Dragon Age fans rejoice! A first look at the upcoming Dragon Age: Dreadwolf’s Codex entries has been unveiled as the writing team talked about their process and in-house cooperation in a new BioWare blog post.
- Related Reading: New Dragon Age Game Officially Titled “Dragon Age: Dreadwolf,” More Info Coming Later This Year
Ryan Cormier, Narrative Editor and Sylvia Feketekuty, Senior Writer spoke at length about how a concept develops from idea to implementation and how the editing team ensures quality and consistency:
Sylvia: Way early on during the concepting stages, the editing team gives their feedback with the rest of the narrative team on high-level stuff like the new characters, plot, and themes. Once first-draft writing for a character or major mission is complete, we also have editors give us their formal feedback during our big peer reviews.
Ryan: At this stage, as we near preproduction, editors talk with writers about big-picture topics like characters, lore, and themes. These elements need the most time. Editing starts broadly and becomes detailed later in the process because it doesn’t help a writer to hear, “This is a run-on sentence,” when we’re still five drafts away from final. We save line edits for last. Until then, editors try to hold their tongues on grammar and punctuation.
Sylvia: After the peer review, when revisions are done and we’re in a position to start recording voiced dialogue, I work more closely with the editing team. Editors will suggest better ways to make one sentence flow into the next, spot inconsistencies, and point out when I’ve written something nonsensical. Every editor also “owns” certain character voices, just like writers do, and I’ll often go to them to hash out something for a particular character or to get a second opinion.
Ryan: Here, in the final drafts, no edit is too picky. This is where editors tweak the writing with changes to grammar, punctuation, and flow and where the passive voice dies a swift death. We read lines aloud at our desks while examining lore, tone, voice, and other details that change how a line reads in the recording booth or appears in the subtitles. Voice-recording notes and plot summaries are finalized, too. All this fine-tuning involves close work between a writer and editor while we pass edits back and forth, fix this, change that, change it back, debate, agree, and finally send it off for recording and translation.
The two then elaborated on how a finished concept is conveyed to the development, performance, and localization teams:
Ryan: Editors are the bridge between the writers and out-of-studio partners like actors and localizers. Once final drafts are complete, our game dialogue is sent to our in-house performance team, voice actors, and translators, all working in numerous languages. Editors work with those teams daily and are the troubleshooters when technical or cultural concerns arise. Sometimes, an English joke just doesn’t land in the localized copy, or maybe we learn that a name we chose for an idyllic village in Thedas has an inappropriate meaning in another language.
Sylvia: One of the best Dragon Age: Inquisition™ translator questions I ever saw was from a German translator who wanted to know what one character meant when he talked about “dancers with tassels.”
I mentioned this above, but most of my cross-team work is keeping up communication. Does the audio team have all the context they need? Does Character Art know a plot point requires an alternate character outfit? People often compare narrative games to movies, but a lot of them are nothing like movies, structurally speaking. RPGs the size of ours are more like a full season of a bizarrely nonlinear television series with so many mutable, moving parts.
The Dragon Age series has a particularly recognizable in-game encyclopedia called the “Codex” that expands as the player progresses through the game. The Codex provides critical exposition about the high fantasy world of the franchise, and is particularly appreciated by keen Dragon Age lore-heads.
Thus, Ryan and Sylvia took the time to reveal the first Dragon Age: Dreadwolf Codex entries, one of which was written by Sylvia herself (“Misconceptions about the Necropolis”). Check them out below:
Dragon Age: Dreadwolf’s release date and launch platforms are still unknown, though we can expect it will be limited to the current generation of consoles.
We’ll keep our readers updated with any new developments.
Source: BioWare Blog