In 2009, the first game in the Dragon Age series, Dragon Age: Origins, was developed by BioWare. The role-playing game received critical acclaim, and two years later, a sequel, Dragon Age II, was released. Three years after that, Dragon Age: Inquisition came out, but since then, there have not been any further software titles in the franchise — until now. Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming Dragon Age 4.
1. Dragon Age 4 will mainly take place in Tevinter
Dragon Age 4 is confirmed by “BioWare: Stories and Secrets from 25 Years of Game Development” to take place in Tevinter, which is in Northern Thedas and ruled by a magocracy — a sovereign class of mages. Mentioned numerous times throughout the Dragon Age games, the nation is also the home of a favorite mage companion who left his homeland due to a clash with his upper-class family’s pure blood and breeding ideals. In ancient times, Tevinter was a feared, powerful nation that spread across most of the continent. Dorian tells the player in Dragon Age: Inquisition that many Tevinters long for those days to be restored.
The Tevinter setting will add many mages to the game and probably a lot of magical elements that haven’t been seen previously. Many hope that Dorian will be in the game and that his family drama and bad reputation will be expanded upon. Dorian hasn’t been confirmed to appear in the game, but there has been concept art of the character. In Inquisition, Dorian says he is going to fight against the corruption in the leadership of Tevinter, his homeland. In the 2020 Game Awards trailer, we see a city that looks a lot like the capital, Minrathous, which also happens to be the largest city in Thedas. The concept art for this city is stunning but features a faint cyberpunk vibe. It appears not even Dragon Age can resist the urge to jump on the cyberpunk bandwagon.
In the Dragon Age lore, Minrathous is massive. If done right, the city could be the most interesting, beautiful and complex setting in the games to date — a fantastical medieval Night City, if you will. But instead of tech and guns, there will be magic and spells — which is a lot more compelling to me.
Along with floating buildings and winding paths, the city is the only settlement above ground to use golems called Juggernauts. Creatures of stone and metal, the defending animated golems are brought to life by the use of lyrium. These golems were created by Caridin, who turned dwarven volunteers into rock guardians who functioned as perfect soldiers made by magic, at the cost of their own free will.
As majestic as the capital city may sound, according to the Dragon Age wiki, this great city is decaying. During the time that Tevinter reigned strong across Thedas, the city would have been a sight to behold. However, now buildings are only being held together by magic and there is a layer of filth over everything.
Players may expect to encounter refugees, as Minrathous is packed full of people fleeing the Imperium’s war with the Qunari as they launch attacks from Par Vollen. Minrathous is well known for its defensive capabilities, as it resides on an island connected to land by a single bridge that can be destroyed if needed.
In Inquisition, the mage templar conflict is ongoing, and although there are some mages in the game (Dorian and Vivienne among others), I expect that there will be mages everywhere in Tevinter, as the Imperium authorizes the free practice of magic and mages are allowed into political positions of power.
Found in the concept art is the location of Antiva along with what seems to be an Antivan Crow. Personally, I would love it if the player’s avatar was an Antivan Crow themself, but this is unlikely. More realistically, an Antivan Crow will be featured as a companion. Although the game is set in Tevinter, the concept art suggests that the player will be visiting Antiva.
2. A few characters will return in Dragon Age 4
The Game Awards trailer was narrated by everyone’s favorite dwarven rogue, Varric. From the trailer alone, fans have assumed that Varric won’t be available as a companion for the third time in the series, but that he will occupy a stronger leadership position instead.
More importantly, the trailer displays some pretty intimidating shots of Solas, who is revealed to be the ancient elven god The Dread Wolf in Inquisition. The Dread Wolf trapped the Creators and the Forgotten Ones, creating the Veil, a magical metaphysical barrier separating the physical and mortal world of Thedas from the nonphysical spirit and demon-inhabited Fade. The character’s drive comes from his desire to restore the world of the elves — the world he inadvertently destroyed when he created the Veil to overthrow the Old Gods of Tevinter and the Elven pantheon of gods known as the Evanuris.
Solas is also the Anchor’s original owner, and based off the concept art for Dragon Age 4, he seems to have acquired it and its power. As much as BioWare tries to make Solas appear villainous, I cannot think of him as anything but the Almighty Egg, as many Dragon Age fans fondly refer to him. However, despite this impression ingrained into my brain, Solas has the potential to be a powerful and complex villain and perhaps the best antagonist of the series.
3. There are some hints about the protagonist
Not much is known about the player character in the upcoming game, but Varric’s voiceover in the trailer does offer some clues.
“It’s time for a new hero. No magic hand, no prophecy.”
This suggests that the character will be a nobody, someone unseen before in the franchise. It also means the character is likely to be an underdog, and unlike in Inquisition, is not going to stumble upon unearned power so easily.
Many fans have speculated that the new player character may be a Lord of Fortune, a new faction of treasure hunters and monster hunters shown in the recent book of short stories, “Tevinter Nights.” Composed of many races — as well as operating all over Thedas — the group is a logical choice for a player character and fits in with the history of the franchise. Additionally, the fact that Lords of Fortune are noted as monster hunters makes them an even more convenient choice, as one of the Evanuris, Ghilan’nain — who is likely to return if Solas destroys the Veil — is known for having created many giant and horrific beasts.
4. BioWare might repeat some old mistakes
Eight years after the conclusion of BioWare’s other successful franchise, Mass Effect, the controversy surrounding the unsatisfying ending of Mass Effect 3 is still fresh for many fans. Especially since the follow-up title, Mass Effect: Andromeda, which boasted a whole new galaxy and cast of characters, also fell flat due to technical issues and uncompelling characters.
In the hope of rising above this, BioWare’s attempt at a live service game like Destiny also ended in critical and financial failure, leaving many fans worried about how Dragon Age 4 will turn out, especially with the studio’s internal state being as unstable as it was during Mass Effect: Andromeda’s development.
As for Dragon Age 4’s release, in Electronic Arts’ Q2 2020 report, Blake Jorgensen (chief operating and financial officer) estimated a release date of April 2022 at the very earliest.