While BioWare had announced back in September that it is working on a new game in the Dragon Age franchise, titled Dragon Age III: Inquisition, the company has been very quiet about the game. According to Eurogamer, a screenshot of Dragon Age III had popped up at the Bradford Animation Festival. While the screenshot only stayed on screen for three seconds, a fan took a picture and posted on the BioWare forums. Alongside showcasing the screenshot, director of art and animation at BioWare Neil Thompson talked about making the game in the Frostbite 2.0 engine, created by DICE.
“That is Dragon Age: Inquisition,” he said. “It's the first time anyone has seen a frame of it outside BioWare studios.” Thompson also answered a question about how the use of Frostbite 2.0 is affecting the development of Dragon Age III. “Mass Effect was done on Unreal of course,” he replied. “Dragon Age was done on the proprietary engine Eclipse. I think anyone who played Dragon Age 2 would agree that engine was starting to creak a little bit by the time that was released.”
“That is Dragon Age: Inquisition”
“Obviously Frostbite is the Battlefield engine built by DICE. It's a beautiful, beautiful engine. And what we've found is an improvement with DA3, is the artists who were really battling with the Eclipse engine have just embraced Frostbite. The work they're doing now is stunning.”
He continued: “It makes my job easier because then it's all about discussing the aesthetic and what you want to achieve. When you're a character artist or an environment artist you're focusing on a small aspect of the greater whole of the game. As an art director you're concerned about the whole, the frame and everything it contains and how everything sits and the consistency. An engine like Frostbite allows you to focus more on that rather than the technological challenges of just getting the damn thing to run.”
Dragon Age is set in a dark fantasy universe that is more or less a deconstruction of typical high fantasy, like Lord of the Rings. The world is under threat by an evil subterranean race known as the Darkspawn. Sometimes, the Darkspawn tend to form armies and attack the surface world en-masse. This event is known as the Blight, and is one of the worse things that the surface races have to face. In response to the Blight, the Grey Wardens were formed. The Grey Wardens is a group of the best fighters and spell casters in the world and its specific job is to combat the Blight.
Dragon Age: Origins was a unique game in that it had a tactical approach to fighting, rather than the hack and slash style that is favoured in games today, including the sequel to the game. The combat system of Dragon Age: Origins allowed you to zoom out the camera to get a better view of the battle, and allowed you to pause and queue up commands for your characters, such as casting spells and attacking.
The events of the second game happen in the same timeframe as that of the first game, but with different characters. The main character in the second game is a human named Hawke, who is destined to be the famous Champion of Kirkwall. One of the main changes that the game made was to the combat system. The game followed a more real time hack-and-slash style of combat with waves of enemies. Another major change was the main character. While in the original game, you could play any of the three races, all with different origin stories, the main character in Dragon Age II was specifically a human named Hawke.
Dragon Age III: Inquisition is set for a 2013 release. The game is also said to have a level that is bigger than all of the levels from Dragon Age II combined.
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