Bioware on Dragon Age: Inquisition's return to epic scope - "Dragon Age 2 forced our hand"
"Because of Dragon Age 2, Dragon Age: Inquisition is having to be a lot more ambitious," says executive producer Mark Darrah in our huge Dragon Age: Inquisition interview. Dragon Age 2's narrower scale and 10-year narrative arc proved controversial. Darrah says Bioware are keen "to address those concerns" with "tactical combat and a higher level of deliberate difficulty" as well as a more focused central narrative that's "much more in the vein of Dragon Age: Origins style storytelling."
It's interesting to compare Mass Effect and Dragon Age's varying trajectories. Mass Effect gradually grew in scale and technological flair, slavishly adhering to a single, rich narrative path. Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2 move around the world, picking up different characters. They operate like an anthology that tell the ongoing story of the world from different angles, which makes each entry in the series markedly different.
"The goal wasn’t to revolutionize the series every single time, but Dragon Age 2 forced our hand to a certain degree," says Darrah. As he tells it, the second entry was an experiment that had unintended drawbacks.
"Dragon Age 2, we decided we want to try something, to try to do very different storytelling, something much more personal, something much more tightly constrained. No chosen one, no clear overarching threat. I don’t think it was a perfect success, but that was intentional.
"A lot of the other changes that are perceived, the overall scope of the game or the perception of the combat getting a lot simpler or waves and things like that—not intended, exactly. That was supposed to be more evolutionary. I think we just overreached. We pushed too hard."
Inquisition will push in a different direction, with an open world setting, a new world-ending threat and a cast of companions that'll include new faces and familiar allies. According to Darrah, "in a lot of ways Inquisition has been the game that we’ve really wanted to make from the beginning". Find out more in our full interview with Mark Darrah. Dragon Age: Inquisition is out on October 7.