Mark Darrah, executive producer of the Dragon Age franchise over at BioWare, made the surprise announcement this morning of Dragon Age III: Inquisition. The third game in the franchise remains shrouded in secrecy, but Darrah wanted to beat the rumor mill and get the game's name out there before people built their own skewed expectations. In development for over two years, can we expect a Dragon Age release before the next generation of consoles arrive in 2013?
Regardless of actual game details, Darrah did want to make it clear his team was paying attention to the community's feedback:
"Part of that effort has involved you, our fans, and the feedback you´ve provided for Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age II, and their DLC. We´ve visited message boards, read reviews, and we´ve gone to events to have direct face to face conversations with some of our most passionate fans. We´ve been listening, and we will continue to listen."
We certainly hope Darrah weighs opinions evenly and not slanted towards reviews, because while the community at large was unusually disappointed in the direction Dragon Age II took, reviews were highly favorable and disappointingly uncritical. That said, there was still a minority that loves Dragon Age II more than Origins, and which camp Darrah decides is more important could result in the future direction of the franchise.
Darrah did let slip one major detail for Dragon Age III: Inquisition: it's being built on an entirely new engine. Using DICE's Frostbite 2 engine as a foundation, BioWare is building something fresh for Dragon Age III in order to, "deliver a more expansive world, better visuals, more reactivity to player choices, and more customization." Does this mean we'll see a return to character creation, rather than pre-built protagonists? Doubtful, due to the Shepard popularity factor, but time will tell.