Dragon Age: Inquisition interview
Dragon Age: Inquisition’s producer, Cameron Lee, on open worlds and making the jump to PlayStation 4…
Is the design of Dragon Age: Inquisition a response to the feedback you got on Dragon Age II?
We’ve been fortunate with Dragon Age: Inquisition. With the change in generations and the swap to Frostbite we’ve been able to build everything from the ground up, so everything’s rewritten, That was the perfect chance to look at that sort of feedback and respond to it. Having feedback like, ‘we want playable races that were missing from Dragon Age II’. Well now we’ve got the time, let’s put playable races back in – and you know what? [You can] play as the Qunari as well, which I think is a cool opportunity. Tactical mode is another one. We’re missing our top-down tactical mode we had in Origins, so let’s put it back in. I think it’s a good opportunity to look at what people want and respond to that.
Talk to us about next-gen…
We’re shipping on five platforms. The difference you’re going to see right now is mostly that level of immersion . We can populate the world to a greater degree on next-gen. Saying that, the core experience will be the same. We don’t want to limit people just because they haven’t bought the new consoles this time round, so we want to make sure you have the same experience across the board, but the next-gen players will have a more detailed experience.
Was the name change from Dragon Age III to Inquisition an attempt to attract new players?
It’s a great question. It’s a process of not putting up barriers and that’s mostly what it’s about – you don’t have to dumb down a game, you don’t have to make something simpler. You just have to take some of those barriers away. If you’re a new player to this franchise who is uncomfortable immediately using more advanced stuff, you can play through it without that. They don’t have to do that. But if they want to, it’s there, they can do it. So we’re trying to give enough control to satisfy both groups, and then we’ll see the new players who come through – they’ll start to do things differently, they’ll evolve, so for the next game they will be experienced players. The other thing we’re doing, with the save import system; again, that is optional. You don’t have to bring in your saves and all your decisions from previous games. The game will come up with a default world state and give you a description about what’s been going on.
In this high fantasy RPG genre a lot of entries are open-world like Skyrim or The Witcher 3. Do you think you now have to be open-world to remain competitive?
I don’t think so. I think we’ll see open-world becoming more of a trend in next-gen anyway, regardless of the genre. Dragon Age: Inquisition is more open-world than it has been previously – open-world games tend to be fixed in a theme. We don’t want to do that. We want to say, ‘we have an open-world game, but you can go and visit the desert’, and when you’re in a desert, that open-world desert, you feel like you’re in a desert. You’re not in a little corner in a small desert, it’s a big desert . That’s the strength of what we’re looking at here – we can send the player across the world to all these really diverse areas and have the player feel like they’re in those places, while still having that sense of open-world discovery that you have in some of those other open-world games.