First Dragon Age expansion Awakening March 16, 2nd DLC delayed

[UPDATE] $40 add-on to BioWare’s critically acclaimed RPG will increase level cap and add new party members, spells, and storyline; Return to Ostagar yanked at last minute for unknown reasons.

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Awakening will feature smarter darkspawn….
Awakening will feature smarter darkspawn….

Canadian developer BioWare was roundly criticized for not providing much additional content for its 2007 sci-fi role-playing game Mass Effect. That criticism certainly can’t be leveled at the Electronic Arts subsidiary's dark fantasy RPG Dragon Age: Origins, GameSpot’s 2009 PC Game of the Year. Also available for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, the title saw its first downloadable expansion pack launch alongside the game itself in November.

[UPDATE] A second DLC add-on, Return to Ostagar, was set to launch on Tuesday--but its release was stopped at the last minute. "We found a last minute issue and have delayed Return to Ostagar to ensure we deliver the highest quality experience to our fans," a BioWare rep told GameSpot. "We will update you once we have more information regarding the new date and are working hard to get Return to Ostagar out as quickly as possible."

Just over four months after Dragon Age's debut, the game will also be getting its first full-fledged expansion, Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening. Available on March 16 worldwide for the PC, 360, and PS3, the major add-on will feature an all-new storyline that focuses on the rebuilding of the Grey Wardens after the bloody events of the original game's campaign. It will allow players to import their Dragon Age characters or start over as an all-new new Grey Warden from the empire of Orlais. It will also delve deeper into the backstory of the Darkspawn and their ongoing objectives.

…and deadlier dragons.
…and deadlier dragons.

In addition to a new storyline, Awakening will raise the level cap for Dragon Age: Origins. It will also add new foes, with BioWare mentioning such creatures as the Inferno Golem, Spectral Dragon, and a hyperintelligent sub-race of Darkspawn. It will be set in the all-new realm of Amaranthine and will also add new spells, abilities, and five all-new party members, which players can enlist.

[UPDATE] According to EA, Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening will cost $40 in the US on all platforms and require the original Dragon Age to play. However, retailer GameStop is listing the PC version of the expansion for just $30--a price that BioWare said was erroneous. "It's $40 on all platforms," a rep confirmed. No UK or EU price was given.)

Available both digitally and as a boxed retail product, Awakening is rated M for Mature by the Entertainment Software Rating Board in North America and 18+ by PEGI in Europe. The expansion’s official Web site has more details.

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