Dragon Age Fan's Research Leads To A Theory About The Upcoming Game

Screenshot: Bioware

The teaser for Dragon Age 4 was revealed at last week’s Game Awards, and it left fans with a lot of questions. One Redditor thinks she’s got some answers.

The teaser was short and vague. The only concrete information we have from it is that Solas, the surprise villain of the previous game, is coming back. Luckily for us, Redditor Nouvless, a Solas enthusiast, was already examining some lore tidbits from a Dragon Age Inquisition DLC. She has done a series of very thorough posts on the Dragon Age subreddit about the murals in this DLC, which was called Trespasser and told a story that revealed Solas’s true intentions. The Trespasser murals are very similar in style to the mural depicted in the teaser for Dragon Age 4.

Nouvless told Kotaku over email that she’s been playing Bioware games basically all her life. “One of my earliest memories is sitting on my dad’s knee when I was a little girl, creating a character and exploring Neverwinter Nights together,” she said. She played the first Dragon Age at the tender age of eleven, and she has been hooked ever since.

“It was many years, games, and codex entries later that I began to fully understand the extent of my respect for the series,” she went on.

“I was replaying Dragon Age: Inquisition, and this was around 3 months before I made my first Reddit post; I was doing a completionist playthrough, where I went everywhere and looked at everything. I would diligently read every codex entry I encountered, and it was then that I started to discover connections in the lore that I never knew existed before.” This research eventually led her to in-depth studies of the game’s murals.

Nouvless explained that the mural in the teaser strongly resembles one mural in particular from Tresspasser. Both of them depict a series of gates, which symbolise the seven gates to the Black City, where the Old Gods live.

A Blight, where the world of Dragon Age is overrun by darkspawn, occurs when an Old God is corrupted and turned into an Archdemon.

Image: Nouvless, Bioware

The same symbols are present in the teaser for Dragon Age 4, but this time, five of the seven gates are greyed out instead of four.

Image: Nouvless, Bioware

The Old Gods’ souls are destroyed during each Blight, so the newly greyed out gates likely correspond to that. But Nouvless believes that the connections between the two murals don’t end there.

Nouvless has a theory about the stars in these murals based on a detail from Inquisition. Certain doors in the game could be unlocked with shards, which also had the eight pointed stars on them.

Those doors were from the temple of Solasan, which leads to a very Solas-centric interpretation of the teaser of Dragon Age 4.

Image: Nouvless, Bioware

Solas’s true goal is to tear down the Veil, which separates the spirit world from the rest of existence; this action would restore old elvish society but sacrifice everyone else in the process. He was responsible for creating the veil in the first place, an act that sealed away the old Elven gods, who dubbed him Fen H’arel, or the Dread Wolf.

As Elvish society lost their history as a result of this act, they deemed Fen H’arel’s creation of the veil an act of pride. Solas actually means “pride” in elvish, and the Temple of Solasan then translates as “a prideful place.” If you complete all the quests in this temple, you’re led to an inscription that explains a tiny bit of ancient elvish history.

“Pride in our accomplishments and in our hearts. That same pride became (a word meaning corrupted or altered) within him, he sought to claim (indecipherable), cast from favour and so he was bound. Hidden from mortal eyes, death lies within,” it reads. Presumably, this refers to Solas’s creation of the veil, and his subsequent fate.

“I believe that the seven gates of the Black City may actually be very similar to these doorways, if not the same (and don’t worry, I have plenty of evidence to back this up). So, the connections between these gateways and the eight-pointed stars shown in the teaser image are extremely exciting to me,” Nouvless wrote.

By unlocking all of the gates to the Black City, Nouvless theorises that, “once all seven gates of the Black City have been destroyed, leaving the way to the Unreachable Gate of the Black City open, the true Blight will be unleashed on the world.”

This is further supported by another small detail in the teaser. “If you look closely at the top left corner, you will be able to see imagery of down-turned triangles. In my previous reddit posts, I realised that, due to the repetition of imagery throughout all Nick Thornborrow’s art, these triangles represent the Fade,” she wrote.

“Consequently, it appears that this mural is showing Solas tearing down the Veil, connecting with this quote: ‘I would have torn down the Veil. As this world burned in the raw chaos, I would have restored the world of my time... The world of the elves.’”

This theory doesn’t give us too much detail on the plot, but it does suggest some potential themes that Dragon Age 4 may include, as well as the central conflict. Solas is back and ready to tear down the veil, and has apparently already gotten started on this job.

Nouvless’s research has given her a profound appreciation for the developers at Bioware. “Writing these posts has honestly been akin to falling down a rabbit hole, where every piece of new information I’ve discovered reveals two more secrets in turn—like some funky lore hydra,” she said over email.

“It’s one of the best feelings ever having fragments of knowledge, that were once shrouded in mystery, come together and unveil a truth that could possibly stretch back to the very first game.”

“I think it’s a testament to how talented the team is at BioWare, who have created a wonderfully intricate world, an ocean of secrets and lore, that you can choose to submerge yourself in or skim across the surface of, with both options being equally enjoyable,” she said.

Luckily for us, we’ve got fans like Nouvless who like to untangle the Gordian knot of lore that Bioware has laid out.


    Guys..... Guys, seven gates seven old gods, five are dead two still asleep, five gates open two still closed.

    Good god that explains why Solas gets pissed at the thought of the Wardens back up plan.... Good gods.

    I only wish that Inquisition had held my attention long enough to appreciate this stuff :(

      gtfo out of the first zone ASAP and if you focus more on the main mission and less on clearing the map you'll probably enjoy it more

      some of the zones have pretty horrible fetch quests (some literally is go to X click on Y object repeat 3 times)

        Oh, but I did! I got through a fair chunk of it. Had a castle, and most of the player characters. Just completed the mission that took place at some upper-class ball. I admit, I did lean into some of the search quests and collect-a-thons.

        In the end, I think I was too exhausted by it all to complete the main story :/

          ah that's a shame, I'll have to replay it but I imagine there are some bits that are just meh story wise as is with a lot of books. rarely would you get a story that hooks you in from start to finish

            As a novelist, I agree. The struggle is very real. Could also have had too many games on my plate at the time. It certainly wasn’t on Amdromeda’s level of mediocrity.

        I tried replaying it recently. The combat and controls are clunky :|

          I put my Bioware games on easy for a stress free 2nd or 3rd play through since it's usually the narrative I'm interested in not the awesome mechanics (or lack of haha)

    It's great when people get so far into the lore of games. I love it.

    But it always takes me back to literature class in high school.
    "This red door symbolises this and that and the other..!"
    Then someone asks the author, "what did you mean by suchasuch?" .. "I meant the door was red."

    I think everyone was headed towards Tevinter last so this theory is pretty good in meshing with the current story

    here's hoping they keep that story thread and not reset the world (or set it 50 years after DA:I)

    Is it that every character is bi and the game probably sucks?

      But it's not as if the traits and choices of each of character exist together in a single reality. You can't say they are bi, because in any one reality, their love interest is either male or female. Think about all the other differences that exist in a game from playthrough to playthrough, and other words reality to reality. Why does this one particular difference hang you up so much? From a culturally normative heterosexual male point of view, gamers would enter a game like this with the assumption that every romanceable female would want to jump their bone. But you don't think that's a weird and contrived assumption? But now a gay character can have the same weird and contrived assumption.

        I don't know bro.
        Maybe the we are born gay, it's not a choice.
        But for some reason games don't represent that.
        Everyone will jump everything's bones given the right dialogue options.

    I'm still annoyed Inquisition didn't let me join Solas.. Some of us want the world to BURN !!!! :D

    Trespasser was a fantastic DLC. It's a great ending to Inquisition.

    Dragon Age has always leaned heavily on lore, though I'm a little surprised the theory of Sera being one of the old gods never played out. Perhaps they were saving it for 4.

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