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, Electronic Arts, the developer’s parent company and publisher, encouraged the studio to employ EA’s proprietary Frostbite 3 engine.
The Dragon Age team struggled for years to acclimate to the unfamiliar tech, and satellite studio Bio Ware Montreal ran into similar issues while working on lead writer Alexander Freed, who left the company in 2012, says the version he worked on was “an extremely different game” than the one shown off at Gamescom 2014.
Meanwhile, in an Edmonton, Alberta, office building 2,000 miles to the northwest, the team that had shepherded the Mass Effect trilogy to its conclusion was charting a new course.
A number of the folks in the room had spent the better part of a decade working on Bio Ware’s acclaimed series of sci-fi role-playing games; they were desperate to find unexplored territory for their next project, an action game codenamed “Dylan.” “As we were coming up with concepts for Dylan, there was that storm that hit New York,” recalls game director Jon Warner, “and there was this giant crane that had been damaged, and was dangling off the side of a building.
“So was designed as a multiplayer game from the beginning.” The studio has made a tradition of nicknaming its projects after folk singers — the next Dragon Age was reportedly called “Joplin” at one point — but there’s a rhyme and reason to the Dylan moniker.
“It was really about creating something that had a lasting appeal,” Warner says.
(He’d been with the studio since graduating from college.) Former Mass Effect project lead Casey Hudson then returned to Bio Ware as Flynn’s replacement. Something Hudson and the IP development team hadn’t anticipated in those early meetings from the fall of 2012 was the full potential of the exosuit concept.
“I think my favorite memory is when we introduced flight into the game,” says senior designer Paul Marino.
And there is something amazing about these photographs. There’s something in that.’” Darrah recalls early tech demos for Dylan where players were “out in the wilderness,” perhaps in an exosuit but without the final product’s flashy, Iron Man-inspired traversal.You might be forgiven for thinking it had been made by became the subject of some controversy in 2012 not because the developer had never done multiplayer, but because players had grown to expect a solitary journey.