In past due 2009, BioWare booted up a brand new fable RPG franchise with Dragon Age: Origins, which rose to develop into one of the vital best video games of that yr. The sport won specific accolades for its writing, which used a decision-based narrative construction and weighty, nuanced discussion to inform an epic, emotionally-driven tale. The writing went directly to win a variety of awards, and used to be a key element within the recreation’s good fortune.
Now not strangely, BioWare moved briefly on a sequel. Dragon Age II used to be launched in early 2011, handing over a brand new tale that expanded at the authentic’s wealthy recreation international. On the other hand, the sport represented a departure from its predecessor, in a story sense. BioWare determined to forget about its personal blueprint for good fortune with Dragon Age II.
Gamasutra spent a while with David Gaider, lead creator at the Dragon Age franchise, who defined the fine details of the way Dragon Age II used to be written.
“It is an enchanting procedure, coming near the tale for a sequel,” says Gaider. “There is a positive degree of expectation amongst lovers, and particularly with a recreation like Dragon Age: Origins that follows such a lot of other tale branches, handiest such a lot of choices lets imagine.
“Will we select one department and proceed the tale of the Warden, aside from all others? Will we attempt to accommodate more than one storylines from the outset? Do we begin a brand new major persona with a special tale department? Or do we strive one thing new?”
Gaider and lead fashion designer Mike Laidlaw determined they did not wish to inform the similar tale with new names and faces. If there used to be something about Origins’ writing that used to be steadily criticized, it used to be that the plot adopted a predictable Hero’s Adventure. So that they determined to center of attention extra at the “darkish” than the “heroic” of their “darkish heroic” fable sequel, and opt for a grimmer, extra private story.
It used to be Laidlaw who first proposed the brand new recreation idea. His concept used to be this: as a substitute of telling a linear, he urged they change the construction on a top degree and bounce between the foremost moments of a personality’s lifestyles. As a substitute of telling a tale over a brief span of time in a large open international, they’d set the sport inside of a unmarried town, and bounce thru an epic ten-year length. This may be completed with the assistance of a framing instrument, taking into account the time jumps to be carried out as flashbacks.
“[The new approach] unquestionably allowed us some distinctive alternatives,” Gaider says. “Once in a while the loss of a capability to hand-wave time passing manner we finally end up with numerous occasions going down in an unrealistically quick span, or repercussions for a participant’s movements that both wish to happen straight away or be relegated to the epilogue. So this presented us the danger to provide a way of larger scope.”
On the other hand, there have been additionally unknowns. What wouldn’t it really feel love to play a recreation the place you do not see time’s slow passage? Would leaping thru time wreck narrative solidarity and pull the participant out of the tale? And the way would this paintings from an implementation viewpoint? Would ingenious assets get slowed down seeking to account for the long-term have an effect on of sweet sixteen selections that the participant made 5 years in the past in recreation time?
Those questions started to paintings themselves out as the method opened up. In many ways, the brand new idea labored simply as deliberate. However in others, the group discovered that positive RPG parts emerged naturally, as a serve as of the style, slightly than as an issue of custom. The sport in the long run got here to mirror a mix of those concepts – the concept that because it used to be in the beginning envisioned, and the true boundaries published via the writing procedure.