One of the ways you'll be able to customize your character in the role-playing game Dragon Age: Origins is by choosing an origin story - essentially, your character's race/background. BioWare has just revealed the six options for an origin story you'll have at the beginning of the game:
"As one of the last "true elves", you were content to spend your life wandering with your clan...until a chance encounter with a relic of your people's past threatens to tear you away from everything you've known."
"You have always lived under the heavy thumb of your human overlords, but when a local lord claiming his "privilege" with the bride shatters your wedding day, the simmering racial tensions explode in a rain of vengeance."
"Born casteless in a land where rank is everything, bound as the lackey and thug of a local crime lord, you have spent your life invisible...until chance thrusts you into the spotlight, where you can finally prove whether you will be defined by your actions or your birth."
"The favored child of the dwarven king, you proudly take up your first military command...only to learn that the deadly intrigues of dwarven politics pose an even greater danger than that faced on the battlefield."
"Gifted with a power considered a dangerous curse by most, you have spent most of your life secluded in the remote tower of the Circle of Magi to be trained and watched closely by the dreaded templars. Now your final test is upon you -- succeed and prove your strength, fail and you will perish."
"Born to wealth and power second only to royalty, you find your training in both diplomacy and war put to the test when your father's castle is betrayed from within on the very night your elder brother is to lead the family's forces to war."
The origin story mechanic is sort of like how you chose your military history and place of birth in Mass Effect. Your choice of origin seems to have much bigger implications in Dragon Age: Origins, though. Unlike Mass Effect, the decision doesn't just add one or two quests or a line of dialogue. Your origin story determines how the game begins and has far-reaching effects throughout the game.
Dragon Age: Origins will be released in late 2009 for the PC, Xbox 360, and PS3.