Dragon Age 4 has been elusive, leaving many of us dreaming of new information. It’s not until 2020 that we began to see the game coming together. Finally, there’s a new trailer that dropped during the 2020 Game Awards that promises we’ll get the game in our hands. There is a lot to unpack here, so let’s start with the chilling trailer!
“I’ve faced Tyrants and would-be Gods.”
The Man narrating the trailer is Varric Tethras, a surface dwarf from House Tethras. He is an important figure who appears in Dragon Age 2 and beyond. Fans will remember him as a companion of Hawke (Dragon Age 2) and the Inquisitor (Dragon Age: Inquisition). Through his narration, we’re shown images depicting past events and figures that gamers will recognize – Meredith Stannard, the Knight-Commander of the Templar Order, and Corypheus.
The trailer draws your focus not to the world, not our future companions, but the “Hero” we will control. He explicitly states the hero has “no magic hand” and “no ancient prophecy.” I’d say this breaks any hopes for a returning hero. I’m one of the fans still eagerly awaiting the Warden’s return. He survived my playthrough of Dragon Age: Origins while others took a different path. I’ll go on believing my Arcane Warrior Warden is still with Morrigan and their son, Kieran.
Regardless of whose shoes we fill, the Dread Wolf awaits our challenge, and there’s no telling how the story will unfold.
Dragon Age 4 has faced development issues in the past
BioWare teased Dragon Age during the 2018 Game Awards, mostly teasing The Dread Wolf. While it doesn’t spell out that this was a Dragon Age title, fans were aware that he and the tagline #TheDreadWolfRises spoke volumes. However, the game went through issues that nearly destroyed it. Honestly, 2017 marked the cancellation of the first iteration of Dragon Age 4.
Codenamed Joplin, former BioWare developers insist it was some of the best work experiences they’d ever had. The developers insist the scope of the new Dragon Age would be smaller than Inquisition “but much larger in player choice, followers, reactivity, and depth,” but they were “sad the game the game will never be made.” BioWare dashed the hope of playing a group of spies in the Tevinter Imperium.
The studio was ready to release Mass Effect: Andromeda in 2016. BioWare broke up the team to help with the final months of development. Once it shipped in 2017, they returned to Dragon Age. This on-again, off-again development was the first real sign of trouble. On that note, EA made it clear they want their popular franchise to be “Games as a service.” We have seen that model crash and burn for a few games. Anthem, a complete failure in its own rite, required a team to fix it. BioWare canceled Joplin, leaving a small group to work on a new version under the codename Morrison.
The 2020 Staff Scare
The game’s early development cycle is under question, with good reason. Casey Hudson and Mark Darrah stepped down from their positions. Darrah’s role as Executive Producer now belongs to Christian Dailey, a former developer on Anthem 2.0. However, the lead writer, Patrick Weekes, is still attached to the project. He writes characters for Dragon Age and Mass Effect; He’s also the author of Dragon Age: The Masked Empire, a book detailing how the Orlesian Civil War began.
Gamers invest a lot into this world, and Dragon Age has a host of books that enriches the series. It may seem a lot to get into, but it is well worth it. We’re all hoping this newest title will blow us away. My only concern is the “Games as a service,” model mentioned earlier. Anthem is getting a complete rebuild and Marvel’s Avengers is losing players by the minute. This series is all about the RPG experience. If this model is still planned, hopefully it isn’t intrusive to the single-player campaign.
What the game entails is yet to be seen
Varric Tethras will play a role in the new Dragon Age, but we last saw him as Viscount of Kirkwall. That flies in the face of controlling a new protagonist who ‘has no power.’ His involvement is a fact, but what he’ll do is unexplained. All we can be sure of is his storytelling ways will remain, and he certainly has our back.
Solas is another companion making a return from Dragon Age Inquisition; he connects to the Dread Wolf. That is all I can state without spoilers for gamers who want to experience the tale for themselves. Though, the trailer does not attempt to hide what is already known by fans.
It’s rumored that the prime location will be the Tevinter Imperium. If we are, we will finally visit a place only talked about throughout the games. Dragon Age 2 gave us Dorian Pavus, a companion whose home is the Tevinter Imperium. He had plenty to say about it, so I’m hopeful we get to explore. Most of all, the world-building we’ve done since DA:O needs to shape our individualized playthroughs. Dragon Age Keep allows us to carry over our story choices into the other games, so let’s keep our fingers crossed!