Dragon Age III looking more and more like Skyrim

Posted by CB Droege

It's not just visual. Bioware devs admit Skyrim is major influence on their new adventure game.

Dragon Age: Origins, was very well-received, and marked the beginning of what many thought would be a grand franchise. Unfortunately, the developers changed direction for the second game, Dragon Age II, and many of the franchises' fans turned away, unhappy with the over-simplification of mechanics they had enjoyed in the first game, which many theorize was a move designed to appeal to the more casual audience of the gaming console market, where the first game did not sell as well.

Now that the third game, Dragon Age III: Inquisition, has been announced, fans are wondering if the new title will be a return to the sophistication of the first game or a continuation of the new gameplay style found in the second.

Last month we got our first peek at the new game with a series of concept art pieces. Upon seeing them, my first reaction was that the spaces looked very open, and were stylized much like the spaces in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, another RPG adventure game from a different successful franchise, and I wasn't the only one; several other commenters at various sites made the same observation. Now, thanks to an interview with development leader Aaryn Flynn of Bioware in the recent issue of Game Informer, we know that it wasn't just an impression, the new game will be directly influenced by Skyrim.

"You can't look at a game like Skyrim and not think about how impressive what they've accomplished is—or [think] that's an interesting new direction or that there was something that didn't work well for them that we could take in a new direction. So, we're always influenced by these games, especially in a relatively tight-knight genre like RPGs," Flynn said when asked about the similar look in the concept art.

He confirmed that Skyrim shad howed his team why open-world sand-box style exploration is important to a good role-playing experience, and confirmed the future of the genre will undoubtedly create more and more free and open spaces for players to take self-guided tours of, all while making their own version of the game's story.

Of course, neither of the first two Dragon Age games had any level of exploration involved, so it seems like almost too big of a shift from their core design, which may discourage some fans who actually enjoyed the linear story-telling style.

We've also heard the game may revolve heavily around character customization. Meaning, the players will only have one race available, human, but that human will have a customized look for each player.

Players will also be given greater control over the look of their followers - characters in the story who follow and assist the protagonist. Each follower's skills appearance will be malleable in an effort to suit the player.

It seems as though, in general, openness and exploration are the keywords for the next Dragon Age game. As with Dragon Age II, the game is getting a whole new engine to accommodate these additional changes. That engine was designed partly to accommodate the much larger world. "Just one level in Dragon Age III is as big as all of Dragon Age II's levels," said producer Cameron Lee at a media event last month. The team also hinted at the possibility of a cooperative multi-player mode and some castle management elements.

Dragon Age III: Inquisition is slated to go live by the end of 2013.