Dragon Age 3: Inquisition Announced

A few weeks back, a leaked BioWare survey appeared to reveal the plot of Dragon Age 3. “Take the Inquisitor’s cloak and lead the only force able of bringing light into the darkness,” the reveal teased. “Choose the direct method and gather your armies, send spies into the shadows or engage in a political war, make friends and use your connections indirectly: it is up to you how you lead the inquisition. But you’ll have to take lead of it from the beginning. Make your player a rogue, warrior or mage and set up your crew from up to ten (!) complex companions to lead them against those who attack you by systematically spying on, revealing and destroying them.”

Interesting stuff to be sure, stuff that has been confirmed this morning in a press release that officially announced the development of Dragon Age 3: Inquisition. Due in ‘Late 2013′ (read: holiday season), the press release promises that Dragon Age 3 will be built based on the copious feedback BioWare has solicited from fans in the almost-two years since Dragon Age 2. “With Dragon Age 3: Inquisition, we want to give fans what they’re asking for,” BioWare’s Aaryn Flynn said in the statement. “[A] great story with choices that matter, a massive world to explore, deep customization and combat that is both tactical and visceral.”

Forgive me if I am a bit skeptical about whether or not the choices in the game will actually matter. I’m also a bit concerned about the game. Yes, I’m fully aware that Dragon Age 2 is not the most beloved game BioWare has ever made. But it took a lot of narrative chances, chances that I strongly feel paid off well by game’s end. I really hope, I mean to say, that BioWare doesn’t simply throw out everything that worked in DA2 along with everything that didn’t. Is that going to happen? Well, consider that Dragon Age 3 is being developed with the Frostbite 2 engine.

Frostbite is the engine DICE created for the Battlefield series; Frostbite 2 made its debut with Battlefield 3. Need For Speed: The Run also uses Frostbite 2, and future releases running the engine include Medal of Honor: Warfighter, Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel, and Command & Conquer. Notice anything? Like the fact that these games are mostly linear experiences with extremely heavy PvP aspects*? Yeah. That leaked description above could be taken either way, but combined with rumors from last November, and the fact that they’re using Frostbite 2, I think we can go ahead and consider DA3 multiplayer all but officially confirmed.

Now it’s entirely possible that EA just wants to get the most out of their shiny new engine. And it is true that Frostbite is capable of some amazing stuff, particularly the very realistic physics and excellent destruction capabilities. If using Frostbite means DA3 will have a much more immediate, visceral combat system with lots of gore (and not just more blood), I’m all for it. But here’s something to keep in mind: Dragon Age:Origins was developed using BioWare’s proprietary Eclipse engine, and Dragon Age 2 used an updated version of Eclipse called Lycium. Ditching their own engine in favor of EA’s new darling certainly doesn’t give credence to Frank Gibeau’s recent insistence that EA doesn’t meddle with their developers.

Consider also that when fans requested multiplayer for the Mass Effect series, what they wanted was co-op, specifically, story-based co-op. What they got was, basically, an endlessly repetitive horde mode, one that appears to have been developed with resources diverted from the single player experience. After that debacle, I am not inclined to give BioWare and EA the benefit of the doubt for Dragon Age 3. I fully anticipate either a silly horde mode, or pvp death match, or worse, something as pointless as Mass Effect 3′s war readiness system.

But don’t take my word, why not judge for yourself? Here’s the press release:

BIOWARE ANNOUNCES DRAGON AGE 3: INQUISITION

The Return of Dragon Age will be Bigger, Deeper and Powered by Frostbite 2

EDMONTON, Alberta – September 17, 2012 – BioWare, a Label of Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA), today announced Dragon Age™ 3: Inquisition, the next chapter in the award-winning role-playing game (RPG) franchise, is in development at BioWare Edmonton and BioWare Montreal. Coming in late 2013, Dragon Age 3: Inquisition combines the storytelling legacy BioWare is known for, with deep RPG gameplay, all on a brand new RPG game engine underpinned by EA’s critically-acclaimed Frostbite™ 2 technology.

“The Dragon Age team has been working on Dragon Age 3: Inquisition for almost two years now,” said Aaryn Flynn, General Manager of BioWare Edmonton and BioWare Montreal. “We’ve been poring over player feedback from past games and connecting directly with our fans. They haven’t held back, so we’re not either. With Dragon Age 3: Inquisition, we want to give fans what they’re asking for – a great story with choices that matter, a massive world to explore, deep customization and combat that is both tactical and visceral.”

Added Flynn, “At the same time, we know we need new technology to truly make this vision become fully realized. And we’ve been working with DICE to make Frostbite 2 the foundation for the engine that is going to power Dragon Age 3.”

The Dragon Age franchise has received over 80 awards from critics around the world, and has sold over 8 million copies to date*. Created by BioWare, the property has spawned many novels, an animated film, comic books, collectibles and more since Dragon Age: Origins launched in 2009.

For more information about Dragon Age 3: Inquisition, including updates from the development team and a letter to the fans from Executive Producer Mark Darrah, please visit the game’s official web site at http://dragonage.com. Dragon Age fans can also receive updates on Twitter® at http://twitter.com/dragonage, or on Facebook at http://facebook.com/dragonage.

*According to internal EA data.

So what do you think, Game Fronters? Does this sound like the course is being corrected after Dragon age 2 and Mass Effect 3? Or can we keep the BioWare death clock running?

*Command & Conquer is the exception, but it’s an RTS, not an RPG.

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15 Comments on Dragon Age 3: Inquisition Announced

Amagoi

On September 17, 2012 at 9:02 am

Dragon Age was my favorite series for a while, but the use of Frostbyte and all of Bioware’s recent missteps really make me leery of this. I’m inclined to agree that they’ll be forced multiplayer, and even more dulling down of the great RPG elements that Origins had.

Hate to say it, but I wouldn’t be surprsied if Obsidian’s Project Eternity delivers more of what Dragon Age was supposed to than DA does anymore with it’s own games.

lee

On September 17, 2012 at 9:09 am

The question for me is will this game sale. I am still having some second thoughts as to whether I should purchase this game or not. Don’t get me wrong I love both DA origin and DA 2 but I still think no matter how great they make there games from here on out that dark cloud of ME3 ending hatred is still is going to be hovering over there heads. As for the new gaphics however I have only one thing to say about that,we are assuming control.

Jim

On September 17, 2012 at 9:26 am

I thought the graphics were awful for DA2, so the introduction of the Frostbite engine is a positive for me. That being said. I fall into the category of a DA2 hater. I loved the first one, but the second installment took to many steps back for my liking.

For me to even consider going near this game after my disappointment with DA2 and ME3 they are going to need to show some improved combat mechanics(Enjoyed DA2 combat, but it got boring), a more open(and less repetitive) world/story progression, and some stunning graphics.

Even if all those conditions are met I will still need to play a demo, otherwise all bets are off.

Sonic889

On September 17, 2012 at 10:12 am

Well it seems that Bioware is the type of company that learns from it’s mistakes, and at first they called us idiots saying we didn’t “understand” ME3′s ending. They have corrected that mistake, and frankly I think they’ll want to avoid another ME3 bashing case. So in this case I don’t think it’ll be underdeveloped, more like they’ll try to imitate Skyrim and have so heavily developed that’ll it’ll take 2 months to finish the game completely.

Then again nobody cares what I thiink :P (it’s true :) ).

GazH

On September 17, 2012 at 10:17 am

I personally won’t be touching it, I’ve had quite enough of Bioware after ME3 and SW:TOR, they’re now little more than EA puppets. I guarantee that DA3 will have multiplayer, in fact I wouldn’t be surprised if the majority was multiplayer. Just read what they’ve written to see what I mean, “Choose the direct method and gather your armies, send spies into the shadows or engage in a political war, make friends and use your connections indirectly: it is up to you how you lead the inquisition. But you’ll have to take lead of it from the beginning. Make your player a rogue, warrior or mage and set up your crew from up to ten (!) complex companions to lead them against those who attack you by systematically spying on, revealing and destroying them.”

Doesn’t this just say to you ‘multiplayer’? Obviously each player will be a different faction and you’ll be working with and against them in some stupid battle involving your ‘ten complex companions’. It might even have a single player aspect, if you’re lucky, but don’t expect the story to end well…

Axetwin

On September 17, 2012 at 10:35 am

Well considering EA said no game under their label would EVER launch without a multplayer component (but this is obviously not considered “meddling”, I am interested to see what kind of MP theyre including for DA. My guess is some sort of PvP this time around. Probably, PvP that is integral to the success of your singleplayer campaign to boot.

Ares

On September 17, 2012 at 2:29 pm

I’ll be looking forward to see how this turns out. I enjoyed DA:Origin, Awakening and even DA2. DA2 was a good game in and of itself but was easy to see the many things that seemed rushed. Bioware will have to do rather good with DA3 since the now have that dark cloud forming off the horizon from the ME3 ending debacle. They mess this game up and the lynch mob might actually show up at their front doors.

I won’t be buying this from any pre-sale. This will be a wait and see approach.

Eddie

On September 17, 2012 at 2:55 pm

definitely not preordering this one…way too skeptical after ME3, I enjoyed DA2 for the most part though I wasnt a big fan of all their changes. I promised myself after the extended ending debacle for mass effect that I wasnt going to support EA anymore and unless they somehow make the most amazing game ever withd dragon age I think I’m gonna stick to it

Loveless

On September 17, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Hmmmm, reads a lot like the ME3 press release. I don’t believe a word of it. I’ll wait and see how people/sites I trust react to it when released and then make a decision. If its anything like 2 I will avoid it like the plague. The first game was fantastic, I know a lot of people knock on the silent protagonist angle but I dug the heck out of that game and the story. The second was a joke with the recycled maps and the “Improved” combat system made me feel like I was playing an adult version of Brave Fencer Musashi.

Kevin

On September 17, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Before I would be all over this. But Bioware has put out some really poor product the past few years. DA2 might’ve been a fine game, had it not been “Dragon Age 2.” Mass Effect 3 learned all the wrong lessons from DA2, in the recycled resources, clumsy quest interfaces, etc. Then of course there was the ending. Not a swing and a miss, but merely a bloop single when before they were hittin bombs. Then there was the debacle that was TOR.

It’s been 3 years since Bioware made a solid all around game. So if they want me to spend my money they gotta convince me. Chances are they won’t, as it will involve pointless co-op and intrusive DRM along with Day One DLC.

Yes, DA2 took some risks that paid off better. Combat was a bit more visceral, and sometimes more satisfying (though the random pop out of nowhere spawns ruined a lot of that feeling.) The AI actually was a bit more intelligent on its own. I liked the resource gathering system a lot better (the crafting system was a wash, improvements in some, not in others.)

The problem was they drastically scaled down the world (they could’ve made Kirkwall seem like a far bigger city), introduced a horrid quest log (that was carried over into ME3), showed obscene laziness by reusing the same four or 5 skins, and just generally waited way too long to move forward with the Mages vs. Templars thing. (Act 2 was an exceptional stand-alone act, but really felt out of place with what came after.) Meredith was an incredibly compelling character before Bioware took the cheap route of having her be “corrupted.”

DA2′s changes were about 10% right, 90% negative.

R.J.

On September 17, 2012 at 4:42 pm

There was a time when I would be way more excited about this than I am. DA2 was a step back in most respects from DAO, and then I think we all know why ME3 casts doubt on Bioware. However, other things concern me. EA wants MP in everything, so I wouldn’t be surprised if there is some sort of bland MP shoved on this game. Also, while the use of Frostbite means the game will almost certainly look much better than DA2, it is an engine that has so far been used only fast-paced action titles. It makes me worry that DA3 will have even fewer RPG elements since EA always wants to “broaden the audience.” And it does come off as EA meddling since now Bioware will be making the game with a different engine, which means that it’ll be the second time where things were redesigned. Also, the whole bit about commanding the Inquisition sounds suiously like the war readiness system from ME3.

I’m also skeptical about “choices mattering.” I’ve heard that from Bioware before, and more and more it seems like it’s just a marketing phrase. We were told the same thing about ME, and told for years that all those choices would pay off since ME3 could diverge in many directions, and that didn’t happen. They also say that they are giving players what they want based on feedback, but I question what feedback they are listening to. Also, Bioware has a habit of removing features that didn’t work instead of finding ways to improve them, so a lot of the feedback they look at might result in various things being cut.

gasmaskangel

On September 17, 2012 at 8:05 pm

I want one question answered about this before any others, is there going to be multiplayer? If the answer is anything other than a resounding no, then I am going to completely ignore DA 3. I won’t read any previews, I certainly won’t preorder it, and I’ll only buy it if it gets positive reviews from 3rd parties uninterested in how I spend my cash, and out of spite for EA I’ll probably buy it used.

If the answer is no however, then I will be paying very close attention to the development. I stil won’t preorder it, but I may buy it new if no one spends hours breaking down each individual way the ending is awful.

folklore

On September 17, 2012 at 8:15 pm

EA, has pretty much said that all games coming out after me3, will have a multiplayer feature of some sort.

Quinsec

On September 19, 2012 at 3:59 pm

I’ve played DAO for near 300 hours, according to Steam. The gameplay was addictive. It was fascinating to see how the characters reacted to you differently based on who you were and how fights turned out so differently based on tactical choices you made. DA2 didn’t even nail the character reactions on the major dichotomy in the story-line – many characters who you would think would care that you’re a mage don’t seem to notice. Let’s not even go into the Diablo-esque fights where I just kill enemy after enemy with no challenge beyond endurance. I also absolutely hated the cartoony artistic change – darkspawn looked so much better in DAO.

I don’t have high hopes for DA3, sadly.

Hemlock

On September 19, 2012 at 7:39 pm

I LOVED Origins…..love love loved it. (also love love love ME1 and 2…3 ruined the whole series for me)

Played DA2, except for some issues (reused areas, mages doing magy things right in front of a templar with no response….or Cullen’s infamous ‘Mages are not people like you or I” line, super fast non tactical horde mode combat, non customization of companions….among others) but from a story line perspective I liked it….I knew going in it wasn’t going to be a direct continuation of Dragon Age O/A…..there really at that point in the DA universe was no need for a continuation of the Wardens or the big bad…usually a second act (unless it’s a duology) is the bridge-story…the plot that move the rest of the story forward….it sets up the next big bad, or conflates the big bad from Act 1. I also wasn’t too upset (like most others) about the ‘railroaded’ ending (okay….elf mage dude going blood mage corpse ball at the end was wth)…but I kind of understood that we were playing a story that had already been told….so I was fine with that….Overall I enjoyed DA2…..and have a hard time going back to DAO with the silent protagonist.

But now DA3 is on the horizon…..if there’s multiplayer….especially if the multiplayer can at ALL impact the SP game aspect, no way in Hades will I be buying it. I just feel kind of sickly hopeful/depressed about DA3….30 months of total development time just seems super short when
1) going to a new engine
2) if the plot is as expansive as suggested, seems like it may be pretty simplistic

DA3 may be a wait and see for me. I’m still on the fence about pre-ordering…depends on how much Bioware gets dismantled in the coming months….if they are going to be just a brand…it will be a ‘wait until user reviews (and not gamer mag reviews) are out and get a general feel for how the community responded to the game….and if it’s too linear, too dumbed down, too COD-ish….I’ll pass.

Heck, I wonder how long that Obsidian Kickstarter will be going on…..may just decide to plunk down some serious cash to them.