Clarification for the “Discover the Dragon Age” panel

All questions pulled from this thread: http://forum.bioware.com/topic/501780-bioware-at-pax-east/page-12#entry16398645

"Long shot, but is there any information on what genders can romance Cassandra and Cullen?"
Sadly no. Not yet.

"What exactly did they say about the Warden and Hawke returning/appearing? Did they say they might appear or more that they know they need to wrap up those stories?"

I quoted directly in the original blog post.

This is pretty much the gist of what was said: “We are aware that there are a number of loose threads where player characters are involved”. As far as the Warden and Hawke are concerned in Inquisition, there is a “solid possibility,” according to Mike Laidlaw. He says that those “loose threads” will be tied up and then make even more loose threads in the future.

"What did "The Iron Bull #TwoHander" mean? Were they saying he uses two-handed weapons? Do we know if he’s a companion? "

#TwoHander was a play off a joke from the DND I do with GamerMD83’s character, but anyway… Two Hander meaning he uses a two hander sword. Mike Laidlaw made a reference that in respeccing (which is back of course), you can have Iron Bull use a shield instead if you want. And yes, he’s a companion.

"Will there be three mages in the team?"
3/3/3. 3 warriors, 3 rogues, 3 mages. One of the references said was if you want to have a 4-set tank and spank warrior team running around, you can. EDIT: People are saying that I should not say 3 split, but I recall him saying “even spread” in talking about the classes. I will just ask this question tomorrow at the DAI panel. Cool? Cool.

"The history behind Saarebas magic will be explored, and its culture down the line will be illustrated, but the player’s Inquisitor will not show in this game.’ This confused me, could you please elaborate for clarification. Thank you."

Sorry about that. Basically, Qunari Inquisitors will have a magic skillset we’re accustomed to seeing from other mages trained in Orlais and Ferelden, i.e primal and spirit. The magic that the Qunari (in Par Vollen) and its completely unknown origins will be touched upon in the future, and the true possibility of how Saarebas magic works (compared to how the Dalish have some very different magic like Velanna’s underground movement spell).

"Anyway, I’m a little confused about the part where you mentioned the way DAI is handling romances. You said about Varric’s being humorous and being a buddy, was that just an example used based on the way the DA2 relationships worked? Or were they hinting that Varric might be romanceable?"

Not hinting Varric romance at all. The examples there are reasons why Hawke or the Warden romance (or rather, buddy up wtih) other characters: affection, humor (similarly to how buddy buddy Varric is with Hawke), or painstaking affection (rivalry). They were just examples used to preface what romances mean to people.

Do you know if the Bioware panels are being recorded?
avatar Anonymous

So on this, I refer to this line of twitter posts from Bioware and others. Further, I saw one of their staff using a camera around to record the panel members and Q&A people, so I believe this to be true.

'Getting a Job at Bioware' is a panel often held at the Bioware Base each event. Each panel offers different developers, and in doing so, shares different perspectives on their employment at Bioware and how to join their ranks.
Working at Bioware
Camaraderie and collaboration. At Bioware Montreal and Edmonton, you will find like-minded people with the same goals in creating great games, sharing knowledge, and fostering bonds. A friendly atmosphere where so long as you show passion towards what you are doing, Bioware gives you every opportunity possible to succeed. It’s a team atmosphere, day-by-day, where co-workers are approachable and work together. People who want to work at Bioware really show theywant to be there.
The Application Process
While they receive many different applications, they hire based off what they need. When their recruiters look at a resume, if a person is a good match but not a good match right now (based on necessity), they will keep the resume aside and remember it when a position is available. It’s suggested not to apply for something not on the Bioware careers list, but recommended to look into EA’s full career site if something at Bioware isn’t found first pass around. ”Keep applying,” they say. It’s not always that they are ignoring you, but with so many applicants to Bioware, there is a chance that you may be hired down the line or for something similar to what they need. (Fun fact: head community manager Jessica Merizan applied three times before she was hired.)
For University Relations, those looking for internships can host their resume on the EA University Relations website and choose from different disciplines of interest. 
As far as what to bring to the table, suggestions:
Have a portfolio. Your portfolio should have your best work readily accessible. A demo reel should not be more than a minute, making sure to be short and concise. 
Build an online presence. Having your material on a blog or website is easy to follow. 
"Make stuff yourself." Tools like Unreal 4 and Unity are at your disposal. 
Don’t worry about being from another industry when applying, as they do hire beyond the gaming industry (tech, theater, film, etc.)
As far as specific software and skillset demands you should be aware of, most can be found on the job listing. They do not mess around; the technical knowledge you need will be listed on the posting. Here’s some specific things they expect:
Programmers: Know C++, best to come from a Computer Science or Engineer degree, (University relations suggests C, C Sharp, Java at the least and will give some support if you are willing to learn further)
Art: 3ds Max and Maya, though they are transitioning to Maya only. Zbrush.
Q&A: Be familiar with bug trackers. Know how to communicate well and be articulate. If you know how a commercial engine works (i.e Unity) and even know how to design a level, you will have a great advantage.
Writing: If making a portfolio, it’d be good to have a simple story arc (like a level) written out. Knowing and demonstrating branching dialogue and how to implement your ideas is greatly favored. (If you can put it in a level, it shows really well how you articulate yourself and it’s a good way to hear your own dialogue)
(A specific note on having “5 years experience”: it’s a difficult situation. As far as gaining experience, the best advice is to keep doing things. Do small side projects, freelance…almost anything works. (For recent grads, University Relations will help in that aspect and help you start doing things getting work experience) However, most careers demanding “5 years experience” are senior positions that must be filled out by Bioware.)

'Getting a Job at Bioware' is a panel often held at the Bioware Base each event. Each panel offers different developers, and in doing so, shares different perspectives on their employment at Bioware and how to join their ranks.

Working at Bioware

Camaraderie and collaboration. At Bioware Montreal and Edmonton, you will find like-minded people with the same goals in creating great games, sharing knowledge, and fostering bonds. A friendly atmosphere where so long as you show passion towards what you are doing, Bioware gives you every opportunity possible to succeed. It’s a team atmosphere, day-by-day, where co-workers are approachable and work together. People who want to work at Bioware really show theywant to be there.

The Application Process

While they receive many different applications, they hire based off what they need. When their recruiters look at a resume, if a person is a good match but not a good match right now (based on necessity), they will keep the resume aside and remember it when a position is available. It’s suggested not to apply for something not on the Bioware careers list, but recommended to look into EA’s full career site if something at Bioware isn’t found first pass around. ”Keep applying,” they say. It’s not always that they are ignoring you, but with so many applicants to Bioware, there is a chance that you may be hired down the line or for something similar to what they need. (Fun fact: head community manager Jessica Merizan applied three times before she was hired.)

For University Relations, those looking for internships can host their resume on the EA University Relations website and choose from different disciplines of interest. 

As far as what to bring to the table, suggestions:

  1. Have a portfolio. Your portfolio should have your best work readily accessible. A demo reel should not be more than a minute, making sure to be short and concise. 
  2. Build an online presence. Having your material on a blog or website is easy to follow. 
  3. "Make stuff yourself." Tools like Unreal 4 and Unity are at your disposal. 
  4. Don’t worry about being from another industry when applying, as they do hire beyond the gaming industry (tech, theater, film, etc.)

As far as specific software and skillset demands you should be aware of, most can be found on the job listing. They do not mess around; the technical knowledge you need will be listed on the posting. Here’s some specific things they expect:

  • Programmers: Know C++, best to come from a Computer Science or Engineer degree, (University relations suggests C, C Sharp, Java at the least and will give some support if you are willing to learn further)
  • Art: 3ds Max and Maya, though they are transitioning to Maya only. Zbrush.
  • Q&A: Be familiar with bug trackers. Know how to communicate well and be articulate. If you know how a commercial engine works (i.e Unity) and even know how to design a level, you will have a great advantage.
  • Writing: If making a portfolio, it’d be good to have a simple story arc (like a level) written out. Knowing and demonstrating branching dialogue and how to implement your ideas is greatly favored. (If you can put it in a level, it shows really well how you articulate yourself and it’s a good way to hear your own dialogue)

(A specific note on having “5 years experience”: it’s a difficult situation. As far as gaining experience, the best advice is to keep doing things. Do small side projects, freelance…almost anything works. (For recent grads, University Relations will help in that aspect and help you start doing things getting work experience) However, most careers demanding “5 years experience” are senior positions that must be filled out by Bioware.)

Maybe you can help clear this up, was Cullen confirmed as a party member and LI or just an LI?
avatar thedragonthateatsitstail

Not confirmed as a party member. We only know he’s a love interest.

The Panel
The first panel of PAX weekend was “Discover the Dragon Age”, starting with a humble introduction to the devs of Inquisition and a playing of the trailer “Discover the Dragon Age” that released in March. Touching on the story and whole of Thedas, the developers noted on their efforts to make Inquisition a memorable exploration where it keeps “the content fresh for the player” and rewarding those who decide to wander beyond the beaten path. Drawing from examples like the Dalish plains and other Elven areas untouched for ages, they illustrated how these populating areas served purpose, established reason, and built storyline.
Players will experience the levels, but hopefully they will be able to draw from the random systems that are involved. Events like factions clashing in your vicinity may unfold before your eyes. Beyond gaining allies and expanding reach, your camp (the place where you conquer and place your standard) will be your bases of power. Take pictures of the start of an area and the end of it and you will definitely find out how you impacted the world.
The developers placed emphasis in allowing the players to explore with rewarding experiences. While playing the game, you might get the idea of venturing that obelisk no one is talking about, but doing so may get you great loot (and a load of trouble from an arcane horror). Not every player will experience the same things, venturing out to explore Thedas’s lost treasures, so the developers are excited to see more stories of player experiences shared when Inquisition drops. 
The combat team is working hard on making sure the engagements are…well, “spicy” enough. Focusing on multiple disciplines: environmental effects, environmental hazards, and more. The creatures and enemies you experience fit within that ecosystem; conversely, certain enemies are not to be found anywhere else.
Q&A
Now, it’s going to get a bit hazy. The Q&A was all over the place, as expected because not everyone had a question centered on one topic. Bear with me, friends.
"What does it mean to be an Inquisitor?" will be a great question for you to answer in the upcoming game. In Dragon Age 2, Hawke’s companions were thematically outcasts (Merrill left her clan, Anders left the Grey Wardens, Fenris left and didn’t know his origins). In Inquisition, you are in charge. Your nine companions, classes evenly distributed across mage/warrior/rogue, will be the best of the best. All powerful in their own right: Cassandra is the most highly regarded Seeker in Thedas, Vivienne was First Enchanter and served the Divine and Empress Celene, and more. Expanding, investigating the bad guys, and building earnest respect will be only part of answering your purpose in Dragon Age: Inquisition.
Romances in Inquisition in Dragon Age* (see clarification post) are not one in the same: some for affection, humor (like Varric buddying with you), or hate-fueled forbidden love (i.e rivalry love). Don’t worry, guys: you don’t need to romance in Inquisition. Just consider it an option. That being said… Cassandra Pentaghast and Cullen are two confirmed romances for Inquisition. More to be announced in the future.
No clear given answer on whether a certain class can use specific weapons, i.e mage using a sword.
Certain areas will exhibit its personality in the area. Further, groups will be somewhat clustered together, like the mages being in one general area. 
The Iron Bull #TwoHander
"We are aware that there are a number of loose threads where player characters are involved". As far as the Warden and Hawke are concerned in Inquisition, there is a "solid possibility," Mike Laidlaw says ever so mysteriously.
On Flemeth, “you can never be a dragon, but she’ll probably show up”. 
The Fade will be a sparingly used place. It’s a dangerous place, and while the Inquisitor is the only person who can handle the Fade tears, you will not be consistently and constantly exposed to the Fade. 
As far as characters returning from Dragon Age: Origins and 2, this is what the devs had to say: If X is coming back, we want to use X in a significant, meaningful way. As we know Alistair is returning in Inquisition, he will have an impact in gameplay (if he is alive in your playthrough). Same goes for any character that is brought up. They will avoid having insignificant, small cameos where the past character barely is involved with the player. Naming any character right now to return, beyond the announced Alistair, is too much of a spoiler. 
As mentioned before, the choice of race and class determines the Inquisitor’s origin. As mentioned before, Elven Inquisitors will be Dalish. Qunari will be Tal-Vashoth. In having the backgrounds for these Inquisitors set by race and class, the interactions with world NPCs will be more impactive. Dalish elves will recognize Elven Inquisitors, Qunari will recognize Qunari Inquisitors, and so forth.
Fun fact: the internal wiki for Dragon Age’s lore is restricted to only the writing team and Mike Laidlaw. In regards to Dragon Age’s lore, the main thing to take away is that everything is based off “what he said, what she said”. Mike Laidlaw says it best that there is prospective, there is history, and it was written by the victors. What the Chantry, the Qunari, the magisters say…is not always the whole truth.
As far as the Chant, we will hear more verses in the future. Admittedly, not only will we most likely never see the full Chant, but sometimes the Chant is written and expanded “by need”. At the very least, (thank you to the fan who suggested this), Bioware is now considering offering the sheet music for sounds of the game. But no word on if this will be a thing or not.
Long, flowing locks for females, you ask? “Maybe, likely, probably” but they are apparently a technical nightmare because of the variating height for armor. It’s currently being investigated.
Qunari (Tal-Vashoth) mages will have magic similar to what we see Ferelden/Orlesian-trained mages. The history behind Saarebas magic will be explored, and its culture down the line will be illustrated, but the player’s Inquisitor will not show in this game.
(Disclaimer: As mentioned the last time I did these PAX posts, sometimes I get it wrong. I’m not Mordin. However, most of this is what I heard straight from the panel. I’m reiterating what they say to the best of my notes and memory. 
But yea, Cullen and Cassandra are confirmed. Cross my heart hope to die, sacrifice me to the demons and what say you)

The Panel

The first panel of PAX weekend was “Discover the Dragon Age”, starting with a humble introduction to the devs of Inquisition and a playing of the trailer “Discover the Dragon Age” that released in March. Touching on the story and whole of Thedas, the developers noted on their efforts to make Inquisition a memorable exploration where it keeps “the content fresh for the player” and rewarding those who decide to wander beyond the beaten path. Drawing from examples like the Dalish plains and other Elven areas untouched for ages, they illustrated how these populating areas served purpose, established reason, and built storyline.

Players will experience the levels, but hopefully they will be able to draw from the random systems that are involved. Events like factions clashing in your vicinity may unfold before your eyes. Beyond gaining allies and expanding reach, your camp (the place where you conquer and place your standard) will be your bases of power. Take pictures of the start of an area and the end of it and you will definitely find out how you impacted the world.

The developers placed emphasis in allowing the players to explore with rewarding experiences. While playing the game, you might get the idea of venturing that obelisk no one is talking about, but doing so may get you great loot (and a load of trouble from an arcane horror). Not every player will experience the same things, venturing out to explore Thedas’s lost treasures, so the developers are excited to see more stories of player experiences shared when Inquisition drops. 

The combat team is working hard on making sure the engagements are…well, “spicy” enough. Focusing on multiple disciplines: environmental effects, environmental hazards, and more. The creatures and enemies you experience fit within that ecosystem; conversely, certain enemies are not to be found anywhere else.

Q&A

Now, it’s going to get a bit hazy. The Q&A was all over the place, as expected because not everyone had a question centered on one topic. Bear with me, friends.

"What does it mean to be an Inquisitor?" will be a great question for you to answer in the upcoming game. In Dragon Age 2, Hawke’s companions were thematically outcasts (Merrill left her clan, Anders left the Grey Wardens, Fenris left and didn’t know his origins). In Inquisition, you are in charge. Your nine companions, classes evenly distributed across mage/warrior/rogue, will be the best of the best. All powerful in their own right: Cassandra is the most highly regarded Seeker in Thedas, Vivienne was First Enchanter and served the Divine and Empress Celene, and more. Expanding, investigating the bad guys, and building earnest respect will be only part of answering your purpose in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

Romances in Inquisition in Dragon Age* (see clarification post) are not one in the same: some for affection, humor (like Varric buddying with you), or hate-fueled forbidden love (i.e rivalry love). Don’t worry, guys: you don’t need to romance in Inquisition. Just consider it an option. That being said… Cassandra Pentaghast and Cullen are two confirmed romances for Inquisition. More to be announced in the future.

No clear given answer on whether a certain class can use specific weapons, i.e mage using a sword.

Certain areas will exhibit its personality in the area. Further, groups will be somewhat clustered together, like the mages being in one general area. 

The Iron Bull #TwoHander

"We are aware that there are a number of loose threads where player characters are involved". As far as the Warden and Hawke are concerned in Inquisition, there is a "solid possibility," Mike Laidlaw says ever so mysteriously.

On Flemeth, “you can never be a dragon, but she’ll probably show up”. 

The Fade will be a sparingly used place. It’s a dangerous place, and while the Inquisitor is the only person who can handle the Fade tears, you will not be consistently and constantly exposed to the Fade. 

As far as characters returning from Dragon Age: Origins and 2, this is what the devs had to say: If X is coming back, we want to use X in a significant, meaningful way. As we know Alistair is returning in Inquisition, he will have an impact in gameplay (if he is alive in your playthrough). Same goes for any character that is brought up. They will avoid having insignificant, small cameos where the past character barely is involved with the player. Naming any character right now to return, beyond the announced Alistair, is too much of a spoiler. 

As mentioned before, the choice of race and class determines the Inquisitor’s origin. As mentioned before, Elven Inquisitors will be Dalish. Qunari will be Tal-Vashoth. In having the backgrounds for these Inquisitors set by race and class, the interactions with world NPCs will be more impactive. Dalish elves will recognize Elven Inquisitors, Qunari will recognize Qunari Inquisitors, and so forth.

Fun fact: the internal wiki for Dragon Age’s lore is restricted to only the writing team and Mike Laidlaw. In regards to Dragon Age’s lore, the main thing to take away is that everything is based off “what he said, what she said”. Mike Laidlaw says it best that there is prospective, there is history, and it was written by the victors. What the Chantry, the Qunari, the magisters say…is not always the whole truth.

As far as the Chant, we will hear more verses in the future. Admittedly, not only will we most likely never see the full Chant, but sometimes the Chant is written and expanded “by need”. At the very least, (thank you to the fan who suggested this), Bioware is now considering offering the sheet music for sounds of the game. But no word on if this will be a thing or not.

Long, flowing locks for females, you ask? “Maybe, likely, probably” but they are apparently a technical nightmare because of the variating height for armor. It’s currently being investigated.

Qunari (Tal-Vashoth) mages will have magic similar to what we see Ferelden/Orlesian-trained mages. The history behind Saarebas magic will be explored, and its culture down the line will be illustrated, but the player’s Inquisitor will not show in this game.

(Disclaimer: As mentioned the last time I did these PAX posts, sometimes I get it wrong. I’m not Mordin. However, most of this is what I heard straight from the panel. I’m reiterating what they say to the best of my notes and memory. 

But yea, Cullen and Cassandra are confirmed. Cross my heart hope to die, sacrifice me to the demons and what say you)