A reality of game development is that a lot of great ideas and content are cut from the final product due to deadlines and available resources. As players, we’re always disappointed when a feature that sounded great didn’t make into the game. As Dragon Age: Inquisition writer David Gaider said on his Tumblr, this process is harder for developers than you may assume.
Gaider explains that Dragon Age: Inquisition is approaching Alpha, also known as “Content Complete.” The team is still creating content, but at this point it’s more concerned with making everything it already has work properly than adding something new. It’s also the phase in development when the team makes the biggest cuts.
The writers are mostly done with dialogue, which is currently being edited, recorded, and prepared for cinematics. At the moment, Gaider and his team are working on pretty much anything else in the game that requires text and responding to cuts.
“This is a pretty stressful time for everyone,” Gaider said. “Every cut feels like it’s reducing the overall quality of the game, until there are so many of them you feel like you’re producing a piece of crap—until you remind yourself that every game goes through this, and the alternative is shipping late or not at all.”
Gaider said that it’s not a process fans can really understand. “They’re usually oblivious to what’s going on, harping on what color the sails should be while the hull is rapidly leaking water,” he said. “Which is a strange dissonance from our perspective, let me tell you.”