Sorry, David. You say something like that, I’m gonna put it in a headline.
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“If we’re on a kick re-mastering games from the aughts,” David Gaider, lead writer of all three Dragon Age games, mused on Twitter (opens in new tab), “what about Dragon Age Origins? Its graphics were behind the curve even at the time of release… can you imagine it with brand new PS5-era bells and whistles? 🥳”
We’ll forgive the PS5 mention to treat this question with the seriousness it deserves. Following the well-received remake of 2008’s Dead Space, and with remakes of 2003’s Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, 2005’s Resident Evil 4, and 2007’s first Witcher game all on the way, it sure does seem to be the period’s time. Though Gaider suggested a remaster rather than a remake, there’s a fine line between the two, as another former BioWare staffer, Mark Darrah, explained (opens in new tab).
Dragon Age: Origins would be a fine candidate for either. While the 2009 RPG runs on modern PCs it doesn’t do so without issue, and a version where the text isn’t too small to read at high resolutions would be a blessing. It could benefit from plenty of quality-of-life improvements too, like a toggle for hiding party members’ helmets and an option to have the dog as a companion without having to leave someone else behind to do so.
Of course, improved graphics would be nice as well, even if they didn’t go for fully ray traced shadows as you sit around the campfire taking turns to ask everyone inappropriate personal questions. “Even Inquisition-level graphics would be great!” Gaider said. “Look, all I want is for Morrigan to not have the shoulders of a linebacker and for the sex scenes to not look like someone bashing marionettes together and shouting ‘now kiss!'”
Since this conversation happened on Twitter, Gaider was immediately informed that it’s OK for women to have shoulders like linebackers, so he made the following clarification: “All female models in DAO used the male animation rig. I thought this looked esp odd on Morrigan, whose unique model had a very slender frame and was altered (particularly at the shoulders) to match. I can’t unsee the change. No other implications intended. 😅
“Did Morrigan still look great in DAO? Sure. Could there have been more body types throughout DA for both sexes, including even broader shoulders? That would have been great, but the modelers and animators were limited by the variety of rigs available. Simply how it was, folks.”
And, yes, someone replied to idly speculate about the broodmother—a huge naked ghoul who gives birth to Darkspawn encountered in Origins’ Dead Trenches—and just what she’d look like with 2023 graphics. “Just think: extra-realistic slimy nipple textures”, Gaider said in response.
(Image credit: EA)
Given that EA published a remastered version of the Mass Effect trilogy in 2021, the idea of giving the early Dragon Age games a similar treatment has been brought up before. Gaider himself previously discussed his ideas for a Dragon Age 2 Snyder Cut. A Dragon Age remaster isn’t that likely to actually happen, however. As Gaider says, “I suspect EA would only do it if they thought it would sell like *gold-plated* hotcakes. They’ve… never really gotten DA, or understood why it sold better than Mass Effect, was my impression.”
BioWare’s Dragon Age team is currently busy with Dreadwolf, though the latest developer blog doesn’t tell us much about it in favor of explaining its thinking on skill tree design. Having left BioWare in 2016, David Gaider is working on Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical, which is due for release in 2023.
If you’re planning a Dragon Age replay, you should probably just remaster it yourself by picking from this selection of the best Dragon Age: Origins mods.