I'm perhaps a little too excited about Dragon Age Keep , BioWare's browser-based decision thingy that will let you prep your character in Inquisition, without having to play the entire series again. After chat-battling my way through Origins, Awakening, and part of 2 once, I don't quite have the fortitude to tackle the previous games again in time for the third, so being able to choose what happened (or, shhhh, to sneakily change a few things along the way) is pretty exciting in a cheaty, time-saving way. BioWare blew the lid off the Keep's closed beta at PAX this weekend; you'll find a big video outlining how it works below. As a special bonus, Dragon Age executive producer Mark Darrah has revealed a screen of the PC version's tactical interface, which is back after a spell of absence from DA2.
As you can see, the Keep—which is free, requires an Origin account, and will run on tablets, smartphones etc—starts by scanning your Origin/BioWare account for information such as your past Wardens and Hawkes, achievements, trinkets and so on, but you'll be able to pick from a bunch of pre-made heroes with differing origin stories and life choices if the scanning process can't dig anything up. In the past, BioWare have spoken about the option to alter the Warden or Hawke's appearance to your liking, but that sadly wasn't shown in the above video. You don't appear to be able to import save games either, which is perhaps why BioWare have put so much effort into the Keep: it's pretty much mandatory if you want your past actions to carry across to Inquisition.
Once your data has been collected, or inputted, you can watch an animated and narrated Flash-style video going over the story of previous entries. You can interrupt this video when one of Dragon Age's branching moments is happening, in order to alter the choice currently being made. Once you've done that, the video will then continue down a different path. BioWare say there are over 300 choices to be made—not all represented in the video—so it might take a while to go through everything, either in that animation or on the lovely interactive tapestry that houses all of your decisions.
Dragon Age Keep will be out around a month before Inquisition releases on November 18th/21st, and its tactical view looks like this:
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Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.