Bioware recently announced that Dragon Age: Dreadwolf has completed its Alpha milestone, meaning that fans of the fantasy game series are closer to getting their next look at the world of Thedas. Dreadwolf will be the fourth major installment in the Dragon Age series after Dragon Age: Inquisition in 2014. News about Dreadwolf has picked up of late, giving those eagerly awaiting the latest Dragon Age game more information about what to expect.
It was in February 2022 that Bioware announced the as-yet-unnamed project was entering its production phase, and in June 2022, the Dragon Age team confirmed that the new Dragon Age game had been given the name Dragon Age: Dreadwolf. The latest update comes in October 2022 as Bioware’s General Manager Gary McKay announced that Dreadwolf had hit its Alpha milestone on the EA website. This is a huge step as it means the developers can now play through the game from start to finish to get a proper sense of how it will feel for players. This is necessary for any game production to get the pacing, tone, and characters right. With Dreadwolf now in Alpha, it is an excellent time to look at everything known about the game so far, from setting and plot to what characters may appear.
Although there hasn’t been any gameplay footage released so far, there have been hints and teases by Bioware over the latest Dragon Age game’s development. Back when the game was still using the codename “Joplin,” Kotaku reported that the game would involve heists and extorting guards, and the developers were focusing on choice and consequences. The plot involved the player as part of a group of spies in the Tevinter Imperium, a country only ever mentioned in previous Dragon Age games.
“Joplin” was scrapped in 2021, with the game started over using the new codename “Morrison”; however, elements of “Joplin” seem to have carried over as the game will still be set in Tevinter. The Dragon Age official teaser trailer was released at the 2020 Game Awards, clearly showing a magical city, almost cyberpunk in its appearance, which is most likely Minrathous, the capital city of the Tevinter Empire, confirming the theories about the setting of Dragon Age’s fourth game. Indeed the latest update from Bioware, in addition to announcing Dreadwolf‘s Alpha milestone, also specifically mentions Minrathous and hints that other places only previously mentioned will feature in the game.
A behind-the-scenes video from IGN gives more clues about the plot of Dreadwolf. Among the beautiful concept art, a necropolis in Nevarra, an Antivan Crow assassin, and an area of the Deep Roads can be seen. In the teaser trailer, a rogue-like figure sits atop a building overlooking a city, glass of wine in hand, looking strikingly similar to an Antivan Crow.
Patrick Weekes, the lead writer for Dreadwolf, says that Dragon Age 4 will be character-focused and is a story about having no power. In the behind-the-scenes look, he says: “We want to tell a story of what happens when you don’t have power. What happens when the people in charge aren’t willing to address the issues?” If Dreadwolf is primarily set in Tevinter, that type of story makes a lot of sense, as mages rule the Empire, and anyone not with magic is seen as a second-class citizen.
The trailer even hints at who the player character could be or the type of background players can expect. Narrated by fan-favorite Varric Tethras, the main character will be someone from a more humble background, somewhat reminiscent of some of Dragon Age: Origins‘ character origins, as opposed to someone in power. As Varric says: “No magic hand. No ancient prophecy. The kind of person they’ll never see coming.”
Narrative director John Epler hints that Dreadwolf will tell stories that focus on people around you and the friends the player makes. While Jen Cheverie, associate producer, says that players should look forward to forging really close relationships with game characters. Bioware is known for its well-written player companions, and it seems Dreadwolf will be no different in that respect.
So what characters can players expect to meet in Dreadwolf? An obvious place to start would be the Dreadwolf himself, Solas, an elf companion from the previous Dragon Age game. Gareth David-Lloyd is confirmed as returning as the complex elven mage whose reveal as the Dreadwolf of Dalish legend was the major plot twist of Dragon Age: Inquisition. Solas also features prominently in the teaser trailer at the end, looking very somber, implying that he will probably be the primary antagonist for Dreadwolf.
The trailer also seems to confirm Varric’s return as he narrates and encourages the unknown player character. Varric first appeared in Dragon Age 2 as an unreliable narrator and friend to Hawke. The Dwarven writer then reappeared in Inquisition, which takes place shortly after the conclusion of Dragon Age 2. If Varric is a companion again in Dragon Age 4, he will be the only character to have been a companion for three games.
Confirmed new characters will include a woman named Bellara, voiced by Jee Young Han, who has previously appeared in Bioware’s Anthem as Sentinel Dax. Another new character will be a Grey Warden named Davrin, voiced by Ike Amadi, who Bioware fans will know as Javik in Mass Effect 3, and Taavos in Mass Effect Andromeda. The return of a Grey Warden character could mean that other Wardens from previous games could join the player as companions or have small cameos, such as Alistair, Nathaniel Howe, or Sigrun. More interesting would be Velanna from the Dragon Age: Origins expansion Awakening, as she was a Dalish elf who joined the Grey Wardens, and in Dragon Age: Dreadwolf, could offer unique insight into Solas.
As the setting is Tevinter, it seems likely that either Fenris or Dorian Pavus could return. Fenris, who appeared in Dragon Age 2, was a former slave, while Dorian, who appeared in Inquisition, was and still is a powerful Tevinter mage. If one or both of them appear in Dreadwolf, they could offer opposing views to the player of Tevinter society.
Depending on the player’s choices in Inquisition, Hawke might be lost in the Fade, but the Inquisitor could make a cameo as Hawke did in Inquisition. Another character from previous games which could return is Morrigan. At the end of Inquisition, Solas seemed to kill Flemeth, and although the two had a complicated relationship, it is not unlikely that Morrigan could return to avenge her mother. There could even be another Morrigan retcon, as seen in Dragon Age: Inquisition which shed new light on her motives and relationship with Flemeth. Having her in Dreadwolf could further enrich what fans already know of this popular character.
Bioware has given no firm release date for Dreadwolf so far; however, fans are already speculating since the news that Dreadwolf is officially in Alpha. Inquisition was declared in Alpha six months before it was released, fueling speculation that Dreadwolf should be expected in early 2023. According to a report by VentureBeat, Dreadwolf is on track for a 2023 release, although it seems more likely to ship later in the year, closer to December.
Fans have yet to have a proper look at Dreadwolf other than the Dragon Age Game Awards trailer in 2020. Gameplay footage has yet to be seen, but as the game is now in Alpha, that might change. With Dragon Age: Dreadwolf hitting its milestones and Dragon Age day fast approaching (December 4th), fans will be hoping for some more updates.
Next: Dragon Age: Best Class To Pick In Each Game
Sources: EA, Kotaku, Dragon Age/YouTube, IGN/YouTube, VentureBeat