Huh: BioWare Dropped the ‘III’ from ‘Dragon Age: Inquisition’ as a ‘Tactical Marketing Decision’

by Joseph Leray

Along with the mandatory E3 trailer came the news that BioWare was dropping the “III” from “Dragon Age: Inquisition,” despite the fact that it is, in fact, the third game in the series. What gives?

“We felt like we wanted to bring more attention to the word Inquisition, because that’s more the story arc of what it’s like,” EA Labels head Frank Gibeau told IGN when asked why the title was changed. The game was announced last year as “Dragon Age III.”

“There’s a whole bunch of gameplay and features and big story choices related to how you go through this Inquisition that happens in the world,” he said.

Gibeau continued, calling the change “a tactical marketing decision”: “We just wanted to draw more attention to the fact that ’Inquisition’ is an all-new chapter inside of the ’Dragon Age’ universe, as opposed to people expecting a follow-on to ’Dragon Age 1′ and ’2’ in a literal, linear sense.”

The move isn’t all that surprising for a few reasons. BioWare have similarly shied away from putting a “4” on the next “Mass Effect” game. “Thinking of the next ‘Mass Effect’ game as ‘Mass Effect 4’ would imply a certain linearity, a straight evolution of the gameplay and story of the first three games,” explained BioWare Montreal studio director Yannick Roy back in February.

EA would probably also like to put a little bit of breathing room between “Inquisition” and “Dragon Age II,” which was divisive, to put it mildly.

On the other hand, though, “Inquisition” appears to follow “Dragon Age II” pretty closely! I touched on this last week, but the first trailer for the game shows us Varric and Cassandra Pentaghast, both key figures in the previous game. EA is telling us not to expect a direct sequel while the only available trailer suggests the exact opposite.

The series’ has always struggled, I think, to fit the pieces of its massive universe together in a way that feels cohesive, but I’ve found new, different, and interesting things to like about each one so far. I do hope the trend continues with “Inquisition.”

“Dragon Age: Inquisition” is currently set for release in Fall 2014 on PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and probably TI-89 calculators or something.