Dragon Age: Redemption webseries due this year
Comic-Con 2011: The Guild's Felicia Day teams with BioWare, Independence Day's Peter Winther, Lost's John Bartley, more to discuss what gamers can expect from online show.
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Who was there: The Guild's Felicia Day is joined by Dragon Age: Redemption actor Doug Jones (Hellboy), director Peter Winther (Independence Day), and executive producer John Bartley (Lost). BioWare executive producer Mark Darrah and writer David Gaider were also on hand.
What they talked about: The panel began with a Dragon Age: Redemption trailer, which is exclusive to the show. It stars Day, who apparently plays a sassy rogue. In the trailer, she is shown running through the woods, which has ample postproduction mist effects. In typical Dragon Age fashion, she is shown meeting a cast of other adventurers, including knights and magicians. They do battle against a host of demons and other beasts, and it appears as if the main villain will be a Kunari warlock.
True to the Dragon Age games, there appears to be a good deal of bloody violence, as well as witty and sexually charged banter. "Struggle is an illusion. The tide rises, the tide falls. There is nothing to struggle against. Victory is in the cube," Day's character says through voice-over.
On to the panel proper, Day said that for her, the project began when her agent gave her a call saying that EA and BioWare wanted to team with her on a project. Darrah noted that before contacting Day, BioWare had wanted to move into the webisode space, and Day's experience with The Guild made her a natural choice.
Day, who teamed with Mark Laidlaw and Gaider to write the script, said that was important for her to capture and stay true to the Dragon Age universe in the webisode. She said players want to journey with the characters from the Dragon Age universe, and it was important to do extensive research to capture the feel of the games.
Jones said that Day drafted him into the project after the two met at last year's Comic-Con. Though he knows little about games in general, he was impressed by the quality of the script, and felt it was a "no-brainer" to sign on to play the webisode's primary antagonist. He also said that getting into costume and applying makeup required about three hours of prep time.
Day also recruited Winther, whom she'd known as part of an online book club for nearly 10 years. Winther said that he agreed to direct Dragon Age: Redemption after being taken by the script and story, noting that he'd had a desire to work on a fantasy project for some time. He also said that working on a webisode allows far more freedom than working on television or film.
As for Bartley, he said that he got involved with the project through Winther. The two apparently live in the same building on the same floor, and he picked up on the project after concluding his work on Lost. Day said that Bartley was introduced as some guy who lives on Winther's floor, and she didn't grasp the body of his work until a week before shooting. "I went on IMDb," she said, "and was like, 'What the?!'"
Speaking more specifically to what people can expect from Dragon Age: Redemption, Winther said that the look of the game didn't require much tweaking for its adaptation to live-action film. Because the style was so defined, it was fairly easy to simply hire talented people to translate the look of the game to the webseries. Day added that the production crew literally took art from the game and then fashioned those objects into reality.
As part of the audience Q&A, Day confirmed that each episode will run about six to 10 minutes, with a full run time of about an hour. She also said that she modeled the story arc on The Guild, with each episode having a beginning, middle, and end, but there is continuity between installments. Also, Darrah emphasized that the webseries is canonical.
Dragon Age: Redemption does not yet have a release date, but the panel seemed to agree that the hope is that it will be available this year. "It should be out early this fall. Don't tweet that," Day said. It also isn't clear where the webseries will be made available for viewing.
Quote: "You have a lot more freedom with where you can take the story since it's online."--Peter Winther.
Takeaway: Dragon Age: Redemption is at its heart a low-budget, free Internet series, but it seems to be punching above its class. The project was presented as a labor of love, and thanks to BioWare's support and the passion of Day and the rest of the crew, it should definitely be worth a watch.
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