Okay so I went to the event on Saturday (took me long enough to type this), got Gaider's signature, got a poster of the concept art of Kirkwall's Keep, and all that good stuff... now to the juicy tid-bits of what are in my notes...
This panel might show up on The Pulse, later... Took into note that there were camras in the beginning of the session before it began, but highly doubtful..
At the Panel the main speaker of the evening was Mike Laidlaw - Lead Designer and with him on the panel was Mark Darrah -Executive Producer, Matt Goldmen - Art Director, David Gaider - Lead Writer, Len Baxter - Senior Producer(I think that was his name, writing too fast), Chris Pramas - from Green Ronin, with a surprise guest Felicia Day promoting DA:Redemption. It was apparently Mark Darrah's birthday that day, a fact that was only found at 6PM that day through facebook "The spyware of Real life" and we sung happy birthday to him.
Laidlaw opened up on a lighter note when he showed the "Concern of where we are heading"
onscreen pops up a screenshot from a cutsceen of Dante and Nero fighting/arguing form DMC4, (crowd laughs)
They get it and are more focusing on the encounters that you'll have to face within the future, case in point Legacy, and what dragon age boils down to are...
- Equipping your characters
- Drinking your potions
- Picking your combat abilities
- Deciding which party members you are going to take with you
- Positioning, where am I? Am I infront of the guy, behind the guy, am I able to hold the line?
According to Laidlaw, even Origins didn't hit the levels of positioning and interaction of the environment they wanted to hit. In a long term goal they want to make the battlefield just as important as what you are battling.
- Who you are controlling
- Preparation (again)
A team and being able to control explicitly the action of your team is something that is becoming rare in RPGs. The sense that you have followers and in combat that you are better together then you are separately... A mention that cross-class combos was a step towards that direction...
These are the core things they see about combat... There also be a little flare with it (crowd laughs)
Scope (Let me know if you want me to recreate what I saw. I might not be totally accurate but I'll try my best on my free time)
In origins you got to see Ferelden which took a big chunk of the map
map pops up with Ferelden in color, the rest grey-scaled out
In DAII people saw Kirkwall
map pops up of the areas of Kirkwall highlighted (crowd laughs)
To be fare it was some what smaller, and he admitted that people expected to be more like origins
map pops up with The Free Marches highlighted
It wasn't outside the realm of possibility but he wouldn't go into details about that...
They are dealing with a world that is fantastical, where you play important characters through the course of time, sometimes playing characters because they are defending against a particular threat, but ultimately they want to make a game in which the scope would look like...
map pops up of the entire Lower half of Thedas, includes Orlias, Nevarra, all of the Free Marches, Ferelden, highlighted (Tevinter was not highlighted)
Mention to architecture of early Tevinter, Ferelden architecture, but also acknowledged that people were wondering what Orlais' architecture looked like (in which he said even their concept artist where wondering themselves). But this is to be in a determined period of time.
Why play an RPG? Ultimately the experience is ours and what we want to dial in on.
Followers, they wanted to give the followers a unique appearance for reasons and acknowledged that some people liked that (for cosplaying purposes) but also didn't. So...
picture pops up with Merrill in all golden armor (much like her romance armor) - armor, gloves, and boots equipped. no helm (level 16, if it matters)"
follower armor is coming back...
Action and Consequences
There is going to a increasing "range of action" - ways to interact with the world.
DA2 was a story that had to be told. That was intended to give the players a world that had inherited more conflicts and more interest, not a world that was happy that the blight was over(before it began, thanks to the Hero of Ferelden). They wanted to create a world where the world itself was falling to pieces, a world not saved by a particular evil, but from itself.. Where Human found-ability is the real villain.
so for the future we are to be going to exotic locations...
Concept art of what looks like overgrown ruins, immaculate street city streets (possibly Orlais), ect shows up onscreen
going to be making friends, and possibly enemies by blowing up their keeps...
Hand shake artwork shows up onscreen, followed by a pic on wall exploding inwards (shadows both in the foreground and background on either side of the explosion) (crowds cheers at the later)
and we'll have to paying/dealing with the consequences later
an artpiece of Morrigan pops up, hood up faced towards the viewer with a building burning down in the background (crowd cheers)
after this Q&A starts.
1) Will the Hero of Ferelden and Hawke ever meet?
There are two matters in the question to be addressed, Is the player to be playing one of these characters in the s'posive meeting or whether they will meet at all...
For the second "We are, perhaps so inclined. Thats as much as we'll ever say", for the former as for the PC the Warden's time is done and Hawke's is not yet done. But future installments are to have a new protagonist who will meet other PCs, unless they are dead (the Warden), but their impact on Thedas will be continue to be felt regardless of their living or dead status..
2)Only MMO could only philately that much geography...
No MMO. Your not going to be walking over that much geography but being able to see more breath in the areas that you visit. Being able to see more of Thedas (example Val Royeaux, or Nahashim Marshes (or what it sounded to me, could be spelt differently.(Japanese speaking PoV))
About this time Felicia Day comes up on panel with a new Redemption teaser trailer. "Victory is the Qun"
3) Will there be an artbook?
4) (About the Qunari) Challenging the audience with "Here is a culture you can interpret as aggressive and foreign, but perhaps we are the monsters". Where does it come from?
Fundamentally DA is, at its heart, is not holding up a mirror to own world but to the human condition. Trying to understand another's PoV and trying to understand where they are coming from. That the characters (namely villains) are not what they are first interpreted to be upon your first impression. But inspiration is drawn from past and current cultures and groups of people (namely those who invaded medieval Europe).
5) How many kids might Maric have? (epilogue to "The Calling")
"He has at least two."
6) Will more character return and will their personalities change drastically? (Based off of DA:A VS DAII Anders)
Yes, more characters will return and their personalities will change. However, looking back, having an intermediate stage during Act 1 for Anders might have been a good idea. But not every character will be coming back, and Characters will evolve. Having their own stories to tell PCs. Jokingly: Have Zevran in every game. Gaider likes Zevran.
7) To average person, DA looks like any other Tolkin-inspired game. Do you see DA becoming the new standard for RPGs where people may compare to DA rather then Tolkin?
One of the goals for DA is to be one of the predominant fantasies across all media. Games will always be the core. But as they move into other medias, they are always going to be growing and expanding so that it becomes one of those fantasies that you think of like Tolkin or Harry Potter. This also goes further into the explanation of the art changes done in DAII.
8) Are there going to be certain bonuses for "hey me, pick me for this" a lot more then what DAII had?
9) Will we get to see more of Varric? (My favorite quote from this person was "And then Hawke Blocked me! :(" You were great whoever you where! So was questioner 3 for playing with Felicia's comment. XD Just sayin')
Gaider explains that he loves to be a Heartbreaker and that this pleased him, with Laidlaw commenting that it only seriously makes Gaider stronger. but "You'll see more of Varric"
10) Will the Arcane Mage and classes like it to make a return?
That is entirely possible, but will probably not come back in that style. They understand that there is an appeal for "The Mage that gets in close and starts dishing out the pain."
11) With how big the planned map was indicating, will there be a lost of your character's involvement in the story's politics and their own personal story? (this question shifted between questioner 11, Gaider, and Laidlaw quite a bit, so I interpreted the best I could with the notes I have.)
They are not going back to what Origins did, but the type of story they did with DAII was a personal story. However they aren't looking back at either of them, rather moving forward with the story to be told. The DAII story fit the DAII story. But "it depend if it is a globe trotting narrative that involves politics across the globe." If there is a reason and if it consistently has a point and strong thematic elements, yet still contains elements that tie into some degree of fatality you can still tell the same story that carries the same messages without being confined to a city.
12) Will there be any co-op in the future?
Maybe, the DA engine is not designed to handle Co-op. Leaning towards No... Questioner 12 also commented to keep Sandal alive. In which Laidlaw replied "He has proven himself unkillable so-far, I'm not even sure if we can pull it off."
13) DA:O was very MMO where DAII was very hack-&-slash. Is DAIII going to be more hack-&-slash or more MMO feel to it?
Slow down a bit from DAII, but not lose the ability to not get your character to where they are s'pose to be quickly. Firmly anti-shuffle.
But they want to move on from designing fights to designing encounters, more of "there more coming over the hill" rather then, "there is another wave". To be able to create a more hell-istic style of gameplay based on the senario you find yourself in. The word environment we'll hear more of in the future.
About this time the panel was closed down due to the next scheduled panel after this one that used this room.