Friday, 13 June 2014

Dragon Age: Inquisition, E3 news

E3 has come and gone, and we have learnt some new things about various games. However, the one I'm most interested in is Dragon Age: Inquisition, the third instalment of the fantasy franchise from Bioware.

As always, I will try and keep spoilers to a minimum and won't reveal anything I'd consider plot critical. Basic companion bios, gameplay, voice actors and related information will all be mentioned below, so if you're starving yourself of spoilers to better enjoy the fantasy feast ahead, I must suggest you stop reading now.

The Dragon Age Keep will come out before Inquisition. Whether this is for all platforms is not quite specified, but obviously it will for PC. The Keep is basically an extensive storybook which enables you to make the decisions of Origins and DA2 to set the world up for Inquisition. It's a great idea because it'll get new players caught up with the storyline, enable old players to fiddle about with things without needing to complete whole playthroughs and get around the problem of cross-generation plays (ie those who played on Xbox 360/PS3 before but now have an Xbox One or PS4).

If you play as a Qunari you will not be Tal-Vashoth (one who was in the Qun but forsook it), but Vashoth (one who was never part of the Qun). This gets around a knotty lore problem. Qunari can be mages as well as warriors or rogues, and (for those wondering) hair colour can be dark instead of pale, if you want it.

Speaking of character creation, this'll kick off right away (as in Origins) rather than after a prologue (as in DA2).

New companion information: the male human warrior has been confirmed as a (presumably former) Grey Warden, called Blackwall. He sound like a very upstanding sort of fellow, like Eddard Stark (hopefully with better judgement).

Sera, the elven archeress, is confirmed as a romance option, but only for female Inquisitors. [On this note, the companions (and some non-companions) have specific sexual orientations. It's not like DA2 where anyone will shag Hawke, each character, that you can romance, in Inquisition is straight, gay or bi].

The third mage companion has been named as Dorian, a Tevinter chap.

The Iron Bull (Qunari male warrior companion) is not Tal-Vashoth. He is still Qunari (follower of the Qun religion).

This means only one companion (probably elven rogue, dual-wielding) remains unnamed.

There will be, as previously revealed, 4 Inquisitor voices, 2 per gender. There will be an American female voice, American male voice, English male voice and English female voice.

At the time of writing Alix Wilton Regan (Traynor in ME3, Mhairi in Dragon Age: Awakening [Origins expansion] and Ser Cauthrien in Origins) has been officially confirmed as a female voice. Bann Teagan's voice actor, Timothy Watson, has not been confirmed, but I do think the male Inquisitor speaking for a new trailer does sound very like him.

In terms of gameplay, as was previously announced the top-down tactical view (for battle) has not only returned for PC but been introduced for the first time in the series to Xboxes and Playstations. However, in an interview it sounded like you could actually walk around and play the whole game (excluding cut-scenes) that way. Mark Darrah (of Bioware) also said in the interview (with GameSpot) that during conversations you'll actually be able to just walk away, mid-conversation. I'm sensing the possibility of an obnoxious-as-hell playthrough...

Speaking of interviews (not that I spent a few hours watching Inquisition vids instead of working...) gamerMD83, a Dragon Age superfan, did one with Cameron Lee (DA:I Producer) and Liz Lehtonen (Queen of the Cullenites, and also Game World Producer) which revealed some interesting things about how the Inquisition as a group develops. For example, to advance the story you need a certain level of power, so the Inquisition is almost like a character in itself. You can also order it to perform functions which have a direct impact on areas you can access (the most simple being that ordering your minions to repair a bridge will give you access to an area you might otherwise not be able to reach).

So, whilst the Inquisitor and his associates are running around slapping Templars and hunting nugs, you'll dispatch your underlings to do little missions of their own, which will affect the options available to you (this is from a while ago, but I think one such 'mission' might be researching new metals/spells to improve your smithing or magic).

There will, it seems, be far more crafting available than previous games, but there are no real details on this as yet.

No firm word on time of a playthrough, but I've heard murmurings of around 50 hours.

Assuming it comes out on time (Origins was delayed, of course), it'll come out on 10 October (7 October if you're in North America. Why there must be a 3 day gap I don't know).


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