Is it just me, or do the newly revealed companions of Dragon Age: The Veilguard look like they're in a hero shooter?

Dragon Age: The Veilguard | Official Reveal Trailer - Xbox Games Showcase 2024 - YouTube Dragon Age: The Veilguard | Official Reveal Trailer - Xbox Games Showcase 2024 - YouTube
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After so long with nothing but vague teasers, it's a relief to finally see something substantial of long-awaited sequel Dragon Age: The Veilguard (formerly Dreadwolf), even if it is just a CG trailer. But I'm not sure that the vibes are quite right here.

Revealed at the Xbox showcase, the trailer wisely puts the focus on the new characters, introducing all seven of the sequel's playable companions in a quickfire barrage. We're off to a good start with the return of fan favourite Varric, looking fashionably grizzled and finally sporting the beginnings of a proper dwarven beard, though it seems he's an NPC this time rather than an active combatant, given the absence of his name on the official list of party members. 

Scout Harding, meanwhile, is making the move the other way, promoted from NPC in Inquisition to full-fledged companion. Though I can't say she made a huge impression on me in the last game, her chirpy personality certainly makes her likeable enough—I can see her working in the role. 

From there, we're barraged with new heroes and their intriguing titles, from Neve the Detective to Bellara the Veil Jumper to Emmrich the Necromancer to Taash the Dragon Hunter. It seems like a nice mix of aesthetics and archetypes, all certainly with enough potential to be cool RPG pals. According to creative director John Epler, “Dragon Age: The Veilguard features some of the deepest companion storylines in Dragon Age history, navigating romance, tragic loss and complex choices that will affect relationships with players and the fate of The Veilguard". That certainly all sounds very BioWare.  

As each is revealed and strikes their poses, however, the thought on my mind isn't "I can't wait to adventure with/romance this lot", it's "Why does this look like a hero shooter?" From the oddly clean, cartoonish art style to the freeze frame title cards to the more exaggerated silhouettes, these companions look more ready for a battle pass than an epic quest or a heartfelt romance. I certainly can't say any are sticking in my mind quite the way Morrigan, Varric, or Iron Bull did in their initial reveals. 

Bellara the Veil Jumper leaping out of a portal in Dragon Age: The Veilguard.

(Image credit: BioWare)

As a lifelong BioWare fan, I'm unfortunately pretty sceptical about their current prospects—I'm not sure this trailer's doing anything to put my mind at ease about this game's overlong development, loss of key talent at the studio (including via mass layoffs), or the developer's troubled recent track record.  

But hey, CG trailers are CG trailers and often miss the mark on tone. What should give us a much more solid idea of what to expect is the proper gameplay reveal, due on June 11 at 8 am PT on the Dragon Age YouTube channel. We'll be getting to see 15 minutes of the game's intro then, and hopefully that'll put me in a brighter mood.  

Robin Valentine
Senior Editor

Formerly the editor of PC Gamer magazine (and the dearly departed GamesMaster), Robin combines years of experience in games journalism with a lifelong love of PC gaming. First hypnotised by the light of the monitor as he muddled through Simon the Sorcerer on his uncle’s machine, he’s been a devotee ever since, devouring any RPG or strategy game to stumble into his path. Now he's channelling that devotion into filling this lovely website with features, news, reviews, and all of his hottest takes.