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Dragon Age 3 longer in pre-production than DA1, DA2 and Mass Effect

One level of DA3 is "as big as all of DA2's levels".

More Dragon Age 3 detail has dripped from the fanged jaw of BioWare. Hold your breath: it sounds promising.

Dragon Age 3 had longer pre-production than either Dragon Age: Origins, Mass Effect or Dragon Age 2. And one level in Dragon Age 3 is said to be as big as all of Dragon Age 2's levels.

Details came from the inaugural Edmonton (where BioWare is based) Comic & Entertainment Expo this past weekend. A Dragon Age: A Look Ahead panel was attended by BioWare's Jon Perry, Mike Laidlaw, David Gaider and Matt Rhodes. (A recording will be available later this week, apparently.)

New concept art was shared (and is in this article).

BioWare producer Cameron Lee tweeted (via NeoGAF) the salient points during the panel.

"Jon Perry said he's had a longer pre-production on DA3 than any other BioWare project he's worked on," he wrote.

Jon Perry is lead cinematic designer of Dragon Age 3. He joined BioWare in 2006, and was cinematic designer for Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect before becoming lead cinematic designer for Dragon Age 2.

"JP said just one level in DA3 is as big as all of DA2's levels," Cameron Lee shared.

That doesn't necessarily mean the game's much bigger than Dragon Age 2. DA2 opted for a fixed location - city of Kirkwall, mountain of Sundermount - and altered them through years of passing time. Perhaps Dragon Age 3 has a fixed time but a much expanded geography.

Is this your castle?

"Haha Mike 'here's a castle... And you *cough*... may or may not take control of it'," Cameron Lee tweeted.

He's referring to Mike Laidlaw and to the castle picture in this story. A player-owned castle? Perhaps it's headquarters for the new Inquisition establishment you'll erect and lead in Dragon Age 3.

"Mike: customisation is going to be bigger than Dragon Age: Origins. Follower customisation, etc," Cameron Lee tweeted. We've heard about this before. Companion's armour can be changed and it's character sensitive, meaning the look of each piece of armour will be tailored to fit whichever companion you choose to equip it. You'll also be able to dye armour.

"David answering 'backgrounds will be in DA3 even though you will be human, it's not playable but it does significant impact on the story'," Cameron Lee added.

He's referring to David Gaider and to the backgrounds - origins - stories that preluded Dragon Age: Origins. Class and race and social standing affected these origin stories, which set you up for the rest of the game.

It sounds like Dragon Age 3 will mimic Mass Effect, which allows you to pick background options when creating your character.

On the topic of races, Mike Laidlaw later tweeted: "Sorry for those who love elves and dwarves, but long term I'd like to see all four races playable. Future plans!" He outlined those races as human, elf, dwarf and kossith. Kossith frequently opt to follow the Qunari religion, which is why Qunari is the term often erroneously used to describe the huge humanoids.

"Yep human only," Cameron Lee posted on Twitter. "That said, I think you'll be pleased with the options you'll see in DA3 to make your character your own."

Possibly elven ruins.

"'How will you handle save game import?'" Lee added, relaying a question from the audience. "Mark [Darrah]: we will bring choices across, we're investigating some ways without save imports."

"Question: will we see all DA2 followers? Answer: you may see what happened to some."

Those are all the details from the Edmonton Expo, but there are few other detail-drops that have fallen elsewhere - all correlated on the BioWare Social Network forum by studios fa ElitePinecone (there's a great list shared of Dragon Age 3-related people to follow on Twitter).

A couple of Canadian MPs had their pictures taken at BioWare. Behind them a wall of rough DA3 concept diagrams can be seen. These pictures denote the varying heights of some of the enemies you'll face in DA3.

On the board are humans, demons and Tevinter - a once-great nation of Thedas (the world of Dragon Age). Some of the demon-shapes are familiar from Dragon Age 2, and Tevinter monsters include a giant scorpion and a kind of bear-slash-horse. I wonder if it's ridable.

The actor who voices Sandal, the iconic and very simple enchanter merchant, tweeted that it was "extremely likely" his voice would be in Dragon Age 3.

Dragon Age executive producer Mark Darrah also tweeted "Helm's Deep meets the Bat Cave". Was he referring to the above castle? Is he suggesting you'll defend it from an army as in Lord of the Rings? BioWare has used an army besieging a mountaintop castle battle before, at the end of Jade Empire.

BioWare reiterated the late autumn 2013 release for Dragon Age 3. Platforms still haven't been specified. It could be cross-generational, which means on current-gen consoles as well as next-gen consoles. Presumably a next-gen build could mirror the more capable PC build.

I wonder what's in transit.

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