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Dragon Age 4 will reportedly ditch 'live service' features and be singleplayer only

Dragon Age trailer still.
(Image credit: EA)
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In 2019, Electronic Arts committed itself to 'live service' games, a term which generally refers to games structured around persistent online elements, such as Destiny 2. In a June interview with GameDaily.biz (opens in new tab), CEO Andrew Wilson said that "games as service is going to be foundational to our industry," and during an October earnings call chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen said that (opens in new tab) EA was "doubling down on live services." 

As a result, there was some concern from fans that EA was planning to turn Dragon Age 4 (opens in new tab) into a multiplayer-focused, Anthem-style live game. A new Bloomberg (opens in new tab) report says that's not going to happen, however, as EA has apparently decided to remove all multiplayer components from Dragon Age 4 and make it an exclusively singleplayer experience. 

The decision was largely driven by two games according to the report, which cites multiple sources "familiar with the matter." One was singleplayer action game Star Was Jedi: Fallen Order (opens in new tab), a success for EA, and the other was Anthem (opens in new tab), the Destiny-like live game that was finally abandoned yesterday (opens in new tab)—a spectacular bomb, at least compared to EA's high expectations.

It's not actually clear how heavily Dragon Age 4 would've leaned into multiplayer prior to this decision. A 2019 report (opens in new tab) said the game was originally envisioned as a deep, reactive singleplayer RPG, but was rebooted to adopt the more monetizable "games as a service" model in 2017, leading some to describe it as "Anthem with dragons." Others said the main story would be a singleplayer experience, while the multiplayer would be more focused on post-release content—something akin to Mass Effect 3 multiplayer, which despite my trepidation at the time turned out to be really good (opens in new tab).

Casey Hudson, then BioWare's general manager, said something similar on Twitter:

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Regardless of what was previously planned, it's reassuring to hear that the next Dragon Age will be firmly focused on a singleplayer RPG experience. Multiplayer games are great, but sometimes you really just want to be the hero of your own story. It's still a long way off, however: The last we heard, Electronic Arts doesn't expect Dragon Age 4, or whatever it ultimately ends up called, to arrive until sometime after April 2022.

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.