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Bioware Should Leave Dragon Age 4 Out of E3

Christopher Coke Posted:
Columns The RPG Files 0

I have a humble request to ask of all of our publisher and developer friends out there: Please stop announcing your games so early. Seriously, it’s not only bad for your game, it’s bad for all games. So while it seems like the rest of my RPG loving friends are waiting with bated breath for a Dragon Age 4 announcement, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it takes a big old pass.

I know, Anathemaaaa!  How dare I suggest that what’s likely to become the most anticipated AAA RPG of 2018 be kept from the industry’s biggest show. Here’s the thing, we know all that we need to right now. We know that Dragon Age 4 is in development. You would have to be crazy to think it wasn’t, but even more than common sense, Bioware has outright confirmed it. Speaking to Polygon at the link above, writer Alexis Kennedy, shared that he was tasked with writing lore outside of the areas covered in existing games. Even though that’s probably a never ending process for such a story-based RPG, it’s a good sign that Dragon Age 4 is probably a long way out.

Even as a huge Dragon Age fan, if it’s a year or more out, I really don’t want to hear about it yet. There has been a trend in the gaming industry of new titles getting announced earlier and earlier, sometimes showing up at multiple E3s. Usually, major franchises are better about this, but the fact remains, if your game: if your game is more than a year out, keep it to yourself.

Can I be frank for a minute? I only have so much bandwidth to care about video games that aren’t near coming out. Don’t get me wrong, I get excited about upcoming games and like to know they’re in the works as much as the next guy. The problem is that between a game getting announced there are dozens and dozens of other games clamoring for that same attention. It’s tiring.

The end result is that gamers simply stop caring as much about every new info drop or trailer. It’s hard to care about something more than a year in the future, so those neat trailers might land with a splash but before the day is even through, all that’s left is a fading ripple. Marketing firms have to work harder for less results when they’re forced to earn headlines over and over again. It raises collective awareness, which is important, but ultimately does the game a disservice in over exposure. On the other hand, if they don’t do enough in that year-plus, gamer’s are just as likely to forget about your game all together.

Several major gaming podcasts have shared their E3 predictions for this month. Dragon Age 4 is likely so early in development that what we’ll see is another “behind the scenes” look at Bioware with some concept art and developers talking about how exciting and new DA4 is going to be. We don’t need that. EA has pulled that card in the past and it is universally fluff; it’s a “please be excited” for the next year when they actually have something of substance to show. Just leave it.

I do hope they share more about their new IP. A new IP, especially from a beloved and storied developer, has more leverage. Because it’s a complete unknown, they can dole out infobits more liberally and keep people eager to know more. Bioware’s new IP could be talked about, even with a year or more until release, because it can be sustained on its own mystery. Dragon Age 4 isn’t that. It’s more Dragon Age, even if they completely reinvent the wheel.

Coming off of Mass Effect: Andromeda, Bioware needs a hit.  They need to knock it out of the park, start to finish. This is where it begins. Quit telling us how great it will be before you have more than 90 seconds to show. Quit wasting time marketing something months and months in advance when you know it will sell millions anyway. Instead, take six months of that marketing budget and reinvest it in QA and market research. Nail it and trust that you’re making something truly next-gen.

Bethesda might be wrong about Day One reviews, but they were spot in with how they released Fallout 4. Six months from announcement to release. That’s how it’s done. That’s respecting of our time.

Quick Hits

Bethesda is hiring for an unannounced game! Important caveat: It’s a “freemium” game, so we’re not talking the next Skyrim here. Honestly, I’m a bit on the fence about freemium as a whole. It can be done well, but with a handful of rare exceptions, these games always seem to degrade into Pay to Win affairs or sell things that cheapen the experience. But yeah, rare exceptions, so I’m staying hopeful.

Middle Earth: Shadow of War has been delayed. While the sequel to the excellent Shadow of Mordor was originally slated for an August 22 release date in North America, it will now release worldwide on October 10. When it comes to making games, a month and a half is no time at all. Chalk this up to a polishing pass, which is worth standing behind.

ELEX has revealed its collector’s edition and, boy, is it a doozy. The CE will come with a 10-inch figure, a hefty amulet, a cloth map, sound track, and art book, on top of the game. It’s also reasonably priced for all that, coming in at $119 on Amazon. There is a also a spiffy new CGI trailer!

Slowly but surely, Dauntless is showing more and more of itself. This week we have a new trailer showcasing the hub city, Ramsgate, crafting, a new owlbear behemoth, and the chain blades weapon class. I am still doubtful we’ll see this game anytime soon, but it’s already a day one purchase when it finally goes live.

Writing about games all the time, new game announcements come and go like the wind. To catch my interest, the game has to be something special. If the cinematic trailer for the upcoming RPG, Extinction, is any indication, this might be worth getting excited about. Sure, the synopsis sounds a little generic - humanity is beset by ogres - except it turns into some real Attack on Titan stuff. These aren’t your daddy’s ogres, folks. Check it out in all its bloody glory.

That’s all from us! Let us know what you think in the comments below!


Christopher Coke

Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight