Just announced at the "Expanding the Experience: Video Games & Comics" panel held by Dark Horse Comics at New York Comic Con 2012, The Dragon Age trilogy of comics will be completed in Spring 2013 with Until We Sleep. This third series will focus on Varric, after the current Those Who Speak, an Isabela-centric story, and Silent Grove which featured Alistair front and center.
In addition to revealing the cover of the latest BioWare and Dark Horse collaboration, we had an exclusive early chat with Dragon Age head writer and plotter for the comics David Gaider. Gaider tells us who, where, and what to expect in the series, and why these three characters work so well together
Newsarama: We've been to the Silent Grove and met Those Who Speak. So what must be done "Until We Sleep?" Without spoiling too much about the end of TWS, where do we find our heroes after their journey to Tevinter and their run in with the Qunari?
David Gaider: “Until We Sleep” is about struggle, and how we must keep struggling so long as we live. We also dream, for dreaming is what makes those struggles worthwhile. Both these things are representative of the final chapter of our group’s adventure. It’s the climax of Alistair’s search for his father, with the final showdown against Magister Titus. Should be fun.
Nrama: It's been fun for readers seeing old friends in these comics, what has it been like revisiting characters from Origins, and having them interact with the newer folks?
Gaider: I have to remind myself sometimes that these characters don’t normally belong together. It feels like they do, to me. It feels like they’ve always existed together, and their interactions come more naturally than I would have expected. It’s probably just because I’ve worked with them all for so long… even though Alistair is the only character that’s truly “mine” (Sheryl Chee was the primary writer for Isabela and Mary Kirby for Sten and Varric). I can set them down next to each other in the story and they act of their own accord, taking everything in stride. Makes my job easier.
Nrama: Have Isabela, Varric, and Alistair's relationships, and the way they interact together surprised you in any way? How has that developed?
Gaider: Well, Isabela and Varric always had that relationship. What was a bit surprising was the way those two began to relate to Alistair. At first I thought I might have to stretch in order to keep them on the quest, but it actually felt rather natural. Both of them are rogues who care about other people a lot more than they like to let on, and so they’re both keenly aware that Alistair is hell-bent on finishing a quest that could result in his self-destruction… and they intend to keep him from that, even if they moan about what a pain it is to be dragged around on his adventure. They’re like Alistair’s substitute parents—which is good, because Alistair has always been a character direly in need of some.
Nrama: Now that Dragon Age 3 is officially on the way, will Until We Sleep bring these characters more directly toward that game?
Gaider: Not really, no. The three-issue arc has always been intended as its own story. There are elements that could become relevant in future games, though of course those would have to be re-introduced at that point. In a player’s specific game continuity, after all, the events depicted in the series might have gone very differently if they happened at all.
Nrama: Back to "old friends"… Can you give some hints about the people we'll be seeing in this one?
Gaider: The series is more about resolution than introducing more old friends—though I will say that it centers on the final member of our trio: Varric (with Alistair having been the focus of “The Silent Grove” and Isabela the focus of “Those Who Speak”). So we may receive more insight on his past, for sure.
Nrama: And how about locations? It was a real kick FINALLY seeing Tevinter… any other hinted at but never seen locations or places we've seen in the games being re-explored?
Gaider: We’re going back to Tevinter again—though, more importantly, we’ll be heading into the Fade (Dragon Age’s dream realm). Because reasons.
Nrama: How have the comics developed overall in your eyes? Do you see them more as supplemental to the games still, or have they taken on more of a life of their own?
Gaider: It’s taken a life of its own—to a point, since I think it’ll always have more meaning to fans of Dragon Age. They’ll always see more and know more about these characters than someone reading the comics without the additional context would, and that’s intentional. But we wanted to do something a little different, away from the mage-templar war and touching on some elements of the world which we haven’t gotten to in the games yet. Maybe introduce some lore which will get some fan propellers spinning… but, more importantly, show that a good, relevant side tale can be done in the Dragon Age universe.
Nrama: Anything else you'd like to tell the readers about Until We Sleep or the future of Dragon Age in general?
Gaider: Chad Hardin’s work on “Those Who Speak” has been breathtaking—he gets better with each issue, it seems. And Alex Freed takes my story plan and turns it into a script—he has an excellent handle on how these characters talk at this point, so their words are as much his as they are mine. It’s a pleasure watching these guys bring the story to life.