by Joseph Leray
After what felt like complete radio silence since the release of "Dragon Age II" in 2011, BioWare have released the first trailer for "Dragon Age: Inquisition."
First, though, let's go over a few housekeeping issues: BioWare has dropped the "III" from the game's title, it's been delayed an entire year to Fall 2014, and it's using the new Frostbite 3 engine instead of Frostbite 2.
With that out of the way, this "Fires Above" trailer strikes me for the way it attempts to unify the disparate strands of "Dragon Age" into something resembling continuity.
BioWare has always maintained that the "Dragon Age" series purports to tell the story of the continent of Thedas, as opposed to one particular hero. Creative director Mike Laidlaw has already mentioned that "Inquisition" will feature a new protagonist.
This is The Point, of course, but where more generous fans might call "Dragon Age" a sprawling epic, its constituent parts have never felt particularly cohesive. In the same instant that "Dragon Age II"'s autumnal crimsons and oranges replaced "Origins"'s drab browns and greys, the Archdemon that so threatened Ferelden became a footnote in Kirkwall.
Maybe Thedas has less charm and character than the Edmonton-based devs were hoping for.
And yet, our first look at "Inquisition" features "Dragon Age II"'s art direction in a modern, glassy, Frostbite 3-ized form. Varric, the previous game's narrator and resident ne'er-do-well, is the first character we see before BioWare drops Cassandra Pentaghast and Morrigan on us. "Dragon Age II" and "Inquisition" seem to share more connective tissue than either do with "Origins."
That said, I'm definitely looking forward to "Inquisition," especially insofar as it contributes to the series' shaky narrative structure.
"Dragon Age: Inquisition" will be available for PlayStations 3 and 4, Xboxes 360 and One, and PC late next year.