After rejuvenating fan interest in the franchise and nabbing a few Game of the Year awards along the way, Dragon Age: Inquisition did all it could to re-solidify BioWare’s RPG franchise. The game took players’ hopes for the future of open world RPG combat, exploration, and storytelling, and found a successful way to balance it all in a way that DA 2 could not.
Given Dragon Age: Inquisition’s strong praise, most figured that BioWare would use that game as the blueprint for future titles, not just within the DA franchise but in other series as well. More specifically, most assumed that the next Mass Effect game would take more than a few pages from the Inquisition development book.
According to BioWare General Manager Aaryn Flynn that may not be the case. As he explains in a forum post on NeoGAF, Mass Effect fans can expect that the next game will draw more so from past games within its own franchise for inspiration, not necessarily from Dragon Age: Inquisition.
Obviously, there will be some similarities between Inquisition and Mass Effect insofar as both use Frostbite 3 as their graphics engine and ME may borrow some of Inquisition's other technology, but BioWare apparently won’t be making DA: I in space.
"All of our games are using Frostbite now. We've said the next Mass Effect (and our new IP, but I won't expand on that yet) uses some of the technology from DAI. We've been enjoying building larger areas that you can explore with less friction, so that'll be there as well. But after that, the next Mass Effect will be (and should be) drawing on its own rich and successful past more than what DAI would say it should do. Take the Mako, something we've already shown in prototype form. We had that in ME1, and bringing it back is more related to a feeling that we can do it much better than we did before and fulfill the original promise of that gameplay."
Flynn also says that the focus on current-gen has helped Mass Effect 4’s developmental goals, which will reportedly be far grander than those of Dragon Age. Yes, Dragon Age: Inquisition was a success, but he doesn’t want one game to form the “template” for future titles if it doesn’t suit that universe.
"We're very proud of what DAI has achieved, but that does not set a 'template' for what every other game we make needs to be. Each game franchise needs to innovate and improve their experience based on what's best for it, not just what another game had success with because 'well that was successful'."
Most Mass Effect fans should be pleased to hear that BioWare won’t simply take Inquisition’s formula and re-jigger it for the next sci-fi RPG, but that doesn’t tell us much about ME 4 either. After Mass Effect 3’s struggles with creating meaningful decisions, many are cautiously optimistic about how this next game might turn out. And so, when word broke that the next Mass Effect might share systems with Dragon Age, most BioWare fans seemed excited by the prospect.
At the same time, there are plenty who want to see Mass Effect carve its own path and not simply repurpose Dragon Age: Inquisition mechanics or storytelling. The two may exist in the same universe, but they are hardly the same game.
Still, we've yet to see any actual gameplay footage from the game, and thus it’s hard to imagine what form the game will take on, let alone to see how closely it mirrors (or doesn’t mirror) Dragon Age: Inquisition. That should change at this year’s E3, though.
Are you happy to hear the next Mass Effect won’t copy Dragon Age: Inquisition? What are you hopes for the fourth game in the series?