I’m Feeling (Cautiously) Optimistic About Dragon Age

I want very, very badly for Dragon Age: Inquisition to be good. Great, even. Once upon a time, I found myself in a torrid, fiery love affair with Dragon Age: Origins, but things fizzled when DA II rushed onto the scene (though I did enjoy certain aspects of it more than some). To its credit, however, BioWare has been making some seriously promising, er, promises about its impending no-longer-a-threequel. It will have dragons, yes, and ages certainly, but also oh so much more. Player choice is taking center stage again, and it’s a mantra that apparently flows through character customization, party control, story progression, and even your commanding role as the Inquisitor. Watch some of BioWare’s beardliest faces talk about it below.

Freedom! You can choose your race again. Also, more important things like what your inquisitorial agents will do and how far they’ll go in attempting to slap the cuffs on whomever tore the sky a new piehole and kicked off a demon plague. I assume they’re quite inquisitive, so I hope I can tell them to use the mean questions.

BioWare sounds like it’s back on the right track, but the only example moral choice it gave – save the burning village or let it melt into ash – sounds like a relic from choice’s days of binary gimmickery. Maybe there’s more to it than that, but I have to take issue with it at this stage. Really, though, that’s just me nitpicking. Everything else looks and sounds exceedingly tantalizing. I… I think/am afraid I might be excited.

I’m not entirely in BioWare’s camp yet, though. That’ll only happen once it seals the deal and brings back Dragon Age: Origins’ charmingly hideous-looking mage gear. I want my ceiling-scraping banana hat, damn it.


  1. GamesInquirer says:

    I’m not, that way I can’t be disappointed, only pleasantly surprised (or validated)!

    • Dowr says:

      Yes, I hope everyone follows this reasoning,

      On Inquisition’s release, I do not want to be hearing people screaming that the game “didn’t meet their [unreasonably] high expectations”.

  2. Dariune says:

    My problem is, Bioware and EA are very good at making promises and making people believe that they will fulfill their promises.

    But their games almost always end up as all flash and no substance with no depth and medeocre writing these days.

    I genuinly don’t believe they will be able to offer an experience anywhere near as deep as they will make us believe.

    Also Warrior, Wizard, rogue with human, dwarf, elf: Not really a lot of choice is it? I know it’s better than DA2 but most games are.

    Sorry to be negetive. I just feel that those two companies have nothing left to offer and worry that people will (Once again) get sucked into their monumental marketing efforts.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      You are absolutely right. If they put as much effort into assuring the quality of these games as they put into marketing they would publish some awesome stuff.

    • mouton says:

      Ignore promises, judge the game when it comes out.

      • Mario Figueiredo says:

        You mean buy it first and judge later.

        • mouton says:

          Reviews from trusted sources. Gameplay videos. Demos. Try a pirated copy if there is neither a demo nor a decent review.

          Tools are right there.

      • Dariune says:

        I feel that this would make for a great slogan with AAA games in general.

    • ulix says:

      I do NOT agree.

      ME3 was amazing. By far the best Mass Effect game. Apart from the last hour of course. But until then it was an incredible journey, and an expertly crafted, well-written game.

      • Dariune says:

        Now ask yourself, did your “not” need to be in caps?

        Oh and I have to admit to not having played ME3 because I thought ME2 was so crap.
        So maybe you are right there, I can’t comment.

        • Mario Figueiredo says:

          I wouldn’t give ME3 better than usual plot much credence. Usually exceptions confirm the rule.

        • Haysoos says:

          I loved ME2. ME3 was insanely linear (In many aspects), an abundance of out of character auto-dialogue (If you wanted to be The Witcher, BW, you shouldn’t have made our character so customizablel in the first place) and insanely mediocre writing. Overall, i thought it was a mediocre experience.

          ME2 was awesome. You could choose where you wanted to go and when, the characters were absolutely superb and memorable and the fact that they’re all susceptible to death in the end just creates so many possible stories on multiple playthroughs. Gameplay imo was much better aswell, as all the enemies were not bulletsponges like they were in ME3.

          • kament says:

            Actually, ME3 just seems to be more linear than ME2. Which is it’s biggest flaw. It doesn’t pander to gamers and their lust for control, faking dialogue choices like ME does.

            On the contrary, those auto-dialogue lines are mostly based on your choices earlier in the game or the series and even on your erm alignment (that Paragon/Renegade scale). They went out of their way to make ME3 more reactive—recruit Thane after the Suicide mission and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Even casual non-cinematic exchange with Traynor has more reactivity than that.

            Also they didn’t force any missons down our throats, like they did in allegedly less linear ME2 with Horizon and the Collector ship and the abduction.

            Even widely hated finale has more variety than ME2 ending does. Hell, even DAO wasn’t that good. No matter what you do there, you don’t get to screw up the whole thing. Golems, werewolves, mages, templars—you win anyway. You can die, if you don’t want to fuck you way out of trouble for some obscure reason, but other than that it’s the same: Archdemon goes down, Denerim’s saved and all that. You don’t get to watch in horror (or delight) as the world burns because of your hasty attempt to save the day. Which is exactly what happens if you speedrun ME3 with the base destroyed. It appears we will get something like that in DAI, though. “Will you stand against it or lead this world to its bitter end?”


            I remember people taking issue with streamlining the inventory in ME2—they just couldn’t see that it actually gave more variety than ME ever had. All they saw was that the game looked less complex. And that was the easy one, doesn’t take a genius to count powers and weapons.

            With ME3 it was worse. It’s insanely complex, but you never see it all at once, most of the time you don’t even realise there’s more to it. All you see is that dialogue wheel lacks options it used to have. I actually was more than a bit disappointed at first, and I kept wondering where did those 40k lines of dialogue go. I mean, it almost doubles ME2 with its 25k, but I just wasn’t feeling that at all. So I tried it again differently, and then again with my profile edited, and man. Isn’t it a thing of beauty.

            A pity not everyone can appreciate it.

      • Solidstate89 says:

        Really? I still think ME2 is probably my overall favorite, with certain aspects of ME1 (namely the guns/combat) being better. ME3 wasn’t a bad game in my opinion, but I wouldn’t put it above ME2 or even ME1.

        • Dariune says:

          Yes really.

          The shooter mechanics in both were medeocre but I will grant that ME2 was better.

          The story line IMO was dreadful in ME2. Really really bad. To the point when the game finished and I was still waiting for the storyline to start.

          The RPG mechanics of the game were near non-esistent and those that remained no longer had a point. It was still all about duck, shoot, magic/skill/engineer rince repeat.

          Just my opinion but I thought ME2 was atrocious.

          • Rabbii says:

            Really? I understand you did not like ME2 but saying that the game finished and you felt the story did not start yet, is a blatant lie if not an exaggeration, ME2 was a good game in my opinion, and I don’t understand why did the story line seemed so bad to you? Only problem I had with ME2 was the significant reduction of dialogue choices from ME1. But all in all, ME2 is the best game in the Mass Effect Franchise. Please do explain how the story line was not moving and why it was so atrocious. And what is a good game in your opinion?

          • Jonfon says:

            I wouldn’t say atrocious. It was just dull. Dull, dull, dull. I remember replaying it before ME3 came out and a little way in just thinking “You know what. this just isn’t much fun to play. I’ve got all these super-duper magical force powers and yet I’m still not enjoying myself” and abandoning it. Didn’t pick up ME3 because of it.

            I loved DA:O. Tried DA 2 by renting it for the PS3, played it for a few hours and again just abandoned it out of boredom and frustration. That TPing enemies in mid-fight nearly every fight was just loathsome.

          • dE says:

            For starters, the story in Mass Effect 2 was one big exercise in treading familiar ground: Walking in circles. It went from “oh shit, baddies are coming” to “oh shit, baddies are coming”. It also went from “Gathered a full crew” to “Gathered a full crew”. It was entirely focussed on the sidestories of the crew, which for some was enough. But in that case it’d be better to say the sidestories were good, not the main storyline. Which did not really progress at all.

          • Dariune says:

            It’s not nice to call someone a liar when they are just stating an opinion. I am guessing you are quite young?

            To elaborate (That means explain in more detail)

            The Mako, while not perfect, was replaced with that god awful ship scanning.
            The Inventory system, while far from perfect, was replaced with … nothing.

            Now for an actual conversation that occurred between me and ME2 while I was playing:

            *Spolers alert*

            Dariune:” Hi ME2. I am looking forward to seeing what hapens to Shepherd and the gang”
            ME2: “Hi Dariune. Good. It’s going to be a blast.”
            Dariune: “Do I have ot work for the Racist badies?”
            ME2″ “Yes, it’s fun!”
            Dariune”OK. So I have to collect a crew huh? Good idea for a tutorial. Just a bunch of mini quests”
            ME2 “Yes. Have fun with that.”
            Dariune: “Phew, OK finished that. Lets start the plot :)”
            ME2: “NO! Now collect more crew members. It’s fun!”
            Dariune” What? Why? I can only take 2 people with me anyway. And it’s not exactly engaging”
            ME2: “DO IT! It’s fun!”
            Dariune “… fine! I have done that. now what? Can we start the story yet?”
            ME2 “Your crew have been captured. Rescue them. It’s fun!”
            Dariune “Oh FFS. Fine! Then we can start the story?”
            ME2: “You have choices on this mission. For the Psi job do you take the Psi or the engineer?”
            Dariune “… uh … The Psi”
            ME2 “For the warrior job do you take the warrior or the Psi?”
            Dariune “Seriously? The warrior!”
            ME2 “Here is a big baddie”
            Dariune “He looks shit. Fine. I will kill him”
            ME2 “You have completed the game. You had fun!”
            Dariune” Wait… what? Thats it?!? That was crap”
            ME2 “YOU HAD FUN!”
            Dariune “Fuck you.” *Exits*

            And that was my thought process through out the game.

      • EBass says:

        But ME3 was awfully written wasn’t it? I thought this was agreed on?

  3. Ian says:

    You’d hope the let-the-village-burn thing is at least a “Go save it or let it burn because you need to [do other thing]” rather just Tick Box To Be Evil.

    • bleeters says:

      Myeah. Awakening did a reasonable job of giving a justifiable reason to leave a city to be slaughtered, so hopefully it’ll be more of that and less of the abandoning Redcliffe option in Origins, which basically boiled down to ‘I can’t really be bothered to help you’.

      • Jimbo says:

        It’s not interesting either way. They’ve used this scenario so many times now.

    • Rabbii says:

      Well I am hoping it would be more than simple as burn or not burn the village. But the game have a grand concept as in the game world is going to be pretty big, spanning multiple region and nation so obviously the whole game would have more than one village saving or burning.

    • stkaye says:

      I hope it’s more like “burn the village to flush out the quarry; leave the village and watch demons pour in from the Fade”.

  4. Keyrock says:

    Remember when BioWare promised a personal ending that reflected all your choices for ME3? How about the time they said that you could enslave nations beneath the tyranny of your powerful necromancy in Dragon Age?

    I want DA3 to be good also, I’m just pointing out their track record with promises.

    • Drinking with Skeletons says:

      Bioware is Peter Molyneux’s greatest project ever. And when he’s finally able to talk about it, and the banners unfurl from the tops of our buildings while the sound of jackboots thunders through the streets, he will weep as he laughs. And the bodies will mount.

      • guygodbois00 says:

        “Bioware is Peter Molyneux’s greatest project ever.” Instant win.

  5. Rizlar says:

    [DA:O SPOILER] The dwarf leadership decision was actually pretty interesting in origins, since supporting the progressive asshole gave the dwarves a better ultimate outcome, while helping the principled, incumbent king leads them to ruin. More of this sort of thing! [/END SPOILER]

    • Drinking with Skeletons says:

      It was doubly interesting if you were a Dwarf noble (as I was for my first playthrough) because the more effective candidate had specifically tried to have you murdered at the beginning of the game. And is your brother.

      • SheridaH says:

        Dwarf noble was the best! They handled that character and their story very well However it was a little disappointing when I tried the other races later. Dwarf noble was by far the best origin story followed by Human noble.

    • Triplanetary says:

      Two things:

      1) Binary moral choices that lead to unexpected or counterintuitive outcomes are fine, but they don’t automatically equal complex, quality writing. Leaning heavily on them in order to ostensibly provide “shades of grey” is lazy writing.

      2) You and I have very different interpretations of Behlen if you think he’s “principled” or indeed anything better than a spoiled thug.

      • Rizlar says:

        Don’t know if it’s a binary moral choice exactly… it is made fairly clear that the asshole’s progressive ideas would benefit the dwarves. Guess it is interesting since it’s not as simple as ‘this choice is good – this one evil’. Was helping the incumbent the morally right choice, even if it leads to the dwarves being ruined? It’s left for the player to decide.

        edit: It was the other dwarf (the king or whatever) that I labelled principled, not Bhelen (‘the asshole’).

  6. bleeters says:

    I’m somewhat excited, but I’ve honestly run out of patience when it comes to putting any stock in what Bioware has to say about their upcoming products. Between the, shall we say, dubiously accurate pre-release statements regarding both Mass Effect 3 and Dragon Age 2 (moreso the former than the latter, admitedly) , colour me cynical whenever the phrase ‘your decisions matter’ gets rolled out.

    Still, it’s on my radar.

    • Drinking with Skeletons says:

      I’m not convinced by any game that trumpets narrative choice. You know what game really managed to make choices matter? Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together. It was first released for the Super Nintendo. Though there aren’t a huge number of choices, what you do determines not just the outcome of specific scenes, but your allies, enemies, and even moderate-term goals, creating more interesting variants on the narrative than what even the Witcher 2 offers.

  7. InternetBatman says:

    “Do you want to save a village from burning or do you want it to burn down?” I see Bioware’s been working hard on avoiding black and white morality. I am not feeling optimistic about any Bioware game.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      Yeah, choice shouldn’t be- here’s a town, you want to save it or let it die? It’s up to you!
      Effective choice is more like- here’s a town burning down, you can choose to save it but that means abandoning this other pressing issue.

      • Henson says:

        Do you want to save this town of utter assholes? Or let it burn?

      • Triplanetary says:

        This is why I roll my eyes when people fawn all over the ability to destroy Megaton in Fallout 3. The ability to reshape the game’s landscape in a significantly way actually is interesting – or would be, if executed in a more interesting, better-written, and more varied manner.

        Still, it’s good to see that as Bioware plunges headfirst to the bottom of the barrel, Bethesda is already down there waiting for them.

      • TormDK says:

        Which is how it will likely work in practice.

        I doubt we’ll see a “Look mom, I saved everyone!” because the theme by default means you likely have to pick a side for one.

  8. Liudeius says:

    I mainly hope it includes the console interface with the PC release.
    DA:O was so much better with the console control scheme. It made you actually feel in control of your character, rather than in control of a boring dungeon crawler, and it worked tactically just as well as (if not better than) PC.

    • SpectralThundr says:

      That crack you smoke? it’s bad for you. First time I ever see someone ask for a console interface in a pc game.

  9. Kompatriartes says:

    I might pony up if we’re not playing D&D again. I’d be very happy if I heard there were no character levels for instance.

    • Drinking with Skeletons says:

      Actually, Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines didn’t have levels. You accrued experience, but it served as a currency to directly purchase stat, skill, and ability upgrades.

      Different approaches netted you different amounts of experience; non-violent solutions typically netted you more experience, since you’d need at least a little combat proficiency to go along with your non-combat skills, while violence netted you less since you’d probably just put it back into combat skills.

      It meant that health and mana values were static for the entire game, making it (presumably) a breeze to balance skills and enemies against the player. Deus Ex sort of did this, but was a little too generous with its skill points.

      • S Jay says:

        The RPG it was based on had no levels, so that makes sense.

        (I am not saying DA3 should or shouldn’t have levels though, I don’t mind the levels. It is like saying “Aaaaargh, those damn swords, take all of them out.”)

    • aliksy says:

      Is it because levels are never implemented well and are not necessary? Is it because I’m sick of seeing things like two identical looking wolves, where the one with the “20” over its head murders the entire party but the one with the “3” dies if I look at it funny? Is it because levels are often used to create the illusion of progress, where you start out taking 3-6 hits to kill mooks and you end up taking 3-6 hits to kill mooks with bigger numbers attached? Is it because levels let you trade time for power, so you can win without skill if you put enough time in, and that makes the whole victory feel hollow?

      There are many RPGs that don’t have levels. They are not necessary. They are not a requirement for the genre. They are easy to implement, and familiar so reactionary players don’t have a fit, but that’s all they have going for them.

    • Kompatriartes says:

      I’ve played lots of RPG’s. Leveling systems are artificial and create various false incentives. For instance, instead of enemies being something to avoid and kill if necessary, they are like a resource to be farmed.

      Including some elements of RPG’s here and there would be nice, but having most of the game based upon player control rather than statistics is the way forward for the genre; immersion is much greater in this way.

      • S Jay says:

        I have the opposing view: I don’t aspire to be an ace control handler, I want to click buttons and let the stats figure out if I killed or not the thing.

        DA:O combat > DA2 combat

        • Jason Moyer says:

          DA:O Combat = freeze/paralyze enemy, then hack for 15 minutes at its massive health bar
          DA2 Combat = COMBOS!

    • Blackcompany says:

      So glad to know that others feel the same as I do about the tired pen-and-paper crutches used in video games. Is Left Hand Dude more powerful than Righty? Is my character wounded, or tired? Are my enemies on their last legs?

      That’s great. SHOW me. This is a VIDEO game. Which means we have the capability for visual feedback to represent character states, including health, physical prowess and fatigue. Unless you’re making a turn based game with boardgame-like mechanics – XCOM, Bloodbowl – then give me the control and do away with the background spreadsheet affair. This isn’t PnP; we don’t need that there anymore, if we ever did.

      • aliksy says:

        Agreed. Allow me to quote from my past-self:
        “[I]n Dark Souls, you can tell the towering knight with the scary black armor is a bigger threat than the zombies. It’s this neat HUD trick they pulled off: You can tell because he’s a god damn black knight, and he looks fucking scary. You don’t need a fucking level indicator.”

      • crinkles esq. says:

        Very great points.

        I think ultimately that seeing the gears and cogs of the RPG clockwork just breaks the spell of narrative immersion. Sure, there are certain things that must remain to play with the game mechanics, such as knowing the health of your character. But having a screen pop up to pick your next skill with “points”? Can’t we weave a better experience than this? Why can’t I go to a spell school in a town and have a wizard teach me a new spell, and then practice until I can control it properly? Every talent in RPGs seem to download into your character’s brain like learning kung fu in The Matrix. But it would be more interesting to have your spells go awry or cause unintended side effects until you practice enough to master them. Instead of points, more difficult spells would take longer to control (and harder talents longer to master). And why lock off skill trees based on level? Sure, a low-level mage could try to learn Disintegration, but would just as likely kill herself or another party member than the enemy.

        • S Jay says:

          Very interesting proposition for an indie game.

          But I doubt it will see the light of the day soon in a mass market title. Prove me wrong, Bioware!

  10. Tuor says:

    I expect it to be garbage, but hopefully my expectations will be exceeded.

    • lordfrikk says:

      They will, likely surpassing the “exceptional garbage” line.

  11. db1331 says:

    The guy on the right in that pic looks like Batman.

  12. Demiath says:

    This looks wonderful, but meaningless back-of-the-box abstractions such as “freedom” and “choice” both seem to be gimmicks which fail to recognize what was good about DA2’s refreshingly constrained design and world (while it’s a tired truism that the game’s notorious limitations were bad in many ways, it’s equally self-evident that they were not bad in all ways). If nothing else, what’s the point of “role-playing” if you have limitless choices?

  13. Windemere says:

    Nope, I checked out after the utter crap DLC for DA:O (let’s change the story so we can rush it out the door and grab your money!) followed by a lame expansion and completely unappealing DA2. There will need to be an overwhelming testimony from the community that the game has done a serious about face since the release of the first game, and only then I may consider it if it goes on sale and is without intrusive DRM.

  14. MobileAssaultDuck says:

    I liked DA2 fine (and I actually loved the Legacy DLC), so I don’t see why I won’t get this. Though not on release. Publisher games must drop to at least a 66% discount before I purchase.

    • SpectralThundr says:

      So you’re one of those cheap bastards who never pays full price for a game, then wonders why Publishers have gone the microtransaction and DLC route to make additional income?

  15. xsikal says:

    I still haven’t bought or played DA2 or ME3. I guess I’ve kicked the Bioware habit.

  16. kynetarse says:

    But it was toooooo late

  17. Eddard_Stark says:

    So much marketing hype and hollow buzzwords in such a short video. So predictable and boring, works better than a sleeping pill.

  18. Wulfram says:

    If you want hideous looking mage outfits, check out Vivienne in the second screenshot

    link to gameinformer.com

  19. SupahSpankeh says:

    There aren’t words for the disdain I feel towards Bioware’s desperate PR bluster.

    Produce a game as good as ME2 or DAO again and we’ll talk. Until then, FOAD.

    • Anders Wrist says:

      Neither of those were any good, though.

      • S Jay says:

        DA:O was very good.

        • Slazer says:

          Not if you market it as the successor of Baldur’s Gate

        • Werthead says:

          DA:O had the potential to be amazing, but was let down by the most generically generic of plots, bad writing, very bad voice acting (apart from Claudia Black) and a metric butt-ton of repetitive fetch quests. The combat started out reasonable, but at higher levels (or whenever you get the fire and ice storm spells) let down by not being able to form bottlenecks, thus severely limiting the utility of area-of-effect spells. The end-of-game battle was laughably pathetic. The Deep Roads went on forever.

          As a game heavily marketed – for five years, no less – as the successor to the BALDUR’S GATE series and a role-playing game where combat would not be the answer to everything (when it was) and which would have amazing worldbuilding (it didn’t, with the most interesting stuff only fleshed out in AWAKENING and DA2), DRAGON AGE: ORIGINS was a monumental let-down. As a game taken solely on its own merits, it’s actually serviceable but a long way from being BioWare’s best.

          MASS EFFECT 2 I think I can get behind though, certainly as the best of the trilogy. As a third-person shooter with added conversation and roleplaying elements, it was a very fine game. Obviously if you treat it as a proper RPG, it’s a huge let-down, but that’s not what the MASS EFFECT games are going for.

  20. mehteh says:

    EA still own Bioware. I already have no hope. One bit of console focus design = shallow game

    • SpectralThundr says:

      People talk like Bioware wasn’t headed down the shallow console RPG path before EA even acquired them. People obviously forget titles like Jade Empire, and that even in games people consider classics like Kotor, there was very little actual player choice in the game that mattered at all. Same with the Mass Effect games from the onset. Bioware was heading down this path for a long time already, EA just made the transition seem a bit faster.

  21. cirdanx says:

    Hm, with all due respect Bioware said the same thing about DA2, ME3, blabla your choices matter. We have all seen how that went. Also, getting excited about the fact that you can choose more than one race? Really? That is pretty much standart and should, by all means, not something anyone should cheer for because DA2 was such a step back in that direction.

    I honestly would not believe one word they say, wait until the game is out and you can watch gameplay of it. They have proven that their word is worth nothing.

  22. Turkey says:

    Does sending out agents mean that there’ll be branched outcomes or does it just mean that there’s a bunch of grindy missions that you can now skip?

  23. shutter says:

    I always feel like the only person on the internet who preferred DA2 over DA:O, and is deathly afraid that after the internet pitched a hissy over reused zones we’re going back to the interminable tedium of DA:O for DA3.

    • drewdupe says:

      And that is the problem in a nut shell. DA:O and DA II are two different games that appeal to different people. I liked DA:O better but I’m not personally offended that you liked DA II better. The problem is that the games are not the same at all and no one knows if this is going to be more of the first game or more of the second.

      Regardless of which Dragon Age you liked better, it’s impossible to get excited about the latest installment without more information as to what direction they are taking the franchise. And given this particular company’s history, all the information they do give us is not very meaningful.

    • kament says:

      It’s hard to say exactly how open their vast open world will be in DAI, and more importantly, if they’ll keep it in short bursts like they did in DA2. And I certainly wouldn’t want to go through Deep roads or Mage tower or something like that again.

      But reused locations is the biggest issue with DA2. Most of the negative feedback is pretty much about how DA2 is not DAO2, but cloning is one of the real flaws.

  24. dr4gz0r says:

    Sorry Nathan, but I don’t see any reason to be “optimistic” about this, last time I had some faith I got ME3’d.

    ME3 isn’t obviously a bad title (see DAII for that), but I haven’t forgotten all the promises they didn’t keep, starting from the HD textures for PC (they never came) all the way to the game ending, which was supposed to reflect the player’s choices during the saga and not just be the usual A-B-C thing. Hell it was even worse, given how bloody rushed the thing was.

    Bioware, or rather EA, can sure make lots of promises, but keeping them is totally another story.

    And, well, it’s pretty easy to go with stuff like “freedom”, “big worlds”, choices”. They’re precisely that kind of gimmicks that make people feel good about an upcoming release. They don’t have to actually be in the game, and a 3 minute video can be easily filled up with them.

    I actually wish journalists would be less optimistic about games they have yet to put their hands on, especially the ones coming from the usual top dogs. This way they’d actually feel some pressure to deliver what they promised, instead of getting away with huge scores for their half-assed works because, well, it’s Bioware, can’t be bad right? I guess DAII taught me better.

    • Grygus says:

      You’re blaming journalists for the actions of developers? That seems pretty misguided. Over on Metacritic, Dragon Age: Origins averages nine points higher than Dragon Age II (91 vs 82), so the scenario you portray isn’t even happening, let alone causing anything at all. Indeed, if journalists have power then they have used it to ensure III is more like Origins!

      • dr4gz0r says:

        How am I blaming the journalists, sir? My point in case you missed it: it’s easy to make promises and make games look “amazing” with 2 minutes trailer, which is what happened in the past and is happening here (to be fair, it’s not even that impressive to me but hey).

        Based on this and Bioware’s reputation, it lead many to put their money on games even before they were out – how that turned out for DA2 (if we really feel like blaming journalism, no way in hell DAII is worth an 82, and this is coming from someone who enjoyed some of the fresher ideas they had with the game), I suppose you know.

        I just don’t think one should be optimistic when there’s pretty much nothing being shown here and with Bioware’s recent track record…

  25. Laurentius says:

    I look at this people and i feel kinda sad, they are hard working and probably mostly talented but despite all this and big money thrown into this game it will be tottally blown away by Kickstarter Project – Torment: Tides of Numenera.

    • Slazer says:

      Much of Bioware’s reputation is based on people like Karpyshyn and the Doctor’s, and all of them are gone. Looking at the last releases, you can doubt how much talent they have left

    • Werthead says:

      I think seeing how both NUMENERA and PROJECT ETERNITY stack up against DA3 will be very interesting.

      • newc0253 says:

        Although they’re all CRPGs, I think Project Eternity and Torment Numena aren’t really going to feel like the same kind of game as DA3. The first two are deliberately old-school isometric Infinity engine-style games exploring some pretty vast worlds in their own little way, whereas DA3 will be an extremely shiny iteration of an established setting with all the usual Bioware bells and whistles.

  26. Voronwer says:

    I find myself in the exact same position. I really want this to be good, even if I know that I should be cautious. But they’re taking their time, right? And Bioware does a lot of good things and I know they can make this good, so please let it be good.

    Even if I’m going to miss my LadyHawke and that’s the truth.

  27. Mario Figueiredo says:

    It’s actually better if you don’t give me freedom of choice, anymore. When you do, I feel terribly frustrated by the natural constraints a predictable and resource limited computer offers. And I feel terribly annoyed at the lack of real effort put in making sure that it’s not just different paths we get in our RPGs. But we also actually get different directions.

  28. jalf says:

    I haven’t kept up with Dragon Age at all (played about 90% of DAO, then threw it away in boredom), so I might have misunderstood something.

    But… In the first game they let you choose your character from different classes, races and background. In DA2, they decided that “no, this needs to be like Mass effect, we must have a persistent character”, so they retcon DAO to say “you were a human all along, oh and your name is Hawke. Because now we can tell cool stories about *this* character throughout the series”.

    Then DAO 3 rolls around, with a different name, and… the ditched the so-called persistent character again?

    They really have no idea what they *want* from this series, do they?

    • aliksy says:

      They didn’t retcon the DA:O character. It wasn’t the same character in the 2nd game.

      Your general point of they don’t seem to know what they want is true, but you should consider reading the wiki page or something before guessing about what they did.

    • Turkey says:

      Well, the whole story behind DA2 is kinda crazy. They hadn’t even shipped DA:O before they started working on it. The whole game is basically damage control for a game that didn’t really need it, and now since it turns out DA:O sold better, they’re trying to do damage control for DA2.

  29. duncanthrax says:

    Until I hear otherwise, I’ll expect this to be the same mediocre committee-designed foul compromise as the last few BioWare titles.

  30. fiendling says:

    Bioware is like a beloved pet that developed terminal cancer but refuses to die. Occasionally it seems to be its old self again but mostly it is just a traumatising and sad decline that causes pain to loved ones.

    Let go Bioware, go gracefully into the void with other beloved and worthy developers like Bullfrog and Westwood Studios. Do it now while you still have some dignity left.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      They sell mediocre RPGs like it’s water in the desert, how can they gracefully die. It’s gamers who should gracefully point them the way out. So far…

    • Talon2000uk says:

      Possibly we should just drag them out the back yard and put a bullet in em. Um sorry I mean retire them to a farm in the country Timmy. :D

  31. soulblur says:

    “The fruits of a lot of labour are finally blooming.”

    Fruits… blooming? I am not familar with this “fruit” you speak of.

    That aside, they are saying a lot of good things. You are not at someone’s disposal; people are at your disposal. More games should do this in meaningful ways (the AC series does it in fairly unmeaningful ways). It does have some pretty art. Nice flexibility in character creation. So there is promise.

    I would not even say I’m cautiously optimistic. I am merely hopeful.

  32. noodlecake says:

    I enjoyed Dragon Age II. More than Dragon Age: Origins in some ways. I found having incredibly slow paced fights against the same enemy for 50+ hours rather tiresome and couldn’t get to the end, despite really enjoying the attention to detail based on the six possible starting points. I’m not someone who hates slow gameplay, having poured loads of time into Crusader Kings, Civ IV and Europa Universalis. I just felt what Origins did in terms of gameplay had been done to death and with all it’s flaws Dragon Age 2 is moving in the right direction in terms of distinguishing itself from similar games like Neverwinter Nights. It was definitely rushed and flawed but I don’t mind if it moves further in that direction as long as they get the time they need to make it good. And by good I don’t mean a clone of Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights or whatever other 90’s game like everyone else seems to developers to make over and over again.

    • cirdanx says:

      Good that you enjoyed DA2 more, nothing wrong with that, it has it moments. I, however, don´t get your point. No one is making games like DA:O or NWN etc, anymore. Only thanks to kickstarter we get to see some of them, which is funny, because that “golden area of rpgs” just endet suddenly when people still where buying the games. (uh oh consoles..had something to do with it).

      Also, your point in DA2 “distinguishing” itself from…from what? It´s not a well done RPG, and the combat system, which you seem to refer too is nothing but a flashy J-RPG action combat system, and has been done way more often than any Infinity-Engine game. Which is fine if you are into that, i own a lot of them myself.

      But DA:O was the return of AAA click/pause tactical and strategical combat that hasn´t been done in a long time. Also DA2, was promised to be that too. Just with a bit more action.


      • Werthead says:

        “But DA:O was the return of AAA click/pause tactical and strategical combat that hasn´t been done in a long time. Also DA2, was promised to be that too. Just with a bit more action.”

        You can pause and issue orders in DA2 as well, it just wasn’t as necessary because combat in DA2 is much, much easier than combat in DA:O at the equivalent difficulty level. Also, the click/pause thing has been just about the only constant in all of BioWare’s RPGs to date, from BALDUR’S GATE to MASS EFFECT 3. It’s perhaps not been quite as necessary as it used to be, but I found it to be highly useful throughout the ME and KotOR games and JADE EMPIRE as well. So it’s never really gone away.

        If you mean the click/pause combined with the overhead viewpoint, that’s true, but then the overhead viewpoint wasn’t great in DA:O because you couldn’t zoom out far enough (though a lot further than in DA2) to see large groups of enemies targetting you with missile weapons, so that wasn’t particularly useful either.

  33. TsunamiWombat says:

    I just read some of the Game Informer peice and i’m cautiously optimistic as well, despite me having sworn off the company after DA2 and the ME3 debacle. They say they’re going to let you take control and develop a whole organization, and army – like a PC building a stronghold in a D&D Campaign.

  34. Tritagonist says:

    As asinine as BioWare’s stories sometimes are (what’s the point of the main Collector-quest in ME2 in light of both ME1 and ME3?) I had great fun playing Dragon Age: Origins (twice – the limitations on your choices were becoming too apparent the third time around). So I do have some hopes for this title, as DA:O has definitely made me curious about the rest of that particular world. But after ME3, and even more so BioWare’s post-release shenanigans, I’ll want to see some very positive player feedback before I even consider purchasing this title.

    And of course there’s things like this, ‘Mass Effect 2: Marketing of Errors’ -> link to youtu.be

  35. Zenicetus says:

    I still have some hope left that Bioware can create something amazing, but I wish to hell they’d ditch the world and backstory they came up with for DA:O, and just start from a blank slate. I know they’re stuck with the Dragon Age name as an IP, but do we really have to fight Darkspawn again (regardless of what they’ll be named, this time around)?

    I was excited to get my hands on DA:O when it first came out, because FINALLY they were ditching the ties to D&D and creating their own fantasy world from scratch. What an opportunity! But then they blew it.. The game ended up being okay… much better than DA2, anyway… but what a bland setting and generic races and enemies they came up with. It was a missed opportunity. Only Skyrim is more generic and bland as a fantasy setting, but at least the open world and sheer size of the thing helps make up for it.

    I suppose one could argue that The Witcher series isn’t all that original a setting either, but somehow the grubby world and confusing politics (if you haven’t read the books) didn’t bother me as much. Maybe it’s because Geralt was written as an interesting centerpiece for the two games, so the world design didn’t matter that much. In DA games, the world matters more, because the protagonist is more malleable and not as strongly written. The world *has* to be compelling in this type of game, and the DA world just doesn’t grab me. Oh well, let’s see what they come up with (faint hopes, still).

  36. RedViv says:

    Dragon Age 2 was good. Not more. Not less. Lots of bothersome design decisions, many of them due to the far too short development time frame, but quite a few experiments that I am glad they are expanding on. Let’s see if this can remove the taint of the Hastily Made One.

    • Triplanetary says:

      Yeah, I’m actually playing through it right now for the first time, funny enough. I got DAO back when it first came out but I wasn’t in any hurry to play DA2 based on reviews and everyone’s opinion.

      And yeah, DA2 is… fine. It could be a lot better. It should be a lot better. But it is what it is and it’s fine.

  37. HisMastersVoice says:

    link to youtube.com

    Tell me you’re optimistic after watching that…

    • cirdanx says:

      Thank you, and there goes my interest in that game.

    • Dariune says:

      Aaannnnddd there we go. DA3 combat looks pretty terrible.

    • Zenicetus says:

      What is the rest of your party doing, while you run around doing Witcher-style evasive tumbling on the ground? Everyone else on auto?

      Hmm… the Wiki page for Inquisition says “Combat is also expected to differ somewhat from its predecessors and focus more on a player’s ability to prepare, position, and form a cohesive team with his or her party members, requiring fewer repetitive finger strikes but better thinking.”

      Er, I’m not seeing that in the video above. Or else this is a separate “action” mode and there’s a choice to resolve combat in a whole different tactical style.

    • Triplanetary says:

      Uh-oh, looks like Dragon Age has gotten a Skyrimjob.

    • fiendling says:

      That. Was. Awful.

      What say you Mr. Grayson, still optimistic after watching that?

    • RedViv says:

      What in the name of the Allfather’s eye patch is everybody on about? This looks almost exactly the same as combat in any other of the console versions of this series.

      • HisMastersVoice says:

        Sure, but it’s kinda sad when an official dev video contains nothing but xbawks controlled action. I mean, if the isometric view is there, why wouldn’t they show if AFTER mentioning Wasteland 2? Don’t tell me it’s not finished because they were fine showing off “greens” in the action sequences.

        • RedViv says:

          It’s really early, they did show it late for DA2 as well, and even then – if they can design the areas well enough, you can have BOTH good tactics AND stick to the direct controls.
          So there is absolutely no reason to worry as of yet. This molehill can stay tiny.

          • HisMastersVoice says:

            There was isometric view in DA2?

          • Werthead says:

            “There was isometric view in DA2?”

            Sort of. You can zoom out a bit and tilt the camera up to sort-of replicate the camera view from DA:O, but you’re still zoomed in really close and there’s no way of moving the camera around freely. I don’t think the PC controls are any different from the console ones though (unlike DA:O’s PC-only overhead view).

    • pilouuuu says:

      Well, it’s pre-alpha and how can you say it’s any worse than The Witcher 2 fight system? I think DA 2 combat would have been quite good if you had a better camera and you didn’t have all the spamming of enemies.

      I think they may get this right.

      • Zenicetus says:

        In the Witcher 2 fight system, you weren’t also trying to keep a tactical overview of your party members because there were no party members to worry about!

        The DA2 combat had other problems besides just enemies that spawned behind you, eliminating any sense of party tactics. As a Rogue, I had to watch my avatar doing a silly acrobatic leap into the air on some attacks. It was purely for show, and it looked ridiculous. When activating a back stab, my guy would instantly teleport across the room and appear behind the target. That was also ridiculous and immersion breaking.

    • S Jay says:

      Yeah, that combat looks pretty bad.

      “Focus on timing” blargh.

  38. Arglebargle says:

    The Doctors knew they were making the dick choice when they sold out to EA. Bioware is just taking the usual downward spiral of any development house that falls into EA’s tentacles. While it’s always possible that they’ll produce a minor resurgence under the new management, the power of the undertow is very very strong.

    • cirdanx says:

      The moment these two people left, bioware was dead.

      They made it, they were the driving force, EA is/was always a bad idea..saddly..they learned it the hard way.

      Honestly? I can count at last 8 former great game studios and their downfall after EA..there are more if you count the little ones. Says enough.

  39. zain3000 says:

    The phrase “cautiously optimistic” is apt. I might be going out on a limb here (seeing as how very little has been revealed about either of the two games I’m about to comment on) but I’m worried about how Inquisition is going to stack-up to the likes of The Wild Hunt. That comment about “saving the villiage or letting it burn” triggered my eye-roll reflex (which is something that I can usually keep in check). The guys and gals at CDProjekt seem to <get what makes a great modern day RPG that appeals to an audience that is all growed up. I’m not hoping for Inquisition to fail by any means (more great games is better than less great games, after all) but here’s hoping that Bioware is finally all growed up as well…

  40. ocelot113 says:

    I’m not sure there is anything they can do to get me to buy day 1. And they need a demo or I can’t justify buying, til it reduces price. However the video docs they have been putting out did move it from “Never buy” to “Wait and see”.

    (I’m wondering if EA Origin’s recently announced return policy is in preparation for this game.)

  41. PopeRatzo says:

    I dug the group combat mechanism in DA:O. I hope they keep the basic idea, make it work a little smoother. I liked being able to set up basic tactics and have the members of my group do their thing within certain parameters.

    I’m sorry I don’t have the vocabulary to describe this kind of combat better. I’m looking forward to the new Dragon Age as much as it’s possible to look forward to anything from the dicks at EA.

  42. Jackablade says:

    Well Mr Lee. You’ve certainly stepped up your game a bit since we used to make bad DS games together.

  43. cpt_freakout says:

    Deep down I was hoping for better writing and design and then the ‘burn village down’ sequence plays out… I might just wait for the sale.

  44. adwodon says:

    Good to see that ‘moral choices’ boil down to saving or burning villages again. How many times have we heard that example before?

    I think I’ve seen these kinds of promises too much before to really get my hopes up, I think this will probably be a great game but I’m going to temper my expectations and hopefully be pleasantly surprised rather than let them run rampant and be inevitably disappointed.

    I hope the choices are at least performed through gameplay rather than some kind of dialogue prompt. If you want to implement choices in a serious fashion they shouldn’t always be served up in an obvious fashion, rarely are choices we make throughout our lives presented in this form and while I understand the temptation to do so, I think it makes for a better, more immersive experience if they are more natural.

  45. sarbian says:

    EA cured me of their games early this year. As long as I have to endure Origin to DL their games they won’t get my money again.

  46. Megakoresh says:

    Witcher 3 vs Inquisition
    Most epic battle in history of videogames?
    Witcher 3 is still gonna win though, but the tighter it is, the better. I think we’ll have one hell of an autumn in 2014. I mean after rushing through DA2 and copypasting half the game’s content and then fucking up ME3 so badly with terribly dialogue and no exploration and horrible ending, if BioWare doesn’t make this game right, they are done. So I think they’ll do their best to make it as awesome as possible. I just hope that combat will be more action-oriented, kinda like Amaleur. I hated Dragon Age combat. Origins had it even worse than DA2.

    • kud13 says:

      The proper answer to this question is, of course, “Torment: Tides of Numenera”

      • kament says:

        Those three are gonna be different experiences. It’s pretty obvious with TTN, which is oldschool, but even W3 and DAI similarities are only skin-deep. W3 isn’t gonna be a party-based game like DAI, for one. Its protagonist is set in stone. They are different.

      • Werthead says:


        If all of them are great, 2014 could be a classic year for RPGs.