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The RPG Files: Dragon Age's Hinterlands Unveiled

Column By Christopher Coke on July 11, 2014

Another week has gone by and that means more RPG news is on the offer. Thankfully, the RPG Files is here with all the news that’s fit to print, presented to you in the special way that only we can. This week we have a victory for gender equality, an extended look at Dragon Age: Inquisition, a new game from one of the producers of The Witcher coming to stores, the many collector’s editions of Bungie’s Destiny, and more.

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Before we get into real RPG goodness, we need to revisit a non-RPG, but still important, gaming story from last week’s article. On July 4th, we wrote about the International e-Sports Federation’s (IeSF) quizzical and disheartening decision to make Hearthstone a male-only tournament for their worldwide competition. Hearthstone developer, Blizzard Entertainment, along with the rest of the internet, was rightfully outraged upon hearing this and banned Hearthstone from being played at all, unless it was open to all genders. Shortly after drafting our story, the IeSF made a hasty retreat from their decision and quickly decided to open each male-only tournament to players of any gender. This was a win, internet. Good job.

Moving on to the real RPG news of the week (which was admittedly slo, if you’re a fan of Destiny, you have a decision to make! Bungie has unveiled three separate Collector’s Editions for the game, ranging from $89.99 for the Digital Guardian Edition, $99.99 for the Limited Edition, all the way up to $149.99 for the Ghost Edition. Both the Limited and Ghost Editions include the Destiny Expansion Pass, which will retail for the exorbitant $34.99 for the game’s first 2 DLC packs. These editions come with the usual array of stickers, patches, and steelbooks, but I’ll leave it to you to check out the post for the specifics.

We’re in an age where single editions are no longer enough. Am I the only one that’s disheartened by that, the fragmentation in our video gaming world? We have special editions, limited editions, retailer editions, and collector’s editions. Not to mention different pre-order bonuses for each. And with these collector’s editions, it’s as if publishers came to the realization that some gamers just need an excuse to throw more money at them. You can’t blame gamers for spending how they please but it does feel a little bit pandering when you have three separate CEs.

In other news, Dragon Age: Inquisition fans need to head to this page RIGHT NOW. Bioware has released sixteen minutes of gameplay narrated by Creative Director, Mike Laidlaw. This is easily the best look we’ve had at the game so far and it is impressive. Laidlaw describes the game as “one of the most dynamic RPGs you will ever play.” That might be marketing speak but the player’s impact on the world is certainly more than we’ve seen in a Bioware game thus far. The immersive qualities just seem fantastic too. I love the ambient noise and side conversations. This seems like a game of fine touches.

This trailer did solidify one thing for me, though: This is definitely an action-combat game first. Strategy elements come second. You can pause time and pull back to an isometric view but the game is just so fluid in real time that it seems clear that is how Bioware wants you to play. That said, strategic seems like a middle-ground between Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2. And you know what? I can live with that.

Bioware also revealed another new party member this week. Cullen is his name and advising is his game. Also a whole lot of mage killing, so long as you’re what we in the business call a dude mage. As you might remember, Cullen played a role in Dragon Age: Origins as the Templar assigned to kill mages who failed their Harrowing. Except, he fell in love with a particularly cute little spellcaster – something he will only reveal if you are also a particularly cute young lady. I like to think he was intimidated by my incredible manliness and that’s why I had to find that out in a wiki (spoiler warning). Word has it that he will be romanceable, so if you’re into the sensitive righteous type, keep an eye out for him in October.

Rounding things out, Square Enix announced this week that Witcher producer Tomasz Gop’s, Lords of the Fallen, will be hitting stores on October 31st. LotF is an interesting blend of different design ideals. In many ways the game leans more toward Dark Souls than The Witcher, though combat feels much faster and more fluid. This game is a new find for me and I’m optimistic. I adored The Witcher 2 and admired the Dark Souls franchise from afar, always finding its combat too stiff for my liking. Lords of the Fallen seems to remedy that problem while also adding in a much brighter color palette which remedies my other problem – that Dark Souls was always so depressing to play! The release window is the only thing that has me worried.

And that’s it from us, folks! Before I go, let me just add one more thing: Go buy Divinity: Original Sin. We liked it. I was worried I wouldn’t, but as it happens, I love it. You will too.

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Christopher Coke / Chris has been an RPG fan for as long as he has played video games. This week, you can find him taking his second tour of The Witcher 2 and eyeing a long overdue play-through of Mass Effect 3. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight.


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Christopher Coke / Chris has been a fan of MMOs since the mid-1990s when he cut his teeth on MUDs. These days he scours the internet for the latest and greatest multiplayer gaming experiences.

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