Sunless Sea Creator Alexis Kennedy Talks Working on the Next Dragon Age
BioWare and Dragon Age writer Alexis Kennedy talks his role in the series, quests, and what he's working on.
The idea that BioWare is cooking up another Dragon Age game should come as little surprise , after all the series’ latest installment, Dragon Age Inquisition, was a big Game of the Year winner in 2014 and further pushed the series towards a bigger audience.
That being said, a new Dragon Age exists, but it doesn’t have a name or official confirmation. However, last September it was revealed that Fallen London and Sunless Sea creator Alexis Kennedy had signed on with BioWare to work on an undisclosed project. His role would see him join Mike Laidlaw, the creative director of the series and lead writer Patrick Weekes. To anyone who knows anything about BioWare, it was quite obvious what project he was joining, but alas, it still wasn’t anything more than informed speculation.
Then the first day Kennedy started, executive producer of the series Mark Darrah tweeted out to Kennedy saying “welcome to the Dragon Age franchise,” confirming what Kennedy was working on. Fast-forward to today to an interview between Eurogamer and Kennedy, and Kennedy has confirmed that he is indeed working on a new Dragon Age game.
More specifically, while talking about the change from Stellaris DLC and his own work on Cultist Simulator to AAA development, Kennedy had the following to say:
“There are huge differences between all of that and what I’m working on at BioWare [pause] which I can now legitimately say is in the Dragon Age franchise although it has been known for a while. Notionally it was a secret but, because of who I was working with, everyone who cared knew. And then the day I started, Mark Darrah [executive producer of the Dragon Age franchise] tweeted saying ‘welcome to the Dragon Age franchise’, so I thought, well, I guess that’s official now then.”
Mild Spoilers for Dragon Age: Inquisition: If you played and beat Dragon Age: Inquisition you may have picked up on hints that the next game is heading to the Tevinter Imperium. If you played the game’s final and excellent DLC Trespasser, which acts like a bridge between Inquisition and future installments, you would have saw that in the final moments of the DLC a dagger is literally placed into a map of the Tevinter Imperium, one of the most mentioned and renowned places in the series that has never been visited.
Kennedy adds the following about the work he is specifically doing:
“What I can say is I have been given considerable autonomy to work on a storyline bit of lore which is well-segregated from other parts of the game, which makes a lot of sense with me being remote. And yes, if you’ve seen a lot of my work before you will probably not be surprised by the choice of subject matter. It’s familiar stuff.”
“I don’t want to exaggerate the degree of the chunk [I’m writing]. It’s more analogous to Patrick Weekes writing [Mass Effect character] Mordin than me being told to go off and write a whole different country… It’s nothing that grandiose, but it is distinct. It’s a bit of lore which has not been addressed much to date in Dragon Age.”
Going off Kennedy’s work and what he said above it’s possible his role has something to do — as Eurogamer also points out — with the Qunari race, a race relatively unknown and separated from the rest of Thedas, aka fitting the bill of what Kennedy describes. Further, Trespasser implies heavily that the Qunari will play a substantial role going forward, which comes as no surprise as they are constantly at arms with Tevinter.
Later in the interview, Kennedy talks how the quests he creates are planned out over a four-day cycle. He specifically says:
“I have one wall of my flat covered with whiteboard vinyl. One day will be breaking the story on the whiteboard wall for a proper scrawly arrows serial killer effect. [After that, it’s] one day creating a skeleton of the quest with placeholder text in the editor; one day fleshing out dialogue; one day for contingency and admin.”
Kennedy has said he is nearing the halfway point of his writing time on the game, though the project will continue in production long after he departs.
Speaking on the Dragon Age team within BioWare, Kennedy notes: “It started out small… [pause] I have to be careful what I say. Obviously, BioWare has completed one public project recently so that has freed up some resource. The team is growing.”