We caught up with Claudia Black and Brian Bloom, the voices of Morrigan and Varric, to talk about their craft.
While making games is our passion, we also love the community we live in and try to give a little something back whenever we can. Recently, the BioWare team volunteered with Habitat for Humanity here in Edmonton, helping to build homes for a great cause.
The Neufeld Landing project is the largest Habitat for Humanity build in Canada. When it’s finished, it will give 64 families a place to live.
We dispatched 21 eager BioWarians to spend two days working on the build in Edmonton’s Rutherford neighbourhood. It was an enriching experience, and a true privilege to work with the great Habitat team making a difference in our community. While our day job is creating virtual worlds to delight and surprise our players, it’s always nice to help make the real world a little better too.
The University of Alberta Video Game Club made a visit to our BioWare theatre to hear and learn more about E3’s launch of Dragon Age: Inquisition and speak about getting into the game industry. It was a great event and we hope to meet again in the fall.
Today marks the tenth anniversary of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and we’re ready to celebrate! We checked in with a few members from the old KotOR team and asked them to put aside their current projects for a bit and share their memories about working on the game.
I was actually working as a texture artist on Neverwinter Nights when I heard the news that we had secured the rights to do a Star Wars RPG game. Casey was offered the Producer role, but they still didn’t have an Art Director. Casey asked some of the concept artists if they wanted to draw some ideas for a new Star Wars IP. I decided to take a stab at it and ended up doing three pencil drawings of space ship designs. Casey liked what he saw and asked if I wanted to be the Art Director. I couldn’t believe it. I accepted, and then couldn’t sleep for two weeks stressing about how the hell I was going to do the job. The three ships made it into the final game; one of those was the Endar Spire “Hammerhead”.
- Derek Watts, Art Director Mass Effect
I joined BioWare in 2002 after spending about nine years in corporate IT, and KotOR was the first game I worked on in the games industry so it holds a special meaning for me. At the time, our company meetings were held in a small repertory theatre down the road from the studio, and all I remember is sitting there waiting for the meeting to start when suddenly that iconic music started to play.
As I watched the words “Star Wars: Knight of the Old Republic” crawl across the movie screen, I had the overwhelming realization that I had not only stumbled into my dream job, but my name was going to be associated with a franchise I’d been a fan of for almost 30 years. The 7-year-old me never could have guessed that would be part of her future.
And while I’ve played the game many times over, the part that I remember best was Trask explaining how to get something out of my locker; I spent 3 weeks debugging issues in the tutorials and unfortunately that one scene is now permanently etched in my memory. We’ll call that lesson #1 about the pitfalls of game development!
- Janice Thoms, Technical Director
I was scattershot across KoTOR. I wrote bits of Taris, Manaan, Korriban, countless little scenes here and there, and about a jabillion lore bits and item descriptions. I actually really enjoy those because each one is a micro story, although I had to edit each and every one of them by hand every time the inventory system changed. I still twitch thinking about that.
But the main tasks I owned were writing all of Tatooine and Kashyyk. Blew. My. Mind. There I was, writing the early history of a setting I had grown up with. I went deep on all the lore I could find, seeding everything with as many hints forward as I could. That was the challenge, trying to create a history that could lead to the setting I had come to love.
Memories that stick out from Tatooine? HK-47’s audio-department-angering Sand People translations, characterizing Jawas, force-commanding a guy to never speak to the player ever again. I also remember one late night blearily writing “Nobody expects the bantha’s in position,” for which I am equal parts proud and sorry.
On Kashyyk, I remember writing Jolee Bindo’s grumpy intro, Zaalbar’s Shakespearean family issues, and trying to rationalize flora and fauna super-growth. I still have my cheat sheet with the R-laden names of many, many chatty wookies. Again, proud and sorry.
But I remember one moment very clearly. It was the day we secured the license, for certain, 100% the papers are signed and it’s a go. We gathered in a local theater for a company meeting, and up on the screen came the BioWare logo and the Star Wars logo. Pause. And then, it started. Of course it started, you couldn’t stop it. A room full of suddenly-children all humming the Imperial March.
One day my son will be old enough to understand that daddy got to make Star Wars, and it was good.
- Lukas Kristjanson, Senior Writer Dragon Age: Inquisition
Join in the celebration with us and download these commemorative Knights of the Old Republic wallpapers!
Before the world premiere of the Dragon Age: Inquisition teaser trailer aired this past Monday at E3, BioWare GM Aaryn Flynn waited patiently backstage for his name to be called. He was tasked with introducing the video to the hundreds of people in attendance, as well as the hundreds of thousands of people watching the conference live online and on Spike TV. Then, in a matter of two minutes and twenty-eight seconds, it was all over.
We caught up with Aaryn after the event to get his thoughts on what his experience was like, and to confirm the first few known details about Dragon Age: Inquisition.
What did it feel like to show the first glimpse of Dragon Age: Inquisition to the world during the E3 press conference?
[Aaryn Flynn]: Very humbling. Many team members who are much closer to the game could have stood up there, but I got chosen because I’m more ‘expendable’! To represent their collective effort, in front of thousands of people is a big responsibility.
I wish I could convey how hard the team has been working for the past couple of years on the game. They had a vision to not do a CG trailer, but instead to show a trailer made from in-game footage, and they accomplished that in spades. But beyond that, there’s so much we haven’t shown yet, and we will very soon. This was just the team’s way of showing a small window into the game for fans that’ve been with us from the beginning.
The cheers of the live crowd came through loud and clear during the livestream. What was the reception from the crowd like in person and what did it mean to you?
[AMF]: That was crazy! When Peter Moore, EA’s COO, mentioned Dragon Age in the opening of the show and fans in the audience cheered, that was so nice to hear. It was funny to hear Peter call them “BioWare employees”, because in some ways we’re all part of the same extended family. We owe our fans everything, and the time and effort being put into Dragon Age will absolutely reflect that when all is said and done.
You shared just a few of the first details about the game during the conference, but for those that weren’t able to watch, could you leave us with a refresher?
[AMF]: Dragon Age: Inquisition will launch in the Fall of 2014 on PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, and Xbox 360. We’ve shown Varric, a Qunari (who has a name, we’re just not releasing it yet!), Cassandra, and Morrigan.
With the breach of the Fade happening in the sky, demons have poured out and created a pretty big problem for the Inquisitor, the character you will play. You’ll have to cover huge areas of Thedas to uncover what happened. As you do, the choices you make will impact the world and bring everything to an ultimate conclusion.