‘Dragon Age: Inquisition’ Takes Player Power To ‘The Next Level’

Published 1 year ago by

Dragon Age Inquisition Logo

After what has felt like years, BioWare has finally decided to lift the veil of secrecy from Dragon Age: Inquisition, with the official story trailer released today giving fans some sense of the locations, characters, and threats that will be encountered. As the studio’s first truly next-gen entry, the leadership knows all too well just how much of an expectation there is to exceed what came before. And for Inquisition, it begins with the new hero.

To this point, the exact details of the man or woman leading the titular ‘Inquisition’ have been kept to the background, instead focusing on the wealth of customization players can look forward to, and the variety of environments next-gen makes possible. But the trailer made it clear that the Inquisitor would be facing a monumental threat – and one seemingly unconnected to either of the games that came before. That’s likely to change, but for now, the devastating ‘Breach’ threatening to swallow the whole of Thedas makes prior threats seem miniscule.

Speaking with both Gamespot and PC Gamer, executive producer Mark Darrah explains that while the events of Inquisition are sure to have an overwhelming effect on the future of the Dragon Age series, the role through which players will experience (and attempt to stop) it is something genuinely new to the formula:

“When we started this franchise, what we really wanted to always be doing was telling the story of the world, as opposed to the story of a single character. When we have a character, these events are big and world-shaking. We basically are trying to tell the story in the best way possible, rather than trying to have an arc for a single character.

Dragon Age Inquisition Screenshot Full Alliance Meeting

“Because we’re going back to full races there’s going to be a significant difference in background between the different potential inquisitors. In Dragon Age: Origins you are a member of the wardens, but in a lot of ways you are the last surviving warden or at least the last surviving warden on the ground when he’s needed… In Dragon Age 2 Hawke is really a leaf in the wind. The story is very much about him reacting to the world pushing on him. In this case it’s much more about putting The Inquisitor at the head of an organization… This isn’t about being a Jedi, this is about founding The Jedi Order.”

Those familiar with BioWare’s most recent RPGs will likely get a nagging sense of familiarity, as the general plot hinted at for Inquisition – gaining reputation and allies to your side to take on a large threat – is essentially the exact one seen in both Mass Effect 2 and 3.

According to Darrah, there seems to be a bit more subtlety and nuance to the progression, not to mention letting players bargain from a position of power as opposed to “begging” as they had in the past:

“You’re still the tip of the spear. You’re the one doing the dangerous things. It’s more about using the power of the inquisition to do things that are beyond the capability of a single person. So, for example, you might find a place where a bridge is broken and then you can actually use the inquisition to do an operation to repair that bridge. Or, for the critical path, you need to have a meeting with the Templars. They don’t want to talk to you, so you’re gonna use your agents to gather up the support of local nobility to essentially increase the weight of your presence, because now it’s not just you, a ragtag party of guys. It’s you and powerful nobles. It becomes much more difficult to ignore you. So that’s really what you use your inquisition for more. It’s about that next level of ability.

Dragon Age Inquisition Hero Trailer Image

“Also, surviving this calamity has actually given you powers that other people don’t have. You have a remnant of this explosion in your hand that actually allows you to close these fade rifts that are around the world. This gives you additional influence on the world and additional ability to demand respect, demand that people listen to you, because you can do something no one else can.”

Obviously fans will wait to pass judgement on how well the finished game executes on these ideas, but it’s a safe bet that Dragon Age players are ready to be given serious authority in the game’s universe. The need to listen to insufferable and closed-minded leaders bicker about their minor issues as the world sits on the precipice can only be tolerable for so long, so the chance to actually flex some muscles as The Inquisitor will be a welcome change.

As more story details arrive in the coming months, a better sense of how much players will be kept to the path, or allowed to wander will be possible. For now, what do you think of this promise of ‘next-level’ authority? Is it a long overdue feature, or do you have your doubts that Inquisition will differ from BioWare’s other RPGs? Share your thoughts in the comments.


Dragon Age: Inquisition releases October 7, 2014 for the PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: PC Gamer, Gamespot

TAGS: BioWare, Dragon Age, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Electronic Arts, PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One

  • http://screenrant.com boogoo

    Totally agree. Too many RPGs tend to give you the position of errand boy. Having real authority on a larger scale would be a veeery welcomed improvement.

  • Shalkowski

    With EA and Bioware, I’ll be believe it when I play it.

  • cidgrad

    Darrah also said in this same interview that, essentially, the story in DA: Origins was too difficult to continue because there were too many different options the player could have chosen. My question then, is why should we get excited about a new slate of potential options & choices in Inquisition?

    I think the studio is missing the talent & leadership it had back during Origins and this game is going to miss the mark. The more I hear about Inquisition, the less I think Bioware understands what was wrong with DA2. I want a direct continuation of the first game, not mere cameos from characters that were better than any in the game I’m currently playing. Hopefully I’m wrong, because I miss the days when “Bioware RPG” meant something, but there’s no way I’ll preorder another one of their games after DA2.

    • Imateria

      No, he didn’t. He said that they didn’t carry on the Warden’s story as a player character because the endings of Origins could be so diverse that it would make it impossible to fit him/her into another game in anything other than a cameo role where it doesn’t matter so much.

      Sounds more like you didn’t understand what Gaider and Laidlaw were trying to do with Dragon Age in the first place, which is to create a large Dungeons and Dragons type world with many things going on and many stories to be told, not just the story of one person. Inquisition is definitely coming across as more like Origins in style than DA2.

      • Cariannis

        “you didn’t understand what Gaider and Laidlaw were trying to do with Dragon Age in the first place, which is to create a large Dungeons and Dragons type world with many things going on and many stories to be told”

        Nope. They wanted to tell a story with the player having very minimal input. That’s how we got the crapfest Dragon Age 2. A Dungeons and Dragons type world game would be closer to what we got in the 90s (I find it sad that a billion dollar company couldn’t pull off something that they could 20 years ago within 24 months) from BioWare.

        • Cariannis

          Less than 20*

      • cidgrad

        I think you’re restating my point, Imateria. Darrah is saying there are too many possible outcomes from Origins to address so they’re not even going to try. I’m saying they left the incredible story of Origins unfinished and I’d like it to continue while DA2 is best left forgotten. And they know a lot of people feel the same way I do, which is why every post about Inquisition leads with a picture of Morrigan. But bizarrely, Darrah implies she’s not going to be in your party and may not have more than a cameo appearance.

        Regardless of what the Bioware staff’s personal motivations are behind Dragon Age, I assume a large part of it is getting many people to buy their games. I’m saying I haven’t seen anything yet that makes me want to buy Inquisition. Everything they’ve been saying doesn’t show any comprehension on their part about why I loved Origins and why I hated DA2.

        • Imateria

          Origins was the story of the 5th Blight, which is done, and Awakenings was largely about re-establishing the Wardens in Fereldan. I’m no fan of the Sim City type games so a castle management game doesn’t really interest me. Thedas is a wide world, it was time to go out there and look for more stories, we’ve been to the Free Marches, now it’s time for Orlais and Navarra and I know there are a lot of people looking forward to new stories in new locations.

  • Cariannis

    Just wanted to point out that by the standards of BioWare’s Daniel Erickson Mass Effect 3 isn’t an RPG.

  • Nathan

    Okay…for one Morrigan may not be a party member in Inquisition, BUT they did say that she will be playing a major role in the game. They said that this is HER time which leads me to believe that her actions in Origins and Inquisition will drive the plot. Not only will this satisfy everyone about the ritual performed at the end of Origins. Just wanted to clear that mess up. So yes she is heavily advertised wherever Inquisition is because they want to emphasize to their fans that this game will be the game we want it to be and that it will be nothing like DA2. In fact all DA2 was for Bioware was a way to bring us to the state the world of dragon age is currently in. Which could have been done in a book I suppose but thats neither here nor there.
    Secondly, I am sick of seeing people say they aren’t getting the game because of DA2 and ME3. Get over yourselves. DR:I is going to be amazing, but not because I have blind hope for the franchise, and not because DA2 and ME3 didn’t upset me at certain points, but because they have spent a long time listening to fans and what we want in another DA game. They took all the criticism, advice, wants and needs into consideration and molded it all into a game fashioned after DAO rather than DA2 BECAUSE of fan feedback.
    This game is Bioware’s baby. They have been very careful to make it everything we wanted and more and i highly doubt they did with the game the things their fans hated about DA2 and ME3. So don’t get the game but you’ll be missing out on potentially Bioware’s best RPG yet.

    • cidgrad

      Bioware employee.

      • nathan

        No just a fan that knows what he’s talking about but one day I will be a Bioware employee so thank you

    • Soverriss

      Nathan, you have summed up how I feel entirely. All I hear is how terrible this game looks, how no one’s going to buy it, that BioWare is barely mediocre. Well, to me it all sounds like one big temper tantrum. DA2 was not all that it could have been, that much is true. But to say that you won’t buy Inquisition because of that? Please. These people work their butts off to create a game that will appeal to a wide fanbase, and they do a pretty darn good job. I LIKED DA2; the story was what I play it for. I liked the helplessness that Hawke often faced, especially when you consider the fact that the Warden almost never had such instances. I can understand why they didn’t bring the Warden back. In several cases, he/she is DEAD. Would you rather they pull that resurrection crap? They already did that with Flemeth, but it fits her character. To do the same for a mortal creature who is really only special because they, like hundreds of other people, are a Grey Warden. No thanks.

      • Nathan

        Thank you it is refreshing to clear the toxic cloud of judgement and negativity. BioWare made DA2 the way they did for a reason, and although YES it could have been much better, I don’t play games for the gameplay as much as I play them for the stories. Which is exactly what DA2 was all about. They took away from gameplay aspects to create a more personal and tightly knit story revolving around a character that helps bring about the war between mages and templars. Yes it could have been told in a vastly different way similar to Origins, but they had already done that, and their plot for DA2 wasn’t a world-changing story like the Warden’s was. The whole game lead to a cliff-hanging event that would become the final and last straw in the tension between the two factions. For this purpose the way they did DA2 worked perfectly.

        And you have to remember that the DA series isn’t about any one character and their miraculous never-ending tale of epic adventures, but rather the evolution of the world itself during the 100 years that makes up the Dragon Age and how the events affect and change that world.

        I played DA2 first actually, and I loved it. It was my first taste of the DA series and it was definitely a unique one. I am currently playing Origins for the first time while waiting for Inquisition and will play all the DLC’s before I break the seal on Inquisition. That being said I don’t have a biased perspective full of false and ultimately, unfair comparisons between the two games. You cant compare them for they are 2 completely separate beasts with different purposes and different plot devices.

        But anyways, enough about all that. Lets talk BioWare.

        How dare all you people bash BioWare over a few things that didn’t meet your expectations. For one, just because DA2 reused all of its small setting locations over and over, the game itself was very good. God forbid you are unable to romance a certain character OH MY GOD FREAK OUT. who cares? When it all comes down to it, the romance doesn’t matter, the fighting styles don’t matter and the locations sure as hell dont matter…not as long as the story is satisfyingly refreshing and surprising and draws you into it to an emotional level. DA2 doesn’t have a high fantasy epic feel to it, but it wasn’t supposed to. It was about one man’s struggle to survive, the relationships he develops along the way, and how those change/influence his/her decisions which land him as the Champion of the city. But then the story keeps going! So it is then the player’s choices based on how the relationships and events influence them to finish on a cliff hanger that directly leads to the events in Asunder and Inquisition.

        BioWare works very hard to please their RPG loving fans with epic stories and lively characters and they succeed in doing so. They create journeys for all of us that we will never forget…yet all you people with unrealistic expectations (or simply conforming to all the negativity from these people) decide that minor things in the games ruin the overall experience for you so you shun BioWare. Let me say that this is narrow-minded blasphemy and none of you deserve to ever pick up another BioWare game again because they didnt make it perfectly toy uor liking or you didnt like that character’s personality, or how that story arc finished…there’s too many people like this in the world, and not enough fair critics who can zoom out and see the overall large picture of things. Its a shame

        • cidgrad

          Nathan: I wasn’t aware that criticizing a corporation is “blasphemy”. If you don’t work for them, you have a couple of screws loose, mate. And I have every right to criticize (among a great many other things) how they recycled all their maps in DA2. 8-bit NES games weren’t that blatant about it. Even the original Legend of Zelda moved a few blocks around and had palate swaps.

          Oh right, but you don’t care about trivialities like design, graphics, music, and gameplay in your video games. You’re all about the story. Even though you’ve never actually played Origins. So this is essentially like debating a fanboi of SW Episode I who has never seen the original trilogy. “What’s the problem? Episode I has lightsabers and spaceships and stuff goin’ pew pew! George Lucas worked really hard on that script! HOW DARE you criticize him??”

          Go through the Mage/Templar section of Origins. Read all lore entries you pick up along the way. Those two groups had a fascinating dynamic with each other that, as far as I know, was unique in fantasy. The nonsensical tripe in DA2 blew it all up, even though it seems DA2’s Templars were correct all along: mages are just looking for an excuse to become evil, possessed demons, because that’s what happens no matter what. The final battle in DA2 made me rofl when I tried to help the mages and even the HEAD ENCHANTER goes, “Aw shucks, this battle doesn’t seem to be going so well. Guess I better turn into an evil demon.” Idiotic.

          PS – the final boss of DA2 was just a re-skin from Origins.

      • cidgrad

        Soverriss: What often gets glossed over by EAWare fanbois like you & Nathan is a lot of the anger regarding DA2 comes from the fact that Bioware slandered fans instead of admitting they made a bad game. That didn’t sit too well with some of us. Aside from that…

        “I liked the helplessness that Hawke often faced, especially when you consider the fact that the Warden almost never had such instances.”

        This is an incredibly ignorant comment, at best. No matter which origin story your Gray Warden had, DAO was one continuous string of making the best out of a terribly dire situation, often with no clear cut good or bad choice (deciding which dwarf candidate to support for the throne, for example). As you noted, one possible price could even have been the Gray Warden’s life. I can continue for quite a while on helplessness in Origins vs. DA2 if you really need me to.

        But you have a point: Hawke was helpless in a lot of ways. Like being helpless in affecting DA2’s story no matter what he did. Or being helpless in figuring out which exact cave, house or dungeon he was in since the maps were recycled. There was certainly no one “working their butts off” in the environment creation department. Or the music department. Or the dialogue department. Or the graphical department. Or the combat engine department.

        DA2 was an atrocious game. Anything remotely good about it was merely reflected from Origins. If it was from any other developer I would assume they had been instructed to make an imitation Bioware game and failed miserably. If you loved it, then I am sad to hear you have such low standards but you once again prove my initial point: Bioware doesn’t have to worry about the people who liked DA2 as they’ll be happy with anything.

        • nathan

          Havent played Origins? I am currently playing it and pretty far along as well. I do enjoy Origins a great deal more than the 2nd game but that doesn’t change the fact that I did enjoy the 2nd game. For those of you who sweep the story under the rug and only care about gameplay well I feel sorry for you because you’re missing out on the best aspect of the games. As far me caring about gameplay and game design you are thoroughly mistaken. Yes story is whats most important to me but if the game isnt fun then there’s no reason to play. Like I have mentioned before, I understand some of the complaints but they arent a deal breaker by any means. The game was still enjoyable

          • cidgrad

            “For those of you who sweep the story under the rug…”

            Have I not been clear? DA2’s story was just as terrible as the rest of the game. Arguably worse, as a matter of fact. And not just b/c the fate of the world didn’t hang in the balance but because it was dull & silly.

            I’ve been playing Bioware games since the first KotOR and can tell you no great effort or love went into DA2. There is a stark contrast and huge dip in quality across the board. When companies screw people with a half-assed effort then insult their loyal, paying fans, they need to be taken to task. I hope you’re right about Inquisition but I am not going to “miss out” by waiting for it to go on sale. It’s not like they are going to destroy all traces of it a week after launch. It’ll still be there six months later but with all the bugs worked out and at a discounted price.

          • Cariannis

            After all this time you still can’t figure out why people hated DA2? I’ve been playing there games since the 90s and I could easily point to when the change in how BioWare made “RPG’s” ( I don’t consider DA2 or ME3 RPG’s) to this new cinamatic action games they seem to love.

  • Nathan

    And to add to that, I went on a rant that completely dodged thwe point I originally was trying to make. Inquisition is everything the fans wanted it to be. BioWare has worked hard on it for a very long time to make sure of this. For those of you who “can’t trust BioWare anymore” and will not be picking up Inquisition because of your past experiences playing their games then you will lose out. I have done plenty of research into Inquisition and have been following its progress for a very long time. Inquisition will be amazing. It will be epic. It will be tactical as well as action-packed. It will have important enjoyable characters. It will be mostly open world, and the fact it isnt completely open world like Skyrim is something I like about it. I liked Skyrim, but I would get lost in the game doing things that had nothing to do with anything I was trying to do…for hours…for days…throughout the entire game. It could be fun but mostly it became tedious and boring. All games need some sort of draw back to the main story and in Skyrim you could do everything before ever touching the main quest for the most part and while a lot of people like that I think that type of gameplay should be reserved for MMO’s. Anyways, each region in Inquisition will be so big it might as well be open world, but because it is not they have plenty of opportunities to allow the story to grab you once more and pull you back into the story they are telling. To sum up my point, everyone who enjoyed Origins will enjoy Inquisition and everyone who enjoyed DA2 will enjoy Inquisition, as well as new people coming to the series. And if graphics are the reason you criticize Inquisition then you shouldnt be playing video games at all because no game has ever had perfect graphics. Everything made by man is flawed. My point: if you choose to not play Inquisition because of DA2 or ME3’s ending or whatever you will be missing out on one of the best RPG’s of 2014…probably the best period. It will be a shameful loss to these people for they are too judgmental and narrow-minded to accept that.

  • Soverriss

    Look. I have already admitted my own faults in regards to what I truly care to play for. However, I don’t recall saying that it was unimportant. At the end of the day, I choose to play Origins over and over again. Not DA2. Perhaps I didn’t choose the best wording in my comment, so I will try again. My issue is that many people constantly bash Inquisition based solely on their feelings about the second game. I understand that the gameplay was not as customizable as Origins. I used the tactics and everything else too. But to simply say that you will not play a game, simply because the previous one disappointed you, is just not feasible to me. I’m not a very critical person, so I have no problems letting the past slide and looking forward to a new start. I played Origins first and all of the DLC that went with it. I spent hours reading every codex entry, every sign in the Deep Roads. I LOVE this franchise. So I unfortunately feel that attacking a game that looks amazing, has been long in coming, AND hasn’t even been played by fans yet is just a very immature thing to do.