Covering both ends of the fiction spectrum from fantasy to sci-fi, it’s to be expected that a certain amount of bleed-over will occur between the Dragon Age and Mass Effect series’. While they are mechanically quite different from one another, one feature that they both share is a focus on narrative immersion. Building upon the inclusion of voice commands in the Xbox 360 version of Mass Effect 3 through Kinect, it looks as though Dragon Age: Inquisition will be following suit.
Despite their initial misgivings regarding the use of secondary input devices in Dragon Age: Inquisition, Bioware seems to have taken fans’ input to heart as they now plan to bring back their Kinect-based voice commands from Mass Effect 3. This time though, rather than restricting themselves to just the Xbox 360 Kinect, the Xbox One version of the game will make use of the console’s improved camera and microphone.
This comes following the release of the most recent issue of Official Xbox Magazine in which Inquisition’s creative director Mike Laidlaw spoke about the upcoming RPG title.
“We’re expecting that Xbox 360 and Xbox One editions will ship with a Kinect-enabled voice command feature, just like Mass Effect 3 did.”
While voice commands are nothing new in the context of modern gaming, the unobtrusive nature of Kinect has been of significant benefit to the oft-ignored gameplay mechanic. It’s easy to dismiss its inclusion as a simple gimmick, but if the execution can build upon their previous efforts, voice commands could be quite the boon for a series such as Dragon Age.
Counter to the Mass Effect series, which is much more action-heavy, Dragon Age has always required a greater amount of micromanaging. This is easily achieved with a mouse and keyboard, but can be harder to execute with a controller. With an effective set of voice commands that highlight Kinect’s ease-of-use, Bioware might be able to solve or at least lessen the hassle of complex micromanagement in console games.
In addition to this, producer Cameron Lee expressed interest in the use of SmartGlass connectivity with players’ smartphones. Although it’s still something that’s being experimented with, Lee wants “Inquisition to be an experience you can take with you everywhere – to work, the commute home, the living room, bed.” While games like Dead Rising 3 have seen SmartGlass integration, the outcome has yet to truly impress. With time though, hopefully developers will be able to crack this evidently hard nut.
Even if neither of these implementations pan out, it’s hard to deny how gorgeous the next-gen environments of Inquisition are. With the combination of rich lore surrounding the land of Thedas and an increase in customization compared to its predecessors, this is looking like not only a role-player’s dream game but also the follow-up to Origins that many felt Dragon Age 2 failed to be. Gamers can expect to glean significantly more about the game in the coming months as E3 quickly approaches.
Do you think Kinect could help in improving the ergonomics of complex micromanagement in console games? How do you think Inquisition should make use of SmartGlass?
Dragon Age: Inquisition is expected to release sometime in 2014 for the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4 and PC.
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Source: Official Xbox Magazine