Continuing the fantasy quest with Dragon Age: Inquisition

BioWare’s popular adventuring series adopts an open world approach.

Having completed the Mass Effect trilogy, BioWare has now returned its attention to its other RPG series, Dragon Age. That means the sci-fi setting of Mass Effect is replaced with a fantasy world where dragons roam the land and your skill with a sword determines whether you survive. Inquisition is the latest addition to the series, with BioWare promising a bigger game world compared to past instalments.

We caught up with BioWare creative director, Mike Laidlaw, to talk about where Inquisition fits into the Dragon Age franchise.

How similar or different is the development to Mass Effect?

BioWare creative director, Mike Laidlaw (ML): The similarity is in that they’re both character driven and there is a focus on having party members. Mass Effect was different because it was driven by the John Shepard character, while in Dragon Age it is about being among equals. Everyone in your party in Dragon Age is around the same level of power, and the focus of combat and encounters is working as a team. In Mass Effect, you could focus on Shepard and do very well even in the higher difficulties. Inquisition is also different in that it is more open. How you achieve the in-game objectives is entirely up to you. This can lead to a very distinct experience which differs from one player to the other.

Is Inquisition an evolution or a return to the franchise's roots?

ML: If you took the best parts of past games and put them in a blender, and added the open world gameplay, then you would have Inquisition. It’s not really an evolution from Dragon Age II, as we did some things with that game we shouldn’t have. It’s a closer experience to Origins, but again there are parts that feel different in Inquisition that it make it hard to draw the comparison. It’s definitely its own beast, but with the responsiveness of combat and the pacing of Origins. So it’s more of a combination of past games and we tried to distil it down to what worked the best.

What aspect of the game stands out for you?

ML: Being able to chart your own path and deciding how you proceed with the story. The game gives you an objective and it is up to you how to pursue it. It took a lot of work to try to figure out how to turn all that adventuring into a way of earning currency. It also consisted of a lot of different revisions, so I’m really happy with the way that turned out. Another good thing was crafting. I’m a fan of crafting and making my characters look the way I want them to. It’s nice to have a system that lets me customise within the game the same as I did at the start.

Any interest in re-releasing the past Dragon Age games in 1080p?

ML: I think the HD movement is really cool as it gives an opportunity for people and new generation of gamers to dive into something they had not played, or maybe did not meet their needs graphically. At this point we have been 100 per cent focused on Inquisition and working on it like a Death Star. Dragon Age: Origins is fairly recent, so I don’t know if it would need the HD treatment just yet. The way I look at it is something I would not rule out, just like when I get asked about a HD Jade Empire. But right now we’ve been 100 per cent focused on Inquisition.

How was working on Jade Empire?

ML: Jade Empire was my first project at BioWare, so there were many valuable lessons for me to learn. It was early enough in BioWare’s growth that I was working with a lot of the guys who founded the company, so I got to learn a lot from the same people. I’m blessed to be able to continue to work with a lot of those same guys on Dragon Age now. At the same time, Jade Empire was unique in there was a lot of firsts for us. It was our first console project and our first action game where you input your combat in real-time.

What lesson did you bring over to Dragon Age?

ML: The mix of tradition and innovation is one of the things I always considered as Jade Empire’s biggest successes. The big lesson I took away was even if you have success with something, you shouldn’t rest on your laurels. You should not stop there and you need to keep innovating. Not all the changes and innovations you’re going to do will work. However, it is necessary to be humble enough to learn from those mistakes and celebrate where you succeeded so everything can continue to grow and get better.

Any chance BioWare will revisit the Jade Empire universe?

ML: [Laughs] I know there are people in the studio and fans who are very intrigued with the idea of more Jade Empire. It’s something we’ll continue to explore, but we don’t have any solid plans for the moment.

Want to read other video game interviews with key figures from Sony, Microsoft and more? Then check out Good Gear Guide's complete interview archive.

Follow Good Gear Guide Games on Twitter at @GameProAu or become a fan of the Facebook page.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags dragon ageDragon Age 2Electronic Arts Inc.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Patrick Budmar

Patrick Budmar

Good Gear Guide
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?