BioWare: Why ‘Dragon Age’ Isn’t A Trilogy

BioWare announced “Mass Effect” as a sci-fi trilogy, but the studio made no such declarations with “Dragon Age,” a return to their PC-based “Baldur’s Gate” roots, a conscious decision by the “Dragon Age” team, the game’s exec. producer told me last week.


Mass Effect will be at least three games. Dragon Age does not have to be.

Just a few years ago, trilogies were all the rage. BioWare jumped into the fray with “Mass Effect,” released in 2006, and since it’s looking like we’ll be hearing about Mass Effect 2soon, that trilogy looks likely to see a conclusion.

Last April, Stephen asked BioWare co-founder Ray Muzyka to explain why they determined “Mass Effect” needed to become a trilogy.

Trilogies have not become a requirement at BioWare. “Dragon Age: Origins,” their long announced return to the studio’s classic “Baldur’s Gate” roots, does not have a story arc that spans a specific number of games.

This is what the “Dragon Age” team wanted, executive producer and project director Dan Tudge told me during a private demo last week at Electronic Arts’ Redwood Shores campus, just south of San Francisco.

“Each team is really encouraged to be entrepreneurial about their own destiny, if you will,” he said. “The ’Mass Effect’ team focused heavily on a trilogy, that’s something they really wanted to do and tell a story through a trilogy. That doesn’t mean that other great things can’t happen in the ’Mass Effect’ universe. Whereas with us, rather than approach it from [having one] iconic hero, we really wanted to create a sandbox for great fantasy entertainment and really create a universe that’s compelling, that’s engaging, that there’s a lot of depth to.”

“[Origins] definitely sends a signal to the fans that this is just the beginning for us”

Is Truge implying there could be “Mass Effect” games coming outside the already announced trilogy? Sounds like it.

But while “Dragon Age: Origins” is not an announced multi-game arc, he made clear this is a new BioWare franchise.

“’Origins’ is the birth of the franchise,” he said flatly. “It definitely sends a signal to the fans that this is just the beginning for us and we want to be pretty clear about that. But it also ties to the origin stories because the origin stories are a huge component about what we’re doing with ’Dragon Age: Origins,’ as well as returning to BioWare’s roots, returning to that ’Baldur’s Gate’ legacy. It is our origins as well.”

What do you make of the “Dragon Age” team’s decision?

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