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Sunless Sea writer signs up for BioWare project

Working with Dragon Age's boss and lead writer...

Alexis Kennedy, lead writer of the excellent role-player Sunless Sea, has signed up to work with BioWare on a certain unannounced project.

Dragon Age's mysterious Solas (not Alexis Kennedy).

Kennedy, who co-founded Fallen London and Sunless Sea studio Failbetter Games, is no stranger to BioWare, having also written Dragon Age spin-off The Last Court.

And it looks like Kennedy is staying within the Dragon Age universe for this next project, too.

While the game remains unannounced, Kennedy has announced he will be working with Dragon Age mastermind Mike Laidlaw and Dragon Age lead writer Patrick Weekes.

(BioWare's next announced games are Mass Effect: Andromeda, which is in the final stages of production, and a new IP which also remains under wraps but has already been in development for a couple of years and does not have either Laidlaw or Weekes attached. It's safe to assume it's neither of these).

I spoke with Kennedy this morning about the project - which he cannot yet name - but on which he told me early work was already underway.

"I'll be starting in January for a six-month-plus engagement," he revealed. "Writers are treated well at BioWare, but they're working within a clear structure - that they're samurai, not daimyo. I've been saying I'm a writing ronin, so I guess I'll get to sleep in their castle and eat their rice and fight their battles for a bit before I disappear into the howling fog once more.

"In terms of working with BioWare - [I thought] Dragon Age: the Last Court was as close as I'd ever get. I'm an indie to the lobes of my liver and BioWare don't hire freelance writers. So when they made an exception and offered me the gig, I could neither stand still nor stop swearing.

"They have twenty years of accumulated lessons about making RPGs through the good times and the bad, so I'm keen to listen more than I talk. Honestly that, more than the production values, is the most exciting thing for me here, although obviously the thought of hearing actual words I've written in an actual BioWare game is bewildering."

Dragon Age Pho4r.

BioWare has been quiet on the future of the Dragon Age franchise, but then it has had two other games in production - both of which are still to launch. With Mass Effect: Andromeda queued up for early 2017 after four years in development, and its new IP still to be announced but already several years worth of work into production, it's pleasing to hear that what sounds like the next chapter in the Dragon Age series will be given years worth of time to get right.

As to what'll happen in the next Dragon Age game? Well, the end of Inquisition's enjoyable epilogue expansion dropped an enormous hint. The DLC's final shot is of a map to the unexplored (for players) region of the Tevinter Imperium, and a continuation of a certain plot thread left hanging at Inquisition's close.

BioWare has also been candid on what it thinks went well with Inquisition and what could be improved. I chatted with Mike Laidlaw shortly after the game came out for a mini-inquisition on the game's excellent characters, distracting collectibles, cross-platform release, future plans and more.