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Dragon Age: Inquisition was the last entry in BioWare’s Dragon Age franchise. Released in Nov. 2014, with the DLC titled “Trespasser” wrapping up the game’s story in Sept. 2015, it garnered critical acclaim and became BioWare’s best-selling game thus far. News of the next entry in the series has been sparse throughout the past several years due to the (commercially and critically unsuccessful) release of Mass Effect: Andromeda and the announcement, development and promotion of the studio’s forthcoming new IP, Anthem, which will release in Feb. 2019.
However, the fourth Dragon Age game has been confirmed, and we’re here to share with you everything we know about the fantasy RPG series’ next installment.
Dragon Age takes place in the world of Thedas, which is actually an acronym derived from the phrase “The Dragon Age Setting.” In comparison to its sci-fi counterpart Mass Effect, which focused on the story of a central character and cast, Dragon Age has always focused on the Dragon Age universe. Each game follows a different protagonist and cast, and takes place in a different area that is meant to expand the scope and lore of the world.
As a result, the identity of the next installment is defined first and foremost not by who you’ll play but rather where it will take place. At the end of the Trespasser DLC, the Inquisitor makes the decision to pursue one of the franchise’s main antagonists to either save them (it’s complicated, okay) or kill them. The Inquisitor looks at a map, beginning to form a plan, and throws a dagger at a specific location: the Tevinter Imperium.
The Tevinter Imperium is a place in Thedas that has long been alluded to and explored in past Dragon Age games and books, and fan reception to this reveal was one of overwhelming excitement. One of the most popular characters in Dragon Age: Inquisition’s cast, Dorian Pavus, is from the Tevinter Imperium, and many fans believe he will return in the next game.
What this simply means is that the game is being designed to seamlessly incorporate continued storytelling even after the main story ends. Because of Anthem’s nature as a live-service RPG, fans have been wondering if it will affect the development of the structure of future BioWare games. General Manager of BioWare Casey Hudson made sure to mitigate the worries not long ago.
“Some weird stuff going around about how our future games will be influenced by Anthem,” he tweeted on Sept. 4. “Of course when we do a Dragon Age game it will be designed from the ground up based on what Dragon Age should be. Same with Mass Effect…”
He then added, “Anthem is a specific thing that’s unique from our other IPs in many ways. What carries forward is what we learn about game design, which is a constant evolution.”
In January, he tweeted about the next Dragon Age game specifically: “Reading lots of feedback regarding Dragon Age, and I think you’ll be relieved to see what the team is working on. Story & character focused. Too early to talk details, but when we talk about “live” it just means designing a game for continued storytelling after the main story.”
There is no confirmed release date or even an announced title for the next Dragon Age game just yet. What we do know is that it has been in development for a considerable amount of time, with Mark Darrah maintaining his role as the franchise’s Executive Producer alongside his new role as the Executive Producer for Anthem.
As far back as Feb. 2017, BioWare brought on Alexis Kennedy, writer on Failbetter Games’ 2015 RPG Sunless Sea, to write “a storyline bit of lore which is well-segregated from other parts of the game.” Darrah confirmed the news on his Twitter account.
While Dragon Age: Inquisition Creative Director and BioWare veteran Mike Laidlaw left the company in Oct. 2017, and former Lead Writer David Gaider left in Jan. 2016, the Dragon Age franchise should be in good hands and making steady progress. Patrick Weekes became the lead writer of the franchise following Gaider’s exit, and his work on the characters of Solas and Cole, among many others, had won the trust and support of fans by the time of the shocking announcement.
BioWare is focused on releasing Anthem early next year, but after some time is given to the new IP so that it can shine, it’s safe to assume that it won’t be too long before BioWare makes the first major announcement for the next Dragon Age game.