Ready for More Dragon Age?

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Ready for More Dragon Age? Empty Ready for More Dragon Age?

Post by Yaznee! L4DS on Mon Jun 28, 2010 3:46 am

Since the game launched last November, the team at BioWare have been churning out an insane amount of content for Dragon Age: Origins. Not only have a number of smaller pieces of downloadable content been put up for sale offering new missions and items, but a gigantic expansion, called Awakening, was made available a few months ago, giving Dragon Age fans a dizzying amount of content to slash through.

Announced during E3 2010, the next chunk of downloadable content is scheduled to be released on July 6th for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC platforms. It's called Leliana's Song and follows Leliana, who you'd know if you played Origins, through the early stages of her life. To get the specifics on exactly what this will include and how it'll play, we had the opportunity to talk with Lukas Kristjanson, senior writer at BioWare, who's written for everything from Baldur's Gate to Mass Effect 2.

IGN: First off, can you describe how Leliana's Song fits into the story overall? Is it a totally separate bit of content like the previous Darkspawn Chronicles, and does anything that happens in Leliana's Song have an effect on the Origins or Awakening campaigns?

Lukas Kristjanson: Leliana's Song is a prequel of sorts for the character, digging into the chaos of Leliana's life as a bard and assassin. It is a standalone adventure that does not change your Origins or Awakening campaigns—except for the reward item once you collect it—although your view of Leliana as a character may change. It's not a "what if" tale—more like a slice of her history as she chooses to tell it, and every good storyteller takes a few liberties.

IGN: There are a huge number of characters in Dragon Age with rich back stories, can you talk about why Leliana was chosen as the focus for this DLC amongst all the other characters, and if we can expect more character-focused DLC like this in the future starring other companions from the main game?

Lukas Kristjanson: We wanted a character who could play with what we've already established and still feel genuine. Leliana seemed an obvious fit, because she's a natural storyteller. We also did initial design work for several other followers—some as back-story, some as epilogue, some involving the player Grey Warden, and some not. I'm confident you'll hear about another of those soon, but Leliana's Song isn't a template for what to expect. Leliana tells a stylized tale, and while I enjoyed working with the theme, we've got a different purpose in mind for each DLC release.

IGN: What's the narrative setup of Leliana's Song? Without spoiling too much, can you talk about some of the encounters and characters you'll meet as you move through.

Lukas Kristjanson: Leliana's Song has the stylistic heart of a caper, being an intimate tale in the middle of rollicking action. It is set before the declaration of the Blight, years before the events of Origins. Leliana reveals herself as a young bard at the peak of her ability, enjoying the life that the Orlesian game of intrigue demands—no ties, no consequences. But everyone has friends, and she leads two of her most trusted in a grand scheme: to inflict the game on the unwitting nobles of Ferelden. It's one of those heists where big consequences ride on naive decisions in dangerous places, and it's all the brainchild of her beloved mentor, Marjolaine. Those of you who paid attention to Leliana's past think you know where this is going, and you're right. Mostly. Maybe. Bards are a capricious bunch.

IGN: In the press release announcement we saw that this DLC will be a "fully voiced cinematic experience", can you explain what that means? Will there be character interactions comparable to the type we got in the main campaigns? Or will it be a more combat-focused DLC with the occasional voice over, more akin to Darkspawn Chronicles?

Lukas Kristjanson: "Fully voiced" means full player-character voice over, which is something new for Dragon Age. The player takes the role of Leliana in her own story, so we have a defined character we can record, and we of course brought Corinne Kempa back for the purpose. Dialogue choices are presented as text paraphrases that lead to fully voiced lines. It's a hybrid similar to Mass Effect 2, a system I know well, and we are eager to see how it is received in this setting.

On the visual side, our cinematic designers took the presentation in a fun and interesting direction. They plumbed the depths of the Origins animation library and created some very intense scenes. Not on the scale of clashing armies, but that wasn't the intent. It's a very tight visual style, and with the full VO, fast action, new music—oh yeah, it has a unique score by the way—all of this contributes to a tone that is markedly different. You're not saving the world this time around. The action happens on a very personal level for Leliana.

IGN: Can you specify what the unique reward is that you can unlock at the end? And this reward is then just dropped into your inventory whenever you load up a campaign save in Origins or Awakening?

Lukas Kristjanson: Appropriate for Leliana, the reward is a powerful new item for rogue characters. Once you collect the various pieces and earn the achievement, it appears in the inventory of your Grey Warden in your Origins and Awakening campaigns. What is it? You'll have to wait and see. Sorry, that's a jerk move, I know.

IGN: Are there many side quests and opportunities to explore in this piece of content or is it more of an adventure focused around a single plotline?

Lukas Kristjanson: Leliana's Song opens with some exploration that shows a known location in a new light, but overall it is a focused and fast-paced adventure, and the main plot quickly draws you forward. But seasoned Dragon Age players will still have plenty to sink their teeth into. There is a lot of history in the setting, and I've included teasers for the early lives of several Origins characters, and some groundwork for others you may meet in future.

IGN: Is there an opportunity to develop Leliana into a more powerful character as she moves through? Does she gain experience and level up and get new items to equip? Is there any way to modify her skill build?

Lukas Kristjanson: Since Leliana's Song is a fast and fun caper, Leliana and her party hit the ground running at a respectable level 10. That allows for a lot of talents and flexibility. The player can level the party up and change equipment as normal from that point. I know this puts young Leliana at a far higher level than when you meet her in Origins, but storytellers always present themselves in the best light. Leliana remembers those days as being full of promise, primarily the promise that she could kick anyone's tail if they stood between her and something fun.

IGN: Will new trophies and achievements be included in the versions across PC, PlayStation3, and Xbox 360? For Xbox 360 gamers, what would be the total possible of points that could be added to your Gamerscore? For PS3 gamers, would they find a combination of bronze and silver trophies?

Lukas Kristjanson: I'll let players discover the details, but there are indeed new trophies and achievements unique to Leliana's Song. So in addition to enjoying an action-packed and colourful story, you'll have some shiny new baubles to show off as well.

IGN: Thanks very much for your time.

Ready for More Dragon Age? %20yaznee
Yaznee! L4DS
Yaznee! L4DS

Posts : 221
Join date : 2010-03-25
Age : 37
Location : England


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