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I remember first reading about Dragon Age several years ago now. It then seemed to drop off the radar for a long time, with very little information being released until shortly before launch. How long was the production time on this title, and how did that compare to other projects you've worked on?

Shane Hawco – Lead Character Artist
Dragon Age Origins was an Epic project with some really big expectations to live up to. The goal of the project was to be the spiritual successor to the Baldur’s Gate series that BioWare was famous for after taking a break from the fantasy setting for Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire and Mass Effect. We wanted to create a dark epic fantasy in a rich and alive world that would live up to what the core BioWare fans were expecting from us.

From the start, Dragon Age had lofty goals of putting an exceptionally high number of characters on the screen and breaking new visual ground. Could you talk about these and other goals for the game?

Shane Hawco – Lead Character Artist
Originally we wanted to get upwards of about a hundred of characters into the game at one time but that was before we decided to move into the next generation technology with higher polygon counts and more complex shaders. This really increased the visual fidelity of the game, giving us the look we wanted but with a project of such an epic scope we needed to find a balance between the graphics and the gameplay. So in the end we opted for 24 characters plus your 4 party members on screen at one time.

Were there any major changes that had to be made over time?

Shane Hawco – Lead Character Artist
Yes, of course. One of the biggest challenges was developing the technology along side of the development of the game itself. With the game starting at the beginning of the next generation of gaming development there were some growing pains. But this helped lead us to the proper balancing of the gameplay that was expected along with look we wanted to achieve to deliver a unique and epic experience.

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