* * * W A R N I N G * * * Contains slight spoilers * * * W A R N I N G * * *
Play a ton of games? Play games that come in series? Some games, like the Final Fantasy series, may have multiple (or in this case, a massive amount) of games within the series, but there’s not much holding them together other than recurring themes, names, places, and a few characters. Others may tell a continuation of a story, or take place within the same universe like The Elder Scrolls. In the case of BioWare, this concept is amplified to the point of choices that you make in the first affect the plot lines in the second, and likewise in to the third and future! This was shown in Mass Effect and more recently in Dragon Age.
Through each series, decisions you made through the course of the game affected not just the story line, but what characters would be available for the remainder of the series! In Mass Effect 1, there comes a time where a stronghold is under attack. Enemy reinforcements are coming in heavy, and the team is split. Every thing is hanging by a thread, and the fighting is intense. On one side of the facility, one team member is holding off the incoming flood of baddies. On the other, another team member is making sure a bomb goes off at the right time. As you’re running to help hold off the incoming enemies, there’s a problem with the bomb. Just to be sure that the bomb goes off, your team member says “Meh, lets make sure this goes off!” and forces a premature countdown. Now you must decide: Who do you save? Who do you let die? In this game, there is no Revive spell to bring them back!
In Dragon Age, similar events take place. When dealing with the Dalish Elves, you find that they are being harassed by a pack of werewolves. As you progress through the mission, you find that these are no ordinary lycanthropes. Rather than being diseased, their affliction is due to a curse. Upon further investigation, you find that this all stems back to a feud between the current leader of the Dalish and a Forest Spirit from more than 300 years ago. But like any good feud, it all comes to a heated head and must be dealt by an outsider, possibly by force. So, who do you side with? The Elves, or the Werewolves?
These are but two examples of the plot determining decisions to be made. Playing across multiple games can become confusing, especially with several years worth of development between editions. Personally, I enjoy playing through games like this multiple times so that I may experience as much as possible, but with so many different variables its still nearly impossible. Suppose I kill Caridin and keep the Anvil of the Void for myself? Do I off the Queen of the Rachni in fear of another invasion, or keep her around for her ancient wisdom? CHOICES!!!
To help remedy this a bit, Bioware has announced today the “Dragon Age Keep“. Here, players will be able to either keep track of the decisions they have made, or experiment with what could happen. From the FAQ:
Within the Dragon Age Keep, you’ll be able to customize a Dragon Age historical world state to your exact specifications drawn from Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II story decisions. These include hero attributes, companion details, quest results, and more. Customize as much or as little as you wish. Then you’ll be able to import your saved world state into Dragon Age Inquisition at the start of a new game. For new players, the Keep will serve as a great way to understand the people, places, and events that shaped the world leading up to [Dragon Age: Inquisition].
This sounds fantastic! For players like myself, it was a great deal of time between playing the first and second Dragon Age games. When it came time to import my Warden, I just kinda sat staring at my tv screen thinking,
- Which playthrough should I import? I enjoyed playing my warrior more, but I played through Awakening with my rogue…
- Wait, did I or did I not destroy Andraste’s Ashes?
- Is that possessed Prince still alive?
- Loghain was a jerk, so I know he’s dead in both campaigns.
…And so on. Ultimately, I went with my rogue with a “come what may” attitude. In the end of DA2, I sided with the Circle of Magi since the Templars were going a bit fascist and witch-hunt-crazy. How will these decision play out in DA:I? Time will tell.
For now, Bioware is accepting Beta Tester applications, with testing to begin in early 2014. From there, just stay tuned to your preferred gaming news source (AHEM!!) for updates.
Happy Darkspawn slaying!