Tash interviews Mark Darrah, Executive Producer of Dragon Age Inquisition

dragon-age-inquisition-banner-newAlright folks, this is the big one.  The interview you’ve all been waiting for.  Today at E3, I got to sit down with Mark Darrah, Executive Producer of Dragon Age Inquisition, and it was five minutes of pure journalistic pleasure.  We talked about romances, save imports, and drinking contests.  So come give it a read, won’t you?

Tash: So Dragon Age Inquisition marks the third game in the Dragon Age setting. Now continuity wise, what sorts of things can returning players expect to see? The ones who played the first two games, are there going to be easter eggs and things like that for them?

Mark: Definitely, there’s going to be easter eggs. I mean, there’s going to be some big things like Varric, Cassandra, other returning characters. If you use the Dragon Age Keep to get your decisions from previous games into Dragon Age Inquisition, you’re gonna have a lot.  There’s like over 300 decision points we’re importing from previous games, so who’s in charge of Ferelden, other things like that, romance decisions from previous games. There’s also a little bit of smaller characters who reappear, both from the games and from novels. Things like that as well.

Tash: So you’ve confirmed that there are multiple playable races returning, including the Qunari. We actually saw one in the demo yesterday with the female mage.  So does this mean that if players select different races, they’re going to have a totally different experience in the game?

Mark: We don’t have origins, like in Dragon Age Origins. The game basically opens with an explosion that rips open the world sort of en media res. But definitely there are people that will care about your race, or care about your gender. As you progress through the story, the fact that you’re the Inquisitor, the fact that you have this ability to close these rifts, the fact that you’re the one source of stability in the world is going to matter more than your race or your gender. But, yes, it does come up.

Tash: Party member interactions have always been a huge strength in Bioware games. Can you talk a little bit about the romance aspect of the game? What choices players can have, and what impacts it will have on the game?

Mark: This is the biggest cast of characters we’ve ever had, so there’s nine followers and then three specialists. These are the people who actually help you run the Inquisition. Some of those specialists are actually going to be romance options as well, so it’s not just party members. From a gameplay perspective, we want the relationships to be more realistic, so they’re built more through your interactions, and you bringing them along, as opposed to a visible number system that you’re just trying to get their affection up high enough. We want it to be something more about you actually having to interact.

Tash: The gameplay that you’re demoing at the moment features one of my favorite characters, Leliana. In my game, I didn’t harden her, so I kept her sort of… not sweet, but not hardened. And then I notice in this instance of the game she’s quite confident. She quite take-no-prisoners. Some might say she’s a little bit brutal. Can you talk a little bit about where she’s been?

Mark: I’ll try to dance around the story spoilers a little bit. She actually becomes the… I’m gonna get my hand wrong, I think the Left Hand of the Divine, after the events of Dragon Age Origins. Her and Cassandra form the Left and Right Hand of the Divine, so she’s been in a more direct role, coming up to the events that start Dragon Age Inquisition. So the very opening of Dragon Age Inquistion has a big impact on her in particular. She definitely has a very strong connection to the Chantry, and with what happens, the Chantry is in chaos, and that really affects her. A lot of what you’re seeing is her reacting from those events.

Tash: Three quick questions. First one.  True or false? Nicolas Cage is the face model for Solas.

Mark: *laughing* Nicolas Cage is not the face model for Solas.

Tash: Is it true that David Gaider sustains his life force by drinking the tears of heartbroken fans?

Mark: Yeah, that’s probably true, yes.

Tash: And finally, who would win a drinking contest? Oghren or Isabela?

Mark: *long silence* I think Isabela would probably win.

Tash: Yeah?

Mark: Well, she certainly wouldn’t be above cheating in that contest. So I think she would probably win…

Tash: She’d use her feminine wiles.

Mark: Yeah.

A big, big thanks to Mark Darrah for giving us a few minutes of his time (in a private interview booth!). I seriously cannot wait to get my hands on Dragon Age Inquistion.  It looks fantastic.  A special shoutout to the people in the EA booth who were so amazing and hekpful.  And, last but not least, to Joe for transcribing my interviews.


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    About the Author: (@MidnightReyn) Founder & Editor-in-Chief

    Tash

    Tash is a self-diagnosed gaming fanatic with a doctorate in Psychology. She's also a self-confessed Mass Effect fangirl and will likely talk your ears off if you ever get her started on the subject. A lover of all things RPG and adventure, she has more gamer related action figures and memorabilia than any 20 something year old professional has a right to own, and has spent more time than she’d like to admit to daydreaming about exactly what she would do should the Zombie Apocalypse actually happen.

    • asphodeline

      300 decision points in the keep? Cool. If I see significant differences in the world state, all the more reason to replay. Now all I need is a beta invite.