Six long years after the release of Dragon Age: Inquisition, BioWare fans were finally treated to a glimpse of its next-gen sequel. This will be the fourth main installment in the Dragon Age series, and it has a lot riding on it considering the long hiatus.
But while the short behind-the-scenes teaser didn’t give us a title, a premise, or even an estimated release window, that doesn’t mean we didn’t find out anything.
Taking a second look at the concept art, and digging through the Dragon Age lore, here’s everything we could find out about Dragon Age 4 from the Gamescom trailer.
There’s Multiple Ways to Deal with Solas
Being one of the more obvious ones, let’s get this out the way: Solas is back, and he’s badder than ever. Or “righteous” as ever, if we’re being generous.
In a short clip from voice actor Gareth David-Lloyd, we hear him say, “They call me the Dread Wolf. What will they call you when this is over?” Good to see that the time in between games hasn’t got rid of that classic Solas charm.
Solas is going to be instrumental to Dragon Age 4. His plan to break the barrier between Thedas and the Fade (killing a heck of a lot of people in the process) is… divisive to say the least. With this in mind, and that line from Solas sounding unmistakably antagonistic, it’s easy to see that he will be taking a bad guy role.
However, it’s worth noting what Technical Director Jon Renish said in the trailer about the apostate elf.
"Half the community wants to kill him, half the people wanna marry him, and another part want to do both,” he said. He also stated that the Dragon Age team wants characters to either be loved or hated.
With BioWare aware of this going into development, that marks our first clue as to what to expect from Dragon Age 4: Solas won’t be a total villain. It’s unlikely that the writers will be able to include a way for us to join him on his universe-ending schemes (at least if they want more sequels). At the very least, it looks like there will be alternatives to taking him out, such as pledging to save him from himself, as you can at the end of the Inquisition DLC, Trespasser.
The New Hero is Very Different from the Inquisitor
That one voice line leads us on to our next hint: who our hero will be. Unlike the first two Dragon Age games, the end of the Trespasser, made it clear that the protagonist's story is far from over. It ends with the Inquisitor surrounded by their remaining companions, stabbing a knife into a war table map of Tevinter; they’re going after Solas.
Despite this, it looks like we won’t be playing as our Herald of Andraste. Solas said, “They call me the Dread Wolf,” a fact which the Inquisitor already knows. And given the impassioned way he delivers the line, it has to be addressing a new protagonist.
But what will that hero look like? All fingers point to us returning to the humble beginnings of Hawke and the Warden: We’re going to be a nobody.
Not only can this be inferred from Solas’ line, but also in how lead writer Patrick Weekes spoke about the game's story.
“We want to tell a story of what happens when you don’t have power," Weekes said. "What happens when the people in charge aren’t willing to address the issues.”
Already, that feels like a callback to the game that started it all, Dragon Age: Origins, in which the premise of the game is playing as a near-powerless Grey Warden, and running around Ferelden to convince everyone to put petty squabbles aside and stop the apocalypse. With the end of the world on the cards yet again, and with Solas having a network of spies, we can expect to be tasked with navigating the explosive politics of Tevinter to convince various factions to take the threat seriously.
There’s a Few Familiar Faces
To many fans' delight, Dorian’s iconic facial hair was spotted in some in concept art which depicts characters diving underwater. This near enough confirms that the necromancer is going to return to the series, perhaps even as a companion.
Both sequels have had returning companions so far (Anders and Varric), so it would make sense to repeat that here. And Dorian is the logical pick. We know from the ending of Trespasser that our next journey is in Tevinter, but the DLC also revealed that Dorian is returning to that country to take his father’s seat in their political assembly, the Magisterium. With both that faction link, and his prior dealings with Solas, he would fit perfectly as a companion.
But that’s not all. While this is diving into the realm of speculation quite a bit, two figures seen in concept art appear to resemble two rogues: Zevran and Isabela. Zevran is more likely to return, as the teaser clearly shows that his former assassins guild, The Crows, will appear in the game.
As for Isabela, while the woman in the artwork isn’t a perfect resemblance, it’s not completely out of the question. Inquisition revealed that she has now returned to the pirate life as an admiral, so she would have the means to get to Tevinter. But not only that—her entire story in Dragon Age II centered around her involvement in the decades long Qunari-Tevinter conflict, as she stole a relic from the Qun. With that colorful past in mind, it’s easy to see how BioWare could include her in Dragon Age 4.
And, of Course, There’s New Faces
We even have a couple of names! Davrin and Bellara. Davrin is a Grey Warden, which will surely be interesting given the dark path many of them went down in the last game. However, Inquisition also teased a storyline about a cure for the Wardens, to prevent them from dying so young. And with Tevinter being the hub for everything magical, it’s likely that Davrin’s story could have something to do with this loose thread.
Aside from a high-pitched voice, Bellara remains a mystery, but that name does sound distinctly elven (think Velanna and Briala), so she could be an escaped slave, considering the low status of elves in the Imperium.
We’ll have to wait and see for the rest, but already we can see a female mage, female Qunari, someone with a gun (or just a crossbow at an angle), and a being which appears to be a fade spirit, covered in veil fire. There’s also a dude who looks very tall, which could either be a Qunari without the horns (like our boy Sten from Origins) or even one of the ancient elves, who were taller and stronger than their modern counterparts.
We'll Explore Huge Landscapes—and Underwater
Inqusition had the biggest and most open world of the series, and the fourth installment looks set to continue that. The enemy concept art shows lizard-esque monsters which wouldn’t fit in a city/town setting, but would be perfect foes for large areas of land.
But most interestingly, the art that shows us Dorian and hints at Isabela shows characters diving underwater. Allowing us to explore the sea would be a first for the series, and unlocks much more potential from the open world. The art also shows the characters dodging harpoons, which suggests piracy will come into play—will we be the captain of our own ship? If so, the open worlds—if there are any—could all be connected this time around.
However, it isn't all open seas. For better or worse, it looks like the Deep Roads are back, which means we'll have dungeon crawling to contend with too.
We’re Spending a Lot of Time with Mages and Dwarves
If you take a big nerdy look at the architecture, you’ll notice that the designs are all very reminiscent of Tevinter and Orzammar. Tevinter architecture, unsurprisingly, has a very magical feel to it, with its large, intricately decorated towers residing near lakes. On the other hand, the rest of the building designs we see in the trailer look very much like we've seen in the Deep Roads in previous titles.
This makes sense, as the dwarves have close ties with the Tevinter Imperium, due to their hold on the lyrium market. In fact, these bonds are so strong between the two that dwarves have embassies scattered around the country, and even their own branch of government. As if the battle of ideologies between Solas and Tevinter wasn’t enough, let’s throw some trade complications into there too! To keep up this alliance, the dwarves would have had to overlook a whole lot of questionable activity in the country, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out.
Tevinter Will Contain a Web of Previously Unresolved Plot Threads
Where do we start? Solas is standing up for elven rights in the most elf-hating country in Thedas. He’ll not only have to contend with Tevinter magisters, but also his old pals, Dorian, and the Inquisitor.
Speaking of Dorian, the whole reason he returned to Tevinter was to root out corruption. But given that this is a country that keeps slaves and engages in all sorts of forbidden magic, he has his work cut out for him.
Then there’s the Qunari companion. We don’t know how loyal she is to the Qun, but it’s hard to imagine that Tevinter will treat her well, considering the long feud between the two groups.
That’s not even to get into the mess of the aftermath of the Mage vs Templar war. While Tevinter would not be directly affected by your decisions in previous games (they don’t follow the Chantry which resolved the war), it will have a massive impact on characters that are linked with either group, such as the unnamed mage companion. And it’s hard to imagine that those conflicts have gone to bed.
All in all, Tevinter is home to a lot of groups that hate each other. And in the middle of all this, will be us. Presumably trying to direct everyone’s attention to that bald elf who wants to destroy the everything.
Hell, maybe Thedas deserves it at this point.
That’s what we could tell from the Dragon Age 4 Gamescom teaser. Have you made any predictions? Let us know in the comments below.