Bioware: No Horses In Dragon Age, Thank You Very Much

david-gaiderAt the Framework conference in Melbourne, Dragon Age writer David Gaider declared: “There will never be any horses in a Bioware RPG!”

Gaider was talking about how Bioware develops its acclaimed – and very involved – stories. He cited the credo by which games such as Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights and now Dragon Age: Origins are made:

“Story should take advantage of your planned features… but [the features]shouldn’t BE your story.”

Which is where the horses come in. If Dragon Age introduced horses for the player characters to ride, it would have huge implications for the design of the game and its story. Horses could mean:

* Designing lengthy expanses of world because the player can now move so much quicker
* Making those expanses wide enough to accommodate an entire party of characters all riding horses
* Working out whether NPCs and enemies are also allowed to ride horses
* Figuring out how combat works when some or all the participants are on horseback
* And loads of other really really complicated issues

Gaider’s argument is that even seemingly minor design decisions can have a huge and exponentially complex impact on the overall design of the game. Adding horses would change the game in such a substantial way, they’d be forced to build their world and story around them. And for Dragon Age: Origins, Bioware has stories other than horses planned.

So, on the one hand, Gaider’s anti-horse stance means we’ll be travelling by foot throughout Dragon Age: Origins. On the other hand, it does mean we won’t be tempted to buy any Horse Armour DLC.

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