Dragon Age II Pulls A Commander Shepard

Dragon Age II takes a page from the Mass Effect playbook, limiting player characters to a male or female human version of the game's main character, Hawke.

In Dragon Age: Origins, players could choose from four different races and three different character classes, with each combination coming complete with its own playable origin story.

Dragon Age II is not Dragon Age: Origins.

Instead of multiple origins, there is only one. From the official press release:

"Dragon Age 2 thrusts players into the role of Hawke, a penniless refugee who rises to power to become the single most important character in the world of Dragon Age. Known to be a survivor of the Blight and the Champion of Kirkwall, the legend around Hawke's rise to power is shrouded in myth and rumour. Featuring an all-new story spanning 10 years, players will help tell that tale by making tough moral choices, gathering the deadliest of allies, amassing fame and fortune, and sealing their place in history. The way you play will write the story of how the world is changed forever."

BioWare's Chris Priestly confirms on the forums that, like Commander Shepard from the Mass Effect series, players will be able to create either a male or female Hawke. Like Mass Effect, this should allow for a deeper story, while allowing characters to refer to the main character by name. I'm sure emotional engagement has something to do with it as well.

Like many fans in the forums, this decision rubs me the wrong way. While I enjoyed playing my own Commander Shepard in Mass Effect, my Dragon Age character felt much more like an extension of myself than Shepard did, even if it was a female elf.

Multiple races in DA2? [BioWare Forums - Thanks Chris!]


    One of the things that made me like Dragon Age Origins so much was the different origin stories and how they kept coming up during the game. I wont say that Dragon Age 2 isn't going to be good, it's a BioWare game after all, but not having origin stories has lowered my exitment for it.

      That may be so, but this means the story and emotional connection to the main character will be deeper than DA:O. There's not really a big sense in complaining; that pretty much goes to all of you :P

    This is disturbing..ME 2 was great, but NO
    masterpiece, now DA:2 is going to be a ME 2 clone
    set in a different universe with no space travel,
    and swords and magic instead of guns and biotics.

    The best part of DA:O was choosing your race
    and origin, and watching the story play out from different angles. Now we HAVE to be human,
    we all get the generic origin story, and
    we all get the same linear experience as ME 2.

    And to anyone who reads this i have to ask...
    Does the description remind ANYONE ELSE OF FABLE?
    Something about it feels like Lionhead wrote this
    not Bioware. This alone has me very worried they
    ruined Dragon Ages formula.

    More importantly what are they going to do with
    ALL the loose ends from Origins and Awakening???

      your poem doesn't rhyme

    I'm honestly ok with this. Having more choices and variation is great, but it always comes at a price. If this decision lets them make one really good story then it'll be well worth it.

      I'm with you Richard. I loved ME2 and I love Bioware, but I just couldn't get into DA. ME2 was a great story and it was told very well, with good interaction. I found I couldnt relate to my character in DA and I just dont trust a main character that doesnt speak :P Also if this move means that they can make the game look better on consoles then I'm all for it!

    Dose that make your inner child a.............female elf?

    This topic is relevant to my interests.

    You know what? I've not yet played Dragon Age, but since this this topic is relevant to my interests I might do an experiment and now play it though, then play DA2 and compare (that aspect).

    Yeah I had a big argument with a mate recently over 'which was better' ME2 or DA:O. I really got alot out of ME2 where as he got more out of DA:O. He will hate me for this as if the change is due to the mass consumer like me :P

    Will wait for more details before passing judgement but the fact you can only play a human is going to anger a lot of DA fans. Also changes to the combat system? It was already a good RPG combat system...

    i'm actually happy about this i'm playing da:o at the moment and finding it kind of boring in some ways, i'm probably not 'old-school' enough but i find it difficult to tell the difference between a sword that has +5 physical resistance and +1 defense, also the lack of main character voice acting just frustrated me it felt like my words had less impact and i just couldn't be bothered to talk to other characters and find out what they wanted to say where as in mass effect i'd make sure i talked to everyone.

    Hm kind of disappointing as I avoid playing as a human whenever possible - they are always the boring middle ground of races.
    Though I found that apart from the occasional dialogue options the origins stories were just a opening sequence and tutorial. It was actually annoying as a mage to be expected to give a shit about Jowan when I had no idea who he was.
    So I guess if it enables them to tell a more tailored and personal story...

    Unfortunate, but I can deal with this if it means my character won't constantly have that creepy COMPLETE LACK OF FACIAL EXPRESSION going on. The nice thing about Shepard was that his/her face actually reflected what she/he was saying.

    Shouldn't be human, anything but human.
    Why do you think I play fantasy?

    Personally I prefer playing pre made characters than making my own character so i'm looking forward to ths. Hopefully this means the main character will have dialog also.

    I enjoyed how DA:O handled main character progression and their relations with NPC's and other characters but I equally enjoyed the 'tighter' fare provided by ME2. Either way I will be buying this game and no doubt enjoying it immensely.

    +1 @ the closet geek When a NPC is talking to your character in a cut scene , explainig how the fate of a world rests on your shoulders and all you character does, be it elf, dwarf or human, is stare blankly back sucks. Maybe all Player characters have hidden +10 collagen injections at the start of the game. No emotion= No connection

    I'm happy with this. I love my Commander Shepard, whereas despite spending almost as much time with my elf warrior, I never felt like I was guiding her. I felt like the characters were asking questions of me, rather than letting me build up a separate character. That may be the difference caused by voice acting - if this Hawke isn't fully voiced I will be disappointed.

    A character with some facial expressions would be nice too. Seeing my character stand by blankly as NPCs disclosed their life story, or when a villain ranted, or anything, was just... strange.

    I think this is will be better. I felt so detached from my own character in DAO, everyone else was interesting , but I never was. :(

    This is great news and should allow a much higher standard of writing and storytelling - It's great to see the awesome folks at Bioware pushing the genre forward.

    Personaly i'm not that excited to hear this, but then i loved DA:O much more then ME2. I guess it's all down to $$$ as ME2 sold so well they'll be thinking whatever they can do to make DA more like it will get them more money.

    This is kinda sucky but I have a lot of faith with the talent within BioWare.

    They can do it! I know they can.

    Whilst is does take away a lot of what made DA:Origins, I guess if they REMOVE the Origins, they are covering themselves up. People need to notice that ME and DA are different. Well obviously, but in a RPG sense, they are different. With the classes and stories.

    ME has a much deeper story and your interaction with your crew. DA was all about the story of what character you chose from the start, the Origin. I just hope, with the limit to one character and the deeper and more focused story, they still allow a large and flexible skills and classes for that character. Whilst i have played ME2 more than once, the reason was for the story and the choices I made, not to play as a difference class cause it doesn't offer anything drastically different. I hope Dragon Age II can offer a different experience playing a different Class and not just a minor difference in choices and stories and a pointless repeat/change of class.

    Although I am more of a ME2 fan.

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