BioWare Drawing On 'Skyrim' In 'Dragon Age III' Development

By Joseph Leray

Speaking with Game Informer Aaryn Flynn, general manager for BioWare Edmonton and Montreal studios, let slip that the role-playing giants are looking to games like "The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim" for inspiration during development of Dragon Age III: Inquisition.

"You can't look at a game like Skyrim and not think about how impressive what they've accomplished is -- or [think] that's an interesting new direction or that there was something that didn't work well for them that we could take in a new direction," he told the magazine. "So, we're always influenced by these games, especially in a relatively tight-knit genre like RPGs."

Skyrim is full of heroes and dragons, to be sure, but it's also known for its expansive open-world design, whereas Dragon Age has always been a bit more structured. Flynn did acknowledge, though, that he'd like to see a larger focus on exploration as Dragon Age moves forward, namedropping games likes Neverwinter Nights and Baldur's Gate in the process.

The Baldur's Gate comparison is especially interesting -- the game has long been a touchstone for Dragon Age fans, particularly those dissatisfied by Dragon Age II. I spoke with Dragon Age creative designer Mike Laidlaw a few years ago about the comparisons, and while he acknowledged the influence of BioWare's older catalog of games, he also mentioned that "there's a danger in re-creating that exactly," noting that his team wanted to take advantage of modern designs and interfaces while still making dense, satisfying role-playing games.

We still don't know much about DAIII, but Flynn's desire to see more exploration in the Dragon Age series -- coupled with new concept art and the fact that one Dragon Age III level is bigger than all of Dragon Age II's levels -- suggest a large, expansive game.

"Dragon Age III" is expected no earlier than 2014.


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