BioWare has announced the next game in their popular fantasy RPG series, Dragon Age, entitled Dragon Age 3: Inquisition. The existence of a third Dragon Age game in development has been an open secret for months, but this marks the first official announcement. If you’re interested, you can check out see the official press release at publisher Electronic Arts’ website, as well as a letter from executive producer Mark Darrah about the game.
Dragon Age 3: Inquisition will be based on a variant of the Frostbite 2 engine, originally created by Electronic Arts Digital Illusions Creative Entertainment (better known as DICE by people who don’t like having to keep saying a 19-syllable name over and over) for the popular first-person shooter Battlefield 3. Dragon Age 3’s predecessors Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II, both used engines-the Eclipse engine and a variant called Lycium respectively- developed in-house by BioWare- and past RPGs from BioWare have historically also used engines developed in-house, so this is something of a departure.
(Using the engine of a first-person modern-day military shooter as the basis for a quasi-turn-based fantasy RPG isn’t as odd as it may sound; games as diverse as the Gears of War series. the turn-based JRPG Lost Odyssey, the 2011 reboot of fighting game franchise Mortal Kombat, and Batman: Arkham City are all based on the Unreal 3 engine, for instance.)
Mark Darrah has promised that the new engine will bring “more expansive world, better visuals, more reactivity to player choices, and more customization,” though details are scant thus far. Players will be able to import saved game files from the first two Dragon Age games, with the effects of some of the player’s decisions carrying over into the setting of the new game. The setting of the game is promised to encompass a much wider area than the previous two, and to draw increased influence from open world RPGs such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
Little has been revealed about the story of Dragon Age 3: Inquisition. The Inquisition in the Dragon Age universe was an ancient order of people dedicated to defending the world from demons, malevolent gods, dangerous mages, and supernatural corruption. They eventually gave way to successor groups dedicated to the same task, such as the Templar Order that deals with similar threats in the time when the game takes place, but there have been previous hints that the Inquisition may somehow return. Presumably the game will focus on them in some way.
Dragon Age 2 was something of a departure from its predecessor, with a more action-oriented combat system and a more linear, focused story. It received a mixed reaction from fans and reviewers compared to the much more uniformly positive response to its predecessor, with many strong opinions both positive and negative, so it should be interesting to see where the new game goes.
Dragon Age 3: Inquisition will be released sometime in 2013.
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