For a while, the development of the next Dragon Age game was like one of those non-spoken secrets everyone knows about. Some months ago, you could browse through BioWare’s job portal and find different roles that had the Dragon Age tag all over.
So when the core team started teasing the existence of a next installment, few of us were really surprised. Partly because we know the main storyline is far from being over… But above all, because Dragon Age is indeed a very strong franchise with millions of followers, critical praise and the potential to kick further.
In this feature, we look at everything we know about Dragon Age 4. Rest your weapons, come around the campfire and let’s get started.
Release Date: So Close and Yet So Far
Don’t get too excited already. While the next Dragon Age game is indeed a reality, it’s one that will happen in the far future. In terms of timetables, Inquisition came over three years ago and there was a gap of three years as well between DA2 and the third installment. However, we know that BioWare just doubled down on Anthem, most likely under the scrutiny that Mass Effect: Andromeda left in the air.
Writer Alexis Kennedy reported back in May last year that he was working already in a part of the original game story. The way he spoke about the whole project gives the impression that this was in its very early stages then. Therefore, it will be a while before we can taste something official when it comes to Dragon Age 4‘s release date. Anthem is coming in 2019 so start counting up, folks.
Story and Characters Are Essential
This statement comes directly from BioWare general manager Casey Hudson. In a recent tweet, he mentioned that it was “too early to talk details” but the game would be “story and character focused”. This should not come as a surprise, on the other hand. It’s almost like a must-do at this point. BioWare’s emphasis on powerful narratives and companions have granted them their own place of fame and fans don’t expect anything less.
Dragon Age: Inquisition finished with an open door that invited new strings of narratives. Its Trespasser DLC took that door, transformed it into a huge cliff-hanger and left you half way between delight and despair. Although I’d love to give my Inquisitor another go in new lands, my bet is that Dragon Age 4 will follow paths we already know while making us starting fresh with another hero.
It Contains Live Elements
In the era of service-based games and multiplayer craze, the idea of turning single-player titles into online, massive experiences is worrying. Especially when taking into account the knowledge Bioware has already on this field (Star Wars: The Old Republic), plus the one they are brewing as we write. Or even the consolidation of market trends in the videogame industry. What would happen with Thedas if, say, the whole premise was to circle around an always-online path?
However, it seems that Bioware is concentrating all their online power on Anthem, while Dragon Age will contain live elements of some sort albeit nothing too invasive or too experience-defining. Casey Hudson already pacified the restless by saying that “when we talk about live it just means designing a game for continued storytelling after the main story [has been completed]”.
My guess here is that, similar to Dragon Age Inquisition o Mass Effect 3, the next Dragon Age title will hold a multiplayer setting we can pursue for fun but always on the side. Maybe we do get some sort of “empire readiness” for the next wars to come, or maybe we can just keep the Darkspawn in check. At least I hope so…
It Will Not End the Saga
Yep, as you read it. We are stuck with Dragon Age for a while and for plenty of years to come. Let me hear those cries of despair right now… No? Ok, let’s move on. Former Creative Director Mike Laidlaw confirmed recently that “there’s no planned ending for DA”, answering to a fan who asked for a possible closure to the series. “There’s an evolving plan that tends to look two games ahead or so,” he said.
Confirming the existence of a hypothetical Dragon Age 5 without even a release window for Dragon Age 4 seems off and should be taken carefully. I am pretty sure BioWare vouched for the continuation of the Mass Effect series way before the Andromeda fiasco happened. And look where the whole intergalactic business stands now.
On the other hand, if you are a fan to the Dragon Age series and have ventured into its world of books and comics, then you know that there’s definitely a lot of lore to dig out. If BioWare has the potential and the desire to keep it alive and kicking, I am not going to complain at all.
And this will be all the facts we know about the next Dragon Age title in the making. It’s not much, truth be told, but it’s definitely reassuring to know that BioWare is committed to making this happen. And that is enough for me right now.
Until a new IP comes that brings a purely RPG focused experience (oh, sweet Mass Effect, where are thou now?), the Dragon Age franchise is pretty much everything we have from that original BioWare who gave us the feels with compelling narratives and unforgettable worlds. Nothing against Anthem, mind you. The game really looks neat for the experience it seems to bring. However, I do belong to that group of players whose most joyful gaming moments came from single-player, RPG journeys.
Talking Dragon Age 4 (and its lack of deeper details) surely got us into speculation. We’ll be dropping another feature about our top 5 wishes for the new game – so stay tuned for that one. In the meantime, let us know: are you a Dragon Age core fan? Which game have you enjoyed the most and why? Are you looking forward to knowing and discovering Dragon Age 4? Meet other heroes of Ferelden, Champions, and Inquisitors down below and game on!