BioWare announces Dragon Age 2

Dragon Age 2

It was inevitable, but it’s still welcome news: BioWare has officially announced Dragon Age 2, the sequel to the critically acclaimed Dragon Age: Origins. From the official press release:

Dragon Age 2 thrusts players into the role of Hawke, a penniless refugee who rises to power to become the single most important character in the world of Dragon Age. Known to be a survivor of the Blight and the Champion of Kirkwall, the legend around Hawke’s rise to power is shrouded in myth and rumor. Featuring an all-new story spanning 10 years, players will help tell that tale by making tough moral choices, gathering the deadliest of allies, amassing fame and fortune, and sealing their place in history. The way you play will write the story of how the world is changed forever.

Dragon Age 2 will feature updated graphics (a good thing as Dragon Age: Origins’ graphics weren’t anything to write home about) and a new combat system. Presumably, we’ll see some of this in the debut trailer, which will be released August 17. However, I think it’s safe to say that the biggest change will be the all new character generation system.

Unlike Dragon Age: Origins, where you picked one of several different character archetypes from several different races, Dragon Age 2 will only let you play a single human character (though you can apparently choose the gender). This is closer to the character generation process in Mass Effect series.

I can certainly see some gamers being upset by the more streamlined character generation process, but it doesn’t bother me so much. I certainly love a good, in-depth character development process — I spent several hours crafting my Dragon Age: Origins characters — but it’s ultimately about the story that is told for the character, and I think that by now, BioWare has proven themselves to be excellent storytellers. (And besides, the Mass Effect character generation system may be more straightforward than that of Dragon Age: Origins, but you can still kill an hour or two customizing the look of your character.)

Dragon Age 2 will be released in March 2011. (You might as well plan on not hearing from me for about week when the game comes out.)

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