Dragon Age: Origins vs. Dragon Age 2: The Talky Bits

No High Scores

I spotted this breakdown at 360 MMGN via a forum thread at Gamers With Jobs. Basically, it approximates and breaks down the amount of talky bits found in Dragon Age: Origins versus those same elements in Dragon Age 2, along with approximate total game length. Here’s the gist:

Dragon Age: Origins
• 1,000,000 Words
• 1,000 Cinematics
• 1,000 Characters
• 56,000 Spoken Lines
• 60 Hours of Gameplay

Dragon Age II
• 400,000 Words
• 2,500 Cinematics
• 500 Characters
• 38,000 Spoken Lines
• 40 Hours of Gameplay

Look, at the end of the day this tells us nothing about the quality of the game. You can have a good, short RPG. True, this is a bit of a 180 from Origins, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work. I still find the numbers a bit shocking, though. Half the characters? 20k fewer lines of spoken dialog even though we’ve got a voiced protagonist this time around? The only number to increase is for the cinematics, which have more than doubled. Given my greatest reservation about Bioware is that they seem increasingly interested in story at the expense of gameplay, numbers like that are not encouraging. Are we playing a game or watching a movie here?

Increasingly I think the apparent changes in the nature of the game have more to do with time than game design principles. It’s been just 16 months since Bioware released Origins, which was itself in development for around five years. Throw in a solid beta testing cycle and we’re talking, what? A year of full time development for DA2? Maybe a year and a half, if they got ramped up on this as Origins approached release? I can’t fathom how that could be enough time to develop an RPG, especially one with this kind of production value. Unless you’re willing to cut corners.

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Todd Brakke

Todd was born in Ann Arbor, with a Michigan helmet in one hand and a mouse in the other. (Never you mind the logistics of this.) He grew, vertically anyway, and is a 20-year publishing veteran as an editor of books on consumer tech and professional development for educators. Because that wasn't enough of a challenge, Todd was a 20-year part-time snob about video games, writing reviews, features, and more for multiple outlets from 1997-2015. Follow him on Twitter @toddsfoolery.

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