By Joseph Leray
Speaking with Game Informer Aaryn Flynn, general manager for BioWare Edmonton and Montreal studios, let slip that the role-playing giants are looking to games like "The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim" for inspiration during development of Dragon Age III: Inquisition.
"You can't look at a game like Skyrim and not think about how impressive what they've accomplished is -- or [think] that's an interesting new direction or that there was something that didn't work well for them that we could take in a new direction," he told the magazine. "So, we're always influenced by these games, especially in a relatively tight-knit genre like RPGs."
Skyrim is full of heroes and dragons, to be sure, but it's also known for its expansive open-world design, whereas Dragon Age has always been a bit more structured. Flynn did acknowledge, though, that he'd like to see a larger focus on exploration as Dragon Age moves forward, namedropping games likes Neverwinter Nights and Baldur's Gate in the process.
The Baldur's Gate comparison is especially interesting -- the game has long been a touchstone for Dragon Age fans, particularly those dissatisfied by Dragon Age II. I spoke with Dragon Age creative designer Mike Laidlaw a few years ago about the comparisons, and while he acknowledged the influence of BioWare's older catalog of games, he also mentioned that "there's a danger in re-creating that exactly," noting that his team wanted to take advantage of modern designs and interfaces while still making dense, satisfying role-playing games.
We still don't know much about DAIII, but Flynn's desire to see more exploration in the Dragon Age series -- coupled with new concept art and the fact that one Dragon Age III level is bigger than all of Dragon Age II's levels -- suggest a large, expansive game.
"Dragon Age III" is expected no earlier than 2014.