap and awesome.

    • codename_bloodfist says:

      It’s not the money. Boll’s Dungeon Siege had a budget of 60 million USD and a good number of very talented actors, but turned out to be a piece of rubbish nevertheless. Coppola’s Lost in Translation was filmed on mere 4 millions and received enough awards to have a Wikipedia page dedicated solely to listing them. Amusingly enough, this awards page alone is longer than the entire article about Boll’s film.

      It’s the same problem here. Completely uninspired series created for sole purpose of promoting a franchise that can be further milked later on. Not much different from the crappy Dragon Age Facebook game they’ve made.

  46. Ajh says:

    …I see a lot of..POTENTIAL there. At the very least it looks like they TRIED.

    It’s just missing that budget yeah…

  47. aircool says:

    Is that the bird from Eureka? Anyway, it can’t be worse than Dr Who… unless it’s Torchwood.

  48. Brise Bonbons says:

    I think the aesthetic is really what drags this down more than the budget or the talent of those involved.

    That is, their goal seems to just be “make it look exactly like the game” – the source material – without considering how the game’s aesthetic should be modified for TV. Consider the armor: Everyone looks like they’re wearing silly costumes (as others pointed out, they look like cosplayers) rather than practical gear designed to keep them alive in specific combat situations. As has been pointed out, we just accept certain visual cliches in a game (or in a cartoon) that we wouldn’t accept on a real person. Not even the biggest Hollywood budget could make WoW-style 8-foot-wide shoulder armor look believable in live action!

    In short, whether it’s armor, non-combat costumes (are there any? Do these people live in a constant state of windy fighting?), silly “WHOOSH” backflips, or magical runes that have no practical reason to be how they are, the elements all lack any feeling of being believable objects with their own logic and history.

    I think if the creators allowed themselves to be “inspired” by Dragon Age instead of trying to make a live action facsimile, they might have created something that felt more organic and believable. For example, look to historical armor for research rather than the games. Look to historical fighting styles rather than trying to pull off blockbuster Hollywood combat that you simply don’t have the budget to make succeed, etc.


    I think the comparisons to Hercules and Xena are telling; those shows were both campy as hell, but their self awareness helped immensely. They also had their own twisted internal logic that they let run the show, rather than trying to be 100% accurate to Greek myth. I think if Hercules ran around in a pleated tunic (or naked) we’d have a very different memory of the show… We also can’t ignore that TV has come a very long way since then – given we’re now used to things like Game of Thrones and the new BSG, I have a feeling Hercules/Xena would not be nearly as well received if they were released today.

    I might be wrong no that last part, though, I’m not really certain.

  49. KingJason13 says:

    Why is it that the more money EA tries to milk out of this Franchise… the more turned off I am?

    Although, this is clearly an EA wetdream!

  50. Kieron Gillen says:

    Sorry to all the folk who’ve been deleted despite being reasonable. Alas, you’re in a thread conversation started by someone being sexist, so I’ve had to delete 60 posts or something to prevent your posts hovering in a ghostly fashion.