Only the PC version of Dragon Age: Origins will offer the top-down "Baldur's Gate-style" viewpoint, something to bear in mind if you still haven't decided which platform to go with.
BioWare has made no secret of Dragon Age: Origins' roots in the classic Baldur's Gate series of games. There's no direct connection, of course, but as far back as 2004 BioWare co-CEO Ray Muzyka was describing it as a "spiritual successor" and even now, all these years later, some advertising for the game bills BioWare first and foremost as "the creator of Baldur's Gate," putting it ahead of Mass Effect and eschewing the more recent Neverwinter Nights and Knights of the Old Republic entirely.
But if you want the full effect, then you're going to have to play it as you played Baldur's Gate: On a PC. While taking a PlayStation 3 build of the game for a spin yesterday, Stephen Totilo of Kotaku discovered that the camera angle, controlled by the right analog stick, is limited in how far it can be pulled back; the "top-down strategic perspective" has been removed from the console versions of the game. According to a BioWare rep, only a mouse wheel - attached to a PC, naturally - will let gamers zoom out far enough for the "Baldur's Gate look."
"On the console, as far as I could see, the view will be much closer and into the action," Totilo said. "It fits the platform, but it's a difference consumers with options should note."
That assessment matches up with comments made by Dragon Age: Origins Producer Mark Darrah in a recent interview with The Game Reviews, in which he described the interface differences between the PC and console versions of the game. "The PC is designed for the mouse and keyboard. Mouse and keyboard is really good at doing a very large number of things relatively slowly. It's good for doing more tactical things, pausing the game, pulling out, looking around and issuing orders," he said.
"The consoles are much better at giving a very small number of commands very quickly. So the controls are much more geared at keeping the action fast, letting you play the game with less pausing and more quickly. [It focuses on] less tactical, more action oriented gameplay, which I think is the biggest single difference you will see," he continued. "The interface was done completely from scratch. So you will see a more paper based interface on the PC. The consoles are cleaner, quicker and sleeker designed more for the fact you don't have a mouse, you have an analog stick."