Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and there’s something about a new story idea in there somewhere

21 Aug

So some random, distracted musings on the nature of archetypes coupled with a recent playthrough of Dragon Age with a female dwarf character have resulted in a new story idea erupting into being. Dragon Age, by the way, I found to be utterly unfun in terms of gameplay and even the story wasn’t particularly compelling, and it’s buggy and kind of not even very pretty or anything, but I really liked some of the characters so I kind of struggled through. To be honest it was mostly because I liked the casteless dwarf girl I was playing as so much–it’s silly, but about halfway through playing with sliders to adjust the width of her jaw and so forth (seriously, it’s ridiculous how many tiny little things you can fiddle with) I felt a sudden emotional connection to her, the quiet strength and sadness in her eyes, the determined set of her mouth, even the sensible little pigtails her hair was tied into. I wanted to know her story. It’s funny the things that can unexpectedly affect you. It was the same with Mass Effect, I spent ages just funning around with the character thing until suddenly there was this woman there, my Commander Shepard, and I just really wanted to know more about her. (And may I just say, I have not been disappointed in the least.) (Although I WAS disappointed to learn (getting back to Dragon Age) (and excuse the nested brackets) that not only can you not carry your character over into the sequel but in fact there’s no option to play as a dwarf at all. Completely killed any interest I might have had in playing Dragon Age II.)

Anyway, I’m still working out the details of this new story (which right now isn’t so much a story as it is a concept and a couple of character ideas and a general feeling) but I think it might be good. I’ll have to wait and see–although writing sequels is fun, sometimes I wonder if first-in-series and standalones aren’t the best way forward. From what I’ve seen, casting your nets wide works better than casting them deep.

(The only thing I don’t like about this video is that it contributes to the bizarre myth that Commander Shepard is a man.)

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Posted by on August 21, 2011 in Of Writing


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