Dragon Age 2 learned the hard way that no one likes a Jack-of-all-trades who’s a master of none. BioWare’s first medieval fantasy outing pitting witches and warriors against the Darkspawn was a little too hardcore for the masses, so it streamlined the sequel into a dull blob of a game. Less world, less strategy, and more action-style play was a winning formula when jumping from Mass Effect to Mass Effect 2, but in the case of Dragon Age 2, trying to cater to the biggest audience possible made the game pretty dull.
Rather than guess what people want in Dragon Age 3, EA and BioWare are asking directly through surveys. Last week posters in the BioWare Social forum (via NeoGAF) detailed information and questions from a survey from Dragon Age’s creators shedding light on what the next entry will be like.
A few potential titles for Dragon Age 3 according to the survey: Dragon Age 3: Apocrypha, The Breach, Inquisition, Inquisitor, and Exarch. Sounds like there will be a lot of questions that need asking! The plot summary confirms that you will play as the possibly titular inquisitor, looking to close a demon-spewing portal and quell civil war in your home country. Up to 10 companions will join your party this time out, with battle groups including as many as 4 support characters, doubling the usual BioWare party size.
Other details suggested by the survey questions read like a BioWare checklist, with “drama and suspense” and “special finishing moves” highlighted. Any old school fans hoping for a full return to Dragon Age: Origins’ single-player focus, tough cookies—Online co-operative multiplayer in the vein of Mass Effect 3 is also a likely inclusion.
Posters who took the survey also leaked character concept art that looks similar to Matt Rhodes.
We’ve reached out to EA for comment but as of this writing we haven’t received so much as a “EA doesn’t comment on rumors and speculation.”
Focus testing is a useful tool. Gearbox’s Borderlands was exhaustively focus tested before it was released, resulting in the game’s shift to a cartoony art style and a story that was more funny than contemporary marketing “grim and gritty.” Fans were dissatisfied with Dragon Age 2, so it’s probably smart to ask them what they do want as an alternative. Still it’s hard to have faith in a project that isn’t born of genuine enthusiasm on the part of the developer. Dragon Age: Origins was a passion project for BioWare. It should stay that way.