Dragon Age: Origins Updated Q&A - The Characters of Dragon Age

Executive producer Dan Tudge answers some, but not all, questions about the key players in BioWare's story-driven fantasy RPG Dragon Age: Origins.

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The Canadian development studio known as BioWare made a name for itself with in-depth fantasy role-playing games for the PC, most notably the Baldur's Gate series some 10 years ago. The studio has now come full circle with its next project, Dragon Age: Origins, which will be, of all things, an in-depth fantasy role-playing game for the PC (and presumably for consoles later on). Any good story has an intriguing cast of characters, and Dragon Age will certainly have a colorful cast, which you can see in this exclusive new video. Executive producer Dan Tudge explains.

In Dragon Age: Origins, you'll need a stout party of adventurers to support you.
In Dragon Age: Origins, you'll need a stout party of adventurers to support you.

GameSpot: We understand that in Dragon Age: Origins, no matter which origin you choose, be it noble human or elf mage, you are a Grey Warden, enlisted by the king himself to battle the forces of evil. Of the Grey Wardens, Duncan is a master and Alistair is a guide. Tell us how these two will mentor your character in Dragon Age.

Dan Tudge: As a Grey Warden, Duncan is charged with defeating the blight and must recruit the bravest warriors, mages, and rogues into the ranks of the Grey Wardens in order to defeat this blight. How you meet him and how he recruits you is actually different in each origin story.

Duncan introduces you to another young Grey Warden recruit named Alistair. Alistair is both charming and easygoing and never seems to be short of amusing commentary. I think players will enjoy having him in their parties.

GS: We understand that the Gray Wardens report directly to King Cailan, ruler of Fereldan. Cailan appears to be obsessed with attaining glory on the battlefield, even if his actions are hasty and ill-advised. Will you ever fight alongside the king? Will Cailan's brash obsession with glory come back to haunt him?

DT: I can't say much more other than you will play an important role in the Battle of Ostagar...

GS: The king's military advisor, Loghain, orchestrates many of the large-scale battles against the blight. How will players interact with him? And will players be able to contribute to these larger-scale strategic decisions, or will action focus entirely on the actions of the adventuring party?

DT: Loghain is a war hero and the leader of the armies of Fereldan. He's a very complex character with deep convictions. How you choose to interact with him will be up to you, but I will say that you'll have to make some pretty important decisions involving Loghain that could create a turning point in the story. The writers will kill me if I say any more than that.

GS: We also understand that there will be other characters in the mercenary camp who may join your party, such as Wynne, the female mage with the comforting voice. What is her role in the war? Will she favor wizard characters over others? What are her primary motivations?

DT: Wynne is a spirit healer from the Circle of Magi, focusing her magic on the ability to briefly summon protective and restorative spirits from the Fade. She has served the Circle for most of her life and is highly regarded within the circle. Players willing to get to know Wynne may eventually discover that Wynne is no ordinary mage.

GS: We also understand that the party may enlist the services of the thug, Sten. Where does this ruffian come from, and what is he after? How will he interact with party members from different backgrounds?

DT: Sten is a warrior of the Qunari race and has been trained as a soldier since birth (the Qunari are always at war). He's a very stoic and disciplined man with a strong code of honor, so how he treats others depends on whether or not they have his respect, which he doesn't give easily.

Will you bring wizards of great power to aid you on your journey?
Will you bring wizards of great power to aid you on your journey?

GS: Morrigan, the shape-changing witch and scourge of the Korcari Wilds, seems like she can be a powerful ally. What does Morrigan bring to your party? Is there a risk to adding (or not adding) Morrigan to your party, considering she has despised the race of man for most of her life?

DT: Morrigan can indeed be a powerful ally, and I think players will find her shape-shifting abilities a powerful asset in combat. She's power-hungry and selfish, so having her in your party with other members who have more-benevolent agendas and moral codes can result in some "tense" party dynamics. You don't have to have Morrigan in your party, but she does add an awesome dynamic to the player and party relationships.

GS: And Morrigan's mother, Flemeth, a legendary witch of the wilds, will also make an appearance in the game. Will she join your party? What is her relationship with her daughter like, and what role will she play in the story?

DT: Morrigan's relationship with her mother, Flemeth, isn't exactly sunshine and rainbows. In fact, Flemeth raised Morrigan to hold the rest of mankind in contempt, hating them for their weaknesses, and taught her to value power above all else. Both women are incredibly strong-willed and are practically more aptly described as rivals rather than family. They each have such a lust for power that you may be shocked at the lengths they'll go to in order to acquire it.

GS: We also understand that dogs can actually join your party. What role do dogs fill in the party dynamic? What's a good reason for choosing these battle hounds over friendly soldiers or mages?

DT: The Mabari hounds imprint themselves onto one master and are known to be fiercely loyal to that person. They are also absolutely vicious in combat. If you do manage to get such a dog to join your party, you will find them to be extremely intelligent creatures who you can command to overwhelm the enemy, knocking them to the ground, pinning them down, and horribly mauling them.

GS: Characters in the world will react differently to you depending on your actions. Are there party members that are exclusive to a certain origin type?

DT: Yes, there are party members unique to your origin. Each origin story has its own cast of unique characters who may or may not show up later on in the story. In any case, every character will react differently to you depending on any number of factors, including your race, gender, origin story, party approval rating, and other choices you've made along the way.

GS: And aside from hounds, soldiers, and wizards, what other types of characters will join you on your travels? Will it be best to focus on building a balanced party that's part brute strength and part sickly wizards, or will you be able to do well with just about any party?

DT: I won't ruin it by revealing all of the characters you can invite to join your party, but I will tell you that you'll have a great selection of them to choose from. Each one will have their own unique abilities, behaviors, and personal agendas, so it's completely up to you how you want to compose your party. You can pick them strategically, depending on the scenario you're preparing for, but sometimes it's just fun to mix characters just to see how they interact with each other.

GS: In a recent trailer, we saw humans release the hounds against an army of monsters. The armies seem to consist of at least two kinds of foe, Genlocks and Hurlocks. What are these creatures, and what's the difference between the two? What abilities do they possess?

DT: Genlocks and Hurlocks are some common types of darkspawn. Genlocks are the most numerous of the darkspawn and have short, stocky bodies. These guys are pretty tough and difficult to kill, especially since they have some resistance to elemental magic. Genlocks are good defenders, using fortification strategies, siege weapons, and traps whenever possible. Hurlocks are taller and more muscular, forming the strongest part of the darkspawn armies. They excel at two-handed weapons, especially the "alpha" Hurlocks that lead the charge.

GS: As we know, moral choices factor heavily into the gameplay. How will your choices affect the characters around you? To what extent will they go to push their own agendas on you, especially if they disagree with your actions? Aside from chiding you or romancing you, will we see characters leaving your ranks in disgust? Starting fights with other characters or with your own character? Betraying you for another side?

Or will you bring this guy? It's all up to you.
Or will you bring this guy? It's all up to you.

DT: Party interaction is one of the best parts of Dragon Age: Origins, much like it was in Baldur's Gate. The party approval system is something new we're introducing in Dragon Age: Origins, and it influences how your party members react to your decisions and behave towards you. Each character has their own personal motivations and moral code, so if you do things they don't like, they could leave your party, or even turn on you. On the other hand, if you gain favor with them, you could get special bonuses or certain other perks, which you'll discover.

GS: Thanks, Dan.

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Trip86

Best hype for this game.

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CrazyFox_444

Mass Effect is the worst RPG Bioware has created IMO i hope this will match the good old Baldurs Gate 1-2 or NWN2 :D

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trenno2529

damn, i wanna get this game. i'll have to wait for the ps3 version, my pc is rubbish.

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Inconnux

I hope it is as good as Mass Effect was. Please release it on Steam so it can be Securom free!

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jaik

I hope this game makes me feel like ten years ago playing baldur's gate :)

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Gioh

V ery funny those pc console talk. I bet some of u ranting about this have, like me and lots of gamers, a pc and console. Content loading etc. wont differ much soon, now will it. What will and stay a pc's advantage is, if u have nuf dough to burn, is its grafical power. Most games wich are released on both, if done well, outshine their console counterparts.....at like (compared to PS3, wich i have) 3 to 5 times the cost. And..yes lots of crap due to internet insecurity. (Not even talkin about Microsoft terror) Cheap pc's wont cut it, no way, I do prefer to play COD, BF and WOW and such with mouse and keyboard. Such said, i had no problem gettin used to doin Oblivion with a controler, just took some gettin used to. (anyway, u could always stick a keyboard and mouse to ur consioole, cant u?) UR prowess or rather lack of it, dont say anythin about a console or pc quality. I prefer to have the hottest pc my money can buy and a prefered console. I think all of u should or even may agree with me. Have a good new year's shootin and junpin to allof u. May cool games rain down on us! Greetings Gio

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agnostipunk

Consoles generally have a disadvantage at this stage in their life-cycle. PC versions of a game like this benefit from next gen hardware that the consoles do not have. Just look at the difference between Fallout 3 on PC and their respective console counterparts. PC wins hands down. But if you are more comfortable with your gamepad and your television then I highly doubt that the game will disappoint either way.

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SiegeTanksFTW

Love everything I'm hearing about this game. Looks like it's turning out to be a worthy soul-successor to BG. Everything I'm hearing about party dynamics and ability to invite people into your party sounds very similar to the first. Awesome, go Bioware! Hopefully this game can offer the 200+ hours of gameplay that BG2 did.

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lightwarrior179

This is one of my most anticipated games of 2008 mainly because I consider Baldur's Gate II to be one of the best RPGs and so far BioWare seems to be building up the world and the characters in a non-D&D setting in a good way. The characters appear interesting and I can't wait for it to come out. Both on consoles and on PC.

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datniccah187

Plenty of time to learn more about the game.

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bloodreaperfx

Who the heck cares if you get it on PC or console? The game will most likely be the same on both platforms. As far as the quality goes, Bioware always delivers and i doubt this game will be different. I only wish the game's combat style would be abit more action oriented.

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Another great Bioware title coming up, definitely going to be a huge gaming experience :-D

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Marder-I

I'm looking forward to this one when it comes out, not sure which platform I will get it on though.... Cheers Tom

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underdog11297

This comment thread is just laughable, as most seem to end up with arguments over whether consoles or the PC is better. Seriously, what's the point? If you like consoles better, then stay with them. If you like PC's better, good for you, stick with it. PC's are not a dying platform, and neither are consoles. Both have their advantages (and disadvantages) for both gamers and developers.

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nemesi609

@shadowwhitehawk are you serious? pc the undisputed king of FPS. completely false. pc has mmorpg and RTS but there are far more FPS for console and far more people playing on console. and besides the die hard pc gamers, most people would prefer a FPS on console. just because a headshot is easier on pc (even that could be debatable) doesnt mean the pc is the "king" of fps. granted the avvailability of mods and other downloads make gaming on the pc a little more beneficial for games like oblivion, fallout, and any other games with RPG tendencies, or any game that new guns characters and levels could help the replayability.

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HeavyMetalBard

This game looks glorious. Far more detail and stylistic quality than NWN.

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ShadowWhiteHawk

The computer is the still indisputed king in First Person Shooters(due to the mouse), Real Time Strategy(due to the mouse and the variety of hotkeys and shortcuts in the keyboard) and MMORPGs(due to the usually more stable internet connection and the mouse and the keyboard and pretty much everything else about computers, =P). Consoles kick ass, true, and I'm sure playing a fighting game in a computer is nowhere near as intuitive as it is in a console, but to say that computers will lose their usefulness in terms of gaming is a very ignorant statement!

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Czrall

Q: Could you talk about the quests? A: Baldur's Gate. Q: Talk abou the combat and the pause system. A: Baldur's Gate. Q: ...about the graphics engine... A:Baldur's Gate. Q: When the game will be relased? A:Baldur's.....Gate. Q:Thanks, Dan. A: Baldur's Gate!

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2point5boogers

haha PC dying? take your "glorious" fallout 3 for 360, and play it with no mods. On pc, there are over 300 new guns to download, and thats just one category. While the platform may be getting the shaft in terms of "what sells" the pc still is king in terms with what, and how much, you can do with your games. Id rather burn my money than spend in on a unmoddible bethesda game.

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Anthrax88

PC will be pretty much only MMORPG gaming-platform in the future. I hope they improve RTS games for the consoles. And yeah, i will get this game for Xbox 360

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jasmine_arie

how 'bout the 'game system'? u know like, unloadin' - copyin' - loadin' stuff.. since BG1 to the latest NWN2 the system don't change.. i'm tired of these, can't bioware simply read 'em from the instalation path?

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Gammit10

PC Gaming: dying every year for 25 years...

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Adam_the_Nerd

Fantasy Mass Effect! woo!

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DOF_power

> ^ Well the PC has been proclaimed a "dying platform" since the 1980s.

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brunorr

Age of pc only games is over? It's not worth?... Well let's see how Diablo 3 is going to sell. Spore did quite well for a "dying platform".

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DOF_power

> ^ Well Spore witch is PC exclusive and it sold more for EA then Mirror's Edge and Dead Space combined, witch are multiplatform. And it will get Sims style addons witch means it will be big selling series. Diablo III, Starcraft II and Sims 3 are also coming, besides Empire: Total War, all PC exclusives. I haven't got a problem with multiports as long as their quality is good (examples Bioshock and Mass Effect).

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Reper74

you guys its not exclusive its on ps3 and 360, look at the top, and personaly i think the age of pc only games (aside from mmorpg's) is over, its just not worth it. Ps. this game looks great, especialy the graphix, i hope the put more info on the game on.

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TehEliteElite

"Yeah man no one makes PC exclusive stuff anymore, theres not enough money in it." Kinda. There's enough money on PC only (see WoW & co.), it's just that there's a LOT more in multiple platform games.

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siamo

Yeah man no one makes PC exclusive stuff anymore, theres not enough money in it.

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lancethered

dude look at the top its on PC 360 and PS 3 it not an exclusive

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FallenAngel

It's about bloody time Bioware made a PC exclusive RPG again. Let the good times roll...

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Ekranoplan

Allistair and Duncan? No thanks. The developers really shouldn't make any decisions for the player on the major NPCs we want to interact with. This whole Grey Warden thing doesn't sit to well with me either. I shouldn't have to be with the Grey Wardens, just like how in Baldur's Gate 2 you didn't have to work with the Shadow Thieves. Well cliches, like the Grey Wardens, have not stopped from enjoying most other RPGs out there, so I dont think it will matter. If BioWare was not developing this game I probably wouldn't pay any attention to it at all, especially with this generic fantasy name - Dragon Age, give me a break... It must really sound like im bashing this game, but I assure you I am really looking forward to it. I am sure BioWare has it in them to take every generic fantasy cliche and turn it into an epic and compelling story.

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DragonfireXZ95

Whatever Paladin_King, this game is going to own Mass Effect with it's more Baldur's Gate like gameplay.

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Can't wait for the X360 version.

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Paladin_King

*sigh* I just want Mass Effect 2....:( and it looks like Bioware is going to make me wait another year. I'd trade in this and the Star Wars MMO for ME2

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endocrine

There is no set release for this game yet bikinikabob. Since this game has been in developement for as long as I can remember, I would not be suprised if it somehow came out later than that.

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bikinikabob

Whoa, Q4 2009? is that correct for the release? or is it a mistake?

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Innos007666

it will be nice if they put Forgotten Realms base in that game.

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jeffkretz

@raymondcs123, I take it you didn't play the Witcher? I loved BG and am looking forward to DA, but the Witcher had a fantastic story -- you should give it a try.

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raymondcs123

@disconti We arent aiming for old school magic We're aiming for a great story. Dumbass.

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DISCONTI

For some more of that Baldur´s old-school magic, give the Witcher a try.

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Silent_King

Sweet, I loved almost all games these guys have made, I hope we hear something about Mass Effect 2 soon!

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Valarala

The Baldur's Gate series was a masterpiece. I hope Dragon Age: Origins brings back some of that magic.

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JaredTrotterboy

Dude I'm totally psyched. I love Bioware for bringing me Baldur's Gate.

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inferna_hermit

Wow love bioware . another optional (Story) RPG game ! Love IT

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osxgp

I'd like to see how this game turns out. You just don't see too many games like this anymore, so I'm interested.

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MarloStanfield

Bioware aren't really very good any more I'm far more interested in Obsidian's upcoming games

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Media_Mind

could be worthwhile

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SavoyPrime

Sounds interesting. Can't wait for the console versions.

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BurnsOfRage

@Petrovsk Surely you mean KOTOR2 a game released almost 2 years before NWN2

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