Bioware made their name with fantasy RPGs, but lately you’re far more likely to hear their praises sung in connection with their space opera series, Mass Effect. Their Dragon Age series took some serious flak after the second game. While Dragon Age: Origins demonstrated all sorts of original ideas, brutal battles and political machinations, Dragon Age 2 fell short of fan expectations and was criticised for both endlessly recycling its locations and restricting player agency. Can the third game set the series back on track? Here’s what we know so far.
It’s been in the works for at least a year
Lead Alistair McNally on May 19, 2011. “I’m looking for exceptional
environment artists to join me at #BioWare Edmonton, Canada to work on
#DragonAge3,” he tweeted, and although the tweet no longer exists, Joystiq made sure to capture an image.
also kept their eyes on the Edmonton Comic Expo, where Bioware’s
Cinematic Designer John Perry declared that Dragon Age 3 had seen a
longer pre-production than any other BioWare project he’d been involved
The plan is to make it much, much bigger
At that same expo, Perry also said
that any one level in the third Dragon Age game would be “is as big as
all of Dragon Age 2’s levels,” which would be no mean feat. At the same
time, Bioware showed off three pieces of concept art that were all about scale, something that makes sense in light of the engine that will be behind the game…
The same engine that powers Battlefield 3’s will power Dragon Age 3
In his official announcement,
where he confirmed the title of the game would be Inquisition,
Executive Producer Mark Darrah said that the Frostbite 2 engine would
act as a foundation for the game. He didn’t elaborate on how the engine
was going to be modified, but Battlefield 3 players will be well aware
that it does a fine job of rendering large open spaces, it’s capable of a
very feel to it and it does a fine job of modelling destructible
Sure, I’m being highly speculative here, but destructible terrain in an RPG? That’d be pretty cool, right?
You’ll play a new character
Posting on Bioware’s forums,
Lead Designer Mark Laidlaw explained that “Our intention is that for
each major release of Dragon Age, you will take up the mantle of a new
character. This does not mean your old character may never appear in
future games, but as far as the core protagonist goes, if there is a DA
III, it will very likely be neither Hawke nor The Warden.”
Bioware won’t re-use the same locations, will reintroduce party equipment
Speaking as part of a Dragon Age panel at PAX East,
Laidlaw said that the development team had paid close attention to
feedback from fans. He said the next game would not endlessly recycle
the same dungeon layouts in the way that Dragon Age II had so
shamelessly done, promising a greater variety of locations and less
retreading of the same ground.
also said that players would once again have control over all their
companions’ equipment, being able to switch out all their weapons and
armour, and gave a short demonstration of how the same sets of armour
might look on different characters. Speaking again at the Edmonton Comic
Expo, Laidlaw reiterated his point, saying customization is going to be
much bigger than in the previous Dragon Age games.
It’ll be set in Orlais and feature a civil war
the PAX panel, Laidlaw hinted that the third game would be set
“somewhere a little more French,” and this was confirmed by a survey
sent out to Bioware forum members. “The great nation of Orlais, the most
powerful empire in Dragon Age, tears itself apart in civil war,” said
the plot summary that CVG
were able to see a copy of. “The Chantry, the once-unified faith of the
Dragon Age world stands divided. The Templar order has broken away,
claiming the church has become too lax in policing the dangerous powers
of the mages. The Mage circles have rebelled, believing the Templars
have become too strict, too zealous in their duties, and too quick to
slaughter those who step out of line.”
again, it looks like it’ll be a game about a clash of ideas, with your
character an arbiter, front and centre, determining the fate of
thousands. CVG also published the contents of a similar, German-language
survey which suggested “a portal between the worlds unleashes hordes of
demons in the land,” and that the player could solve the world’s
problems by combat, diplomacy or espionage, and would bring ten
companions along for the ride.
It’ll include multiplayer
Also posting on the Bioware forums, Senior Writer David Gaider confirmed that a multiplayer element would be included, and Kotaku spoke to an insider who said it would be an “arena-based affair” and feature dragons. Dragons that you could ride.
PvE and PvP elements were mentioned, but not in any great detail.
Apparently players will have the opportunity for players to get together
and beat up dragons. So, it’s official. Dragon Age features dragons.
It may be due out in 2014
Kotaku have also done a little investigation
and discovered that one of Bioware’s key titles will be put back from
fiscal year 13 to fiscal year 14. “For those who prefer to speak
English,” Kotaku say, “they’ve delayed a ‘key game’ from coming out by
March 31, 2013 to some time after.”
a little bit of detective work, they reason that Dragon Age III is the
most likely title, possibly because some team members were pulled from
the project to help out on other Bioware titles. Better get comfortable,
folks. It’s going to be a long wait.