Posted on Thursday, June 20th, 2013 at 8:00 AM by Paul Izod
So, E3 2013 has been and gone, giving us a first time glimpse of many an anticipated title. From frenetic FPC to gaudy platformer, there was something for everyone in the smorgasbord of gaming delights; every genre bursting with a plethora of titles to get excited about.
All, that is, except for the RPG genre. While other genres had a range of big-name titles to drool over, good old roleplaying felt somewhat sparse when it came to announcements, lacking any sort of marquee reveal to really get our pulses racing.
That was, until Dragon Age: inquisition showed its face.
And what an enchanting and inviting face it is too. The trailer at E3 was a strange beast; at once exciting and momentous, yet, when analysed, really short on true revelation.
Now, to really pick over what we know of Dragon Age: Inquisition, I’m going to have to get into spoilers territory; huge, catastrophic, story-defining spoilers. So, if you have yet to play or complete the game and care one iota about the story; DO NOT READ THIS!
Right, so fair warning given let’s get cracking.
While it certainly wouldn’t be at all accurate to say no-one suspects the Dragon Age: Inquisition, the game did sort of come out of the blue a bit. We’ve heard virtually nothing about the game other than acknowledgement it was in development, so to see something from the game was at least refreshing and welcome, if not wholly unexpected.
The trailer itself gives us an insight into what we can expect from the storyline for the third iteration of the series. As expected, Inquisition will take up where Dragon Age II left off, with an all-out civil war in progress. We see glimpses of the various factions of the 2nd game in various situations, all revolving around preparation for war or battle itself. The expected factions are present and correct, with what appear to be Templar forces being marshalled by Cassandra Pentaghast the inquisitor who’s interrogation propelled Varric’s narrative in the previous game. We also see the Qunari in a scene eerily reminiscent of the Uruk-Hai scenes from the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers films , suggesting they will play at least some part in the story-arc. Alongside this, we see emerging demons and dragons, suggesting that the Mage’s Circle will have finally succumbed to the predations of the demons threatened throughout the first 2 games. While none of this is exactly a massive revelation, it confirms much of what was expected and sets the stage for a narrative of grand scale.
Indeed, that seems to be the operative word for Inquisition. While little is yet known about what the next generation of console gaming will hold, the main theme thus far appears to be a significant increase in scale. Most of the marquee titles so far have stressed a vast increase in this aspect as part of their campaign and word from Bioware on the Dragon Age franchise is no different. Word is that one map of Dragon Age: Inquisition will be around 3 to 4 times the size of the whole of Ferelden in the first game. an exciting prospect for sure, as long as they avoid the pitfalls Dragon Age II so often fell into when it came to endless recycling of the same map areas and an overall feeling of enclosure.
Another familiar aspect of the trailer, though fleeting, was the face of Dragon Age II’s narrator, Varric Tethras. Our erstwhile funky crossbow wielding Dwarven ally seems somewhat the worse for wear in the scene we see him in, scouring the remains of what appears to be a battlefield, his face wracked with concern and despair. What part he will play is, of course, yet to be revealed, but it seems certain he will play some role in the coming game. Indeed, if the series so far is anything to go by, don’t bet against other returning characters to be on hand from the previous titles. Bioware do have a penchant for narrative consistency.
One thing that will be different about the new game, however, will be the protagonist. Bioware have confirmed that the narrative of the Grey Warden hero of the first game is complete and with Hawke’s narrative seeming to reach a fairly natural conclusion, it seems likely that a new character will take centre-stage for Inquisition, possibly someone from the Templars or Chantry, seeing as the E3 announcement made a point of saying you would lead an inquisition.
While the E3 trailer was bereft of gameplay footage, some details have begun to emerge about Bioware’s plans for the combat aspects of Inquisition. The gameplay styles of the preceding two games were somewhat disparate, with this very writer describing the divide in his articles on Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II. To address this divide of opinion and to apparently counter some of the negative reaction to the second game’s combat mechanics, Bioware have indicated that the combat will differ somewhat from its predecessors and focus more on a player’s ability to prepare, position and form a cohesive team with his or her party members. This would suggest an attempt to find a middle ground between the micromanaging of the first game and the more frenetic hack-and-slash antics of the second.
While we still have a huge amount to learn about Dragon Age: Inquisition, what we have learned so far is a tantalising glimpse into what promises to be a world of action, adventure and not a little fun; certainly enough to make us all inquisitive about what’s to come.