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Dragon Age: Read All About It!

BioWare drops details on the requisite Dragon Age prequel novel, coming in March.

Books: Read 'em!
BioWare sent out a release today announcing the publication of Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne, a prequel novel that's supposed to set up the storyline for Dragon Age: Origins, the PC RPG the developer is positioning as a spiritual follow-up to the old Baldur's Gate games.

You might remember BioWare pulled a similar trick with Mass Effect in late 2007, putting out the Revelation prequel novel prior to the game's release. It must have performed its function as a promotional tool (and may have been a commercial success in its own right), since they're doing the same thing this time around. At first I disdained Revelation as the sort of pulpy sci-fi novel I read a lot of when I was 13. But then I read it on a whim (mostly because BioWare sent review copies), and--who'dathunkit--the book actually served its purpose: providing a lot of backstory for Mass Effect's rich universe, setting up the game's specific plot, and getting me excited to finally put my hands on the game.

The difference here is that I think Mass Effect had a lot more original elements going for it than Dragon Age does. There you had a bunch of weird new alien races, an intriguing galactic political process, and a general breadth of fiction that honestly warranted 300 pages of setup. Meanwhile, what I've seen of Dragon Age so far has presented a lot of good-versus-evil imagery that's a little too familiar in light of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the resulting flood of high fantasy in the last few years. I feel like I've seen a lot of this stuff before, which makes me feel less like I need a novel to fill in the blanks in the game's premise. That seems to be covered already.

Here's how the press release sets up the book.

When the beloved rebel queen is murdered, her son Maric sets out on a mission of vengeance against the faithless lords who were responsible for his mother's untimely death.  The nation of Ferelden that once prospered under his family's reign now suffers under the cruel hands of the invading Orlesians.  His countrymen now live in fear and no one is to be trusted.

Maric soon becomes the leader of a rebel army hell-bent on retaking Ferelden from the control of a foreign tyrant.  With only two true allies by his side, the brash outlaw Loghain and the beautiful warrior maiden Rowan, Maric and his trusted band must outwit spies and traitors as they try to reclaim the stolen throne.  

Where's Dragon Age sitting on your 2009 most-wanted list? Are you likely to go out and grab The Stolen Throne to get ready for it? Brad Shoemaker on Google+
31 Comments
Posted by Brad
Books: Read 'em!
BioWare sent out a release today announcing the publication of Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne, a prequel novel that's supposed to set up the storyline for Dragon Age: Origins, the PC RPG the developer is positioning as a spiritual follow-up to the old Baldur's Gate games.

You might remember BioWare pulled a similar trick with Mass Effect in late 2007, putting out the Revelation prequel novel prior to the game's release. It must have performed its function as a promotional tool (and may have been a commercial success in its own right), since they're doing the same thing this time around. At first I disdained Revelation as the sort of pulpy sci-fi novel I read a lot of when I was 13. But then I read it on a whim (mostly because BioWare sent review copies), and--who'dathunkit--the book actually served its purpose: providing a lot of backstory for Mass Effect's rich universe, setting up the game's specific plot, and getting me excited to finally put my hands on the game.

The difference here is that I think Mass Effect had a lot more original elements going for it than Dragon Age does. There you had a bunch of weird new alien races, an intriguing galactic political process, and a general breadth of fiction that honestly warranted 300 pages of setup. Meanwhile, what I've seen of Dragon Age so far has presented a lot of good-versus-evil imagery that's a little too familiar in light of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the resulting flood of high fantasy in the last few years. I feel like I've seen a lot of this stuff before, which makes me feel less like I need a novel to fill in the blanks in the game's premise. That seems to be covered already.

Here's how the press release sets up the book.

When the beloved rebel queen is murdered, her son Maric sets out on a mission of vengeance against the faithless lords who were responsible for his mother's untimely death.  The nation of Ferelden that once prospered under his family's reign now suffers under the cruel hands of the invading Orlesians.  His countrymen now live in fear and no one is to be trusted.

Maric soon becomes the leader of a rebel army hell-bent on retaking Ferelden from the control of a foreign tyrant.  With only two true allies by his side, the brash outlaw Loghain and the beautiful warrior maiden Rowan, Maric and his trusted band must outwit spies and traitors as they try to reclaim the stolen throne.  

Where's Dragon Age sitting on your 2009 most-wanted list? Are you likely to go out and grab The Stolen Throne to get ready for it?
Staff
Posted by jarryd

this game just doesnt seem to have a proper direction right now

Posted by JJOR64

Looks pretty cool.  I might give it a try.

Posted by Jayge_

Awesome Dragon Age news, awesome Loco Roco 2 news... Brad, you've made my day.

Posted by MordeaniisChaos

I dunno, this is just the kind of thing I'd read, the hardcore scifi fantasy you see between the forgotten realm books and the halo novels *drool* What can I say, I have a weakness lol.

Posted by ThomasP

Whoa shit! A prequel novel. That's cool shit.

Posted by Media_Master

I'm sure the game will be great, its just that it sounds like medieval fantasy has been overplayed, just like WW2.

Posted by TripMasterMunky

I wish they would've just skipped this and made a sequel to Jade Empire.

Posted by Fade2Gray

While I'm eagerly anticipating the game, and I'm a fan of fantasy lit, I'm with Brad on this one. A little too much paint by numbers here for me. I'll probably check out the reviews for the book, but I'm not expecting much.

Posted by AndrewB

Dragon Age has had a long, bumpy ride. I think the biggest problem is building a whole new wold from sratch while simultaneously building another whole world (with Mass Effect) and a whole bunch of other games in the meantime.

I think what we also have to remember is that Bioware essentially created the world of Dragon Age in an attempt to break free from the bonds of the heavily regulated D&D license. It seems like they still wanted to have something very similar in tone and setting (high fantasy) to work with.

But a book by David Gaider sounds like something I could really get behind. Dude has many of the greatest PC RPG stories under his belt.

Posted by LordAndrew

They're writing a prequel book to a game called Dragon Age: Origins?

Posted by Dimsey

Dragon Age is sitting pretty high on my most wanted list. I loved the Baldurs Gate games, so I'm all for something similar.
I doubt I'll read the prequel novel however. Not out of lack of interest, but because theres no bookstore nearby and I'm not fond of ordering stuff off the interweb.

Posted by Linkyshinks

 I hope they release a demo, I just want a taste of all the mechanics.

Edited by Scavar

The game isn't High Fantasy as  everyone keeps saying, Brad included, it's Dark Fantasy or "Low" Fantasy.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_fantasy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_fantasy
Ok so wiki doesn't help my point, but it's not exactly a "High" fantasy setting. It's darker, grittier. Kind of like DC vs Marvel in a way.

Posted by nickzed

bioware has yet to make a game that isnt terrific (not counting that sonic rpg), so, one would expect that Dragon Age is worthy of their money.

Posted by Mace

I would argue that we do not really know enough about Dragon Age to completely write-off (if you will excsue the pun) a prequel novel. It may just be a Lord Of The Rings clone story, but it could also be considerably different. I am willing to give BioWare the benefit of the doubt until they give considerably more information about the game's storyline and setting.

Posted by Rio

I doubt ill bother giving that a read, but I am still very excited for Bioware touching back on its roots.  Dragon age is looking to be a great spiritual successor to baldur's gate, and I cant wait.

Posted by pause422

Definitely not gonna miss out on a Bioware Baldur's Gate successor for PC this year, but don't really feel the need to get a prequel novel.

Posted by Dryker

Brad, you're sick of the whole "High Fantasy" premise because too many people cookie cutter it. If you want some real high fantasy check out: http://site.howlegendslie.com/

Posted by jangofett88

Every time I hear Bioware about this game, it only makes me think, 'When's Mass Effect 2 Coming?'

Posted by Zereta

The mass Effect novel was pretty amazing. Probably gonna pick this up when I get my copy of the game.

Posted by mcsteve99

I am hoping this game will be good, because these fantasy RPGs have to be REALLY good to get me to buy them anymore.

Posted by DukeTogo

Reading the Mass Effect novel really got me pumped for the game (although I was already excited about it anyway) and it tied into the game in a minor way, fleshing out the motivations of Saren.

While Dragon Age looks good, I'm much more interested in that Mass Effect 2 news you guys mentioned last week.  I'll pick up DA if it's basically a fantasy Mass Effect, I never cared for Baldur's Gate outside of the first Dark Alliance.

Posted by Harts

>Where's Dragon Age sitting on your 2009 most-wanted list?
First on the lost. I have been reading about this game for a long time (mostly on Bioware forums) and can't wait to play it:)  Probably will read the book too.

Posted by MackGyver

I don't know about the book but I'm definitely buying the game.

Online
Posted by poser

It's Bioware, which means it's a just have game.

Posted by TekZero

Maybe, but I have enough books to read right now.

Posted by AlucardaLaCarte

Revelation WAS surprisingly good...delightful. Delightful.
Also: less high fantasy, more dark fantasy! I want my damn Elric game! (but am contented with The Witcher...for now)

Posted by Aronto
Hell. Yes
Posted by Azrail

to all the peeps saying " this game makes me want mass effect 2 waaaaaa"

u are the reason no pure rpgs are made now-a-days ( see mass effect, fallout 3 etc)
and while these hybrid rpg fps's are great fun, they are lacking much what makes rpg's great

i want more game like old school rpgs like baulders gate, nwn, and planescape torment (which had basically the best story of pc rpg)

fps rpgs games like mass effect are good fun, but lets let rpgs have a chance in t