As you likely have read already, we announced our mystery license today and it is Dragon Age: Origins, BioWare’s upcoming fantasy CRPG. I will be talking more about the game over the coming months, but I thought I’d start by going through the clues I sent out over the past week via Twitter and Facebook. They certainly led to some lively discussion, but here’s what I had in mind when I came up with them.
“Next week we herald the beginning of a new age.”
The new age is the Dragon Age, of course. I even thought about adding a second sentence to this with the word dragon in it, but I didn’t want to give the game away on the first clue. “New Age” is also a song by punk legends D.O.A. and both the band and BioWare are Canadian but that’s just a coincidence.
“Something old, something new, something needed, something overdue.”
Here I was getting at the nature of the game and what I’m trying to do with it. The pen & paper game shares some structure with the computer game, but uses its own system. “Something old” refers to the class and level nature of the game, which go back to the dawn of RPGs. “Something new” is the system I buit using it and other structural elements of the computer game. As for “something needed,” I was talking about a really good intro game for new roleplayers. I don’t think D&D; has had that since the early 80s (hence “something overdue”) and the tabletop roleplaying hobby needs new blood. It is not a coincidence that the first release is a boxed set.
“You’ll find great adventure beyond the gate.”
Here I was referring to BioWare’s Baldur’s Gate, one of the best CRPGs of all time. Dragon Age: Origins is the “spiritual successor” of Baldur’s Gate, with all that implies. It is the next step, a journey beyond the gate.
“If you want to be a knight, you better be prepared to earn it.”
You get two clues for the price of one here. First, knights in the realm of Ferelden (where Dragon Age: Origins takes place) can win the title through their deeds. In the tabletop game you will not start as a knight, but you can strive to become one. Second, this is an oblique reference to Knights of the Old Republic, another classic BioWare game for meatbags like you.
“No time for a day or rest when the world is imperiled.”
Another reference to the Dragon Age setting. There are those who do not believe that the threat to Ferelden is so serious, and they of course are gravely mistaken. I posted this on a Sunday, and meant to type “day of rest.” I realized later I had actually typed “day or rest” but I let it stand that way. Figured it couldn’t hurt to be more mysterious!
“Few believe the threat is real. Will there be mass hysteria when the truth can no longer be denied?”
This is similar to the previous clue, but allowed me to use the phrase “mass hysteria.” The pertinent reference is Mass Effect, yet another awesome BioWare game. “Mass Hysteria” is also a classic old punk rock song by Social Distortion, which has nothing to do with Dragon Age but it made me smile.
Now all the secrets have been revealed, I need to get back to finishing the game!