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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Deluhathol

@ Petrovsk Bahahaha; good lord, I hope you are being sarcacastic.

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Petrovsk

That sounds absolutely nothing like the companion influence system in NWN2

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sublimeambition

@wumpscutnut: they are going to release this game for consoles, just at a later date, probably several months after the pc release (2010) source = gameinformer

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jamesallenyz431

sounds awesomes deep throat died

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The_Papa_T

dark_sith_ is absolutely right i would much rather wait a few extra months and play a truly elite game then another great, but not amazing rpg like mass effect

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cyrus151

gots potential...lots of potential, well just have to wait and see like all the others before it!!

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wumpscutnut

Damnit, why are there never any medieval or fantasy games like this released on consoles? I love these games but my computer isn't powerful enough to play any of them.. *sigh*

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onyxdragon7

I agree with SvenStockholm that the Witcher is a great RPG(coming out to the console soon...Rise of the White Wolf...I belive) but I have faith in Bioware for this game. EA games have been getting much better of late by the way. I'm looking forward to this game and think that it should be awesome. Don't let me down Bioware!

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dynomitemasta

Finally, this game has had my interest for a while now, PC aside, consoles are starved for this type of game, ... hopefully it will be Oblivion BIG... and it will take "time" to play and finish. It's looking great!

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senjutsu

"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. Morrigan." Lol, looking like starcraft's kerrigan, wich is a kind of witch too, lol. Or Morgan, from the Pendragon books, where she's a malicious witch (also in the Merlin movie and tv series). The game looks like others of the genre. Not sure I'll buy, but looking cool anyway. :D << LINK REMOVED >>

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arun_pullat

Very nice! I'm impressed... hope it's as good as it sounds.

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PowerTReveiws

bioware is definatly one of the best game companies.

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Iqen

This game looks sick!!

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thestrateger

great graphic

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SvenStockholm

Play Witcher....theres some good RPG!

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Skullcandy

@mateuderos Neverwinter Nights is a D&D game. The fantasy hack and slash games still sell well so why would they not make another? I'm looking forward to it, though I do believe they are over-hyping the freedom you'll have. I've said before, deciding between choice A or B so you can see ending Good or Bad or sleep with the blonde character instead of the brunette is not my idea of freedom.

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joelgau

Bioware has always made the best RPG's. Have a little faith. They have been working on this one since before they were bought out by EA. I am sure they will do a fine job with this game. To Hellboard and Strike, this is nothing like the Gothic games. Remember who is making the game here. Bioware doesn't put crappy buggy games out on the market. They have mainly put out quality products over the years.

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mateuderos

What happened to Bioware? They were so in the top with Neverwinter Nights and Kotor and the best they can do after the stupid Mass Effect is a D&D rip-off?. Im not buying this ridiculous D&D wannabe. Bioware: wrong direction, wrong direction. How many insipid games will you deliver until firing your CEO?

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Hellboard

i agree with strike!

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Strike

Wasnt "Gothic 2" hyped up like this. I hope it doesnt go that way.

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Melies

to caradhras: I wouldn't worry about not using D&D system if I were you. Yeah, it was challenging and complex and put to a very good use in previous Bioware franchises but even if they could use it (and that's not the case as Gladestone1 said) they will be probably forced to 4.0 version which is not that good and oriented more on masses and new players. Someone said MMORPG with dices? On the other hand, crafting their very own set of rules could provide a solid and enjoyable foundation for the whole game! And I think that Bioware are more than capable of doing this. Knock knock on the wood ;-)

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Melies

Ow, this looks even better than I expected! I don't know if they've polished the gameplay and the graphic engine for that matter but taking into consideration that this is 'just' deep old school hard-core RPG, the whole presentation is excellent. I mean, look at the animations and all those fluent battle moves; it's classic turn based system in its hearth but the whole feel is more cinematic then, well, Lord of the Rings: Conquest advertised few days ago among Gamespot headlines. And this is just a cream on the crop! Add (hopefully) strong branching story spiced with believable living characters interacting with each other and their environment and you have one of the most promising titles for the few of us who still enjoy all the hard work that goes into tuning up their party more than instant shallow fun. ... Valve, Stardock, Relic, Bethesda, Bioware... there are not many developer teams out there that still give me confidence when it comes to producing engaging and mature pieces of gaming art ;-) The only thing that worries me are the system requirements. I hope that Bioware is taking into consideration that many (maybe most) of its fans are not die-hard Crysis players with high-end machines; the ability to scale down the graphic to a playable state even on slower computers could be a real dealbreaker for a good share of potential customers. PS: Believe it or not I do miss those isometric times :-P

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Melies

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

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Gladestone1

They cant use the dnd system, cause atari owns it caradhra...So they had to come up with there own system..Atari stated there also making baldurs gate 3..We also probubly, think that origin systems who makes nwn2 will make that game..There not a bad company just not as good as biowar.. That said im so looking foward to dragon age origins..Its been on my list, of games to watch for a long long time...What can you say bioware is the master of rpgs..Every game they touch is gold..

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caradhras

This game will rock if they make the combat and character develeopment system (i mean skills and feats) as good as teh d&d setting. I don't get it why dont they use the d&d rules? In Baldur's Gate the infinite engine and the THACO system is good, I hope the developers will do something like that.

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dark_sith_

Can't wait for this game to come out. I have a feeling this will be one of those classics, on par with greatest title in the RPG genre(Baldur's Gate series), that will be played for long time, and by whom all future titles will be measured. Mass Effect was great, but simplistic, scarce and underused party interaction diminished my experience. Also it had a bit too constrained story locations with virtually no sidequests, sign that it was console exclusive at first. I hope, and believe, that Bioware can and will rectify all these shortcomings, so as to offer us one great game. Just keep working on the game until it is all finished. Don't rush it please, or that might just ruin all your hard effort. I'm sure that everyone agrees when i say: we would rather wait, than play unfinished product.

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Cobra5

Hmm... Hot goth chick... yes please? I'm sad your party is only you +3 people. With the dynamics they are setting up, it doesn't seem like much to me. Oh well. I suppose a more focused experience is better then a more watered down experience.

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xsa

@macmert: So far, BioWare havn't really failed, so I do not see how you could even think that. To me it feels like making NWN -> KOTOR 1 -> Jade Empire has only been a "phase" and gaining experience before tackling another humongous project like Baldur's Gate and making it even more epic. Since those three games mentioned above were really awesome games with good stories I can't say I'm the least bit worried they will fail at all.

I'm only worried about how many years I'm going to have to spend playing it before having explored all content.
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macmert

I have a feeling that this game will be an epic fail, dont ask me why it is only a hunch, I hope I will be proven wrong, but for a company that published Baldur's Gate, it is a great risk to come up with another rpg like Baldur's Gate... I hope this game will prove me wrong and after 10 years, I will play another rpg game :)

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thanos723

i was stoked about this game the second i heard it was coming from bioware. i can't wait!

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istikorahadi

oh i hate RPG, so damn long game till you boring :D

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Nikalai_88

Party Approval system sounds a lot like the influence system.

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JRD1912

Hope its good but I havent liked any of the NWNs games. They dont have any of the atmosphere of Baulders Gate. I wish they would go back to 2d sprites so they can stop screwing with 3d engines, and w/e else.

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confucioussayyo

I don't want this game to come out. I'd waste my life in it.

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Palantas

Looks great. Of course, I was sold as soon as I heard "spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate."

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The_Papa_T

oh very cool a next-gen NWN will be fantastic ! i still really hope there's some dynamic conversations like in mass effect and kotor, maybe even taken to the next level. at least for me, being able to "converse" w/ your party members really enhances the experience and story with the new kotor being developed a mmo, im really counting on bioware to give me a much needed rpg fix fallout 3 and fable 2 were alright, but bethesda and lionhead cant hold a handle to bioware's stuff

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TehEliteElite

Sweet! But no new pics... :(

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Taevataat

To The_Papa_T: It's an entirely new combat formula and system. Seeing as though it's fantasy and it's supposed to be the spiritual successor of NWN. I'd say it'll be more like NWN than anything else.

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The_Papa_T

is this going to be more similar (in gameplay, obviously its a fantasy setting) to kotor or baldur's gate? if its a fantasy themed kotor then it will be so sick honestly im kinda over baldurs gate style traditional rpgs

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Qwickilller117

i know have more respect for Bioware being Canadian since i am Canadian since i didnt know they were from Canada

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Dragorro

Looking sweet!

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Lonelynight

Hope it turns out good.

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