Five Things BioWare Wants You To Know About The Next Dragon Age

Five Things BioWare Wants You To Know About The Next Dragon Age

If I had to explain what BioWare's RPG, Dragon Age, is all about, I'd easily cram it all into one word: relationships. But that's my personal experience, and I'm not developing Dragon Age: Inquisition, so I couldn't tell you what the next Dragon Age will be all about. BioWare's executive producer, Mark Darrah, however, can.

During a press event last month in Los Angeles, Darrah stood in front of a room of journalists and explained that Dragon Age: Inquisition is about five main pillars.

The Story

Five Things BioWare Wants You To Know About The Next Dragon Age

"This is the biggest game in our studio's history," Darrah said as he introduced an on-screen presentation of the game and its pillars. "We've learned a lot from our past and brought fresh, modern thinking to our designs to deliver unsurpassed depth and freedom to the player."

Those may very well be little more than marketing phrases meant to glamor you, but Darrah promises that there's more story content in Dragon Age: Inquisition than any of their previous RPGs.

Even the concept of choice is expanded, he said, calling them more "grey" than "black and white." They're "moving beyond choice and into dilemma, forcing you to make difficult decisions. There are hundreds of these decision points and actions that will shape your story making it unique to you," Darrah said.

The People

Yes! Relationships! So I'm at least one fifth right.

"It wouldn't be a BioWare game without a cast of characters that you can grow to care about," Darrah said, fittingly. He explained that there will be nine followers you can find and recruit, which is more than the previous Dragon Age titles. The nine followers will be a mix of both characters that are new to Inquisition and ones you are familiar with from the previous games.

So, of course, your story will evolve as your relationships with your followers do. But, Darrah said, your followers will have their own evolving relationships amongst each other that will also change as the story does.

A Multi-Region, Open World

Five Things BioWare Wants You To Know About The Next Dragon Age

Darrah already mentioned that Inquisition features more story content than any other RPG the developer has made. But it also features the biggest world that they have ever made. "This is a multi-region open world, a first for BioWare and it's going to set the expectation for all of our games moving forward," he said.

The world includes 10 open, living regions that span two nations. As Darrah explained that environments would range from forests and deserts to swamps, mountains and others, gorgeous-looking lands flashed quickly across the screen. "Each area has its own unique weather and ecosystem," Darrah said.

Five Things BioWare Wants You To Know About The Next Dragon Age

"Or gather your party and venture into a dungeon, searching for lost knowledge and hidden treasures."


Choices have always been a big feature in BioWare games, from dialogue to actual decision making. But they're hoping to give your choices a bigger, or perhaps wider range of impact in Inquisition. Darrah explained a bit about how they're going to do this.

Five Things BioWare Wants You To Know About The Next Dragon Age

"The world of Dragon Age: Inquisition will react to your presence and to the actions you take. Our brand new emergent life system changes based upon the decisions and actions you make, evolving the world as you progress through the story. The inquisition is your primary tool of influence. Use the war table to send your agents on missions and to decide where the story goes next. Rebuild and customise the stronghold and make it your own. Or use the judgment system to capture enemies in the world and decide their ultimate fate."


Customisation options are yet another feature in Inquisition that Darrah says is bigger and more expansive than ever.

"Four playable races, two genders, and a choice of voices, as well as our unique, brand new facial customisation system that offers over a billion possible faces...21 different combat skill trees...over 250 combat abilities, talents and upgrades, allow you to fight the way you want. 16 million armour combinations that can be equipped on both you and your followers. Craft weapons and armour, going all the way down to customising the hilt and the blade to make your weapons look the way you want and play the way you want."

Five Things BioWare Wants You To Know About The Next Dragon Age

You also have a choice in combat. You can control one character directly, in a close-up view of the battle, or pull out for commander mode to control more tactical options.

"Dragon Age: Inquisition: the most ambitious RPG BioWare's ever made," Darrah said, in closing. "Almost four years in the making and built on these five pillars. The biggest story we've ever told, more characters to care about, our largest world to explore, choices and actions that change the world, and customisation options that will personalise your experience."

Dragon Age: Inquisition releases on October 7 on PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4.

To contact the author of this post, write to [email protected] or find her on Twitter at @tinaamini.


    I am very excited for this!!! potential goty here :)

    I am looking forward to this, I hope they don't spoil it with micro transactions.

    *opens article* "Don't get hyped, don't get hyped"
    *reads article* DRAGON AAAAAAAGEE

    I'm looking forward to this, I still haven't given up on Dragon Age, and didn't hate number 2. I get excited about choice based games, I'm booting up the game thinking, yeah I'm gonna be a badd-ass-mother-fucker. Then the first choice is kill the puppy or pet it, and I'm like, "aww come here little guy...shit!" next thing you know my karma is maxed out and people are following me in the streets cheering my name. Plus you can play as a female which seems important right now... >_>

      Hahaha I'm the same! I always tried being a bad guy in Origins but just couldn't bring myself to kill that injured soldier in the Kocari Wilds!

    It honestly sounds like a dream come true. I hope it lives up to the hype in my heart.

    Have they said anything about save transfers and if so what about 360/PS3 saves to X1/PS4?

    Hmmm....Shadow of Mordor or Dragon Age: Inquisition.... both out on the same day...
    Damnit! It has to be Dragon Age this time!!!

    The only thing I want from them is a written apology (preferably in blood) for Dragon Age 2 and an ironclad promise never to put laziness above gameplay ever again. The moment when poor mehness of EA consumed the previously always awesome Bioware. One of the worst sequels ever made because they literally forgot who they made games for and everything was about $$$ $$$.

    Last edited 13/06/14 2:00 pm

    The words "open world" scare me now..... usually just means a lot of walking through the same scenario and killing the same enemies until you get from "Objective A" to "Objective B".

    They’re “moving beyond choice and into dilemma, forcing you to make difficult decisions. There are hundreds of these decision points and actions that will shape your story making it unique to you,” Darrah said.

    My biggest letdown with Mass Effect was that they promised difficult decisions with serious consequences and didn't deliver. Overall they handled choice better than most other games, it wasn't the usual extremely good choices versus extremely evil choices as much as Punisher versus Superman, but until Mass Effect 3 put the war effort on the line there was no pressure on any of the decisions.
    It wasn't until Mass Effect 3 said 'hey, you can save your friends, you can save these innocent people, you can do the right thing, but it's going to make this number go down which takes you further away from the best ending the completionist part of your brain values so much'. Before that the decisions were easy. They almost gave you too much control over the world. Ashley or Kaiden will survive or die no matter what, so pick one. I don't think anyone struggled on that one or felt haunted by their choice. Final Fantasy VII wouldn't have the same impact if it just broke the fourth wall and asked you to choose if Aeris or Tifa dies.
    In ME3 suddenly you were losing control and being forced to react which I'm really hoping they manage to pull off in Dragon Age (and any future games). Imagine you make a routine 'good' choice early in the game that (out of nowhere) results in one of your companions being captured. Suddenly you have to evaluate the options you make yourself rather than picking red or blue.

    I was in love with DA: Origins, it was such as throwback to Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale that I couldn't help but be obsessed with it.

    Then Dragon Age 2 came along and broke my goddamn heart.

    Trying not to let my hopes get too high, but damnnn this looks amazing! Hope it delivers.

    Goddamn, why did I click on this article? I played both the other DA games, and liked but didn't love them, and thought I would be perfectly happy to let this game slide on by. Nooooooo

    Last edited 13/06/14 2:57 pm

    Sounds impressive and pretty ambitious. The size of the world and whole customization aspect makes me wonder how could this be released for Xbox 360 and PS3. Time will tell..

    "16 million armour combinations that can be equipped on both you and your followers" I wonder if this is one of those counts where an entire set of armor is one, and the same set of armor with a different helmet is two etc etc... It sounds deceptively high when you count stuff that way. Although still, pumped for this game! :)

    It sounds like they're taking everything that was bad about DA2 and fixing it, while improving on the good parts of DA:O.

    It all sounds good on paper, but I just don't know if I'm ready to trust them yet. I think I'll have to wait for post release reviews before I jump on this time. DA2 just hurt so much!

    Maaaan, I have way too many steam games that I'm trying to get through as it is.....
    But, it's going to be brilliant!

    It's amazing how the marketing buzz being spewed about this game applies almost identically to the previous games. Oh, different regions with different weather? Character customisation? Choices affecting the story? Wow, haven't seen that ever! Except in 99% of Bioware games. I'm looking forward to this game but gez the EA marketing department is really scraping the bottom of the barrel for buzzwords.

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