Absolution Creators on Characters and Connections

The main characters of Dragon Age: Absolution.

Picture: BioWare/Netflix

With Netflix’s Dragon Age: Absolution, BioWare’s fantasy-RPG franchise makes a gradual return after having been beforehand in a little bit of franchise limbo since 2015. The sequence hasn’t fully gone away because of comics and a few books, however Absolution marks an actual sense of change for the sequence forward of the discharge of its fourth installment, Dragon Age: Dreadwolf. Even when that recreation could also be one other yr or so out, this present comes at a time when extra recreation franchises are being expanded upon with (normally) animated diversifications.

As a franchise, Dragon Age is basically outlined by sprawling epics the place characters journey throughout the lands to battle an amazing evil with a cadre of allies and prepared organizations. However Absolution, not in contrast to 2011’s Dragon Age II, is extra of an intimate affair whose central plot revolves round a heist to steal a robust magical artifact. When io9 lately talked to showrunner Maighread Scott, she revealed that her pitch for the sequence already had a heist baked in initially. In her phrases, it could be “Reservoir Canine meets Black Hawk Down,” with all of the chaos, betrayals, and dying that mixture implies.

For govt producer John Epler, a heist story made good sense to do on this planet of Dragon Age. “Heists present an incredible stress cooker for feelings, and also you get a variety of mileage out of seeing individuals who shouldn’t be collectively bump towards one another,” he stated. They’re enjoyable due to the relationships that get fashioned (or destroyed) throughout the occasions of the caper, and Dragon Age has cherished to showcase relationships in all their messy glory. Ask anybody who’s performed even one recreation within the sequence, and also you’re prone to discover that they really feel a few specific character fully otherwise than the way you do.

Image for article titled Dragon Age: Absolution's Creators on Making Its Connections Matter

Picture: BioWare/Netflix

Epler and Scott have been conscious of the significance to relationships to Dragon AGe—Scott known as them the “second pillar” of the franchise, whether or not they’re ones that include participant enter, or others that type naturally over the course of the story. “Dragon Age is concerning the individuals,” continued Epler. “In the end, the sequence is about individuals, and characters who have an effect. Quite a lot of their impression isn’t simply on the individuals round them, however how these relationships manifest within the bigger world, and the several types of relationships you possibly can have. Whether or not they’re wholesome or unhealthy, healthful or comedic … That’s a part of the attraction: seeing what you do to others, and the way [the way] you deal with others has penalties.”

As a result of Absolution had a brief runway to work with (six half-hour episodes versus three video games unfold throughout dozens or a whole lot of hours), Scott knew that the present couldn’t have the identical sense of place because the video games. The main focus was as a substitute on making the present’s characters and relationships price being invested in, and that they felt like pure additions to the world of Thedas. She described the forged of thieves and mercenaries as “splendidly imperfect heroes,” particularly the elf murderer Miriam. “Within the present, you see how rising up as a slave in a Tevinter family actually affected her and left her damaged. However her heroic nature shine by as a result of she’s prepared to battle for others, and that’s a theme that’s throughout all Dragon Age.”

Within the prior video games, Tevinter was talked about a couple of instances, and it’s extra of a looming presence in 2014’s Dragon Age: Inquisition. However Absolution marks the primary actual dip into the area earlier than gamers expertise it for themselves in Dreadwolf. Very like the heist, setting the present in Tevinter was at all times a part of Scott’s preliminary plan in order to supply a “small, tantalizing sliver” of the area earlier than the fourth recreation expanded on what we see within the present. To not point out that with how a lot affect Tevinter has over the remainder of the world of Thedas, Epler felt that the present might be the proper alternative to start out speaking about what’s happening over there. “Tevinter has such a weight on the world of Thedas, there’s not every other nation that impacted the historical past of the world as a lot as Tevinter,” he stated. “There’s no nation that has a lot tendrils out in each a part of the world, good or dangerous.”

Image for article titled Dragon Age: Absolution's Creators on Making Its Connections Matter

Picture: BioWare/Netflix

Regardless of its relative proximity to Dreadwolf, although, Absolution deliberately doesn’t attempt to use its time establishing any actual kind of canon for gamers to latch onto. Some characters from the prior video games present up for a spell, and occasions are broadly talked about, however Epler (who additionally serves as Dreadwolf’s inventive director) admitted that it was essential to keep away from setting a definitive canon. He acknowledged it as a “tough balancing act,” partially as a result of BioWare making its personal canon runs the chance of conflicting with the canon gamers make on their very own, and the studio’s phrase being probably declared definitive gospel is the very last thing anybody wished. Equally, there was a need to ensure Absolution stood by itself, express ties to the video games or no. “There’s all these parts that make up Thedas and what’s happening,” stated Epler. “We have been high-quality with leaving house for these tales to exist and feed into a bigger world as a complete.”

That stated, Absolution’s closing moments do point out that it gained’t go away the video games fully untouched.

Image for article titled Dragon Age: Absolution's Creators on Making Its Connections Matter

Having efficiently made off with the Circulum Infinitum and left Miriam and the remainder of the heist crew behind, human mage Hira begins the trek again to fulfill up along with her true employer: Meredith, the ultimate antagonist of Dragon Age II. Encased in a crystal jail (recognized within the video games as Crimson Lyrium) after her defeat by that recreation’s protagonist Hawke, and voiced by her authentic actor Jean Gilpin, her return means some attention-grabbing issues for Absolution’s future and probably Dreadwolf.

Each Scott and Epler defined that throughout the technique of conceiving a possible mastermind, the present’s writers wished somebody with “very particular and explicitly said targets,” and to not point out somebody who BioWare hadn’t already locked off elsewhere. When Meredith was thrown in, everybody agreed, as her dogged conviction and drive to eradicate mages exemplified their standards greater than every other villain the franchise. “It turned fairly clear that Meredith was one of the best candidate,” defined Scott. “You wanted to search out somebody to hate, and there are few Dragon Age characters individuals like to hate as a lot as Meredith.”

Image for article titled Dragon Age: Absolution's Creators on Making Its Connections Matter

Picture: BioWare/Netflix

Scott was evasive on if a second season for Absolution would occur, however she hopes it does, as a result of she’d “hate to drop Meredith again into the fandom after which run.” For her, Miriam has “extra story to inform,” and she or he can be excited to proceed these tales in no matter type they take.

Dragon Age: Absolution’s first season is now on Netflix.

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