The premiere of the sure to be fanboy/girl favorite original companion web series to video game publisher BioWare’s role-playing title Dragon Age II went live late last night/early this morning on Machinima’s YouTube channel.
The first of six installments of Dragon Age: Redemption introduces us to our star Felicia Day’s character Tallis, an ‘knife eared’ Elvin assassin in moderately protective fantasy armor with crazy skills on the hunt for the dangerous and recently escaped Qunari mage Cerebus. Take a look:
In addition to slaughtering pigs and humans in front of the camera, Day contributed a helluva lot to the series behind the camera, too. She wrote Redemption, executive produced the series along with Kim Evey and Dan Kaplow, and her Knights of Good Productions (the same crew behind her uber-hit web series The Guild) took on the physical production duties of the program.
We caught up with Day to ask her how the Knights of Good got along with BioWare and Dragon Age lead producer Mike Laidlaw, if she has any particular penchant for elves, and how she thinks Dragon Age: Redemption will impact sales of Dragon Age: II and the game’s latest downloadable content package (DLC) Mark of the Assassin (which features an in-video-game character based on the live-action Tallis).
Tubefilter: How’d Redemption come to be?
Felicia Day: EA approached me about potentially working on a project in early 2010, and I proposed if it would be possible to work with the world of BioWare’s Dragon Age RPG, which is one of my favorite games. Many steps later, we had a really interesting deal set up where I would develop the web series and they would create a piece of DLC that carried my character over into their actual gaming universe.
TF: How many hours of the Dragon Age franchise do you think you played before you got the gig?
FD: I’m sure it was over 40 hours. For the first game I played all 6 starting origin quests, and then twice through the whole thing as an elf then a human.
TF: How many hours of Dragon Age II did you log afterwards while you conceived of the storyline and characters?
FD: Dragon Age II did not release until a few months after shooting, so I didn’t get to play it before writing the script, but I was allowed to see all the story points and character breakdowns during development to make sure I was staying consistent with their world in the web series.
TF: How much of the storyline was your own conception and how much of it was BioWare saying, “We’d like something like this…”? Did they give you any guidelines?
FD: It was definitely a back and forth where I would come to them with an idea, like being a rogue elf character, and then would suggest an area for backstory afterwards and then I’d go away and outline more, etc. They were approving every step of the story that I would show them, because I wanted to make sure fans of the game would feel like the lore was consistent with the game they played.
TF: What about during production? Was there one of the writers or creators on set to ensure “video game accuracy”?
FD: We had EA/Bioware visitors, but there was not a daily presence. We showed them pictures of most the props and sets in advance. It was extremely important to us to be as faithful to the game as we could on a web series budget. All the weapons are based on weapon art directly taken from the game.
TF: Why’d you choose to play an elf? Was it simply the closest physical match? Or do you not dig the Qunari?
FD: I felt that it was a close match to my physicality, unlike a Qunari. With the slim likelihood of my ever being involved with a huge budget fantasy movie as an actor, this was the ultimate experience for me as a fantasy fan, to be a part of a fantasy universe. I hope it’s not the last time either.
TF: What do you think the audiences will like the best about the series?
FD: I hope that seeing a web series set in a fantasy world will be a fresh change of pace for viewers. It’s not the most common genre, and hopefully people will experience the DLC and the web series together, which I think is storytelling in a new and interesting way. Also the character is much different from what I usually play, she’s tough and not-apologetic. I hope people enjoy seeing another facet of me as a performer.
TF: What’s your favorite part of the process of creating a companion program for a video game you really love to play?
FD: It was a difficult project to do on the budget, so seeing it all come together was a magical process. I think production-wise being present at every stage of the sound mix really educated me on how incredibly important that aspect of filmmaking is. The soundtrack and special effects can sell a moment that wasn’t there in the edit. It’s really quite powerful.
Also doing all the mocap and vocal recording for the character was an amazing experience. To see video game production from that many angles was fascinating, I really appreciate what the writers have to do when scripting a world where the player has so much freedom. The amount of content is astonishing.
TF: Do you think Redemption will encourage video game sales?
FD: I hope that it will. I see a lot of feedback on my social networks that indicate that people are picking the game up because of my involvement. I can only hope that it does well for EA so they do more projects for the web in the future!
Check out Dragon Age: Redemption at YouTube.com/Machinima and pick up your copy of the game today.