It pains me to admit, dear MTV Multiplayer! readers, that I have been lax in my duty to slavishly report on every crumb, every gleaned micro-detail of "Dragon Age: Inquisition," the latest (and perhaps greatest? Only time will tell.) entry in BioWare's high-fantasy role-playing series. Below is a list of my transgressions:
- During a panel and demonstration at PAX a few weeks ago, BioWare revealedZ that the Qunari would be a playable race in "Inquisition," which is a nice step away from the arch-traditional human-dwarf-elf trifecta. This is cool news. For you "Dragon Age" neophytes, the Qunari are essentially Thedas' Krogans: tough, leather-necked warriors with faces like giant horned lizards.
It's unclear if all classes (warrior, rogue, and mage) will be available to Qunari players, though. Dwarves, for example, can't be mages. Without getting too deep into the lore, a Qunari mage could be a really neat role-playing experience.
- Based on videos from PAX and a London event, "Inquisition" will feature some sort of dodge roll. Did you know there was a roll now? "Dragon Age" will get a dodge roll.
Here's how lead designer Mike Laidlaw described it, speaking recently with Rock, Paper, Shotgun: "But it’s abilities and movement that are designed to be smooth. They’re designed to let you focus on an enemy or pull back as you see fit. They fundamentally rely on things like your stamina. They have the elements of resource management throughout them."
"The other big thing, that for us is a huge consideration, is making sure that stuff like 'I’m rolling to the side!’ is workable within that pause-and-play and with the tactical," he continues. "I trigger the evade ability, I get to drive a little AOE like a compass around, I say that’s where I want to roll, and that gives you the direction for where you go as soon as you unpause."
Movement skills have always been kind of difficult to integrate into "Dragon Age"'s tactics system, so I'm glad to hear that "Inquisition"'s roll abilities are getting some granular attention. Especially since …
- "Dragon Age: Inquisition" is going to be kind of hard. In that same interview, Laidlaw explained that he wants "the sense that, as a player, I need to take the game seriously and consider my actions." To that end, healing items are going to be harder to come by, and players' health won't automatically regenerate after fights.
"If enemies are largely inconsequential in the course of a fight – I recover almost instantly! – then you could consider them to be bags of experience points that you want to tackle," he elaborated. "But as soon as you introduce the idea that health is sustaining damage, you move closer to a pen and paper experience. You move closer to the more old-school, hardcore approach to role-playing."
That said, here's hoping that BioWare also give us the options to sneak, bribe, and charm our way out of fights when things get too perilous.
- When the Inquistor does need to fight, she'll have the advantage of a fortified and expanded tactical view, on display here:
"Dragon Age" has always had a kind of stop-and-start gameplay loop, but the biggest change here -- especially for console players -- is how the camera has been unbuckled. Yes.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun's two-part interview with Laidlaw is pretty extensive, so take a look if "Dragon Age: Inquisition" looks interesting to you. It tackles some narrative stuff -- companions, themes, romances -- as well as other gameplay details, like environments and BioWare's oft-bandied mantra, moral choice.
To push back against some of the continued grumbling about "Dragon Age II," Laidlaw and his team are doubling down in their description of "Inquisition"'s consequences and the winding, twisty, Byzantine paths each player's story might take. I liked "Dragon Age II" for what it was -- a more structured, focused, and intimate take on the role-playing genre -- but even the most diehard apologists can see that it didn't have the anything-is-possible mid-90's throwback feel that "Origins" did.
So, everything coming out of the BioWare camp sounds awesome, which is exactly the point of pre-release marketing. Maybe I'm a sucker, but I'm a sucker that's excited about "Dragon Age: Inquisition," which should come out next fall for PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4.
Joseph Leray is a freelance writer from Nashville. Follow him on Twitter