BioWare has released a brief update on the development of Dragon Age 4 and future Mass Effect titles, hinting at what’s to come for the series as well as the studio’s approach to future game development.
In a blog post published on the developer's website, BioWare general manager Gary McKay dropped a small, but substantial, detail about Dragon Age 4.
"We have a veteran group of talented developers working on the next iteration of the franchise," McKay wrote. "We are focused on a single-player experience that is built on choices that matter."
This is the first time BioWare has explicitly mentioned Dragon Age 4 will include narrative choices. It aligns with previous announcements that confirmed the studio is committed to making the game "single-player focused".
The details also came alongside further comments, in which McKay emphasized how the game is being developed to rebuild goodwill among the studio's long-time fans, with many having been left disappointed by the studio's most recent releases.
"When I took on the GM role, I talked about rebuilding our reputation, and that remains a huge priority," he wrote. “We are laser-focused on building back the trust of our fans and community, and we plan to do that by delivering the types of games that we are best known for and ensuring they are of the highest quality."
McKay went on to say that he wants future BioWare releases, such as Dragon Age 4, to represent “seminal moments in the industry” that garner similar reactions that last year’s Mass Effect Legendary Edition received.
Elsewhere on the Mass Effect side, he encouraged players to study the poster that was released to promote the next game in the series last November.
"If you look closely, there are a handful of hidden treats; by my count, there are at least five surprises, all of which point to an amazing future in the Mass Effect universe," he wrote.
Analysis: is BioWare back?
After BioWare’s rocky past few years, McKay’s comments might go some way to alleviate the concerns of worried fans. Anthem’s release in 2019 was met with widespread disappointment and the release of Mass Effect: Andromeda before that failed to stir up the excitement of the original trilogy. Last year’s Mass Effect: Legendary Edition was the first release from the studio in some time to receive a strongly positive response.
His emphasis that Dragon Age 4 will be a single-player title will especially be a relief to those players that were put off by Anthem’s multiplayer focus, which largely fell flat due to its exhausting grind. The mention of “choices that matter”, alongside McKay’s wider reference to the studio’s long history of acclaimed titles, will also be music to the ears of those players hoping for a return to form for the studio.
While it’s a stretch to suggest that BioWare will be returning to its roots entirely, the morsels of information that have been released about Dragon Age 4 so far make clear the studio is focusing on those elements that led to its early success. The jury’s still out, though, on just how sweeping a single-player story we can expect, or how branching its narrative choices will be.
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