My Life

Dragon Age 2

Looks like Dragon Age 2 has gone gold!

Congrats to the team and BioWare. I’m impressed at how quickly they were able to release the sequel and hope they all get a bit of rest before tackling their next project!

Former lead designer at BioWare (Dragon Age: Origins, Neverwinter Nights). Creator of Raiders of the Serpent Sea.


  • Laurie Tom

    I hope it turns out well. Bunch of friends are waiting with bated breath. I’m sure the DA2 team is overdue for a good vacation too!

  • Cori N May

    This last comment was written by a hacker, methinks. You should get your account looked at. I’m pretty sure Brent doesn’t have the word ‘slack’ in his vocabulary.

  • Brian

    Hey I recently found this site something like 10 minutes ago while looking up info on Dragon Age 2 and I have since learned who you are and I have to say I have been a huge fan of your work even though I did not really know any thing more then you worked on my all time favorite game of all time being Baldur’s Gate 2 to just about every other game I have enjoyed.

    So I have to say sorry for not really knowing who worked on the great games I enjoyed for over half my life. Just found out you stopped making them so became massively disappointed.

    I really enjoyed Dragon Age: Origins part of the reason I found this blog was I recently played the Dragon age 2 demo. I felt the story was in such a different direction then the previous game and I have not seen a lot of the story but the story feels not sure how to put it then different and not a new story but to me the style is much different then it used to be..

    I remembered before when the game was called the spiritual successor to the Baldur’s Gate series and it really felt like it what the game is just from what I seen of the demo and since reading about the story seems quite a bit less like that. I will still be getting the game. I am curious though if you have played the demo or plan on buying it when it comes out? After learning about this site I will be defiantly continue to follow the work you do.

  • Brent Knowles

    Hi Brian!

    Glad you found my site. No worries about not knowing who worked on the games you enjoyed… I don’t think too many gamers know that.

    I’m delighted you enjoyed Dragon Age: Origins! The sequel definitely seems to be different in several ways but I’m sure it’ll be a good game… the teams at BioWare are filled with awesomely talented folk. I too am somewhat disheartened by the change in direction but I think I understand why those changes were made. And I’m glad you are still going to give it a chance!

    I haven’t played the demo… I might check it out if I get the time. And I probably won’t buy it, not until it comes bundled with the first one, which I don’t own yet. I’m pretty busy with my writing and don’t get a lot of time to play games anymore.

    If you haven’t looked at it yet you might be interested in the ‘Lazy Designer’ articles I post here. This is a quick link to them:

    Hope to hear from you again!

    – Brent

  • Brian

    I have started reading those articles seem to be a lot of good information in there. I would really like to know why some of those changes were done ha most all of the changes I am disappointed with is the current story direction.

    Just from what I have seen in the demo it has done in my opinion some weak story telling things. Within I would say first 10-15 mins of the game it kills your brother/sister based on one fact what class did you pick at the start of the game and then you go and kill what just killed him/her.

    That might seem small but to me it tells a lot about a story something like that would be done for emotional attachment which the way its done has non another strong reason if not done many times is to set up a revenge plot but again you kill what just killed him/her and continue the adventure.

    To me it is tough seeing the change in story telling with Biowares amazing track record of games. They have help top of my list for rpgs for a long time with games like Jade empire that game had I think the best twist in a game ever. Baldur’s Gate and Knights of the old republic. I did just notice my top games are games with twists.

    Either way though I liked Dragon Age: Origins I am not sure how much you know of the storyline in it not playing it but the second game seems to throw a lot of the work done in it out the window. From the landscape to weak dialog

    I watched a interview today from a guy called David Silverman he is the marketing director and he pretty much spent the entire interview insulting the great things about Dragon Age: Origins found that to be odd to say the least. to be bashing one of their own games so heavily.

    I am enjoying the blog so far though there is a lot of content here to go over. I will get some of the stories you have written in the future to I think the small synopsis on them sounds interesting enough. Though I don’t have Ereader of any kind.

    I am surprised at how much content you have out there other the just games you have worked on in the past. I understand not having a lot of time to play games and do other things when writing funny enough a couple of people in my family write or have written books. In the past currently my sister is working quite intensely of writing her own right now.

  • Brent Knowles


    I don’t own a copy but I played Dragon Age: Origins many many times and am very familiar with the plot… I played it during development and testing when I was still at BioWare.

    I think I understand what you are trying to say about the difference between the two plots — Dragon Age and Dragon Age 2.

    First though you are only seeing the demo, which is just a slice of what Dragon Age 2 will be like. I’m sure there will be more depth and as I have not played the demo myself its hard for me to say much about the plot.

    As to why marketing would insult the original game, that’s beyond me. Ultimately every developer wants to increase their sales and if they feel that some people didn’t play the original game (or didn’t like it) because of particular features they will try and convince those people to give the sequel a chance.

    Anyways I hope the full game of Dragon Age 2 turns out to be more enjoyable for you!

    And if you do want to check out some of my stories (which would be awesome!) you can read them online in your browser if you buy them through Smashwords (one of them is free if you just want to check it out — the Prophet).

    Also if you prefer print books most of my story reprints are available at AnthologyBuilder… along with hundreds of other cool stories

    You basically buy the stories you like and they are shipped to you as a print book.

    Let me know how your playthru of Dragon Age 2 goes once you get the full game!

    – Brent

  • Tom

    Hey Brent,

    Hope things are well for you these days, but I would like to add a few comments with the DA2 demo, and they are constructive. Firstly, I understand what you mean by attracting the gamers who may not have been inclined to DA:O, but the demo really doesn’t play like Origins much; it’s more hack-n-slash, like an action game. Though I absolutely loved Bayonetta (for example), despite the overtly sexual-ized female and the silly off the wall, bad storyline, I feel I am like her playing the rogue in the DA2 demo. The art direction (which may be different, should not have an effect of the gameplay) and the facial expressions are nothing like they are Origins. I at least thought some of this would carry-over. It barely seemed an RPG, but it is the demo, so I keep that in mind as well with all considerations.

    The conversation system is a near copy of Mass Effect and while I liked it in the Mass Effect series so far, it was fitting for that game, not Origins, especially when getting to know your allies. It is no longer the gray area choices to make where when you made one in Origins, your personality is viewed differently because of it. In other words in DA2, it seems is more like raising or lowering your karma stats, instead of how the choices you make in Origins affects how your allies and NPCs view you., those choices weren’t always easy to make or figure out, something that added greatness to Origins. It appears in DA2, that it is cut in stone, renegade/paragon style.

    Some people are complaining about the new sub-menu tree style system with the choices for attributes, etc, but that system wouldn’t change Origin if it were used in it. It is just the direction the game took (or seems to have taken) overall with the conversation system and combat style. I am hoping the end product is great, because I have always enjoyed Bioware’s games. I hope this doesn’t become the first that breaks that love. Of all the RPGs I have played over the past 20+ years, Origins is the absolute best *overall* RPG experience I have ever had. Then again, having said this, maybe that superlative would be hard to live up to!

  • Brent Knowles


    Thanks for stopping by. Really great comments… I think I need to go check out the demo to better understand the full extent of the changes… I’ve mostly just been reading reviews et cetera.

    I expect you’ll see more depth with the full game, the demo being only a slice. Or I hope so!

    – Brent

  • Tom

    If you will, please reply with your thoughts on the demo. Coming from one who was highly involved with DA:O, your opinions, though strictly from a demo standpoint, would (at least) carry some meaningful insight. As an aside, I watched that video of David Silverman somewhat dissing Origins while giving some ambiguous explanations why Origins wasn’t good in certain aspects. It was disheartening to say the least being the DA fan that I am.

  • Brent Knowles

    Yep I will.

    Watched a bit of the interview with Silverman… not sure who he is, don’t think he was there while I was. Its difficult doing two things at once — retaining the fans of the original and convincing people who didn’t like the first one to buy the sequel — and I don’t think the interview is as terrible as some say but if I were still working at BioWare I’d be down in that dude’s office having a bit of a chat with him.

    To be honest as a fan of the first game some of the comments being said are marginally offensive… kind of like telling the Dragon Age 1 fans that don’t have good taste for liking the first one. I’m sure that’s mostly miscommunication but I can understand the frustration in some fans at how they are being spoken to.

  • Tom

    True that,

    I honestly took the interview with a grain of salt. It’s just that I would think a Marketing Director would use some tact when differentiating between their own products through comparisons. He actually assuaged a few things that were important to me. The only thing to do is to wait until the retail game comes about and give it a true play-through, then an objective critique afterwards.

  • Cori

    Brent: Silverman is an EA employee, not a Bioware one directly, so far as I know. There is no office, and he works out of LA, I believe.

  • Brian Michael Stempien


    I am but a humble American that is too old to be living with his mother, who has recently started production on his first smart phone/PC game. There are currently eight of us dilligently working like worker bees, and me, not knowing what the hell I’m doing, have turned to this blog as a source of comfort and knowledge.

    I originally discovered you through the BioWare Social Network, where your departure caused quite a stir among people that don’t even know you or your reasons for leaving. Such is the internet, such is life. I love the scat out of Dragon Age, you see. I don’t exactly know *why* it affects me the way it does, but the strength of my love for that series is undeniable. A lot has to do with the fact that the world is trying to be persistent, which I have no idea if you were a part of or not (and if so, at what level), through constant DLC and the save files moving from one game to the next. It definitely has helped shape who I am as an independent game designer. Even as a kid, I would mimic other game designs, to see why they worked.

    Since starting my venture as a game designer (I am the Project Director as well as head writer), I’ve started going on the internet a whole lot less. This is both due to “The Office Effect” (in which The Office becomes loads funnier once you’ve worked for a corporation) and … well, really just The Office Effect. I enjoy being able to “talk shop” with my other game devs friends and actually understand what they mean, rather than just have an inkling, be the outsider looking in.

    Okay. Well I’ve rambled long enough. I just wanted to contact you and let you know that you’ve been an influence in this new portion of my life.

    Good luck with your writing. I can’t write prose. I just can’t.

  • Brent Knowles

    Hi, thanks for stopping by!

    I’m glad you enjoy Dragon Age, I’m very fond of it myself! I didn’t have much to do with DLC for it but always pushed for savegames to move from game to game, I like persistent characters/settings/history… I’m curious what will be transferred from DA to DA2. I know I had a bunch of ideas of what could be, but not sure of the final decision.

    And that’s awesome that you are building games. Good luck and enjoy the experience! And don’t worry about not knowing what you are doing, nobody really does, we just figure it out as we go.

    If there’s any specific answers to questions in regards to game design that you’d like to see me write about here on the blog let me know.

    – Brent

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