Bioware writer confirms new 'Dragon Age' still in production, but is it the Tactics game hinted at last year?
The existence of a new Dragon Age game has been suspected for a while, but today we saw some new signs of life when a writer on the unannounced game mentioned the franchise in a recent interview with Eurogamer. Alexis Kennedy, co-founder of Sunless Sea developer Failbetter Games, left that studio a year ago to become a freelance video game writer, and announced in September that Bioware had hired him as its first-ever guest writer. Kennedy said at the time that he was working on "a significant piece of content," but couldn’t say anything further.
The studio has been dropping hints about the new Dragon Age for a while, though – Kennedy pointed out in his Eurogamer interview that series executive producer Mark Darrah had tweeted about him back in February, welcoming him to the Dragon Age team.
Before he started at Bioware, Kennedy was working on projects including his own game Cultist Simulator and narrative content for Paradox Interactive's turn-based strategy game Stellaris. "There are huge differences between all of that and what I'm working on at Bioware," Kennedy told Eurogamer, "which I can now legitimately say is in the Dragon Age franchise although it has been known for a while." As for the story Kennedy is working on, he said, "What I can say is I have been given considerable autonomy to work on a storyline bit of lore which is well-segregated from other parts of the game." He added, "It's nothing that grandiose, but it is distinct. It’s a bit of lore which has not been addressed much to date in Dragon Age."
A year prior to Kennedy joining the Dragon Age team, Darrah posted a poll Twitter asking if fans would be interested in playing a Dragon Age Tactics game – presumably something that focuses on turn-based combat like Fire Emblem or Final Fantasy Tactics threaded together with Bioware's signature narrative flair – to which the response was overwhelmingly positive.
Would you play a Dragon Age Tactics game?— Mark Darrah (@BioMarkDarrah) February 19, 2016
A couple of months later in April 2016, Darrah tweeted a short video of a red-covered book that was marked for "internal use only" within the studio. The emblem on the cover caused many to wonder whether he was dropping hints about a new Dragon Age, or whether it was somehow connected to the mysterious new game series that Bioware is currently working on. Though the wolf and rook symbol on the cover isn't immediately recognizable as something DA-related, it's thought by some that it could be connected to a revelation from the closing act of Dragon Age: Inquisition – namely SPOILER ALERT: the possibility that elf-mage Solas is actually Elven god of betrayal and notorious asshole Fen'Harel (think of him as Elven Loki), also known as The Dread Wolf.
Oooh what's this?— Mark Darrah (@BioMarkDarrah) April 26, 2016
Oh sorry pic.twitter.com/8Nt95nnORr
On January 26 of this year, some eight months after posting the video tease, Darrah tweeted new photos of pages from his little red book, noting that he was looking to "slip a few things under the radar while everyone is watching Mass Effect." The first of these shows Dalish elves.
He also shared a page of character concepts that certainly wouldn't look out of place in a Tactics-style game.
If all of these things are indeed related to the same project, it could point to a tactical strategy RPG set in the Dragon Age universe in which The Dread Wolf is central to a story partly written by an experienced writer with a background threading narratives through strategy games.
Electronic Arts is holding its EA Play event in Los Angeles starting on June 10, the Saturday before this year's E3. If there's a new Dragon Age in the works, this will surely be where it will finally be unveiled.