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Dragon Age III Going Big On Customization, Environments

Oooooo, pretty concept art.

I think I actually like Dragon Age II a lot more than most people. Mainly, though, I appreciate for what it nearly ended up being – not so much what it was. I mean, it explored some seriously interesting subject matter and dropped the tried and tired “epic globe stroll to save the world” format in favor of a more self-contained, intimate tale. Time passed, things changed, characters (sort of) led their own lives, etc. Unfortunately, those lives all tended to lead to the same goddamn cave, and I’ve played FMV games with more robust character customization. To hear BioWare tell it, though, the recently de-doctored RPG giant is taking those complaints extremely seriously. I do, however, still have a few reservations about the resulting plan for Dragon Age III.

During the Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo, BioWare used its Dragon Age panel to drop a handful of tidbits about its upcoming threequel. In the process, it used many promising words – for instance, “one level in Dragon Age III is as big as all of the levels in Dragon Age II” and “customization is going to be bigger than Dragon Age: Origins.” Party customization included. Flemeth’s also set to make some kind of return (hopefully not in brief, extremely unsatisfactory cameo form, ala DA II), and the Qunari will once again play a role – though it won’t be anywhere near as large (and horned, and sometimes purple) as in DA II.

We’ll get to pick our pasts, too – again, sort of like in Origins – but apparently they won’t be playable, and the main character will once again be confined to greasy, filth-spurting human flesh. Sorry dwarves, elves, and giraffes at heart. This won’t be the game to finally let you escape from your hideous skin prison. So those aspects of the game are more than a bit at odds with each other, which makes me wonder how exactly BioWare plans to pull it off. Unfortunately, the whole panel was pretty light on concrete details, so we’re only getting the whats for now – not the whys or hows.

DA III has, however, been subject to a notably lengthy pre-production, which presumably means it won’t feel as obviously rushed as DA II. The plan, then, is to launch in “late fall” of 2013 – as opposed to early fall or fashionably late fall. So then, with these details and the Orlais/Chantry-centric plot from the distant shores of Rumor Land in mind, how are you feeling about DA III (or Inquisition, in imposing-multi-syllabic-videogame-subtitle-ese) so far? I’m hopeful, but I’ve been burned before. And while wounds from all-consuming dragonfire eventually heal, being let down by a videogame developer… well, that scar lasts forever.

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Nathan Grayson

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