This months Game Informer has a selection of juicy new info on BioWare’s third (main) entry in the Dragon Age series, Dragon Age: Inquisition. Apart from featuring, yet again, a seeming change in art style (check out the cover, that dragon looks different to their representation in previous entries) there’s a also a fairly decent list of bits and pieces featured inside the magazine. Before you get those bullet points that I’m sure will be expanded upon within the mag proper, take a gander at this little trailer they put together:
Now is it just me, or am I detecting yet another change in gameplay? They look to be ditching the more classic style of gameplay that Origins had, and the modification thereof in Dragon Age II, in favour of what looks like Fable. Lookit, they’ve even got what looks like the little HUD element that Fable had in the bottom right way back when. But do not fear, those of you belonging to the master race (Heil Whatever), they say that there will be a PC-oriented control scheme available for you, which may allow you to play in the manner of yore.
In a couple of firsts for the series though, we saw a horse in there, and what looked like quite the expansive desert. BioWare seem to reckon that DA: I will have the most expansive areas in their games so far, with little to no repetition. If they’re going to be throwing some purdy horsies into the game, they bloody well better have some expansive areas. Nobody wants to get a loading screen every thirty seconds because your gallant steed strides at a pace that outmatches your platform. Especially when there’s meant to be a fair few areas to travel as you ride/walk/briskly jog from eastern Thereldan (Fantasy Englamerica) to Western Orlais (Fantasy France).
Now, you know what I know some of you lovely people (and that one not-so-lovely person) have been waiting for this to come back. So wait no longer, because I’m about to tell you that in DA: I, your character, THE LEADER OF THE INQUISITION, is customisable. Your race, your gender, your class, your… eye colour, it’s yours to change! Obviously, the race thing is the only thing not present in DA II, so that’s what you’re gonna love most. However, there does seem to be a trade-off. While selectable races is back, the dialogue wheel has decided that it likes the feel of the dark-fantasy setting that Dragon Age is carrying. Not that a big a problem for some, but if you’re like me you prefer the absolute knowledge of what your bald, seven-foot tall lesbian is going to say to the dwarf slavers rather than gambling on an option and finding out that it ends with you shooting them in the head despite being marked ‘Give them a stern message’. The dialogue wheels besterest buddy Voice Acting is gonna come along as well, to make that cheesy one-liner even cheesier.
‘But wait!’ I hear you say from several miles away/the other side of the computer, ‘I’m THE LEADER OF THE INQUISITION?’ Yes, you are! And while you may not be as unexpected as you might like throughout the game, you do have a fair bit of sway with what it does. I’m just gonna throw some of my own guesses out there just for kicks, but let’s say you that maybe there was a fairly large city that was under the grip of heavy crime. They have an active policing force, but with enough of them either corrupt in incompetent there’s not much stopping the traditional viking and pirate past-times of raping and pillaging. So what do you do? Do you release the city from the grip of R&P, or do you hand it over to the scoundrels in exchange for their allegiance in the coming <INSERT CLIMAX FOR OVERARCHING CONFLICT HERE>? That’s the general scope they seem to be going for, with options that will have some real weight to them, though the degree that they go to is yet to truly be seen.
Finally, because of the usage of the Frostbite 3 Engine (you know, EA’s baby FPS engine), BioWare reckon they can get away with some truly magnificent areas, as well as a fair bit of environmental interactivity. See some pesky archer standing at the top of an ever so slightly rickety watchtower? Chances are, you can knock/cut that down. Hanging about in a mine and some savage fire crabs (please let there be fire crabs in this game) rush at you? Look about for that supporting column, and enact a mass cave in of their skulls. Destruction isn’t the only thing they want to do, though. Keeping with the larger areas and their desire to bring in proper exploration to Dragon Age, the guys over at BioWare are wanting to add in creation of terrain. Never should you have to fear the broken bridge again! All of those unreachable goodies and caves are just a quick bit of DIWM (Do-It-With-Magic) away. With just a few spoonfuls of the pearlescent blue mana potion, you too can utilise some DIWM and get into those otherwise unreachable nooks and crannies.
Dragon Age: Inquisition is sounding to be shaping up nicely. If they can pull everything off well, I don’t see any reason for this to fail like DA II did for whatever reasons each person had (Mine? I actually liked it more than Origins because of the restrained setting, though it had a load more problems). If you want to learn more about DA: I, grab a copy of Game Informer when you can. You’ll get inferior writing (says I, Dryd Aykma, writer extraordinaire) but you’ll definitely get more cohesive and comprehensive writing. Which, in my books, is what superior writing is all about.