Dragon Age: Origins utilizes a new game engine named Eclipse.It has been confirmed that a toolset for creation of fan-made content will be included, though it is a single-player only game.BioWare co-CEO Ray Muzyka describes Dragon Age: Origins as a 'spiritual successor' to the Baldur's Gate series, though it is not based on Dungeons & Dragons.
As of yet, few specific details have been revealed regarding the game's setting or plot, although more general information is available. The setting will be 'dark heroic fantasy' (as opposed to the High Fantasy Dungeons and Dragons BioWare fans are used to) with a story told on an epic scale with mature themes. The developers have cited 'realistic' fantasy fiction such as George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones and fantasy paintings by artists such as Frank Frazetta as inspiration for the game.
The designers are incorporating 'origin' stories for each race and some classes in the game. For example a Dwarf Noble will begin the game as part of the royal family in one of the Dwarven cities, and a Dwarf Commoner will begin on the streets of said city. Origin stories determine the background of the player's character prior to the main events of the game's story, forming an introduction to the game world and hours of game-play. People the player meets during the origin story may reappear throughout the game, some of whom may be adversaries.
While there is no tracking of alignment as in previous BioWare games, the moral choices of the main character throughout the game will still affect the story. While you may save the world whether you are good or evil, the decisions you make in the process will change the world around you, deciding who will become King for example, and affecting nations and races and their places in the world. These decisions will also influence your companion NPCs, and could ultimately lead to an NPC deciding to leave your party if he or she does not agree with your approach.
As with the Baldur's Gate series, players will be able to issue orders to NPCs in real time or while the game is paused, and queue up actions such as spells and special attacks.