Hype and Impressions: World Building in Dragon Age
Posted by deckard47 on October 30, 2009
My love for the soon-to-be-released Dragon Age has not gone undocumented on this blog. The same can be said for Mass Effect (although I’ll grant you that the latter is perhaps a more well-founded love). I loved many things about Mass Effect, but the things I loved most and spent the most time with (as my housemate can attest to) were the copious log entries and encyclopedia entries. Bioware built an entire sci-fi world, using mostly familiar parts, that I still found convincing, vaguely foreign, and fun.
Of course, I’ve been anticipating much more of the same for Dragon Age. After all, these people built my beloved Baldur’s Gate, and although they came to a world already fully formed, it wouldn’t have been a fun, exciting world if they hadn’t wonderfully intermingled the game story and the IP itself. Dragon Age is getting great reviews, though people seem less than thrilled with the “dark” fantasy world Bioware has created. I can’t say I felt one way or the other about it, up until today. I’m fine with waring houses, backstabbing, inter-species intolerance, oppression, and magical intrigue and legislation. That all sounds rather exciting to me, but maybe I’m just easy that way.
My excitement level is no noticeably higher than it used to be. I decided I would visit the official Bioware Wiki for Dragon Age, which contains a lot of lore, backstory, and other cool stuff. I’m sure (I hope) that they’re saving the really in-depth stuff for the game, but it’s nice to read some descriptions and passages. I was especially taken with the character bios. Some are simple descriptive passages, but the one for Alistair is especially fun. It is done in the style of a recounting of certain events (Alistair’s recruitment into the Grey Wardens), as written by some sort of historian or record-keeper. Let me just say, this shit scratches my peculiar itch like no other. I’m not sure if it’s well-written, seeing as I’ve ingested enough fantasy nonsense over the years to become inured to its flaws (but not its charms, I’m happy to say), but I thought it was fun and interesting.
I suspect I’ll be spending the rest of the day there, reading up on people and places. I hope there are more fake historical passages like this. They really make the world seem more real, in a simple, uncomplicated way that I like. This is the kind of thing I think would be fun to do. I envy the writers at Bioware, spending their days writing and editing stuff like this. Obviously, that is where I need to end up. Now starts my dark campaign to convince people to hire me for such purposes despite a complete lack of professional fiction writing history!
PS: Borderlands has taken ahold of me, in an unhealthy, vicious way. I’ve played tens of hours of that game in the last 4 days. I wonder when it will release me.