Dragon Age 2
Dragon Age II Interview - Product Manager, Randall Bishop Talks Class, Sex and Weapons
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Dragon Age is arguably as significant a franchise for BioWare as Mass Effect these days, no matter how much Dan might vehemently disagree [Ed - Yes, yes I do...]. So it's perhaps no surprise to see that the developer is really going to town on its sequel, telling a brand new story from the perspective of Hawke, the Champion of Kirkwall.

Origins however, was really a game tailored more towards the PC and although the console version was still a huge success, it was also a comparatively diluted experience with fewer of the complexities and intricacies that made the PC version somewhat deeper. Will Dragon Age II be different?

We sat down with Dragon Age II's Product Manager, Randall Bishop to ask whether the sequel will measure up to its predecessor, whether it can build upon the successes of the franchise and what the inevitable sex scene will be like. Ooh, dirty!

Dragon Age: Origins was primarily a PC title that had been ported to the console. What have been the main changes you've implemented for Dragon Age II in making it a more console-friendly game?

Well, obviously the controls are different between the PC and the console. The console version (of Origins) didn't work out quite the way we wanted it to, which is why we've made these changes to the controls and the combat. We want to move more into the action RPG realm, so it has a lot more of an intuitive feel for the console and it's something that console gamers will be a lot more used to.

You get into the midst of the action with the hack-and-slash, but we still definitely offer the same kind of tactical depth, so you can still customise your class and plot out exactly how you're going to attack. You can still pause the action, plan out attacks and so on, so it's really just the best of both worlds this time.

This time you're playing as Hawke, so do you still have the same kind of customisation options at your disposal?

You still pick male or female and you customise your class, but this time around we're actually telling a particular story, so Hawke is the main character and the hero.

Despite being a different story featuring a new character, do any of the decisions you made in Dragon Age: Origins have an effect on the narrative in Dragon Age II?

We're not talking about what decisions carry over yet. I'm not even saying that they will. It something we're not revealing yet. It's a new story in the same universe, but there is some crossover. So, for example during the blight in the first one, there was a village that was burning down and your character (Hawke) is actually a refugee from that village. This story arc crosses over with Dragon Age: Origins so you'll see some of the events unfolding there in Dragon Age II and that overlap is really cool.

What are the other classes we'll get to choose from in Dragon Age II, besides the Rogue and Warrior that we've already seen?

We've shown the Warrior already and then there's the Rogue class obviously that we're showing right now and then we'll do a deeper dive on the Mage class later on.

And are there going to be loads of characters to choose from when assembling your party again?

There are a lot  of characters, yeah.

Who's your personal favourite?

Isabela. She's a sexy, sultry pirate and she has a lot of attitude. And I like the way the Rogue characters play, especially in Dragon Age II, so I'll always have her in my party. She's a temptress and one of the characters you can romance.

The sex scene is one of the BioWare staples, what with Mass Effect and Dragon Age featuring the no-pants dance. How is the sex scene handled in Dragon Age II?

Tastefully. Clearly we're not making porn here. I mean you want the kind of soap opera romance sex scenes and well, the sex isn't really what we're basing that on. What we're basing it on is the interactions with that character, building a relationship and having the discussions to make the decisions that lead to that romance. Having sex with a character is not the end goal, it's interacting with that character.

Where the characters are concerned, are there going to be any surprises in terms of who you can enlist to your party? New races and so on?

I can't talk about that. Sorry. You'll have to play it and find out!

And is it going to be all swords, bows, shields and axes in Dragon Age II, or will we see some new weaponry?

Yeah. Varric right here – I forget the name of the weapon – has this badass crossbow that's really really cool. That's his signature weapon that he uses throughout. It's still that kind of Medieval themed though, with swords, axes and that kind of thing. People really identify with and love that universe, so we'll do our swords and shields here, and then we have our Mass Effect for the laser blasters and so on.

There was quite a lot of disparity between the PC and console versions of Dragon Age: Origins. Will Dragon Age II on the console be more in line with its PC counterpart this time around?

The biggest challenge is making the best use of each of the peripherals, so that in itself, going from a keyboard to a controller, you want to have the same feel. But obviously there's however many buttons there and so what we've done for the console is we've changed the GUIs (General User Interfaces) around so it's easier to select powers and we've changed the way that we actually distribute abilities, points and stuff like that.

For example, in DAO if you were a Mage, you had about thirty-six spells by the end of the game, but on the console, you didn't really have access to that. What we've done instead for the spells and the skills is that you pick the main ones that fit your play style and you can upgrade those. Again, for example you could use a fireball and if you really like that fireball spell, you can upgrade that, so it has a bigger blast radius, it burns longer and does more damage. If you have a particular play style, you can customise and stick with it as you see fit.

Of course, there's a finite amount of skill points to distribute and we don't want you to be a jack-of-all-trades, because then your character isn't interesting any more and they don't really hold a defining role within your party. We definitely want it where perhaps you have one melee character who is a defender and maybe you want to go down that path. It brings that tactical depth to the game where you have to make the decisions that are best for your party.

Dragon Age II is out on March 8th 2011 in North America and on March 11th in Europe.


User Comments

Forum Posts: 170
Saturday, November 27, 2010 @ 01:16:45 PM
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Pre-ordered this already... can't wait for it to come out!

Forum Posts: 5
Comment #2 by MCFC Blue Nose
Saturday, November 27, 2010 @ 01:23:15 PM
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Yeah this should be immense, really looking forward to this

Forum Posts: 1685
Comment #3 by EMP
Saturday, November 27, 2010 @ 01:50:54 PM
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Looks like an improved game enjoyed the first one..

Forum Posts: 53
Comment #4 by JT Gregory
Saturday, November 27, 2010 @ 01:51:32 PM
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looks good

Forum Posts: 295
Comment #5 by Juiceh
Saturday, November 27, 2010 @ 01:59:09 PM
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How was sex not the end goal? *Ping* 50G - Paramour.

Forum Posts: 160
Comment #6 by InfiniteRefrain
Saturday, November 27, 2010 @ 02:03:10 PM
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We're not talking about what decisions carry over yet. I'm not even saying that they will. It something we're not revealing yet. [i.e.: They will LOL]

I wasn't disappointed in pre-ordering DA:O, and I have a feeling this will be better

Forum Posts: 493
Comment #7 by IDarK VorteXX
Saturday, November 27, 2010 @ 02:19:46 PM
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looks damn good

Forum Posts: 1995
Comment #8 by martdude16
Saturday, November 27, 2010 @ 02:54:43 PM
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I have high hopes... loved the first one!

Forum Posts: 544
Comment #9 by pandaliamcod6
Saturday, November 27, 2010 @ 03:42:36 PM
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For once i clicked on something which said sex not just for it saying sex

Forum Posts: 62
Comment #10 by xbox malex
Saturday, November 27, 2010 @ 04:35:58 PM
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@5 haha

Forum Posts: 40
Comment #11 by SarDark
Saturday, November 27, 2010 @ 04:48:45 PM
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If the second title won't get anything out for have played the first, I'd shan't recommend to buy the first on consoles.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #12 by peoples20
Saturday, November 27, 2010 @ 05:02:07 PM
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cant wait

Forum Posts: 6
Comment #13 by Caesar XI
Saturday, November 27, 2010 @ 05:29:14 PM
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Not sure yet might wait for the reveiw before i buy this

Forum Posts: 61
Comment #14 by Justaname86
Saturday, November 27, 2010 @ 06:27:54 PM
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Dont make another Traveller achivement, I had to replay the entire game to get that one..

Forum Posts: 3
Comment #15 by Skar46137
Saturday, November 27, 2010 @ 07:44:29 PM
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Good game but not THAT impressive for me. Having played all of Biowares previous games, there was nothing new except a dumbed down leveling system and everything simplified so a retard could play it. Rental at most for me.

Forum Posts: 239
Comment #16 by SuperWoody64
Saturday, November 27, 2010 @ 08:27:54 PM
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I still need to go back and finish this one. I just wish I could put brotherhood down.

Forum Posts: 4
Comment #17 by THE TERMIN8TOR
Sunday, November 28, 2010 @ 01:44:34 AM
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Can't wait to play this next year!

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #18 by Liek50Ninjas
Sunday, November 28, 2010 @ 02:00:17 AM
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@5 Paramour was a Mass Effect achievement. At any rate, the achievement wasn't for having sex. It was for developing a romance with x character.

Forum Posts: 50
Comment #19 by Angelusbane
Sunday, November 28, 2010 @ 04:44:43 AM
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I am really looking forward to this one. The only gripe I had with the first one was the blood spatter. Still, getting the dog to clean you was an interesting option.

Forum Posts: 182
Comment #20 by PuttyGod
Sunday, November 28, 2010 @ 05:04:53 AM
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Sounds like they're really dumbing it down a bit. I mean, simplifying certain RPG aspects is all well and good (look at Mass Effect 2), but it sounds like they are completely retarding the combat system. I suppose I'll wait until I see it to judge.

Forum Posts: 662
Comment #21 by Pieville
Sunday, November 28, 2010 @ 05:38:16 AM
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I'm really looking forward towards this game. So far it sounds really good and well done and the story sounds great.

Forum Posts: 393
Comment #22 by E10phoenix
Sunday, November 28, 2010 @ 08:30:11 AM
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i...need...the collectors edition!

Forum Posts: 18
Comment #23 by Gaddmeister
Sunday, November 28, 2010 @ 09:48:53 AM
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Hmm, I can't decide whether to get it for pc or xbox. Never really liked the controls for the first one on xbox, much better on pc. Hmm, "so it has a lot more of an intuitive feel for the console" Sounds good I guess.

I also can't decide whether to get the signature edition or wait for a GOTY/Ultimate/whatever edition later. That way maybe they will have sorted out most of the inevitable bugs and I also won't have to wonder how many dlc packs they are going to release.

Decisions, decisions.

Forum Posts: 5
Comment #24 by MielikkisChosen
Sunday, November 28, 2010 @ 11:16:14 AM
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I loved DAO, but everytime he was asked about the sequel being improved on consoles, all he did was skate around the question. Seems like it's gonna be the same as DAO so I'm not getting my hopes up. They really need to start putting more effort into pleasing their fans.

Forum Posts: 6
Comment #25 by DementedAssassin
Sunday, November 28, 2010 @ 12:46:56 PM
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"Having sex with a character is not the end goal, it's interacting with that character."

If that's the case, can we finally have a few more options regarding relationships, i.e. marriage proposals? Not only could this make for some touching scenes but Bioware tend to "lock" you into relationships anyway once they hit a certain point, why not let us go that much further and really prove that sex really isn't the endgame? Some of us still hold to traditional values after all, it'd be nice to be recognized a little.


Forum Posts: 0
Comment #26 by Grossmesser
Sunday, November 28, 2010 @ 05:05:59 PM
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Want to marry an in-game character? Go play The Sims or Fable 2/3. Or better yet....marry a REAL woman.

Forum Posts: 1
Comment #27 by Zapy
Sunday, November 28, 2010 @ 07:09:30 PM
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Forum Posts: 47
Comment #28 by The Chuck Chuck
Sunday, November 28, 2010 @ 10:27:43 PM
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Nice to know that a someone who has labeled themselves as a demented assassin still holds traditional values...

Forum Posts: 4449
Comment #29 by KillerBEA
Sunday, November 28, 2010 @ 11:39:20 PM
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@25 I agree, being able to lock onto a relationship and continue to see it flourish throughout the game even after sex. I love the fable series and the sims for having marriage as a part of the game as it brings more intimacy and reward for working on that relationship rather then just *beep bloop* You had sex in video game 50 GS. For me when I play the sims games marriage is my first and foremost effort to make sure that my traits and such move on down and plus its very rewarding getting to build a family with that person you worked so hard to have sex with. I would like to see them add marriage and having a family to the game not only to prove that sex isn't the end game but to add to that digital relationship. But remembering to balance that out with the rest of game while not trying to make it look like the game is nagging and nagging at you take care of your family. In Fable 2 or 3 thats kinda what it feels like, but i dont want to be able to completely ignore my family either.

Long story short; if sex isn't the end game then prove it!

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #30 by ThaKidd
Monday, November 29, 2010 @ 07:36:51 AM
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Sweet cant wait to see what they add to dragon age.peace
-tha kidd

Forum Posts: 291
Comment #31 by ViNyLek
Monday, November 29, 2010 @ 12:08:09 PM
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Forum Posts: 6
Comment #32 by DementedAssassin
Monday, November 29, 2010 @ 02:22:45 PM
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@26: Some of my in-game characters might want to marry another in-game character, yes; remember, it's an RPG (role playing game) and there's a world of difference between my characters and my physical self. Besides, they've likely already had sex, unless your characters are scared of commitment, I don't see why they can't go to the next logical step in a relationship.

@28: Even the insane have their moments of sanity ;)

@29: While I wouldn't want things to go that far with a BW game, it'd be great to end a romance spanning three games with a proposal of marriage in ME3, it'd really feel like a job well done. (Assuming Shep survives the Reapers that is.)

Forum Posts: 545
Comment #33 by lizard9979
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @ 12:57:10 PM
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"Having sex with a character is not the end goal, it's interacting with that character."

Then stop making achievements for them. Jeesh!!!

Loved the first game...still trying to find the time to finish it up and get the dang DLC's done.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #34 by PR0 SN1P3Z
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @ 02:24:45 PM
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Dragon Age II seems like its going to be amazing!!

Dragon Age Origins was great i don't know what he meant when he said the console version was bad.

Unless he was making a comparison to the PC version

Forum Posts: 4
Comment #35 by Raven19
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @ 10:23:50 PM
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Loved DA:O on PC and while I'm worried about what I hear of DA2, I'll most likely end up getting it too on PC.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #36 by SG1 Warsquatch
Friday, December 03, 2010 @ 09:44:47 AM
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When asked about new weopons he mentions a crossbow????
Cross bows were in the last game. What about the crazy longsword staff thing that the champion is holding? Thats a hell of alot more interesting then a crossbow ( which are not new and were in the first game ). He aslo made sex out not to be a big part of the game. Then dont make it take so long to happen and give achievements for banging everyone.
Sometime i wonder if these guys play there own games or just forget about simple shit.
NEW WEOPONS, LESS SEX(unless its dwarfe on elf or with Sten and dwarf)

Forum Posts: 17
Comment #37 by Forsak3n WoN
Wednesday, December 08, 2010 @ 02:48:12 PM
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The first dragon age was by far the coolest RPG game I have ever played.

Forum Posts: 2
Comment #38 by thebossman
Sunday, December 12, 2010 @ 05:41:03 PM
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Awesome! can't wait for it. damn bioware and there great games. they drain my bank account faster than anything

Forum Posts: 1
Comment #39 by DrunkMonkey 247
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 @ 06:37:10 PM
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Can not wait for this game, looks amazing!

Forum Posts: 4
Comment #40 by mikkulf
Tuesday, January 11, 2011 @ 05:03:27 AM
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can you only be human?

Forum Posts: 15
Comment #41 by KnifeLife
Sunday, January 16, 2011 @ 07:51:50 PM
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Im Gonna Complete Origins Again So If Something From It Is Transfered To 2 I Will Rember It Easier.

Forum Posts: 716
Comment #42 by KillerChris8814
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 03:09:20 PM
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Just did my first playthrough on the 360, played it on pc when it first came out. The pc was better, but still one ofthe best RPGs on the 360 if not the best. Pre-ordered this several months ago, so here's to hoping for the best. Also the preview videos are bad ass.

Forum Posts: 716
Comment #43 by KillerChris8814
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 03:11:47 PM
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And the Dead Space 2 armor looks bad ass too.

Forum Posts: 1788
Comment #44 by newbsicle
Sunday, January 30, 2011 @ 01:56:54 PM
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We all know DAII will without a doubt get dlc and probably hit the 1750/1750 cap. So why would I want to buy a game brand new on release when I know I won't be able to complete for another year or two until all the dlc is release?

Forum Posts: 141
Comment #45 by Rastaman20
Saturday, February 05, 2011 @ 04:46:11 PM
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just buy it and quit ur bitchin lol

also " the point is the interaction not the sex" i call BULLSHIT lol thats the damn point if talkin to em to get that scene hahaha

but yea i preorderd this in time so i get the collectors edition for $59.99 :D

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Game Info
Electronic Arts


US March 08, 2011
Europe March 11, 2011

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