A Frostbitten Land: Dragon Age Not-III Gets A Shiny Trailer

By Alec Meer on March 6th, 2014 at 5:00 pm.

This year? THIS YEAR? Why was I not told of this? (I was. It’s just that I have the memory of a Leveson Inquiry witness these days). Yes, fantasy RPG sequel Dragon Age Inquistion is due this Autumn/Fall, and much as Bioware have some faith-rebuilding to do after the double-whammy of Dragon Age II and Mass Effect Ending-Gate, I really would like a big, fat, indulgent, glossy RPG on my hard drive right now. Will it be Dragon Age Not-III? The trailer below, which focuses on Frostbite 3 engine-powered environments, suggests I will at least be cooing at its surface.

The new game is set in the world of “Thedas” and covers environments from “war-torn plains to jagged coast”. Looks like there’ll be another undegroundy dwarfy section too. With DICE’s Battlefield engine powering it, it’s suggesting something visually spectacular, in marketing materials at least. This appears to be all in engine, though obv it’s all fancy camera angles and whatnot:

How’s that, then? Any good for you? I THOUGHT NOT YOU MISERIGUTS.

Seriously though: wouldn’t it be lovely if Bioware had taken everything we all grumbled about on board and this turned out to be super-amazing? Sometimes it’s fun to hope!

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78 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    Surlywombat says:

    Sure does look pretty when not much is happening. Lets hope they manage to put a decent game on them bones.

    • seruko says:

      fear not, they wont’. dragon age 2.5:the mass effect 3 ening

    • Sheng-ji says:

      It does look pretty but…. does the game engine simulate purple fringe chromatic aberration?? That’s as stupid as the current fad of hexagonal lens flares, rain hitting your screen and shallow depth of field, all of which recreate artificial camera and lens artefacts!

      The hexagonal lens flares indicates that the lens has a 6 bladed aperture, which is especially jarring when combined with the low depth of field effect if the bokeh field does not have ugly hexagonal highlights – low depth of field is jarring because unless you need glasses, it’s impossible to maintain focus on something you aren’t looking directly at and our eyes ability to focus is instant, given that it doesn’t rely on micro motors.

      Now we get in engine CA, a common issue with lenses having their aperture open too wide to cope with the refraction inside the barrel.

      All these things are mapping the effect of cheap, bad lenses rather than the human eye and in my opinion, no matter how novel it may be to have these effects in a game, you are making your game look like a “shot for youtube on a budget feature production”. Basically they are the equivalent of 80’s hair. Embarrassing for all involved.

      • Premium User Badge

        Rizlar says:

        Disagree about depth of field. It can be extremely useful for shifting focus onto certain elements. It’s totally central to cinematography and photography for good reason, it can be used to communicate a lot.

        Agree to some extent about the other things which are more specific to cameras, they can look a bit gimmicky, but I don’t think you should write them off completely. All these things are just tools, to be used in service of the game. When they are overused or used badly or without purpose it does come across as gimmicky and stupid though.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          Oh I don’t write them off completely, for example – rain on the lens adds to the atmosphere in games like Metro and Metroid, games where you are behind a visor, but, and this is important – video games are not movies.

          Yes, films use shallow depth of field a lot to blur out distracting elements from the frame, but that doesn’t work with most games, because most games do not have sophisticated algorithms judging accurately where the players focus should be at any minute. What games tend to do is plop down a sphere where your cursor/the crosshairs are, and blur everything outside of that sphere. It looks good in carefully choreographed gameplay cross sections and stills, but in actual play, you don’t stare only at the crosshair/curser. Your eyes roam the screen and your crosshair/cursor is not necessarily where the action your attention should be on is at. This leads to significant amount of time “managing” where your focus is – awkward and counter-intuitive, at least in my experience. For me, you may as well smear 3/4 of your lovely expensive monitor in Vaseline or crank the FOV slider right down to 40-50, it achieves the same thing – and never forget – this effect isn’t supposed to improve your experience or provide a cinematic feel to the game. It’s all about being able to render much lower quality assets on most of the screen and is a similar trick employed to the massive gun models etc. Perhaps a necessity on a console, where they have to keep up with the Jones when it comes to how nice their marketing material looks, but PC’s don’t need to employ such trickery to have gorgeous graphics.

  2. Viroso says:

    Well if they took everything into account it’d probably suck.

  3. killias2 says:

    DA2’s biggest problem, by far, was that it was rushed. Another year of development would’ve done a lot of good for that title. I’m hoping this one isn’t rushed, though I’m certainly not pre-ordering it. It’ll have to prove itself, just as DAO did (successfully).

    • Premium User Badge

      jezcentral says:

      Although I hugely (yes, hugely) enjoyed DA2, I’d agree with that. While there was a lot to like about the game, it reeked of complacency. The reaction to the game seems to have cured them of this. I’m hoping that everything will turn out nice again, with DAnot3.

      I do wish that they would give modding a helping hand, which is not going to happen, as EA’s default position is Fostbite 3 is too hard for the ickle modders.

      • aliksy says:

        I assumed EA doesn’t like mods because anything you get from a free mod is something you didn’t buy for non-refundable bioware points.

    • Knufinke says:

      Man I really don’t want to sound bitter about a videogame but DA2’s biggest problems were the godawful joss whedonesque one liners, unbearably smug characters, boring side missions, boring areas, boring fights, fanservice alias felicia day and the horrid bioware fanthreads.

      I don’t think I ‘ve ever been more disapointed in a videogame company and after ME 3 AND DA2 my faith is entirely gone.

      • Premium User Badge

        Big Murray says:

        I fail to see how Felicia Day voicing a character in a piece of DLC contributes to the game being bad?

        • MadTinkerer says:

          It’s completely missing the point, that’s why.

          “Oh, let’s do something the fans will really enjoy!

          Make another large, open world? Nope!

          Not fuck up the tactical combat by making it an action RPG? Nope!

          Not pull the entire thing off of Steam onto our exclusive DRM service? Nope!

          Oh hey: we’ll get a fan-favorite to do some voice acting! That will prove we’re totally in tune with what our fans want! Next on the agenda: Simcity MMO! Hmm… Just drop the last three letters. Everyone is always playing online these days, so they’ll expect online connectivity.

          Finally, let’s figure out what will GUARANTEE that the new Dungeon Keeper game will make us back the money we put into it. Hmmm… I have it: make a clone of someone else’s iPhone game and add more microtransactions! Oh and make minion slapping it’s own separate quick-time thing to prove we know what the fans want.

          That’s a wrap folks! Take your human-disguises off for the day and meet back at 4PM for the daily group violation of The Avatar’s corpse. Which reminds me, we really do need to make another ‘Ultima’, air quotes, wink wink, game soon…”

    • Premium User Badge

      Carra says:

      It would have been fine as an expansion. As a sequel to one of the best RPG’s I’ve ever played? It really falls short. I still think it’s a good game, just not the quality I expect form Bioware.

      In the past, after releasing Baldu’s Gate/Neverwinter Nights/Kotor, just putting “Bioware” on the box would have meant an instant buy. This time, they have something to prove.

  4. Premium User Badge

    daphne says:

    Each of Dragon Age: Origins’ big locations were memorable on their own right, and that game didn’t even have any aspirations of being open-world. This trailer showcases one bland location after another. You could create a similar montage out of Origins’ locations and it’d end up much more remarkable than this.

    • Premium User Badge

      Big Murray says:

      Unfortunately, your point isn’t that well serviced by my not being able to remember much about any of the locations in Dragon Age: Origins. Distinctive it most definitely was not … as good a game as it was, it was very generic fantasy.

    • kament says:

      They were certainly not and it absolutely wouldn’t. The most memorable thing about them is that they were brown. With no exception whatsoever. That is truly memorable, although not in a good way. It’s the characters and to lesser extent the plot which were memorable in a good way. I guess they were so good even environments shone in reflected glory.

    • somnolentsurfer says:

      Even if some of them (Deep Roads, Fade) were memorable for their unending bland monotony…

      The Dragon Age series is great much more for its storytelling, characters, worldbuilding lore, and (in DAO’s case) excellent strategic combat that it is for its individual locations. Watching this made me long for a setting with half the character of The Banner Saga. Heck, I’m more attached to Kirkwall than to anywhere in DAO.

  5. Artea says:

    I look forward to romancing my gay elf party member in these nice-looking environments.

  6. aliksy says:

    I still don’t want to give EA any money. And I bet they won’t even put this in a steam sale to tempt me.

    • Premium User Badge

      jezcentral says:

      And I bet they won’t even put this in Steam to tempt you.

      • MadTinkerer says:

        To their credit, EA have done a great job of corralling their worst mistakes away from Steam and the PC altogether. DA2 was made an Origin exclusive after release on Steam. ME3 and Dead Space 3 were never released on Steam. “Dungeon Keeper” (the iPhone one) isn’t even playable on PCs. Plants vs. Zombies 2… essentially doesn’t exist.

        But Sims 3 content is still being released on Steam, proving that they’re not all completely braindead morons. Not completely.

        So the only logical conclusion is that EA is deliberately curating the games they release on Steam, keeping all of the stinkers exclusively on Origin as to not pollute the wider customer base. As soon as they finally make a good game again, it will get a Steam release.

    • Henchimus says:

      I’m not buying anything BIoware after their last few releases. Funny, Obsidian always used to be the junior partner to Bioware, doing often sub-par sequels to Bioware’s great games… now, Obsidian have just released a fantastic RPG and have one more massive game in the pipeline that looks like it could be a true classic. Meanwhile Bioware have… a failed F2P Star Wars MMO and a third-rate “action” RPG with a focus on cringe-tastic nerd romance storylines!!!

      • Premium User Badge

        Big Murray says:

        It’s somehow compulsory for every single Bioware-related thing on the internet to have a self-righteous Obsidian and/or CDProjekt fanboy who’s opinion wasn’t asked for.

        • dE says:

          Well someone certainly set off your hate trigger…

        • Hmm-Hmm. says:

          Nobody’s opinion was asked for. But it’s not surprising people keep sharing theirs. Just as it’s not surprising that there are people who like RPGs and, you know, compare games and developers.

          So, I do wonder, what got you so riled up?

      • Mokinokaro says:

        The Star Wars MMO wasn’t really Bioware though. It was a studio EA renamed to Bioware and pushed a few current Bioware Edmonton people to.

        Now had you said ME3 I would agree.

        • bleeters says:

          I wouldn’t exactly call it “failed” either. Nowhere near as successful as they might’ve hoped, sure, but last I heard it was doing pretty well for itself.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            I’m pretty sure that it paid for itself inside the first month, perhaps even the first week – so failed, certainly not!

  7. Michael Fogg says:

    Too much of a Skyrim-job. First the new Witcher, then this.

    • Pich says:

      Skyrim invented snowy mountains

    • Boozebeard says:

      So anything open world is a Skyrim-job now? And who put all those flappy bird pipes in that there Mario?

      • Kadayi says:

        There’s just something wrong about the phrase skyrim-job ……

        I can’t quite put my tongue on it though.

      • Chuckleluck says:

        Say what you will, Oblivion was the most thinly veiled Skyrim-job of them all.

  8. SupahSpankeh says:

    Bioware/EA have a looooong way to go before I’ll preorder anything on faith again.

    Apart from Titanfall, which I preordered after playing the beta.

    • Skiddywinks says:

      Well then it wasn’t preordered on faith then, was it?

      So you are still following your own rules.

  9. Pich says:

    Honestly i’m more likely to but Shaq Fu 2 than this as it stands now.

  10. Wurstwaffel says:

    Better than Origins or not, I’m sure this will be worthwhile.

  11. Kadayi says:

    Engine wise it looks great. Bit concerned about the lack of npcs/activity in the urban environments but hard to judge without understanding the context fully.

  12. tk421242 says:

    Have they said or shown yet what the mechanics of the game will be like? Are we back to the original Dragon Age or are they continuing on the path of stream lining the RPG elements in favor of more action? I have not really done much reading about the game and the trailer shows nothing but what looks like pre-rendered footage.

    • Premium User Badge

      Rizlar says:

      The latter. Looks pretty DA:Oish, but the emphasis definitely seems to be on action.

      • tk421242 says:

        Thanks for that link. First time I have seen that.

        I loved the old school almost isometric feel of the first DA and this looks to be a totally different direction. It is not that I am against this style… Witcher and KOA were both fun games. I just wish they went back to the old format. Of course I know this format is better suited for console gamers and I would assume that is what they are trying to attract.

        • Mokinokaro says:

          DA:O sold tons more on the consoles than PC so unfortunately it makes sense for them to cater more to that crowd.

      • Skiddywinks says:

        What the fuck, that looked like Fable 4 or something. Well, colour me not fucked at all then.

        • SillyWizard says:

          Yes, thank you for that. I am now certain that this is not a game for me.

          …which is really sad. I really loved my DA:O dwarf-rogue, and I was once upon a time really looking forward to seeing him continue to build out the Gray Wardens through subsequent games.

          And instead…DA2 and DAnot3, ever distancing themselves from the things I liked about the original.

          Sigh.

      • Premium User Badge

        RedViv says:

        Yeah! Totally no strategic stuff mentioned as an equally valid option! Not 17 minutes into the video or anything! Totally action all of it those sillies! Imagine if they’d even show the bird’s eye view and controls just like in DA:O, that’d be something!

        • Premium User Badge

          Oozo says:

          It’s good to know that there are both options, even though I’m actually more sceptical about them succeeding in implementing two wildly different ways of playing the game than I would be about a full-on switch to action.

          I mean, I am able to enjoy Icewind Dale as much as Dragon’s Dogma, but the space in between might be a place where cold winds howl. We’ll see, I guess. I’m always up for a pleasant surprise.

  13. iamthebomb says:

    Attention, spoilers below!
    ——-
    It’ll suck
    ——-

    • Jimbo says:

      Where were you before I bought Mass Effect 3?

      • MadTinkerer says:

        They named their DRM service after the corpse of a beloved game studio in order to warn their older fans away from ever using “Origin” for anything. The warning tends to go over the heads of younger fans, though.

  14. Premium User Badge

    shaydeeadi says:

    The Witcher 3 will be better.

    • Mokinokaro says:

      Maybe, but it’s also their first attempt at a real open world setting. There’s the worrying chance it might fall flat on its face.

    • Orija says:

      Well, The Witcher 2 will be betterrer!

  15. Enkinan says:

    That’s a pretty engine, let’s hope they actually put something worth playing on it. Can’t say I’m holding my breath.

  16. Premium User Badge

    cpt_freakout says:

    But will there be caves for super diverse quests? Otherwise I’m skipping this one.

  17. Tei says:

    :-O

    Its like somebody took Skyrim, a bunch of top quality artist, great magnificent bastard engine programmers, and said “Lets try to make something more awesome than Skyrim”.

    Also seems EA is pouring a lot of money in here, because they will reuse any money put in there to other games that will use the engine. This is magnificent, great, … the type of thing we need so console gamers say “true next-gen”.

  18. Zenicetus says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but this doesn’t look all that shiny to me, unless we’re comparing it to DA2. Some of the textures on rocks and stone look low-res, and the tree models aren’t great. Very bland, flat lighting on that dwarf cavern scene too.

    Maybe I’m just spoiled by modded Skyrim and Witcher 2 (once I finally upgraded my hardware enough). I know this game won’t pass or fail just on the environmental graphics. I’m much more interested in the combat mechanics and storytelling. But still… I’m not getting much of a “next gen” vibe from this trailer, like I did from the Witcher 3 previews.

  19. int says:

    Do we play our own character or will it be Hawke the talke?

    • Werthead says:

      Own character, I believe. You can choose to be a human, elf, Qunari or dwarf so that seems to be a good start.

  20. Henchimus says:

    No way am I buying this; looks like DA2 part 2. Good for lonely fat chicks who want to play a guilt-free trashy romance game and squeee over badly-animated gay elf kisses, bad for people who want to play a CRPG! Bring on Pillars of Eternity!

    • scottossington says:

      Gall dang it I demand superior animated gay elf kissing, not this farty bag of pooh

  21. Premium User Badge

    Big Murray says:

    Very pretty.

    I doubt this will be a bad game. Although of course, the internet holds Bioware to higher standards than other companies for some reason, so anything less than orgasm-inducing will be a deemed a failure. As long as it’s a decent and fun RPG, I’ll be happy.

  22. LazyAssMF says:

    Well… it looks really nice and very, very similar to The Witcher 2, but Witcher 2 was released almost three years ago. :D
    Frostbite doesn’t look next-gen at all, at least not to me. Now Witcher 3… that game looks amazing (and really next-gen). :)

  23. Blackcompany says:

    Bioware will need to convince me of a few things before I will buy this game:

    1. It does not suffer from the same problem as the current ‘generation’ of open world games. You know, wide as an ocean…shallow as a tidal pool. Like Skyrim.

    2. A world this beautiful will be filled with a game where immersion in the game world matters. Internal consistency. NPC’s using the roads; commerce, travel, etc. All the things we would expect to see in a living world, even in times of strife. No more ‘big, open world’ that happens to be plague ridden or have some other convenient excuse for a complete lack of believable life.

    3. That they won’t lock parts of the game already completed behind day 1 dlc. Being as this is EA, though I am not hopeful on this one.

    Do these things and I might consider buying it.

  24. povu says:

    I can sense the invisible walls already.

  25. Lemming says:

    I keep reading that headline as ‘not-ill’

  26. Myrdinn says:

    I’d like this game to be at least up to par with Dragon Age Origins, which was a pretty mediocre RPG in my opinion (god knows how much I hate that Aurora engine). There’s just this gut feeling that Bioware will somehow fill the game with 2d characters and genre cliches all over again though.

  27. weary ghoul says:

    Well, it looks pretty enticing to me. But of course, looks aren’t everything.

    Haters gonna hate. If this is a good game I will buy it whether it’s cool to enjoy a BioWare game anymore or not.

  28. SuicideKing says:

    Needs more destructible environments.

  29. Aydrian says:

    To The Witcher 3 fanboys…I have this AMAZING idea. I’m going to buy TW3 AND Dragon Age Inquisition! Whoa! I know right, who knew that was even possible! But you know what? I’m doing it! I’m going into that vast, unknown landscape of enjoying more than one RPG a year.

    I don’t know how I will survive it, the mere thought of such a treacherous prospect fills me with equal parts dread and excitement, but I’ll do it. For science!

    But seriously, I hope people give it a fair shot. My biggest fear is that it will be a great game, and the haters will still say it’s shit because gamers will continue to trash a good game in order to avoid admitting they’re wrong. This game has been in development for TWICE the length of time as Dragon Age 2. They’ve released a couple long as hell videos explaining new and improved mechanics for the game.

    Anyone who could stop hating for five minutes can find an article, or just merely a list of bullet points explaining all of the known changes and find out that it’s not like DA2 at all. They’ve listened to the fans and taken their opinions to heart and crafted the game they wanted, and you guys are still hating them out of idiotic ignorance.

    Seriously, some of the comments I see about anything related to this game are painfully stupid. One freaking google search will tell you what you want to know, but so many people aren’t doing it. Do you guys want to keep hating it no matter how good it is? Because this game could be really excellent, but get ruined by stubborn gamers being hateful bastards.

    Right now, it doesn’t seem like it matters if the game is good or not to you people, and that’s a huge problem.

  30. bodydomelight says:

    “Seriously though: wouldn’t it be lovely if Bioware had taken everything we all grumbled about on board and this turned out to be super-amazing?”

    Important note: the ‘we all’ in this is pretty much a sub-section of games journalists and outspoken forum/comment crusaders. I know a whole bunch of nerdy RPG players (many of whom are old-school isometric fans) IRL, and only one of them didn’t enjoy DA2 that much. Even he found things to praise in it. All of them enjoyed ME3, ending aside. And lest we forget, that’s 40 hours vs 10 minutes. 10 minutes of ill-written pap doesn’t tar and feather an entire company’s creative output.

    I don’t think roleplay gamers of my acquaintance are some kind of weird anomaly, and I don’t think Bioware are as bereft of good will as lots of furious old-school RPG fans think they are. Commence flaming me. I will ignore any BIOWARE FANBOI LUUUULZ type nonsense.

    NB: There’s nowt wrong with thinking DA2, or all of ME3, or anything, is shite. I just think there’s a massive overreaction to these titles online and a strange sense that if you disagree you must be some kind of company shill.

    • ohioastro says:

      I understand that there is a subjective factor. But the very low mean score user reviews for DA2 provide a reality check, and it doesn’t speak well for the game. User reviews of games can be very positive or negative, while pro reviews of AAA titles have no dynamic range at all.

      DA2 reused a few environments over and over, which is not opinion. The cities were virtually empty and, despite claiming to change over the years, barely did. The game play was absolutely trivial on normal (as in: control only your main character, and use only autoattacks, and win every time.) It did, however, become tedious on hard (but, again, without any actual challenge involved.) You had to dispatch hordes of ninjas dropping from the ceilings to get anywhere; this combination made me feel more like a serial killer than a hero. Your also had virtually no meaningful choices. I also found the main story remarkably poor for Bioware – although I do recognize that this is opinion. Their idea of “gritty” was to make both sides unattractive in the most outlandish way possible: storm troopers vs. demons. I played through mainly in the hope that they could both lose; no such luck.

      My son and I were both huge Bioware fans, and this was the game that made us vow never to pre-order a game from them again. I skipped ME3 (and am glad of it), and I will wait until a lot of positive opinion from game players comes in before I drop any money on their games again. (My trust in pro reviewers for AAA titles is zero, unfortunately.) Yes, they can do a good job; but at this point they really seem to be more interested in trivial game play and visuals. And their stories just aren’t good enough to make me want to put up with poor game play for the ride – unlike, say, Bioshock Infinite.

  31. Premium User Badge

    tumbleworld says:

    The water lapping in that first environment was so hideously cack-handed that it was about a minute before I could stop just staring at the hideous water effects they kept showing. Once I managed to put that aside, I saw a lot of environments that, while pretty, looked a lot like narrow PC corridors.

    Think I’ll pass.

  32. Zekiel says:

    Well, looks like Dragon Age to me. Love the bit at 1:32 where you see your party running down a corridor – brings back memories of Origins…

    Actually I’m modestly optimistic about this game. I remember seeing a video of a panel where the designers explicitly listed the DA2 boo-boos that they were going to put right in this one. At least one of them (restoring overhead tactical view) is bourne about the gameplay video that was leaked a little while ago.

  33. Oakatsura says:

    As much as I like and appreciate Bioware, I am sure CDProjekt Red is going to blow away Dragon Age: Inqusition, sorry to say it but the Witcher 3’s Open World Experience, Larger than Skyrim World, and epic monster slaying / Witcher Storyline will trump whatever I am sure Bioware has planned for DA:I. No offense I am still gonna play DA: Inquisition, however I have a feeling, Witcher 3, however it ends will be monumentally better than the ending in store for the 3rd and probably last Dragon Age.

    Just speaking from Biowares Trilogy Flop past… *cough* Mass Effect.

    Plus. trailer wise, Killing Monsters was Epically better than DA:Inquisitions trailer.

  34. whoisnot says:

    I liked DA:O a lot, found DA2 part fun, part irritating – the repetitions! mostly -, and was definitely disappointed by ME3’s ending (let alone the hyper-irritating anime sub-villain whose name I forgot, fortunately.) So, I’ll wait for reviews – primarily RPS’s and Angry Joe’s -, and whether there will be more than three colors in the ending, then decide whether to wait for a year or two for a Steam sale.

  35. Shandrakor says:

    I’d like to thank EA for ensuring my money stays in my wallet. Among the hot topics of discussion amongst my friends a few years back was ‘wtf happened to DA.’ Many of my friends didn’t like it, and I personally found DA2 unplayable.

    Business 101: When you release a product and that product is loved, you generally don’t distort it beyond recognition for the next installment. If you slap the number 2 on it, fans who loved the first one you did expect more of the same. Choosing instead to release a dramatically different game is a fine way to guarantee backlash & damage your brand.

    I find it wonderful that there are companies that are making exciting games, though I’m sad that the ‘B’ firms — Blizzard & Bioware — are no longer an instant-buy. Fare thee well, Bioware and Blizzard, fare thee well.