BioWare, in the build up to Dragon Age: Origins, have revealed details of Dragon Age Journeys: The Deep Roads. It's a Flash game, created in collaboration with BioWare by a new division of EA called EA 2D, designed to play as a prequel to the main game. Cor - let's unpack all of that.
As you may have seen, copies of the new PC Gamer UK are now mostly with subscribers, and it goes on sale this Thursday I believe. In there is my review of Dragon Age, and it's really rather very good. The game I mean. I think the review's decent enough. Which means I can now stop going "mmmpphh mmmm mmmmpphhh" any time anyone mentions the game. So definitely buy a copy of that this week. In the meantime, let's find out what Journeys might be.
So what's EA 2D you might ask. It's not completely clear at this point, but this comment from producer Ethan Levy explains what they're planning to do:
"At EA 2D it is our mission to create blockbusters for the browser; some will be original games created by our teams and some will be games within other EA franchises, such as Dragon Age Journeys."
I'm reminded of LucasArts Workshop - EA presumably recognising the power and viral potential of indie-like Flash games, and having a poke around with that. Their first project, Dragon Age Journeys: The Deep Road looks like a rather cute papercraft style fighter, sort of South Park-like, described as a "tactical RPG". Well, have a watch for yourself:
The Deep Roads are the passages cut under the mountains created by the Dwarves during their mining. However, they're riddled with the game's big bad, the Darkspawn, a sort of mutant evil race intent on bringing a Blight to the world. The surface dwellers only have to worry about the Darkspawn ever few hundred years during the rise of an archdemon, but the Dwarves are always bravely battling the beasts. So it's in these mines that the first chapter of three takes place.
Levy explains a bit more about the project on the BioWare blog:
"Dragon Age Journeys has been a collaboration between EA 2D, BioWare, and some of the hottest indie talent from the flash developer community. Over the coming days, we’ll be introducing you to the game, the talented team of developers behind its creation and some of the day-to-day craziness that goes into making a game. More than anything, we want you to get a feel for how much fun and passion goes into creating a game for the browser that can live up to the high standards set by BioWare’s illustrious history."
The Journeys project has apparently been in development since late 2008, and this three chapter Flash game is just the first of the games they have in mind for the series. With BioWare promising years of DLC support for the main game, it really seems that Dragon Age is aiming big. As for those hot indie names, those mentioned include Daniel Stradwick of Monster's Den and Adam Phillips of Bitey Castle.
The first chapter is said to be due at some point this month. And Dragon Age is due on November 3rd, and it's a bit good.