During GDC we were given a sneak peek at Dragon Age: Origins via a demo with BioWare.
The scene shown to us was of the Village of Redcliff, where the villagers are being plagued at night by a horrible mist that brings the dead with it.
Your group of warriors must decide whether to help the villagers out or not. This is where things can get a bit tricky for you, because an approval system has been set in place. Every decision your character makes, affects the way your group of hardened warriors react to you.
For instance: When the leader of the village asks you to help them deal with the dead invading the town night after night because the local royalty is holed up in the castle --and subsequently no help at all-- you will be presented with a choice of dialogue. What you choose to do may directly be in opposition to what your party members feel should be done.
Should you choose to help, one or two members may disagree with you and thus you choosing to help can lower your approval rating with them. Each of the characters will react race or class appropriately to your decisions. You can persuade them though, and like most attributes, your persuasion ability can be leveled up. This helps your character learn to make realistic decisions for the success of your game.
Another interesting tidbit we where shown, was a tree system relating to different battle tactics for each character in your party. In this tree, you can predicate how each character reacts to enemies and custom build the responses just like you would an RTS.
For example: The Mage in your party can be "programmed" to fire off spells at ranged opponents while you and the warrior in your group tank. Same for the archer, and any other party member.
To see how all of your customizations are working out for you, you can switch from a third-person view to a tactical one (looking down on the action) and the screen looks just like your typical RTS. You can give orders in this mode using the real-time cover system explained above.
Described as the spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate, BioWare says that Dragon Age will be a much larger game than Mass Effect and with so many different options, the possibilities for length are vast.
Expect Dragon Age: Origins to land in stores for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 "late fall".