Skyrim’s Success Hasn’t Changed Plans For The Next Dragon Age

Skyrim’s Success Hasn’t Changed Plans For The Next Dragon Age

Dragons, they’re so hot right now. And not just because they’re fire-breathing lizards, either. Skyrim’s winning Game of the Year awards, racking up impressive online numbers even though it’s single-player and possibly even impacting the economy. It’s also singed people’s memories of that other dragon-centric fantasy RPG that came out earlier this year. In the months after Dragon Age II came out, BioWare’s co-founders have been supervising the finishing touches on Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Since that massive online game’s finally launching today, I asked BioWare’s founding doctors about what they thought of Skyrim and whether the latest Elder Scrolls hit will make them re-assess the blueprints for future Dragon Age games in any way.

While the bearded Greg Zeschuk admits that he hasn’t even started Skyrim, co-founder Ray Muzyka’s played through the earliest parts of the game. “I definitely admire the scope of what Bethesda’s built. It’s a beautiful looking world you can lost in,” says Muzyka. “And the lore is very rich so you feel like you’re moving through a world with history and that your actions have consequences. That’s been a big thing for us in our games, too.”

The doctors acknowledge that Dragon Age II was a very polarising game and claim to have heard the complaints of some hardcore fans regarding the fantasy sequel. “We think that Dragon Age II succeeded in a lot of ways but we’ve thought a lot about how to recapture some of things that Dragon Age Origins did well, too.” Neither co-founder would offer more on what to expect in future Dragon Age games, but Muzyka said fans of both Dragon Age Origins and Skyrim would be happy with upcoming announcements.

Zeschuk does admit to sinking many hours into Dark Souls, calling From Software’s hit “the most bat-shit crazy game there is.” So, maybe, there’s more scope, more craziness or more difficulty or more of all three coming to the evolution BioWare’s fantasy action/RPG franchise. We’ll need to wait for EA and Bioware to reveal more about their next game with dragons to find out.


  • You Know Dragon Age 2 was not that bad a game on its own compared to DA Origins it was completely different but as a game it was not bad. I’m hoping that like the Prince of Persia series the 3rd game is a combination of what was good in the first and second

    • You may be right Justin. But the game was so different and stunted they should have just called it another name. A sequel is meant to build upon the previous iterations. They created a piss poor game and they knew it, there is no way they themselves didn’t get sick to death of running around the same area 50 times. They just used the Dragon Age name and hoped it would get over the line. Biowares biggest fail. I was absolutely shocked they released the game as it was. But it looks like they have learnt their lesson. But I certainly won’t buy the game until a huge number of legitimate reviews are out, i.e. the same review sites are giving Dragon Age 2 and Skyrim the same score. When you see that you KNOW Dragon Age 2 scores were totally fabricated.

    • I disagree, it wasn’t just a bad sequel it was a bad game:

      1. Reuse of environments.
      2. 90% of the quests were boring.
      3. The story was disjointed.
      4. The story was predictable.
      5. The combat lacked any sort of strategic challenge.
      6. If the goal was to be less stratefic and more like God of War, it failed there too.
      7. Most of the characters were initially interesting, but then behaved in ways tgat made no sense beyond driving the plot.
      8. For a story driven western tpg, you choices were surprisingly inconsequential.

      And on top of all that, it was the sequel to a very good game!

  • I hope they don’t take too much influence from Skyrim. DA was always meant to be more of a homeage to the oldschool RPGers – this is why it never seemed to have priority over the bigger blockbuster type games like ME and took so long to make. In the end it was promoted as a blockbuster and wasn’t everyones cup of tea – Skyrim is going the opposite way and trying to streamline as much as possible and make everything user friendly.

    I don’t know if this is what happened in DA2 (I was fortunate enough not to play it)

    • Erm… Skyrim is much more an old school RPG than DA2 ever was (Ultima series anyone?)

      Skyrim is what Dragon Age should be like. Open plan, epic, free to roam, huge, play it how you want to play it. Instead it’s a closed, small, very restricted game with *some* rpg elements.

      DA 1 was a good game because it was more like Skyrim’s openness.

      • In terms of whether mainstream audiences can accept it, Skyrim is a much easier game than DA:O. That was really a proper old school RPG and it was really tragic what they did with DA2.

      • I doubt DA III will be more like Skyrim, after all it’s going to be a multiplayer deathmatch arena with a conversation wheel for different taunts you can use depending on how you killed the other players…. right?

  • It actually occurred to me a few weeks ago that the Dovahkiin is exactly the kind of character I wanted, and expected, the Champion to be.

    With DA3 I don’t expect BioWare to follow what Bethesda has done but it would be nice if they explored dragons a little more. The series is named after them but in the game there’s not really much story surrounding them and it feels like their only purpose is to serve as hard hitting trash mobs and occasional bosses.

    • I liked DA2’s champion precisely because they weren’t like the dovakin, they were a normal person who aspired to greatness through hard work not some god blessed prophetised saviour. Likewise the story in DA2 was more human scale, the fate of that one city mattered more to me than 9 scattered holds some of which I never visited more than once *cough* falkreath.

  • I just played Origins & DA2 back to back and the sequel, while a good game by itself, feels like a backwards step overall. I actually don’t mind DA2 being set in a single city, but there’s not enough variety within that city. The same dungeons get recycled from mission to mission. Not being able to outfit your party is a pain since i always have a truckload of sweet armor & weapons i need to dump from my overflowing inventory. At least the writing is still clever. I had to laugh when one character was having a dig at the game’s convention of referring to me by the conveniently-vague “champion” label. “He does have a name, you know”.. of course none of them can speak that name since “champion” is all they recorded.

  • The problems with Dragon Age 2 were:
    – Repetition. The game repeated the same ten or so locations over and over, you were backtracking through the same zones and going into prefabricated caves made by Fantasy IKEA or something all the time.
    – Bad combat. Not so much the combat mechanics per se, as the fact that you were constantly being swarmed by waves of weak, boring enemies that would respawn unexpectedly. The combat wasn’t fun, it often felt like it was a chore. I think if they want the game to be an Action RPG, they need to go all the way and make it an Action RPG and not go half the distance.
    – Lack of actual choice. The game plays out exactly the same regardless of what choices you make. If you decline a quest the game gives it to you anyway, for example. You’re always on the exact same path through the game, fighting the same bosses and so on. The only thing that changes is minor details. This was a fault of the framing narrative but it was a big departure from their previous games where it felt less like you’re being railroaded into the path they want you to take.
    – Lack of attention to detail. The world doesn’t feel big enough, there’s not enough variation in the environments and characters (your elderly mother has the body of a 20-year old model), things are just not logically consistent (eg a character toward the end doing the exact thing that he had been insisting for the whole game that his group of people didn’t do) and despite the game purportedly taking place in three periods of time spread over ten years or something, it never really feels like anything changes. If you were told that the chapters were a week or two apart you could believe it just as easily.

    Overall it felt like a very well done expansion pack by a B team. In fact, the Awakenings expansion pack for DA:O is about the same caliber. It’s a very flawed game, but it still does a lot of stuff fairly well too, doesn’t deserve the constant chatter about it being terrible. It’s not terrible. It’s just disappointing and far too much of a departure from the game it was supposed to be a sequel to. Had it been titled Dragon Age: Exodus or something instead of Dragon Age II, so that it was clearly a spinoff or a new direction, I think it would have been received fairly well.

    Also as someone who prefers Bioware’s game style to Bethesda’s, I’d rather they don’t include too much of Skyrim in the next one. I’ll take a solid story and strong characters over a fully realized and detailed but ultimately boring sandbox world any day.

  • I hope they aim higher, and make dragon age play and feel like the sacred ashes BLUR studios trailer, while keeping all the rpg customized elements. Its about time rpgs minimize all the menus, it’s more fun and immersive to learn from trainers, doing practise exercises and quest to learn skills and talents. Hopefully they won’t implement the moronic level by use system either.

  • The 2 big B’s of western RPGs do two very different styles of games exceptionally well.

    Bethsoft are the masters of the sandbox RPG. No one else comes close.

    Bioware are the story tellers. They do fantastic, epic stories be it in a fantasy or a sci-fi setting. Dragon age 2 was no exception. It was a good story, with compelling characters and personally I thought it was a good ‘romp’. Yes, the tactical gameplay was replaced with a much more diablo style combat and I agree that the ‘feeling’ of a year or three later didn’t really have any impact, be honestly this year has passed and Melbourne feels pretty much the same to me. Why would Kirkwall feel any different?

    I think DA2 should definately have had more enviromental variety, keeping it all in the one location that ‘ages’ is an interesting concept, but fails to capture that ‘epicness’ which is so very Bioware.

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