Breaking Down The Latest Dragon Age: Inquisition Trailer

by Joe Juba on Apr 22, 2014 at 12:10 PM

This morning brought with it a new trailer for Dragon Age: Inquisition, but it wasn't just a lot of sizzle with no substance. Some elements of the footage are enlightening just by their presence, while others require a little bit of extra explanation. That's why we spoke with Dragon Age: Inquisition producer Cameron Lee about some of the important points of the trailer and why they're important.

The Blast

Dragon Age fans already know about the breach in the sky. It is a giant tear that opens up into the Fade, the realm from which magic and demons originate. However, the trailer reveals that circumstances surrounding its appearance are catastrophic. Not only are thousands of people killed – they are thousands of important people. The blast accompanying the breach’s opening occurs during peace talks between the mages and the Chantry, so it takes out some key players. “The very highest level of both the Chantry and the mages were at these peace talks,” Lee says. “And they’re all dead. Those two factions are absolutely in chaos. Essentially, the head has been cut off of both groups.”

The Survivor

Your character, the Inquisitor, is the only survivor of the blast. You don’t remember exactly how you survived, but the circumstances are bizarre. “You survived this blast, but you actually walked out of the Fade when the soldiers found you,” Lee says. “So, you get pushed into the Fade, and as a consequence, you are marked.”

The Mark

As a souvenir of your time in the Fade, you have an arcane mark on your hand. It isn’t just decorative; it allows you to interact with breaches in the Fade – the giant one in the sky, and others you may find in your journeys. This mark is what makes you uniquely suited to lead the Inquisition and end the threat, but it also makes you a target for enemy forces. “Whoever caused this massive explosion – whoever is behind all this chaos in the world – is now hunting you for your mark,” Lee says.

The Enemy

This isn’t an explicit part of the trailer, but the mysterious figure who orchestrated the tragic events of the trailer (Not pictured above. Those are just spiders.) has a far-reaching plan. It’s more than just opening a portal to the Fade – it also involves ensuring that the world is unprepared to deal with the problem. “The obvious threat is this massive breach in the sky,” Lee says. “That’s the immediate threat. But who caused it? There’s too much chaos among the factions for it to be a coincidence.” Unlike Dragon Age II, which opted for a few antagonists rather than a clear and central threat, Dragon Age: Inquisition has a person you can direct your aggression toward. Who is it? Finding that answer is one of your goals in the first part of the game. But rest assured, you will find out. “At some point during the game, the central antagonist will come and kick you in the head, basically. You form this Inquisition to face the threat and uncover the truth, and the enemy starts to see you as a serious threat, so they literally show up at your doorstep.”

The Party

BioWare has confirmed several of your companions, but the trailer gives us our first look at the whole group. Lee confirms that the hooded woman (also pictured at the top of the page) is Leliana. Other familiar faces are gathered around the table, like Cassandra, Varric, and Cullen. New allies like Vivienne, Solas, and Sera are also at the Inquisitor’s side.

The Combat

The team at BioWare wants to bring back some of the tactical edge to combat, with more strategy and pause-and-play options. This involves giving classes clear roles and making it easier for them to fight together. Strategies that emphasize teamwork will produce rewarding results, and will give players an incentive to try various party combinations and vary their approaches. “There’s nothing to stop you from taking all warriors, all mages, or all rogues,” Lee says. “But you’ll certainly have challenges if you do that.”

The Grey Wardens

In Dragon Age: Origins, players assumed the role of a Grey Warden. The Wardens are an ancient order sworn to selflessly protect the world from the Darkspawn menace, so they essentially embody the ideal fantasy heroes. And yet…it looks like the Inquisition is fighting against the Wardens in the trailer. “Your Inquisition forces are clearly storming this castle and killing Grey Wardens. We don’t want to give too much away, but we thought that was an interesting message.” Why would you be fighting these warriors? At a different point in our conversation, Lee also said, “You’ll experience multiple enemy factions, because whoever is pulling the strings here has been out to not only weaken enemy factions, but corrupt other ones.” He isn’t referring specifically to Grey Wardens in that case, but it explains why the Inquisitor might be at odds with some once-friendly faces.

The Post-Game

This is another element that isn’t a direct part of the trailer, but after you finish the story it describes, you aren’t necessarily done. High-level zones, advanced crafting, and more difficult enemies await Inquisitors who are eager to find a challenge beyond the main story. “We don’t expect players to explore all the world by the time they finish the campaign,” Lee says. “The world’s too big for that.”

The Dragons

There’s no deeper meaning or interpretation here, but these dragon shots look really cool. Then again, the game is part of a series called “Dragon Age,” so that’s not exactly unexpected.

For more on Dragon Age: Inquisition, be sure to check out our coverage from when the game was first revealed.