Dragon goes on: BioWare confirm they’re working on a new Dragon Age

dragon-age-origins

Hurrah! Mark Darrah has gone so far as to confirm that BioWare is working on a new Dragon Age game. He’s the executive producer for both Anthem and Dragon Age, and he’s tweeted to say that while Anthem is next in line, “there are people hard at work on both franchises”. We’ve heard roundabout confirmation before but this is solid and direct.

And yet, as the Coen brothers would say, would that it were so simple. According to Kotaku’s sources, BioWare only have a small team working on Dragon Age – with the bulk of their staff focused on Anthem. That’s not too surprising considering the new Dragon Age game hasn’t even been announced, but it does mean it’ll be a loooong time before we see Dragon Age 4. As far off as it may be, I’m still gonna stop me using this as an opportunity to tell you about what I want to see from BioWare’s next fantasy RPG.

Here’s the tweet:

Now, what do I want from Dragon Age 4?

I’ve been thinking a lot about how we move around in games lately, probably because I’ve been playing free-running stealth-action RPG Seven: The Days Long Gone. I’m not saying Dragon Age should add parkour, although leaping around on rooftops in a city like Kirkwall does sound fun. I’m thinking more about stuff like Far Cry‘s wingsuit, or Just Cause‘s grappling hook: traversal tools that make getting from one side of the world to another something I look forward to rather than a necessary chore. Obviously neither of those would quite work, but there must be a good fantasy equivalent. Am I saying I want to ride a dragon? I think I’m saying I want to ride a dragon.

I’d also like to see them knock down the number of characters a tad. While I eventually formed a connection with almost all of the 9 party companions and 3 advisers in Inquisition, for most of the game I felt overwhelmed. The game doesn’t help itself by introducing each character in a very short space of time and expecting you to instantly care about them all, but I still think focusing on just a handful of meaningful relationships is the way to go. I normally love the bits in BioWare games where you return to your base/camp/spaceship and check up on everyone, but the sheer hassle of touring the castle grounds to visit all 12 important characters in Inquisition meant I ended up skipping a lot of them.

Some of Koutaku’s sources whispered that the game will have more “live” elements, though they did stress it’ll still be focused on characters and story.

What do you want from Dragon Age 4, dear reader?

69 Comments

  1. Ghostbird says:

    Full communism and the complete destruction of the Chantry, please.

    • pookie101 says:

      Down with the Chantry Bourgeoisie and may the Elven Proletariat rise in a fabulous peoples revolution !

      Hang on Leliana is the new Divine.. Peace for all !

      • napoleonic says:

        Heretic! Cassandra is the new Divine! Leliana is a perfidious anti-Divine.

      • Rosveen says:

        The Divine has an elven lover, the Empress of Orlais has an elven lover… This elven revolution might just work out.

    • Footnotes says:

      The Fade is bourgeois disavowal of class oppression, storm the Winter Palace.

    • Lakshmi says:

      I’m here for blowing up the Chantry!

    • onodera says:

      Fully automated luxury playersexual Fade communism?

  2. NetharSpinos says:

    After the disappointing experience I had with Inquisition, I think I’d just like Dragon Age to return to its Origins roots-y’know, being a bit of a deeper rpg and giving you the choice to be good or evil or even just somewhere inbetween.

    But I won’t hold my breath.

    • Driedas says:

      this, or just don’t bother at all. Let’s not have another Inquisition or Andromeda please…

      • Booker says:

        Sadly that’s all they can make now, because all the people who made the games like Origins have left the company.

        • DarkFenix says:

          Which is why I’ve been saying for years now that Bioware is dead. EA just hasn’t finished digesting its meal yet.

          I’d love to see another DA:O, but EA would rather make MMOs without the massive or multiplayer parts.

      • Jokerme says:

        It’s actually what you want, but you don’t know it yet. EA will teach you to love it.

    • KidWithKnife says:

      I was about to post pretty much exactly that. Origins was so, so goddamn great. Just more of that would be fine with me, thank you very much. Skip innovation, skip trying to broaden the audience, just make another Origins. Sometimes you just don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

    • WombatDeath says:

      I may be in a minority but I really enjoyed much of DAI, particularly the first half and particularly particularly the Hinterlands. I remember reading a tweet from one of the staff soon after release, saying something to the effect of “Look, can you all please stop faffing about in the Hinterlands and move on to the next area?”. But I wanted to live in the Hinterlands and potter about discovering things all over the place.

      At some point in the second half I started to get fed up and the Hissing Wastes was just a grim, relentless slog, so I’d have to admit that the formula outstayed its welcome. But give me something along the same lines as DAI, only with the worst 50% of the content axed, and I will be a happy Wombat. I’d much rather have 50 hours of good stuff than 50 hours of good stuff mixed with 50 hours of hunting for shards.

      I must confess as a side note that I haven’t played that many open world games in recent years, so it may be the case that DAI contained mechanics that were fresh to me but old-hat to everyone else.

    • Pheon0802 says:

      this, While I still enjoyed Andromeda and Inquisition, I was dissappointed in the end. Cause while good games it was wasted potential.

      sadly Devs and Publishers dont want to make a game where u dont see everything. Which is essential to a true RPG. you need to make decisions that will close some doors for you and you might not see some of the stuff in the game others will. More focus on writing and story than the Action gameplay. Also GET RID of the Busy quests: I rather want an 16 to 20 hour game experience with a tight story than run around uselessly fightin stuff. though tight story with some valleys and low drama personal stuff with your party. to really get to know them. Sth that I felt was missing especially in Andromeda.

      I will likely buy DA4 nonetheless as right now Bioware is really the only current studio who even does RPG where you can play as queer character.

  3. jj2112 says:

    I might check it out. At least they haven’t abandoned the franchise as they did with Mass Effect, but Inquisition could have done with less empty open spaces and more story.

  4. Someoldguy says:

    Reduce the breadth in order to improve the depth. Fewer companions. Well crafted regions with less of the MMO faff that messed up Inquisition. Try to recapture the magic of DA1 that never quite carried over to 2 or 3.

    • Ghostbird says:

      Actually “Dragon Age 2, but better” would suit me pretty well.

    • SaintAn says:

      MMO’s have much better world design than that. Look at FFXI or EverQuest.

  5. pentraksil says:

    Go back to Origin’s roots….as “simple” as that…And also, add Side Quests, because DAI had none. I don’t count companion ones. Everyone is slamming Andromeda, but DAI got almost no hate and it was worse than MEA in a lot of aspects. Especially gameplay and side quests. Hell, even the companions were dull most of the time.

    • BloatedGuppy says:

      DA:I got plenty of hate, it’s just that a lot of it was hindsight and tended to come flooding in after the vastly superior Witcher 3 hit the market and provided a basis for comparison.

      For what it’s worth, I agree with you. DA:I was more polished than Andromeda, but just as lifeless, and it didn’t even have Andromeda’s zippy combat half-assedly propping it up.

      Sadly, given the robbling about adding “live services” to DA4, I expect you’re going to see another Frankenstein’s monster of a game, stuffed with microtransactions and Facebook style “mini-games” in place of the writing and characterization that used to be the pillars of Bioware’s game design.

    • pookie101 says:

      Sadly you can still see evidence of choices that they initially were going to add, there is a whole video of early game play that actually looks awesome.. and compared to what we got.. so sad.

      I have no proof but I suspect the game was going to be an MMO at some point

  6. BobbyDylan says:

    OMG, I’m so full of Mhe….

  7. Auldman says:

    I really enjoyed the companion interactions in DAI and the story was great once the DLC’s had fleshed everything out fully. Those were the best bits so I think I would like to see more and deeper character interactions and story driven content.

    What I do not want to see:
    1) Go here and collect 5 zillion of these to make a half-assed shield or to open a dialogue for a quest that won’t interest you.
    2) Escort this person or creature from point a to point tedious b in order to get these points and grind out a level.

    There was too much busywork that wasn’t interesting in DAI to grind up a level to get to the stuff that was kinda interesting. I think they really should look at how interesting the side quests were in Witcher 3 or even in the older Mass Effect games (excluding Andromeda-do not look at Andromeda).

    Last but not least: More sexy-times and make it kinkier and weirder and more gonzo. :P

    • Booker says:

      You can be sure that they will fill the game up with such padding, since this is the only thing they are willing to build into their open worlds. :)

    • Pheon0802 says:

      actually I would love a level system similar to Vampire bloodlines. you dont get XP for killing enemies… you get it for advancing in quests. In general a pen and paper aproach with live action stuff. And pls writing and voiceacting and story are the first and most important things to focus on. (never gonna happen though cause thats not selling units)

  8. Thomas Foolery says:

    This piece barely mentions what I think is the most interesting/concerning bit of info that Kotaku got, that the in-development Dragon Age game was “rebooted” to make it more “live”, ie. they want to turn Dragon Age into software-as-a-service. This seems to confirm the worst fears that people had about EA taking over Bioware (if they weren’t confirmed already): that the publisher won’t let Bioware make the kinds of games they’re good at and they’re pushing them to design their games around a business model that doesn’t suit them.

    • aepervius says:

      Interresting… i smell that they want to add MT ;)

      • indigochill says:

        I might be wrong, but didn’t DAI have microtransactions for the multiplayer component? “Grind or pay to get loot boxes with new equipment/etc”? I know for sure the last two Mass Effects did.

        • aepervius says:

          Most of us do not care if they add tons of MT for multiplayer part , because the crushing majority of us buy those game for the single player story, NOT the multiplayer part, which will always be more of an afterthought anyway.

          No I am truly thinking of them trying to sneak in MT in some part of the single player , like say, in the crafting part… It would not be the first time they do , and it would be consistent with their policy to add MT to get more money.

          (in before somebody mention rising dev cost : maybe then they should LOWER their marketing cost first… Which is often enormous).

  9. woodsey says:

    I am of the (probably somewhat unpopular) opinion that Inquisition was an unmitigated disaster, so the exact opposite of that.

    They suck at these semi-open hub things they’ve been trying with Inquisition and Andromeda. There’s too many of them, they’re all too big, traversing them is miserable, and they are over-flowing with absolute junk content. A robot built to organise filing-cabinets would struggle to suck a drop of enjoyment out of the menial rubbish they made Inquisition out of.

    They need to get rid of that whole over-the-shoulder camera system as well. There were several occasions during Inquisition were I quite literally fell asleep watching this stuff. It’s like the game’s bored by its own content. Compare that to dialogue delivery in The Witcher 3.

    I love Origins and I still really want to see someone do Dragon Age 2 but, y’know, not made in the space of nine months, but my interest in Dragon Age is currently well below zero.

    • Ghostwise says:

      The opinion that (insert any Bioware game here) is an unmitigated disaster is hardly unpopular.

      Or at least, those with that stance have produced enough ranting on the matter to fill several libraries.

      • woodsey says:

        Inquisition reviewed pretty well and most people seem to feel, at the very least, pretty neutral towards it. It definitely seemed to fare better than Andromeda in that regard.

    • Turkey says:

      Well, too bad. Open world is the only game in AAA town. Now go collect 50 jaguar pelts so you can craft that wallet.

  10. kud13 says:

    I’ve still only played Origins so far (2 and Inquisition are still on the “to-play” list), but:

    -I just want Bioware to keep in mind that Witcher 3 seriously raised the bar regarding expectations to an RPG story in a AAA game. In terms of both depth and reactivity.

    • Werthead says:

      2005 BioWare: “Hey, these Polish guys are pretty good. Let’s help them out by giving them the Neverwinter Nights Engine and slapping our name on the game.”

      That makes the rather differing reactions to Inquisition (a “meh” segueing into “it’s better then DA2, I guess”) to Wild Hint (“is it legal to marry a video game?”) quite amusing in retrospect.

  11. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    “Some of Koutaku’s sources whispered that the game will have more “live” elements, ”

    Read: Always-online requirement, microtransactions, etc.

    EA, you just got blasted for this like a few weeks ago. Maybe learn from your mistakes instead of just continuing them.

    Zero interest until they get their shit sorted and work on making a good game instead of just a good cash cow to milk dry.

  12. ukpanik says:

    Get rid of the button mashing and make combat automatic. More companions to shag and varied shagging scenes (wink wink Meer). Collector’s edition to come with dragon themed lube.

  13. criskywalker says:

    Yeah, Bioware is pretty much dead to me, alongside the likes of Origin and PopCap. I never thought I was going to be NOT interested in a Dragon Age game.

  14. Freud says:

    I played Inquisition and my OCD forced me to complete everything. I don’t think I particularly enjoyed it. It’s not that I loathe grinding. I spent probably 100+ hours on Xenoblade Chronicles X and Dragons Dogma. There just has to be a soul to the game. Dragon Age just turned into this sterile, generic RPG with none of the charm of the earlier games. Playing it was just going through the motions.

  15. Mongward says:

    I’ll take Inquisition v2, really, just with less filler and no rubbish “power” resource. Unlike many I really enjoyed DAI, especially when it got the stories going, so I’ll gladly take more of that. Make maps either smaller or more packed with stuff, add some good traversal options and I’m game.
    I’ll take multiple diverse locations over a single massive map any day.

  16. mitthrawnuruodo says:

    Yeah.. get ready for Dragon Age Online: the MMORPG.

  17. esvyre says:

    Keep multiple preset race/gender origins which restrict gameplay/romance choices; companions’ disapproval of your actions to the point of them quitting; and the “mages are potential mind controlling assault weapons and society reacts accordingly” setting. Dragon Age has done those things pretty well, and there’s no need to chase everything Bethesda or CDProjekt Red does well and try to put those things in the game too.

  18. Chromatose says:

    Honestly, all I want out of a new Dragon Age is more Cassandra / Varric friendship. The interactions between those two were absolutely wonderful.

  19. craigdolphin says:

    DAO is my second favorite game of all time. Adding more ‘live elements’ (aka always online, drm, microtransactions, shoehorned multiplayer) just repels me. I figured that the news that Anthem was a destiny clone meant that Bioware was dead as a single player game maker, but it’s still sad to see it confirmed. RIP Dragon Age. Shame we never got the sequel that DAO should have had.

  20. allionline says:

    1. Stop trying to make an open-world game. I don’t enjoy getting lost trying to find some broken artifact that isn’t even relevant to the plot.

    I do NOT want to add an additional dimension to how I could get myself even more lost in the game; I want one path that gets me where I need to go.

    2. Bring back the advance tactics from Origins/II. I enjoyed setting up really complicated tactics for my party and then just watching them go at it on their own.

    I enjoyed Inquisition despite it not being the game I wanted, but I haven’t even finished my 10 hour trial of Andromeda. Maybe someday. These games were my favorite and now there’s not anything like them. Even they aren’t like them anymore.

    • Booker says:

      They’ll never stop doing open world, because it’s the easiest way to pad the game length. If you have to walk 15 minutes for every stage of a quest, it’s so much easier to reach 100 hours per playthrough. And sadly there are enough moronic gamers who think this is actually fun.

    • Werthead says:

      There’s plenty of games like the old BioWare paradigm around, although with some twists. In the last few years we’ve had Siege of Dragonspear, Tyranny, Pillars of Eternity, Torment: Tides of Numenera, Divinity: Original Sin I and II, three Shadowrun RPGs, three Witcher games (the first even using BioWare’s Aurora Engine) and more. We’ve also had the Banner Saga, which nicked BioWare’s characterisation and choice/consequence system (albeit more ruthlessly). If BioWare disappeared tomorrow, it’d be a shame and there’d be much hand-wringing, but I suspect the good developers would rise up somewhere else with a great new game or two to show for it.

      The loss of a triple-A studio making big-budget games with great production values that play quite well would be a shame, though. We’d be reduced to waiting on Cyberpunk, hoping that the next Deus Ex happens after all and (probably vainly) hoping that Bethesda remember what “RPG” means in their next outing.

  21. Masked Dave says:

    I’ve liked all of the Dragon Age games, including that they are different each time. So… yeah, something different again please!

    My main problem is that DA:O I played as a Dwarven Warrior, DA2 I played as a Human Rogue and DA:I I played as an Elven Mage, so I’ve no idea what I’d play this next one as. Darkspawn Bard?

  22. Booker says:

    Well, since all EA/BioWare does for over 10 years now, is trying to rip off the last (financially) successful RPG, this time they’ll rip off Witcher 3. And they’ll do it drawing all the wrong conclusions of course.
    BioWare already stated that they wished Inquisition had been more like Witcher 3 – in that W3 only launched on current gen consoles… Because yeah, that’s why people loved Witcher 3. :D

    So I guess Dragon Age 4 is going to have a card game this time too. Or some other game inside the game. Mark my words.

    • MaxMcG says:

      Except that the cards will be bought with real money, loot boxes or whatever.

  23. MaxMcG says:

    I can honestly say that I have absolutely no interest in anything EA have to offer anymore. There are way more interesting games to look forward to from developers who actually respect their customers.

    Unfortunately, Bioware is just a brand name now. All the good stuff I once associated with it is pretty much gone now.

  24. rubmon says:

    Well, it is a Bioware game, so expect a world of game bugs and ugly short haired women.

  25. SaintAn says:

    Dragon Age Origins is one of my favorite games, but I’ll pass. They should start selling off their IP’s.

  26. Zombiwan Kenobi says:

    I don’t care about Bioware anymore, still waiting for Cyberpunk though.

  27. EatingDirt says:

    DA:O was fortunate to exist in a time where no one was making CRPG’s, unfortunately for bioware, good CRPG’s exist and are being made now.

    Alternate options to similar to Dragon Age include: Pillars of Eternity(2 is coming out this year), Tyranny, All the Infinity Engine Black Isle games Enhanced Editions(which in my opinion are better than all Dragon Age games).

    DA:O was fortunate to exist in a time where no one was making CRPG’s, because in it’s ‘successor to Baldur’s Gate’ goal, it fell dreadfully short. The story wasn’t great(big evil army sits still and lets the player do whatever he wants until the player triggers an event), the companions were fine, but the romance options were infantile (give gifts, give sex). The limiting party of 4 limited tactical combat to tank/mage/mage/mage(all you really needed were mages, but there were only 2 in game, unless you killed one).

    • Mongward says:

      My biggest problem with Origins is that it is so damn bland. It’s a Game of Thrones by way of Lord of the Rings and brown colour filter. I mean, sure, the companions are memorable, but that could be said of almoast all BioWare characters, even Kaidan is remembered by how forgettable he was.
      Dragon Age 2 verged a smidge too close to an outlandish art style, but I loved the more street-level problems.
      Now DAI, that one actually got me, because despite it’s tons of faff it was fun, it was diverse, the characters were interesting, the main story was nicely told… It was like a lighthearted D&D campaign.

      • aepervius says:

        The problem with DA:I is that the story is pretty damn short, while 80 to 90% of the game was padded with fluff. Look at what you do in DA:I : gather power points on generic rifts, gather materials, have a lost of bland sidequest given by factions. But what do you have as story quest ? Maybe … 7 short one ? Albeit the one with the ball was great, but if you reduce to what you do for story , DA:I is very very weak.

      • sege says:

        I agree. I don’t get all the love for DAO. But unlike you, I’ve never played DA2 or DAI as DAO was boring enough for me and they sounded even worse. Is it possible I would have preferred them?! If they require Origin (surely they do) I’ll never know. It seems to me that people loved DAO because it was ok and somehow that was enough.

        What I’d like to see from DA4 is non of this money grabbing greed which people are assuming ‘live’ means.
        I’d like to see a brave, bold, reinventing, not of the RPG genre, but just of bioware’s tired, juvenile, bland RPG formula. Forget all this lots of friends in my party but i can’t go adventuring with them because that’s too hard to make. Forget immature, shallow, romance options that seem to be the main focus of the game.
        Give us a really great narrative worthy of a novel or good film. Give us engaging combat where stats not skill matter.
        In fact, drop the boring bland DA world altogether and give us something interesting….i guess that means it wouldn’t be DA4 then. Oops.

        • njury says:

          heh I bet you are not getting “brave and bold” from BioWare. You are getting whatever sells the most copies and create no controversies.

  28. Laurentius says:

    I want a big boring Eeevil dude who want to be a god as a main opponent although game is supopse be heavily about politics and stuff. Oh wait, that what sucked about DA:I.

  29. Captain Narol says:

    I want a Nemesis system like in Shadow of Mordor/War.

    We definitely need more games with such systems, whatever the genre !

  30. AlexW says:

    It’s actually a good thing that they haven’t really started production proper yet. The main reason Andromeda failed is that they told the team “GOGOGO GET IT DONE NOW” and the team didn’t have the tools or production pipeline they needed to actually build the game.

    Now, the OTHER reason Andromeda failed is that they completely misunderstood the nature of exploration, of being the first wave of colonists. They were convinced that they needed lots and lots of worlds to explore and lots of companions, rather than the feeling of spearheading a path into the unknown with a few friends and family. I don’t expect that a new Dragon Age will fix that, and of course they might have a different goal, but I do hope it doesn’t feel as… flighty as DA:I often did. The head of a burgeoning army should not be teleporting around a medieval fantasy world every five minutes, it feels weird. I’d love it if instead they made worlds that progressed without need for excessive fast-travel.

  31. Buuurr says:

    I don’t know about anyone else but I would want/need at least every character to be fully out there gay with the option to be made to be neutral gay (not obvious, kinda like Orlando Bloom). There has to be a fully flaming character that you meet at the very start and he or she has to be a part of your party or game or game over forever and it uninstalls from your rig and implants a virus labeling you as a homophobe. I also need the game to have the lead character be a part of or partake in at least five gay rallies.

    But, a game more like the original would be nice. You know? The one where I don’t need to know where every likes to rock off?

    TBH, I would take a remake of the original with updated graphics over what they are going to shit out.

  32. Deviija says:

    If I could have Inquisition 2.0 for the next game, I’d be more than happy. Inquisition isn’t without nits to pick, but it is one of the best titles BioWare has to offer when it comes to companion interactions, character growth arcs, and personal heart, imo. A lot of enjoyable political and cultural intrigues too. And then bringing in and weaving a lot of the divine mythos into the story with certain spoiler things. I’m eager for the next adventure.

    It is interesting to see popular gripes about the writing, or how much of a ‘disaster’ this newest BioWare title is compared to ‘x, y, z game of ye olde yesteryear.’ It reminds me how easily people forget history (or how easily it repeats) and how easy it is to put on those rose-colored nostalgic memory glasses when viewing the past. Because these are not new complaints, but ones on repeated cycles. Even when Jade Empire and NWN:OC came out people were waxing desire for Baldur’s Gate, and singing the dissatisfaction of the current title. When Origins came out, it was KOTOR. ME3, it was ME1 and Origins. For example, ME3’s fan-labeled ‘disaster,’ particularly in regards to the ending scandal, was critically scrutinized and vocally firebombed up and down the interwebz, but now you’ll see people act as though ME3 was just fine and a stellar part of the trilogy. The lens of history and perspective over time.

  33. ludde says:

    Ugh, “franchises”… nothing says soulless corporate quite like that word.

    Thanks EA.

  34. Michael Fogg says:

    I think Dragon Age was never good to begin with (got bored of Origins somewhere during the werewolf forest bit), worse than the BG games in almost every respect. So not waiting with bated breath here.

  35. cosmitz says:

    Move the entire setting to the Qunari, give us the Morrowind to its TES. Start fresh, work hard, focus on the longer beats, more deep lake, less shallow ocean, less grandiose, more personal.

    And for the love of god, separate functionals from aesthethics.