According to an interview with TheGamer, the first “Dragon Age” spent over a year in development before BioWare decided to add any on-screen dragons to the story. “Early on, ‘Dragon Age’ didn’t have a name,” shared environmental artist Ian Stubbington. “There were some ideas but nothing concrete, so it was decided that one of the coders would make a quick random name generator … It was fired up and produced some names and the one that got the final vote by the team at the time was of course ‘Dragon Age.'”
After settling on the moniker, the developers faced a new challenge: the concept they had cobbled together centered on a setting that had progressed past its era of high fantasy. “Magic was on the decline and dragons had been hunted to extinction,” explained lead writer David Gaider, who later complained to senior creative director James Ohlen about the discrepancy. “Why would you call it ‘Dragon Age’ when the actual age of dragons was centuries previous? You didn’t even see or fight a dragon!”
Ohlen advised Gaider to alter the narrative and world to fit the new title. This led to the return of dragons in “Origins” and the addition of an in-game calendar in which time periods are divided into “named ‘ages.'” The shift also severely altered the entry’s big bad, the Archdemon. According to managing editor Daniel Erickson, the creature originally resembled a “big, freaky, anime-villain sort of thing that felt like Lovecraft does ‘Final Fantasy.'” The Archdemon transitioned from “anime-villain” to massive dragon towards the end of the production cycle, a choice that rippled across the successive entries and led to the presence of ten dragons in “Inquisition” years later.