Although the next generation of consoles – and games – has officially begun, there is one genre that has yet to show what kind of impact improved hardware will have for fans: fantasy RPGs. The Witcher 3 may have turned the most heads so far, but BioWare is preparing to silence skeptics and join the very best of established fantasy franchises with Dragon Age: Inquisition.

Fueled not only by the Frostbite 3 game engine, but the will to right the wrongs some fans perceived with Dragon Age 2, the developers have certainly taken their time. The next-gen visuals will no doubt be a selling point, and take center stage in the newest trailer from the studio. It may not be gameplay footage, but the new video invites viewers to “Discover the Dragon Age” – and get a clearer idea of what many fantasy RPGs will aspire to on next-gen hardware.

Gamers have become somewhat used to seeing high-res, tech-demo footage that would be nearly impossible for the finished game to consistently produce when actually being played. Even so, there’s no denying the fact that the Frostbite 3 engine can produce some jaw-dropping visuals. The open world and environments may be less than groundbreaking for those familiar with Skyrim, but then, Dragon Age fans are largely in for the story, not the shrubbery.

Dragon Age Inquisition Environment Screenshot

Distinguished by their lead characters and story, Dragon Age, like Mass Effect, has managed to attract enviable fan bases despite being set in some of the most well-traveled realms of video game fiction. The developers of Dragon Age: Inquisition have made their intentions clear: give players more customization than ever before, keep supplying players with meaningful relationships, and representing people who are often overlooked in video game narratives.

But like it or not, next-gen games will be judged just as harshly for their visuals as their aspirations. However, in a post on the company’s official blog, Inquisition producer Cameron Lee explained that the video is meant to show more than lighting effects and foliage density:

Our new “Discover the Dragon Age” video highlights only some of the locations you can choose to visit during your adventure. Each area in the video has its own realistic ecosystem with predators, prey, factions, and opportunities to expand your Inquisition.

The world’s population is based on an emergent system that adjusts what you’ll encounter based on how your actions tip the balance in the area. You’ll see towns attacked by bandits, deer fleeing from wolves, giants feeding on bears, and countless other scenarios.

To the casual observer, it’s difficult to tell the forests and caverns of Tamriel from the fields and mountains of Thedas (not something to feel guilty about). The developers are keeping some of the most iconic and historically significant monuments of the Dragon Age universe under wraps, but the wildlife and ecosystems promise to bring a new dimension to the series.

Dragon Age Inquisition Hunting Screenshot

How well the finished result will compare to its competition is a question that can’t be answered for several more months, but the video will no doubt excite fans and next-gen enthusiasts alike.

What area of Inquisition has you interested: the graphics, or how the studio will address the issues fans had with its predecessor? Or is their another fantasy RPG that has laid claim to all of your excitement? Sound off in the comments.

Dragon Age: Inquisition is expected to release in 2014 for the Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One, PS4 and PC.

Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: BioWare Blog