Though it's likely years away and absolutely a next-gen game at this point, Dragon Age 4 is coming. Yes, it was scrapped not that long ago and is supposedly in pre-production, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. With BioWare having a bit of trouble with Anthem this year, it means they're all the more likely to listen to what the fans want.
While Inquisition was a slightly flawed but ultimately great game, Dragon Age 4 could be a generational classic if it learns from the previous game's mistakes. With that in mind, this list takes a critical look at what a potential Dragon Age 4 does and doesn't need to accomplish to be an improvement upon Inquisition.
10 DON'T WANT: A LARGER WORLD
Open world games were all the rage when Dragon Age: Inquisition released. And while there’s a bit of push back against turning everything open world these days, these type of games still tend to be some of the best-sellers among single-player titles. This means there’s a chance BioWare is still aiming to release a massive, exploration-focused game.
And that’s fine…so long as it’s roughly the size of Inquisition. BioWare shouldn’t aim to go any larger without better transportation and more interesting quests. If anything, they should stick to the zone-based idea they had in Inquisition; it provided variety and open, but not too large, areas.
9 WANT: BRING BACK VARRIC
The bare-chested, silver-tongued dwarf was one of the most likable characters in Dragon Age: Inquisition by far. He was able to navigate his way through the world of the nobles while also calling them out on their nonsense, making him someone almost always worth having around during story-focused content.
Plus if nothing else, as this world continues to change, constantly using different lead characters and party members, it’s nice to have one constant in the franchise. It’s highly unlikely we would see most of the remaining cast from Inquisition (aside from maybe Dorian, who’d also be welcome), so it’d be nice to at least have one.
8 DON'T WANT: GET RID OF THE POWER SYSTEM
One of the weirdest things about Dragon Age: Inquisition was how it had something of a hard cap on how fast players could proceed through the game. The Power System involved players spending large amounts of time doing side quests to attain enough power to continue progressing through the main storyline.
While it sucks to have players finish a game in a weekend and complain that it was "too short," artificially stopping players from continuing by forcing them to do side content isn’t the way to go about it. Ditch this system, let the people who want to spend time in your lovingly crafted world do so, while others blow through it to get to the next title in their backlogs.
7 WANT: DIFFERENT ORIGINS
One of the cooler aspects of Dragon Age: Origins was how it allowed players to pick vastly different origin stories for their player character. Dragon Age II dropped this in favor of focusing on a single character, Hawke. Inquisition split the difference by using the "Inquisitor," who could be any race or gender but always had the same point of origin due to the story.
For Dragon Age 4, it would be nice if we could have three or four potential starting points to inform who we are in the game, restoring an important aspect of roleplay to the franchise.
6 DON'T WANT: MORE FETCH QUESTS
Ultimately, every quest eventually breaks down into “go-to y location, do x thing”. But Inquisition took this to a different level, with many of its quests literally asking for three goatskins, or whatever.
That’s the kind of tedium that caused hardcore players to sour on the game early, despite so many other aspects of Inquisition being amazing. If it means having fewer quests in the game proper, that’s fine, but please don’t ask players to deliver a letter unless it’s leading to something unexpected like a battle against a horde of undead skeletons or a surprise dragon boss fight.
5 WANT: MORE CHOICE, MORE CONSEQUENCES
Inquisition to its credit did offer some choices in the game, though some players might have missed them. Depending on your actions in the game, for instance, you could break Cassandra’s hope in humanity or lead Cullen down a path of being addicted to lyrium.
For the sequel, let’s see much more of that. Some of the biggest choices in the game could often happen offscreen, mentioned on the side at Skyhold’s War Table. Instead of offering so many fetch quests, maybe reduce the overall number of quests and allow the remaining ones to have a greater effect on the world?
4 DON'T WANT: DRAGON AGE INQUISITION'S COMBAT
It’s difficult to find anyone at all that liked Dragon Age: Inquisition’s combat system. They tried to split the difference between Dragon Age II’s more arcadey action combat and Dragon Age: Origins’ more tactical approach, and simply wound up ticking off everyone.
In Dragon Age 4, BioWare absolutely needs to make up their mind on what identity they want for their combat scenarios. Whether that means going full steam down the path of action combat or going back to something more turn-based in nature, either’s fine. Just pick one and be good at it, because a repeat of Inquisition isn’t acceptable.
3 WANT: AN IMPROVED CASTLE
One of the better parts of Dragon Age Inquisition was Skyhold. After all, it doesn’t get more fantasy than being given your own castle! If we’re going to be given control over some massive forces once again, they should go further with Skyhold.
Instead of having the place automatically develop over time, why not base quests around its customization and improvement? Center more missions around bringing people in as specialists who sell items, armor, and more. Rather than doing quests which have no meaning, doing ones which build up the area you visit so frequently will build an even greater attachment to it for players.
2 DON'T WANT: AN INCOMPLETE STORY
There’s been a bit of talk that for Dragon Age 4 (or whatever it’ll eventually be called), BioWare plans on handling the story a bit differently. Supposedly, the intention is to create a live service single-player game. Now to be fair, there are a lot of ways to handle this.
If the intention is to tell a complete 20-40 hour story in the base game, while expansions would tell entirely different narratives - think The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine - that’s great! New stories are always welcome. If the point is to release a complete story in "chapters," that will only end poorly for everyone involved.
1 WANT: MORE ROMANCE OPTIONS
Let’s not mince words about this. One of the primary reasons people get these games is for the dating simulation aspect. Regardless of how much we make fun of how some of the scenes play out, one of the first questions players ask time and again after reveal is "who can we romance?"
Arguably, one of the major reasons many staunch BioWare fans checked out on Anthem was a lack of romance options. So yeah, if we’re going to do Dragon Age 4, it’s a good idea to offer a wide variety of characters of different genders and orientations. What’s the point of saving the world if there’s no one to go home to, after all?