It’s finally been confirmed for realz: BioWare is officially working on the next Dragon Age game (which probably won’t be called Dragon Age 4, but who cares?) We already sort of knew this, but the company wasn’t making with the official info.
I’ve been pulling together threads in my head ever since Dragon Age: Inquisition. We obviously can’t predict every twist and turn of the story, but we have more than a few clues (some of which are less clue-y and more “hit you over the head with it”). I’m not doing anything but connecting the existing dots, in other words, so there’s a good chance that any fan is going to get to the end of this post and think, “Well, duh, I knew that.”
*Spoilers ahead if you haven’t played DA: Inquisition, including the Tresspasser DLC.
Also spoilers if you haven’t read Dragon Age: Last Flight, by Liane Merciel.
If you’re a ginormous Dragon Age fan and you haven’t read Last Flight, I highly recommend that you do that first and then come back to this post. Or just go read the book and forget about this post. It’s the fifth book in that particular series, but each book stands alone just fine. The previous book, The Masked Empire, gives you some background and insight into the whole Celene/Gaspard/Briala mess, and all five have a ton of cool Thedas lore, but Last Flight is the one that I think might matter for the next game.
Yes, it’s possible that the games will ignore the events in the books, by and large… but considering the timing of this particular book, and what happens in it, I’d be surprised if they did. You can’t introduce something that big and then pretend it didn’t happen. Right? RIGHT?!
First, let’s timeline this bitch, because that will help. (I believe this is accurate. Ish.)
|9:30–31 Dragon||The Fifth Blight & the events of Dragon Age: Origins.|
|9:32 Dragon||Dragon Age: Origins Witch Hunt DLC|
|9:30–37 Dragon||The events of Dragon Age 2.|
|9:40 Dragon||Cassandra interrogates Varric, and he tells her what happened during Dragon Age 2.|
|9:41 Dragon||The events of the present-day action in Last Flight.|
|9:41–42 Dragon||The events of Dragon Age: Inquisition.|
|9:44 Dragon||The events of Dragon Age: Inquisition Tresspasser DLC.|
So, here are the bits that feed into my theory (I’ll say it again… huuuuge spoilers here):
- If the Hero of Ferelden is alive, he/she is off looking for a way to prevent the Calling.
- In Last Flight, we learn that as the mage/Templar war got uglier, Weisshaupt (Grey Warden headquarters) sent out word that any mage was welcome to join them. They were basically going to use the right of conscription to shelter mages from the Templars. The protagonist of the story ends up researching the Fourth Blight, and learns exactly how the griffons became extinct.
- After the events at Adamant, whichever person survived the Fade (thanks to that terrible choice you had to make) travels to Weisshaupt to let the Grey Warden leadership know what happened to the Orlesian Wardens.
- Later, you find out that all contact with Weisshaupt has ceased, and no one hears back from whoever-traveled-there.
- During the Tresspasser DLC, we learn that that-bastard-Solas is Fen’Harel, and everything is all his fault. More or less. It was Solas/Fen’Harel who arranged for Corypheus to get his hands on the orb. The end game was for the orb to be unlocked, Coryphy-face to die in the explosion, and then Fen’Harel would nab the orb and use it to bring back the world of the elves — which means tearing down the Veil. Except… oops, Coryphy-fish didn’t die. Shenanigans!
- Tresspasser ends with a whole host of, “Next time on Dragon Age…” threads dangling.
- Solas is still determined to restore the elves, despite the fact that tearing down the Veil means letting all the demons loose. It’s worse than that, really, since it sounds like tearing down the Veil will cause the Fade to merge with the “real world”. No part of that sounds like good news for humans or dwarves, and good grief, the Qunari are going to go ape shit.
- The Inquisitor has sworn to stop Solas, but doing so will require some changes. Solas was inside the Inquisition; he knows its strengths and weaknesses and what everyone is capable of, so they need new blood (hint hint, new main character in the next game).
- All signs point to Tevinter as a good place to look for new allies; I sincerely hope that this is true, since it means we might see Dorian in the next game.
- Elves are vanishing, obviously to join Solas’ cause.
- The Qunari have gone back to warring with Tevinter. For now.
So, here’s your landscape for Dragon Age 4:
- Tevinter/Qunari war cranking back up.
- Ancient elven dipshit trying to tear down the Veil. (Sorry, I really disliked that-bastard-Solas. And feel perfectly justified, in hindsight.)
- Weisshaupt has gone dark.
- A new Divine has been chosen, and there’s liable to be (definitely will be) some backlash/political shenanigans going on there.
- The Orlesian Wardens’ numbers have been seriously depleted.
- The Templars are probably still going to be dealing with their order’s issues and struggling to rebuild/regain trust/find new jobs… something.
From a balance-of-power perspective, having the Qunari refocus on Tevinter is probably a good thing. Ferelden and Orlais were both roiled by the mage/Templar war at a time when Ferelden was finally recovering from the Fifth Blight and Orlais was going through a bloody civil war, and both had to deal with rifts and those pesky demons pouring out of them. Neither nation is at its strongest, but Tevinter was relatively untouched by recent events — so far as we know, anyway. Tevinter’s political structure meant that its mages didn’t have to revolt against anybody, and given that Corypheus was from Tevinter originally, it’s likely that he wasn’t tearing the place apart — he was probably seeing it as his seat of power-slash-neverending source of lackeys.
All of which means that Tevinter was in one hell of a strong position — possibly one that could have allowed them to renew their ambitions to rule the world. Ferelden and Orlais should probably be thanking the Qunari for taking up Tevinter’s attention.
This brings me to a rather curious, and possibly quite worrying, point. Previous Blights didn’t just happen in one place, they happened all over. The whole world was always at stake. But the Fifth Blight seemed to be oddly constrained to Ferelden, which leads to the obvious question: was it a real Blight? The standard for “real Blight” seems to be “archdemon present and accounted for”, but is that actually true? We know that the Architect was responsible for accidentally instigating the Fifth Blight, so that might be why it was more of a mini-Blight; there may be other, unknown conditions required in order to start a true Blight. If so, does that mean that another Blight could break out at any time? There’s never a good time for a Blight… but this would be the worst timing ever.
So Dragon Age 4 will have a lot on its plate, potentially, depending on how much or little of this makes it into the game.
My guess is that we’ll see these things for sure (and I may be wrong, but…)
People have been wanting to visit Tevinter, and I’m guessing we’ll get to this time around. Which may mean dealing with the Qunari war, the Magisterium, slavery, whatever Dorian’s been up to, and/or gaining new allies. The player character may even be from Tevinter this time around.
The Anderfels and Weisshaupt: Something is going on at Weisshaupt, and if the game incorporates what’s in the books, it’s huge. (Spoiler… this is your last warning!) I spent some time cruising through a few “What’s going on at Weisshaupt?” threads, and most of the speculation was about a possible invasion or attack of some kind. Which might be true, although possibly not for the reasons anyone thought. What’s going on at Weisshaupt is griffons. Thirteen eggs, preserved by magic, were found, and they immediately started hatching. It’s possible that this is the entire reason why Weisshaupt has gone dark: the re-emergence of griffons is hella-important to the Wardens, and it would make sense if they took extreme precautions to ensure that the word didn’t get out. Until they grow up, and breed, the species is very fragile. If word did get out, it’s possible that someone might try to seize them for their own uses. (I think it’s also possible that the player character might be from the Anderfels.)
The Hero of Ferelden might make an appearance (if alive), and some part of the story might deal with the search for a cure for the Calling. As a side note, it’s also possible that we might hear more about the research into a cure for the Tranquil — that thread is still dangling, as well.
And, naturally, we’ll be leading the fight against that-bastard-Solas. That’s pretty much a given. The world needs saving. Again!
Another side-note: Bringing back the griffons could be one way to help convince Solas not to go ahead with his plans. Reintroducing a species — making up for past mistakes — is the kind of thing he would approve of (probably only mildly, and definitely with some snide comments). Solas himself even mentions griffons to the Inquisitor during a conversation branch, and expresses sadness that they are extinct.
No way it’ll be that easy, though.
What I’m guessing we won’t see is another Blight, because that would just be… awful. Seriously freaking awful. We need resources going toward thwarting Solas, not fighting yet another Blight. And there’s a decent chance that we might need to convince Tevinter and the Qun to stop fighting and work together against Solas along the way, while somehow containing their empire-building ambitions.
It’s possible that the player character might actually be the Inquisitor again. Given that he/she has sworn to stop Solas, it’s practically impossible to entirely remove him/her from the plot. He or she could just be running things from afar, though. Or maybe the first scene in DA4 will be the Inquisitor’s tragic death. (And wouldn’t that just be a kick in the guts. Though a nasty little part of me actually wants to see a romanced Blackwall/Rainier crushed by it.) It would be more interesting to see a new player character, with the Inquisitor acting as an advisor. Another way they could handle this is to send the Inquisitor off with friends to make a lot of noise and act as a distraction, while the player character does the actual work elsewhere. That would make the most sense, given that at least part of their strategy should be to keep Solas from realizing when they’re making progress.
I’m also going to guess that the player character won’t be a Warden this time around. There’s too much going on in the Warden world; whoever leads the fight against Solas needs to be at least mostly focused on the primary goal. A Warden would have a lot competing for his or her attention. He or she also might end up with some seriously conflicted loyalties. That could spell disaster. Given the whole Blackwall incident, and the mess at Adamant, the Inquisition peeps might be understandably reluctant to recruit a Warden in such a key position.
My NPC wish list: Dorian, Iron Bull, Hawke, and Varric should at least make appearances, though I’d be up for any/all of them having major roles. (Side note: can someone please buy Varric a real shirt?) I’d love to check in with Fenris and Zevran, and it would be awesome if they brought back Felicia Day as Tallis. Given that the Qunari are getting all feisty, and that elves will be a major factor, it wouldn’t be a stretch. (Are Qun-elves more or less likely to join up with Solas? I’d think less… but that’s an interesting question. Which would prove stronger — whatever influence or hold Fen’Harel has over the elves, or Qunari brainwas… ahem, conditioning?)
What we abso-fucking-lutely need to see: more Alistair.
There should always be more Alistair.