With Netflix’s Dragon Age: Absolution, BioWare’s fantasy-RPG franchise makes a gradual return after having been beforehand in a little bit of franchise limbo since 2015. The sequence hasn’t fully gone away due to comics and a few books, however Absolution marks an actual sense of change for the sequence forward of the discharge of its fourth installment, Dragon Age: Dreadwolf. Even if that sport could also be one other 12 months or so out, this present comes at a time when extra sport franchises are being expanded upon with (often) animated variations.
As a franchise, Dragon Age is basically outlined by sprawling epics the place characters journey throughout the lands to battle an amazing evil with a cadre of allies and prepared organizations. But Absolution, not not like 2011’s Dragon Age II, is extra of an intimate affair whose central plot revolves round a heist to steal a robust magical artifact. When io9 just lately talked to showrunner Maighread Scott, she revealed that her pitch for the sequence already had a heist baked in firstly. In her phrases, it might be “Reservoir Dogs meets Black Hawk Down,” with all of the chaos, betrayals, and demise that mixture implies.
For govt producer Jon Epler, a heist story made good sense to do on the earth of Dragon Age. “Heists provide an amazing pressure cooker for emotions, and you get a lot of mileage out of seeing people who shouldn’t be together bump against each other,” he mentioned. They’re enjoyable due to the relationships that get shaped (or destroyed) throughout the occasions of the caper, and Dragon Age has cherished to showcase relationships in all their messy glory. Ask anybody who’s performed even one sport within the sequence, and also you’re prone to discover that they really feel a couple of particular character fully otherwise than the way you do.
Epler and Scott had been conscious of the significance to relationships to Dragon AGe—Scott referred to as them the “second pillar” of the franchise, whether or not they’re ones that include participant enter, or others that kind naturally over the course of the story. “Dragon Age is about the people,” continued Epler. “Ultimately, the series is about people, and characters who have an impact. A lot of their impact isn’t just on the people around them, but how those relationships manifest in the larger world, and the different types of relationships you can have. Whether they’re healthy or unhealthy, wholesome or comedic … That’s part of the appeal: seeing what you do to others, and how [the way] you treat others has consequences.”
Because Absolution had a brief runway to work with (six half-hour episodes versus three video games unfold throughout dozens or a whole lot of hours), Scott knew that the present couldn’t have the identical sense of place because the video games. The focus was as a substitute on making the present’s characters and relationships price being invested in, and that they felt like pure additions to the world of Thedas. She described the forged of thieves and mercenaries as “wonderfully imperfect heroes,” specifically the elf murderer Miriam. “In the show, you see how growing up as a slave in a Tevinter household really affected her and left her broken. But her heroic nature shine through because she’s willing to fight for others, and that’s a theme that’s across all Dragon Age.”
In the prior video games, Tevinter was talked about just a few occasions, and it’s extra of a looming presence in 2014’s Dragon Age: Inquisition. But Absolution marks the primary actual dip into the area earlier than gamers expertise it for themselves in Dreadwolf. Much just like the heist, setting the present in Tevinter was at all times a part of Scott’s preliminary plan in order to supply a “small, tantalizing sliver” of the area earlier than the fourth sport expanded on what we see within the present. Not to say that with how a lot affect Tevinter has over the remainder of the world of Thedas, Epler felt that the present may very well be the proper alternative to begin speaking about what’s occurring over there. “Tevinter has such a weight on the world of Thedas, there’s not any other nation that impacted the history of the world as much as Tevinter,” he mentioned. “There’s no nation that has so much tendrils out in every part of the world, good or bad.”
Despite its relative proximity to Dreadwolf, although, Absolution deliberately doesn’t attempt to use its time establishing any actual kind of canon for gamers to latch onto. Some characters from the prior video games present up for a spell, and occasions are broadly talked about, however Epler (who additionally serves as Dreadwolf’s inventive director) admitted that it was necessary to keep away from setting a definitive canon. He acknowledged it as a “tricky balancing act,” partly as a result of BioWare making its personal canon runs the chance of conflicting with the canon gamers make on their very own, and the studio’s phrase being doubtlessly declared definitive gospel is the very last thing anybody needed. Similarly, there was a need to ensure Absolution stood by itself, express ties to the video games or no. “There’s all these elements that make up Thedas and what’s going on,” mentioned Epler. “We were fine with leaving space for these stories to exist and feed into a larger world as a whole.”
That mentioned, Absolution’s last moments do point out that it received’t go away the video games fully untouched.
Having efficiently made off with the Circulum Infinitum and left Miriam and the remainder of the heist crew behind, human mage Hira begins the trek again to satisfy up along with her true employer: Meredith, the ultimate antagonist of Dragon Age II. Encased in a crystal jail (recognized within the video games as Red Lyrium) after her defeat by that sport’s protagonist Hawke, and voiced by her unique actor Jean Gilpin, her return means some fascinating issues for Absolution’s future and doubtlessly Dreadwolf.
Both Scott and Epler defined that throughout the means of conceiving a possible mastermind, the present’s writers needed somebody with “very specific and explicitly stated goals,” and to not point out somebody who BioWare hadn’t already locked off elsewhere. When Meredith was thrown in, everybody agreed, as her dogged conviction and drive to get rid of mages exemplified their standards greater than some other villain the franchise. “It became pretty clear that Meredith was the best candidate,” defined Scott. “You needed to find someone to hate, and there are few Dragon Age characters people love to hate as much as Meredith.”
Scott was evasive on if a second season for Absolution would occur, however she hopes it does, as a result of she’d “hate to drop Meredith back into the fandom and then run.” For her, Miriam has “more story to tell,” and he or she could be excited to proceed these tales in no matter kind they take.
Dragon Age: Absolution’s first season is now on Netflix.
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