So, why does Dragon Age use 'The New Sh*t' in its ads?

12:00 PM on 09.09.2009

Jim Sterling

Former Reviews Editor

Most of you have complained about the marketing campaign for Dragon Age: Origins, and BioWare's decision to use Marilyn Manson's "The New Sh*t" as a backing track. I personally love it and think it's a hilarious move, but nevertheless, during my interview time with lead designer Mike Laidlaw, I had to ask him: What's the deal with that music?

"It's funny," laughs Mike. "I think honestly the fact that it was labeled as Marilyn Manson actually caused people to flare up more than if it hadn't been, but if you dig into what I think people are reacting to, it's, 'Why are you putting rock n' roll into my fantasy? Or 'Why are using Goth Pop?,' Whatever you want to call Marilyn Manson -- why are you putting it in my fantasy?

"I think part of the reason it's infamous is because people were surprised and just weren't expecting it. What they expected was a long string of flutes and some harpsichord, perhaps. Quite frankly, Dragon Age ultimately is about surprising the player in terms of their expectations of fantasy. 

"It's going to shock them in a lot of ways. At the same time there's a deep RPG in there, and a great story, but what I think that particular campaign achieved is, it hit an element of the game, and the game's about eighty hours for average players, so you certainly can't make a three minute marketing spec that covers every friggin' element of that, so you pick a part of it and go, 'let's talk about violence for a while, and while we're talking about violence, we're going to play some music that, essentially, is pretty violent.'

"And if that wakes you up and shocks you and makes you go 'aurururgh,' is that really a bad thing? Because what it does, I hope, is make people go, 'y'know, what is up with this Dragon Age thing?' and they go digging a little further and discover that there's far more than just killing some people, but at the same time, killing people is a very real part of the game, there are many, many deaths. We have a persistent gore system, so there you go."

More after the jump.

"I am very unabashed," continues Mike, "but I think it woke some people up that were maybe like, 'Yeah, Dragon Age, whatever,' and maybe made a few of them angry, maybe it made a few of them really excited, who didn't know anything about it. Certainly in the hardcore crowd I think it was just unexpected, and so there was a backlash from that, but at the same time we're doing events like this right now which is certainly to show that there's more to the game than just that."

So, that's BioWare's reasoning for using the music, and if you don't like it, perhaps that's what they wanted. With that in mind, I did have to ask BioWare a very important question, perhaps the most important question they'll ever be asked:

Are you motherfuckers ready for the new shit?

"Oh I believe so," answers Mike enthusiastically. "In fact we've been working on this for so long that it'd be nice to see it ship [laughs]."

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