BioWare continues drip feeding information about the long-awaited Dragon Age sequel, as a trailer debuted at The Game Awards this Thursday. While we’ve yet to see the all-important gameplay, there are a few things we can glean from the teaser about what we can expect from the fourth installment of this fantasy series.
Here’s everything that we spotted from this latest Dragon Age trailer!
Varric is Back
The first thing fans would pick up on is the mistakable American accent of none-other than two-time companion, Varric. Already appearing in both Dragon Age II and Dragon Age: Inquisition, this was certainly an unexpected twist. But it makes sense. Firstly, as I spoke about after the last Dragon Age 4 trailer, dwarves have a huge link to the nation of Tevinter, where this next game will be set. Dwarves control the lyrium trade across Thedas, which is vital to Tevinter because their heavy use of magic.
As we saw in Varric’s prior outings, his family are part of the merchant caste of dwarven culture. On top of that, the rogue has been shown to have many contacts across the world, and in this title, it looks like he’ll take a commanding role, leading underground activity in a country his family trades in. Given how diverse the cast of companions are (qunari, grey warden, elven), Varric’s longtime apolitical attitude would best unify them to help the player. We also already know Dragon Age 4 will feature espionage, so Varric’s rogue-like ways, as well as his prior dealings with “The Dread Wolf,” make him the perfect candidate to dish out spy missions to our new hero. Speaking of…
We’re a Nobody Again
Quite the change from playing Jesus in the last game, it looks like we’re returning to the series' roots and playing as some nobody. This was hinted at last time in one of Solas’s voice lines, but added to here. “It’s time for a new hero. No magic hand, no ancient prophecy. The kind of person they’ll never see coming,” says Varric. Couldn’t get clearer than that—the next hero will be much more of a blank slate for players, unlike the Inquisitor, and very much unlike Hawke in Dragon Age II.
Origins Could be Back
Players being able to choose from and play out multiple character backgrounds has been noticeably absent from all the sequels since the first title, Dragon Age: Origins. However, when Varric is giving his monologue about how we're a nobody, it’s important to note that the trailer shows a warrior, a mage, and a rogue. BioWare clearly made a point to show our hero can be who we want this time, rather than pigeonholed into being the “Hero of Andraste." As they made the conscious decision to show three very different heroes during the part of the trailer (all also in very different scenarios), it could be signaling that origins are set to return. This could also help the narrative tremendously; when we went into Dragon Age II and Inquisition, we already knew a fair bit about the setting. This time, we’re going to a whole new nation, with a very different political landscape to anything we’ve seen. Having around six different backgrounds to play out could be a brilliant way to introduce us to Tevintan society.
We’re Diving Into Elven Mythology Again
At the end of the trailer, we see Solas touching a mural of The Dread Wolf. As we know, The Dread Wolf is part of Dalish elves religion. It’s interesting we’re seeing anything to do with the Dalish in Tevinter, given how elves are subjugated in the region. But given how Solas already uncovered part of elven history we didn’t know about, he could do the same in Tevinter and lead some sort of elf uprising in the country as he goes around educating them on their heritage.
We’re Far Away, But the Old Games Have an Impact
The first shot of the teaser shows Dragon Age II antagonist Meredith before then cutting to Inquisition’s Corypheus. When Varric says he’s seen friends lose “life and limb,” he’s referencing the Herald of Andraste quite literally losing a limb in the last game, as well as Hawke’s potential death (should the player make that choice). We’ve also already spotted Dorian in concept art (and maybe Isabela), so if you couple this with Solas as an antagonist, there’s going to be a whole lot of dirty laundry being aired. It will be interesting to see how this new hero will fit into these personal dramas.
What Are We Going to do with Solas?
Alright, sure, Varric literally puts Solas in the same category as “demons, dragons and darkspawn," but we already know this game is going to revolve around subterfuge and heists. This trailer obviously sets Varric up as some sort of spymaster, but we also know from Inquisition that Solas has agents of his own. BioWare gave us the option to try and talk Solas down from his plan at the end of the last game, and a blog post suggests they want this game to be all about player choice. With all that being said, does this mean we’ll get the choice to help The Dread Wolf? You can't really say, "This is your story," we can try and reach out to our favorite angry mage once more, right?
Things Are Looking Real Weird
Not that we didn’t expect it though. Tevinter has largely remained a mystery, but were you expecting a horde of dinosaurs? I mean, sure, they won’t actually be called dinosaurs, but they’re certainly new. On top of that, a shot of a city showed magic casually flowing from a castle, and another floating hundreds of feet in the sky—something which would cause a breakdown anywhere else in Thedas. We’ve been so used to exploring worlds where magic is forbidden, and it looks like BioWare’s imagination is running wild with what a world looks like where magic is actually celebrated.
Is “Joplin” Back on the Menu?
Joplin was the codename for the original Dragon Age 4. This was canned after the team had to be broken up to work on Mass Effect: Andromeda as it struggled through the later stages of development. After this, BioWare reportedly restarted development, but this time planned to have live-service elements, much in the same vein as Anthem, at least according to an investigation published by Kotaku. However, two trailers down, none of that has been seen.
On Joplin, journalist Jason Schreier reported, “A large chunk of Joplin would center on heists. The developers talked about building systemic narrative mechanics, allowing the player to perform actions like persuading or extorting guards[...]” This tracks with everything we’ve seen so far, especially here, as much of the trailer gave us a close and intimate look at one city. Nothing like the Hinterlands yet at least. Varric’s words and the BioWare blog post suggest this game will heavily rely on player choice, so it seems very far away from the live-service plans that were drawn at some point in development.
At least, so far.
Did we miss anything from this latest Dragon Age trailer? Lets us know what you spotted in the comments below!