EA has relented: Dragon Age 4 will now be a fully singleplayer-only game, sources tell Bloomberg's Jason Schreier.
The next Dragon Age game will see BioWare return to its classic singleplayer RPG roots. Reports say BioWare has received EA's blessing to make Dragon Age 4 an offline singleplayer game, which is a big departure from the publisher's previous plans.
The new Dragon Age has been rebooted twice now. The first iteration, codenamed Joplin, entered development in 2015 as a smaller-scale project focused on Tevinter spies. Then in 2017, EA pushed a reboot to a new online-driven live service game with heavy monetization. This was known as Morrison, and would've featured globally-reactive worlds with "live storytelling."
Now after multiple departures of key talent like executive producer Mark Darrah and creative director Mike Laidlaw, BioWare has received permission to make a singleplayer Dragon Age.
EA was persuaded to make the change by two major things, Bloomberg reports; the success of Jedi: Fallen Order, which has ultimately changed how EA makes Star Wars games, and the failure of Anthem. The latter of which sees EA shying away from baking live services into all of its games, and the publisher also cancelled the plan Anthem reboot.
BioWare had ambitious plans for its live games, and it was believed Dragon Age would follow in Anthem's footsteps (if the game had ever taken off, of course).
"One of the things we've really done in Anthem is focus a lot of attention on Fort Tarsis [the in-game hub world]. [With agents and their interactions] it's the primary place of reactive storytelling. As a result we've pushed Tarsis further than we've ever pushed any of our hubs before.
"It's a more reactive space, a space that feels more living and alive, and I think going forward in future Dragon Age games or other games that you're going to see that reactivity, that depth, in our hubs that we've really been able to bring out in Anthem," Anthem executive producer Mark Darrah had said at the time.
There's no word on whether or not the shift to singleplayer will cause a significant delay, or whether or not BioWare will have to crunch in order to meet any internal targets.
Noteworthy BioWare Departures
- Drew Karpyshyn, lead writer on Mass Effect and Anthem, left in 2012, and then again in 2018
- David Gaider, lead writer of Dragon Age series, left in 2016
- Chris Schlerf, writer on Mass Effect: Andromeda, left in 2016
- Ian Frazier, Lead Designer of Mass Effect: Andromeda, shifted from BioWare to EA Motive in 2017
- Aaron Flynn, ex-General Manager, left in July 2017, shortly after Mass Effect: Andromeda's launch and after 17 years with BioWare (replaced by Casey Hudson, who previously had left in 2014)
- Mike Laidlaw, ex-Dragon Age creative director, left in October 2017 after 14 years with BioWare
- James Ohlen, lead designer on Baldur's Gate, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic, and Dragon Age: Origins, leaves BioWare in July 2018 after 22 years
- Ben Irving, lead producer on Anthem, left August 2019 after 8 years with the company
- Fernando Melo, producer on Mass Effect Andromeda, Dragon Age Origins, Dragon Age 2, senior producer on Dragon Age 4, left August 2019 after 12 years with company
- Mark Darrah, executive producer on Dragon Age, Anthem, Mass Effect Andromeda, left BioWare in 2020 after 23 years with the company
- Casey Hudson, general manager, rejoined BioWare in 2017 to lead as GM and left in 2020, spent nearly 20 years with the studio
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