Dragon Age: Inquisition Has a Surprising Influence

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Dragon Age: Inquisition Has a Surprising Influence

This is, perhaps, the answer to a question that I've been asking since somewhere around 2003. More specifically, the question I asked so long ago was “Why aren't more games like Morrowind?” I was very much into that game back then—and why not? It was perhaps the first time a console gamer had ever had access to that level of immersion, and most were enjoying it. Now, that influence is starting to be felt in earnest, and is even showing up in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

While Morrowind was a big seller, so too were its descendants. Not only did the immediate follow up Oblivion sell around six million copies at last report, Skyrim blew the doors off the whole process, selling fully 20 million copies. So that led me to wonder, even back then: why aren't more games like this? If there was one thing I knew about the entertainment industry, it was that nothing succeeds like success, and the games, movies, and books that get made are the ones that are like other games, movies and books that already did well. There are always differences, of course, but when you set out to make “the next (fill in the blank)”, you're likely to get a lot more traction than if you introduce a completely new idea that has no basis in success or failure.
So it came as only something of a surprise to hear that Skyrim actually offered up some influences to BioWare's upcoming Dragon Age: Inquisition. In an interview with GamesIndustry, executive producer Mark Darrah noted that Skyrim “...changed the landscape for role-playing games completely.” Indeed, Darrah noted that, for many players out there, Skyrim was the first RPG they'd ever played, so bringing in elements of Skyrim would not only be welcome, but downright necessary to have that all-too-important cultural touchstone with players.

Darrah notes that shooting games have focused on a highly-polished experience, but RPGs have taken the opposite path. Not that RPGs aren't polished, but rather, the polish is spread out farther, focusing on more of an open-world style of gameplay that allows users to roam a sprawling world and discover new things within that world. Darrah even suggested that, as the dominant genres change as they so often do, open world exploration games would become the dominant force in gaming, at least for a while.

Indeed, Darrah's got a point here. We already know of several such games in the pipeline for the near-term future. We've seen the success of Grand Theft Auto V. We know Mad Max is coming, and so too Dying Light and even Grave. Dead Rising 3 was reason enough for a great many gamers to buy an Xbox One. With Fallout 4 remaining one of the most anticipated games around, well, that's reason enough to pay attention. Open world is becoming a very big deal, and we're likely to see a lot more sandbox in our games as this new generation of gaming comes into fruition.

Only time will tell just what the ultimate results of this movement are, but it's still worth watching. We've got plenty of ground to cover between there and there, and the end results should prove to be a big win for gamers in general.

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