Dragon Age: Inquisition is a huge game, we’ve been told. Ginormous. But inevitably, it’s about to get a bit smaller. Six months out from a finally-confirmed release date, it’s about to hit alpha - and then the topiary begins.
“This is a pretty stressful time for everyone,” writes BioWare Edmonton chief writerman David Gaider on his blog. “Every cut feels like it’s reducing the overall quality of the game, until there are so many of them you feel like you’re producing a piece of crap - until you remind yourself that every game goes through this, and the alternative is shipping late or not at all.
“It’s not a process that any fan will truly understand.”
Dragon Age 3, as we’re not officially allowed to call it, will soon be ‘content complete’. Gaider and his writing team currently have a small window of opportunity to smooth the edges around cut quests with tricksy words - but once the game’s in alpha, it’ll be all snipping, “without any ability to really work around [cuts] for the sake of logic or flow”.
“The writing team is mostly out of the pool insofar as voiced dialogue goes, so the last of it can go through the pipeline and get edited, recorded and localized before being passed on to the cinematics people,” explained Gaider.
At this juncture, his team are mostly working on codex entries, item and talent descriptions and the like - all the little wordy bits that constitute the game.
“Still, we have to handle all bugs that come our way, and be responsive to any cuts that are occurring,” said Gaider. And then the traumatic phase of serious cutting begins - a process Gaider notes fans are most often “oblivious” to.
“They’re usually harping on what color the sails should be while the hull is rapidly leaking water,” he said. “Which is a strange dissonance from our perspective, let me tell you.”
Oo-err. Remember, though: this is how games are made. This still looks every bit the sequel Dragon Age: Origins never quite got, don’t you think?
Inquisition is out on October 7.