19 Things We Learned From The Dragon Age: The Veilguard Q&A

19 Things We Learned From The Dragon Age: The Veilguard Q&A

Dragon Age: The Veilguard’s promotional campaign is in full swing after BioWare reintroduced the re-titled RPG at Summer Game Fest earlier this month. While we learned a lot from the gameplay reveal and the behind-closed-doors presentation at the show, BioWare is still drip-feeding information to fans, most recently in the form of a Discord Q&A with game director Corinne Busche, creative director John Epler, and art director Matt Rhodes that took place earlier today, June 14.

Here are a few of the major reveals for those who don’t want to listen to the full audio.

Having two party members will change things

Every previous Dragon Age game has used a party of four characters including your player character, whereas The Veilguard has shaved this down to three. You’ll only be able to bring two companions with you at a time, similar to the Mass Effect series, and fans are worried this might affect things like party banter, which has become a staple in the series. Busche explained that lowering the party count came hand-in-hand with a desire to bring everything in gameplay to a more intimate level, and that means commanding more party actions all at once.

“We just found that when you’re playing the combat system, when you’re planning your strategies, two really felt like the right number to manage,” she said. “So keep in mind, [protagonist] Rook has a lot of different types of actions, abilities, and individual attacks that are more fully fleshed out than ever before. Timing and positioning really matter a lot, so this really felt like the right balance. The number of inputs and actions we’re asking you as a player to take, including directing your companions, is higher than ever before. […] I engage with the companions, [and] actively control what they’re doing more than I ever have before in any of the other three games.”

As far as banter goes, Epler said that The Veilguard will still include banter between companions as you travel through the world, even if fewer people are taking part in the conversation at once. He also confirmed that BioWare has gone out of its way to include features like resumable banter to ensure you don’t miss a conversation by accidentally triggering an event that interrupts it. While there will be interactions between characters during your travels, BioWare also confirmed there will be banter at your home base, so you’ll still get a sense of their relationships with one another if you don’t take them out to the field.

“Honestly, I don’t think you could stop the writers from writing banter,” Epler said. “I will say for myself it’s one of the more light but fun things to do. You get to write little stories and little arcs between different characters.”

You can kiss a skeleton, maybe?

Since it was revealed that Emmrich, the old man necromancer party member, would have a skeletal assistant named Manfred, Dragon Age fans have, perhaps predictably, wondered if you can kiss the lipless man. Rhodes shot down any notion of a Manfred romance, but he seems to imply that you’ll be able to do…something….with a skeleton at some point in The Veilguard.

“I would say, ‘not that skeleton,’ but we’re not saying ‘no skeletons,’” Rhodes responded to a fan asking to bone the bones.

There’s no photo mode…yet

BioWare has confirmed that The Veilguard doesn’t have a photo mode, but is open to adding it. This would be the second time the studio has such a feature to its games, as it included it in the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition remasters, but Dragon Age hasn’t had one yet.

“That is a feature that we like the idea of,” Rhodes said. “It’s not just player-facing, but internally it’s a really helpful thing for us as we’re building things out to have that. So we’ll let you know.”

Image: BioWare

The ability wheel is a bit more limited this time around

The Veilguard is using an ability wheel similar to Mass Effect, but it doesn’t sound like you’ll be able to use every spell or ability in your arsenal from this. Instead, you’ll have to assign a loadout of three abilities per character in the party, and decide what moves you want to bring with you to the field. This is similar to Mass Effect: Andromeda, which let you learn every ability in the game but were limited to three at a time unless you swapped your loadout. Previous Dragon Age games let you access most of your spells and abilities from a similar wheel without limitation.

“What I like about this is there is kind of an emergent gameplay depending on who you and your companions are coming into the mission with,” Busche said. “The reason for that is that it actually creates a really interesting balance of strategizing […] about your combat kit before the mission. Then the tactical decisions once you’re in the field in combat deciding what to do.”

Other ability wheel inputs will include combat-based items that can buff your team, and an “ultimate” ability depending on your class and specialization.

BioWare will talk about accessibility features at a later date

One fan asked if BioWare would be including accessibility features in The Veilguard to help players who need those play the game. The question specifically mentioned an arachnophobia mode that would remove spiders from the game, which prompted Busche to mention her own fear of spiders. However, it sounds like BioWare will give this specific topic some attention somewhere down the line before the game launches in fall.

“I do want to assure you that we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this topic so you can play the game in a way that really works for you,” Busche said. “I’m excited to share that with you when the time is right.”

The Veilguard takes place ten years after Inquisition

In the original gameplay reveal, Solas mentions that he and Varric worked together as part of the Inquisition “years” ago, and now we know exactly how long ago that was. According to Epler, The Veilguard takes place around 10 years after the events of Inquisition’s final Trespasser DLC.

You’ll be able to customize your party’s outfits

The Veilguard seems heavily influenced by Dragon Age II from its action-based combat to its free-for-all romance, but one thing it won’t be bringing back from the 2011 RPG is fixed party member appearances. Rhodes confirmed that while each companion will have a “wider range” of fits for you to find throughout the game.

Image: BioWare

The team is not focused on DLC at this time

Most of BioWare’s recent games (with the unfortunate exception of Mass Effect: Andromeda) have had major story DLCs. Busche said that right now ,the team’s entire focus is on the main Veilguard game and didn’t confirm or deny if the team would work on DLC after launch. She did, however, reiterate that it won’t have any microtransactions, battle passes, or online requirements.

There will be transmog

Busche confirmed that The Veilguard will have a transmog system so you can wear whatever you want while keeping the stats of stronger equipment.

There won’t be any asexual characters this time around

A fan asked if any characters in The Veilguard will be on the ace spectrum, and Busche said that while none of the companions will be asexual, she, as a gray asexual person, would like to include one down the line.

“None of our companions this time around are explicitly ace. When we look at the characters, their motivations, who they are, we always assess, ‘is this the right time?’ This time it wasn’t. But what I will say, for everyone on the ace spectrum out there, I would love to represent an ace relationship sometime in the future when it feels like the most authentic fit for a companion, when we can do it best.”

Blood mage will not be a specialization for Rook

While Busche didn’t specifically mention the other mage companions, she did confirm that Rook will have plot reasons for not practicing the controversial Blood Magic in The Veilguard. She didn’t get into specifics but did confirm that necromancy, elemental magic, and a more combat-based specialization are all on the table.

There will be no dog this time

Dragon Age: Origins had a canine companion in your party. That will not be the case in The Veilguard because the game takes place in northern Thedas, where the Mabari breed isn’t prominent. You can, however, pet Assan, Davrin’s griffon companion.

BioWare will show the character creator before launch

Having seen the character creator at Summer Game Fest, I can confirm The Veilguard’s character creator is easily the deepest one BioWare’s ever done. Busche confirmed BioWare will show it off publicly before launch in the fall.

Rook’s last name will be defined by their faction

Because you can play as so many different races in Dragon Age, player characters’ last names were often determined by race or backstory. In The Veilguard, Rook’s last name will be defined by which of the six factions you choose for them. Their first name will be customizable, however.

There will be a collector’s edition

While BioWare wasn’t able to talk about the different editions for The Veilguard, Epler said the team would talk about those “soon.”

Image: BioWare

Tavern songs are back

One of the coolest worldbuilding bits in Inquisition were tavern songs performed by bards in Skyhold. Those will be returning in The Veilguard. Busche says one that is featured in a tavern called “The Swan” in the city of Minrathous is her favorite in the game.

Your party members can leave if you piss them off…but they might come back

In previous Dragon Age games, your companions could leave your party if they disapproved of your actions enough. It sounds like The Veilguard will have similar falling-outs, but it seems like some of them might not be permanent.

“You can piss them off, they might not agree with you, and they might take some time away,” she said. “That said, this is the biggest threat to Thedas we’ve ever seen, so they are always going to be willing to show up to defend Thedas, but yeah, you can piss them off and they’ll leave for a minute.”

If Rook dies, game over

In previous Dragon Age games, you’d shift control from one character to another if they died in combat. In The Veilguard, you’ll have to reload a save if Rook dies. That’s because you don’t get direct control of your companions this time around, but you can spec a party member to revive you to salvage a bad fight.

The Fade decision from Inquisition won’t be a factor in The Veilguard

In Inquisition you had to choose between leaving either Dragon Age II protagonist Hawke or a Grey Warden leader in The Fade to help save the team from an ugly spider demon. Epler confirmed that this choice won’t play into The Veilguard’s story, but did say it might come up in a future game down the line.

There won’t be mounts this time around

Because The Veilguard isn’t open-world like Inquisition, you won’t be riding a horse in the new game. Rhodes explained mounts were meant to address a need that the studio no longer has this time around.


Dragon Age: The Veilguard is coming this fall, so if you’ve not played these games before, you still have some time to catch up. Here’s a roundup of the most important DLCs and some mods to streamline Inquisition into a better game to get you on your way.

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