Story has always been a central pillar in the enduring popularity of BioWare's Dragon Age series.
A new trailer out today seeks to set the stage for Dragon Age: Inquisition, due to be released Oct. 7, 2014.
Dragon Age: Inquisition begins with the events at a peace conference between the warring mages and templars. An explosion wreaks havoc on the tentative plans, while causing the extinction of many members of the world's ruling classes.
The Inquisitor emerges from the chaos, ostensibly being blasted from metaphysical realm the Fade. The game's central character is given the power to fill the power vacuum, leading the Inquisition against invading demons, pouring through The Rift.
"There's an interesting undertone here of people in the world believing that you have been sent as a leader by the maker of the universe," explained creative director Mike Laidlaw, in an interview with Polygon. "As a player, I have the option of saying, 'Oh yeah, I'm the chosen one' or asking what the hell they are talking about. It's up to the player."
The leaders of the Inquisition are shown, as well as some suggestion of that organization's relationship with the Fade, in a scene reminiscent of Leonardo Da Vinci's The Last Supper. As the Inquisition seeks to restore order, they rely on factors like military might, a spy network and trade networks, all of which the player has at their disposal.
"After the big explosion, the heads of the factions in the civil war are killed and so the Inquisition moves in to fill the gap," added Laidlaw. "Once you come out of the Fade, you show yourself to be a leader. Someone has to take control and the power of the Inquisition gives you the freedom to take action."
Combat in Dragon Age: Inquisition seeks to merge the third-person fighting mechanics common to today's action-RPGs with a more strategic party-based approach reminiscent of earlier RPGs. A fight involving the Gray Warden Stronghold is shown, although there are still no details on the Wardens relationship to the war.
The game world is also significantly larger and more varied than in previous Dragon Age games, according to Laidlaw. Today's trailer shows some epic sweeping shots of locations such as a frozen forest with abandoned elven ruins. There is also footage of beast riding, which offers various species of mounts although none, alas, that can fly. Dragons are shown only briefly.
"We want to show people the central premise of the game, including the Inquisitor and how it is related to the Fade," said Laidlaw. "You can also see some of the great personality of the game and the scale of this open world."