BioWare hasn't been keeping quiet in the face of Dragon Age II criticism, and the studio's explanations have been drifting from defiant to somewhat apologetic. Rather than dwell on the drawbacks of DAII, however, Lead Designer Mike Laidlaw and the rest of the Dragon Age team have begun focusing more on tentative promises, going over all the great things they plan to do for Dragon Age III.
The catch is Dragon Age III hasn't officially been announced yet, so technically, the game does not yet exist and the "promises" BioWare makes concerning in-game content are simply thoughts -- discussion points, if you will.
Still, we can hope. Over the weekend at PAX, Laidlaw led a panel with fellow Dragon Age II devs, answering a variety of questions regarding the game and the hypothetical Dragon Age III. First off, the third game should put more power in the player's hands, meaning your decisions will actually matter again in the overarching story.
Secondly, the story will likely carry on the second game's mages versus Templar theme, though this long-standing conflict won't necessarily be the main plot.
BioWare is also planning to reinstate companion customization to some extent, though unique armors are likely here to stay, in order to give the companions a greater visual identity.
In terms of scale, Dragon Age III would be more similar to Dragon Age: Origins than Hawke's Kirkwall adventure time (read: Dragon Age II), and the main protagonist will be neither the Warden nor Hawke. If the end of Dragon Age II is any indication, Thedas' greatest threat might just be itself. As such, the new hero might be sent to a number of new regions like Orlais and familiar places like Ferelden.
The Warden and Hawke could be making cameo appearances in Dragon Age III, though like everything else, that remains unconfirmed. If BioWare does go through with this, let's hope their faces make the transition properly, without an odd swelling effect. You know what we're talking about, Dragon Age II players.
BioWare has promised more news in the coming weeks.