GDC 2011: Dragon Age II Significantly Shorter and More Cinematic - News

by Nick Pantazis , posted on 28 February 2011 / 10,900 Views

During a presentation on localization, BioWare localization representative Ian Mitchell showed some stats involving the amount of content in Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II. The information gave some surprising insight into the scope of the sequel versus its predecessor. This information is undoubtedly rounded, but some key stats are:

Dragon Age: Origins 
1,000,000 Words
1,000 Cinematics
1,000 Characters
56,000 Spoken Lines 
60 Hours of Gameplay

Dragon Age II
400,000 Words
2,500 Cinematics
500 Characters
38,000 Spoken Lines
40 Hours of Gameplay

This is a pretty shocking change, as it shows some pretty significant changes in developmental priority. The fewer spoken lines is especially odd, especially with the now fully voice-acted main character, which under normal circumstances would have signifficantly increased the amount of spoken dialog. Are you happy with the new focus of Dragon Age II, or would you have preferred something closer to the original game?

More Articles


PakChiuCheng (on 04 March 2011)

People complain when an RPG is too short, now people are complaining that its too long? People complain when FF 13 was too linear, now people are complaining that DA was too complicating and difficult to play. Sigh. It's because of these complainers that alot of good games are being "casualised". But oh well, It's still a day 1 buy for me. Haha!

TX109 (on 02 March 2011)

well that...kinda sucks....

RenderMonk (on 02 March 2011)

Seems to me, they learned from the first Dragon age, and from both Mass Effects, and "trimmed the fat" so to speak. Less aimless wandering, more direction, less talk to speed things up, all in an effort to give a more enjoyable flowing experience. Those additional 20+ hours that were cut, is the time you spent in the first one wandering around, or fumbling with choices and decisions that weren't clear, both on skills and speech. I personally think they have really progressed the game to flow better, cutting out the down time.

ikir (on 02 March 2011)

I'm happy about it because i work usually 10hours a day and i can't have all this time to waste on games. 40 hours of gameplay with a game you can play and play again it is even too much imho. Dragon Age was one of the best games i've played on my Mac in the last year, an easy and action based rpg. i was love with the game and i think i will enjoy DA2 as well.

iLLmaticV3 (on 02 March 2011)

I am happy about it.

KungKras (on 01 March 2011)

Wow, epic fail from Bioware!

Tridrakious (on 01 March 2011)


green_sky (on 01 March 2011)

Sounds good to me. Honestly hard to find time to beat games that long anyways.

Cypher1980 (on 01 March 2011)

I will reserve judgement till I play it. However this has just moved from a day one purchase to wait for the reviews and get a deal 2 months in....

seruderu (on 01 March 2011)

fu bioware and fu ea

ArcticGabe (on 01 March 2011)

ME2 wasn't all that great, the story was average at best, and the character building system was just a joke. Way too much credit has given to ME2. Is some good visual all gamers want taday?

ArcticGabe (on 01 March 2011)

Very Very disappointed. Is this what ME2 brought us?

Alby_da_Wolf (on 01 March 2011)

I'm very disappointed, and while I don't agree with Malstrom on a lot of things, I agree with him about these issues. Anyway, from what I read around, there are sequels that have been gimped, mutilated or dumbed down in far worse ways.

Bristow9091 (on 01 March 2011)

More cinematics... but less spoken words? I assume somewhere later in the development they ran out of words and decided to mime the cinematics to save on hiring voice actors?

Barozi (on 01 March 2011)

what did you expect from a RPG with such a short developement time. Still 40 hours is easily enough and maybe it draws my attention this time unlike the first Dragon Age.

AngelosL (on 01 March 2011)

I'm not happy about this. The first game was already too short for an RPG.And I played the demo as well and I saw that all the first games flaws are still there.That doesn't mean I won't buy it anyway :P

yahoocom1984 (on 01 March 2011)

SKyrim all the way Dragon age has too many small DLCs

JPH85 (on 01 March 2011)

haha. I said it before, and many people didn't believe me. I knew this game was going to be shorter than the previous one. DA was released on November 2009, while DA 2 is on March 2011. That's 15 months apart only. And between those times, DLCs for DA were being developed, so I was wondering how much time was put to this game. Also, Bioware are damn greedy. And I thought Activision stole money. They make a shorter game, and sell you TONS of DLCs and expansion packs that you buy and the price would be over 100$ for a complete game. This is bullshit. Bioware is greedy. I'll wait for the much better Elder Scrolls game.

pariz (on 01 March 2011)

I think we all should give Bioware some credit. Even when they might disappoint some expectations regarding particular assets of the series, I'm pretty sure the game will be pretty solid and an awesome experience all around. I strongly agree with what Sillicon said. I don't know much people who have been all through the codex by instance.

Porcupine_I (on 01 March 2011)

in DA:O there where several choices for main characters, so i guess you hat to have a lot of redundant lines of spoken dialogue

The Fury (on 01 March 2011)

It's talking I liked in this game (and ME2), character interaction. Although some was pointless in the end it can lead to new missions or explanation to what the hell is going on. DAO had to explain the world you played in so needed lots of text. But the figures seem good for any game. Not that I'm going to buy it straight away.

vlad321 (on 01 March 2011)

Whoo another pretty good game that gets dumbed down. I called it way back when DA2 was first announced.

reidlosdog (on 01 March 2011)

I HATED ALL THE TALK IN DRAGON AGE. You know what I mean. All the useless "investigation" crap that you could do, and all of the reactions that characters have. There are games that done seem real, games the feel so real, and games that are trying to BE real. Dragon Age was the latter. This is a good direction for the game. And if game-play is more intense? 40 hours of kicking ass versus 50 hours of "huh, nice but not great" is what I"m looking for.

leatherhat (on 01 March 2011)


Aiddon (on 01 March 2011)

fine by me; not every RPG has to last 50+ hours

tripleb2k (on 01 March 2011)

I'll have to play through Dragon Age II (or at least a few hours) to decide whether these changes are good or not. based on the demo, I think I'll enjoy Dragon Age II MUCH MORE than Dragon Age but we'll see.

calibrate` (on 28 February 2011)

Wasn't the story supposed to span over 10 years?

skullking (on 28 February 2011)

It makes sense why they did this, when you consider, as others have said here, that the game is becoming more like the mass effect series (a good thing in my opinion). I'm sure it will still be good though, it's Bioware, they don't do something like this without a reason. they're not going to just 'get lazy', and do a crap game.

AdventWolf (on 28 February 2011)

Wow that is lame, I guess if they enhance the overall gameplay then it's for the best.

kabelfritz (on 28 February 2011)

@ scoobs thats whats DA was about, without it its "just another Game"

Scoobes (on 28 February 2011)

It's a bit disappointing but ultimately expected. Less development time (2yrs vs 5yrs) and a single "Origin" story vs 6 different Origin stories. I'd rather it had more depth to it but I don't think many players played Dragon Age 1 for 330+ hours like I did. Still gotta finish my 6th playthrough.

kabelfritz (on 28 February 2011)

why do they have to change an awesome game into shit?

Kyl3dk05 (on 28 February 2011)

God, this sounds awful. I don't want Dragon Age to be like Mass Effect. Don't get me wrong, I love Mass Effect, but I also love Dragon Age's distinct style. From what I played in the demo, the combat took no skill and all of the "cinematic" cutscenes were too drawn out and overdramatic, and just plain pissed me off. I wish Bioware would have just improved the base Dragon Age concept without changing it so much.

dsgrue3 (on 28 February 2011)


Potable_Toe (on 28 February 2011)

Sounding like it is going to be a much more focused and fun game than the original

Darc Requiem (on 28 February 2011)

What Badgenome said.....

aken909 (on 28 February 2011)

I don't know, the changes to the game don't appeal to me, Dragon Age strayed too far from the classics like Baldurs Gate for me as is. I also don't like the way the dlc's and thing have been handled. I'm probably going to pass on this game, maybe i'll buy the ultimate edition at the end of the year.

silicon (on 28 February 2011)

Makes sense... I mean it might sound as if you're not getting as much game. But they probably looked at the player stats and realized 99% of the people never look at some of that content. Why waste time one something, when you can be improving other aspects of the game. DA2 is going to be great!!!!

badgenome (on 28 February 2011)

If that means no fucking about in the Fade, then I'm all for it.

Carl2291 (on 28 February 2011)

And they've also made it easier. Safe to say this game is pissing me off before it's already released.

Aion (on 28 February 2011)

Great, i still have to beat the first one again.

mantlepiecek (on 28 February 2011)

Dragon Age origins was overkill so this seems decent enough.