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NOTE: This is a compilation of our three-part video documentary series about Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age 2 and Dragon Age: Inquisition that aired in 2019.
When it comes to Western role-playing games, few video game developers are as renowned as Bioware. The Edmonton-based studio’s catalogue is as celebrated as it is influential, with almost all of its titles representing the peaks of their genres in the eras they debuted. Baldur’s Gate brought computer RPGs back in vogue with its sublime, high-fantasy gameplay. Neverwinter NightsKnights masterfully adapted its tenets into a multiplayer-centric experience. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic saw the former games’ narrative finesse melded with the adventurism of the galaxy far, far away. And Mass Effect made all of this Bioware’s own – while taking it to the next level.
But being this renowned comes with a high heavy price. Today, gamers are well aware of the struggles the studio dealt with recently during the development of games like Mass Effect: Andromeda and Anthem. Yet the reality is that struggles like these have persisted throughout its entire history, with nearly every major production that Bioware has successfully completed representing a triumph in the face of massive adversity.
Dragon Age, Bioware’s much-beloved high-fantasy series, is perhaps most emblematic of this. While each of its mainline entries were made under vastly different circumstances from one another, they all suffered in their own, unique ways. Its third one’s design failed to fully come together until late in its production, and needed to be made in an incredibly unruly engine. Its second one’s development period was one of the most cramped its staff had ever experienced. And its first operated without a consistent team or set of tools for an immensely long – so much so, that many wondered if it was ever going to come out at all.
This is the history of Dragon Age: Origins.
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