A Canceled Version of Dragon Age 4 Focused on Heists

A Canceled Version of Dragon Age 4 Focused on Heists

The new Dragon Age 4 won't just be "Anthem with Dragons."

Dragon Age 4 is currently in development, but the game that's currently being made is actually the second attempt at the next Dragon Age after a previous version was canceled. That version of Dragon Age 4 was apparently meant to be a heist-focused game set in a much smaller, but more detailed world than Dragon Age: Inquisition.

According to Kotaku, a previous version of Dragon Age 4 (codenamed 'Joplin') was poised to be a better planned project for BioWare after the turbulence of developing Dragon Age: Inquisition and Mass Effect: Andromeda. According to sources who worked on the project, BioWare had systems in place to avoid the heavy crunch that accompanied Andromeda and Inquisition, and the devs had a solid vision for the game.

"You'd play as a group of spies in Tevinter Imperium, a wizard-ruled country on the north end of Dragon Age's main continent, Thedas," a source told the site. "The goal was to focus as much as possible on choice and consequence, with smaller areas and fewer fetch quests than Dragon Age: Inquisition."

One developer said that BioWare wanted to focus on "repeat play" with "areas that changed over time and missions that branched in interesting ways based on your decisions, to the point where you could even get 'non-standard game overs' if you followed certain paths."

One key mechanic of the canceled Joplin was heists. There would be "systemic narrative mechanics, allowing the player to perform actions like persuading or extorting guards without the writers having to handcraft every scene." These were early details, mind you, but the team was reportedly excited about the direction of the project.

Then Anthem went into trouble and Joplin was canceled so that the Dragon Age team could assist on BioWare's troubled sci-fi loot shooter. Key team members like Mike Laidlaw left, and a new Dragon Age 4 game was started under the codename Morrison.

Morrison would be more in-line with EA's live-service mandate, and while BioWare sources caution not to think of Dragon Age 4 as "Anthem with dragons," there will be live-service elements to BioWare's next fantasy RPG. These could be in the form of drop-in drop-out co-op, or even world changes dependent on the decisions of every Dragon Age player. But again, these are early details.

BioWare has been accused of poor workplace practices that puts immense pressure and crunch on developers, especially towards the end of a game's development. BioWare admitted that these were real problems at its studio and has promised to correct the problem. Check out our Anthem guide for more coverage.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Matt Kim

News Editor

Matt Kim is a former freelance writer who's covered video games and digital media. He likes video games as spectacle and is easily distracted by bright lights or clever bits of dialogue. He also once wrote about personal finance, but that's neither here nor there.

In other news

Microsoft's ZeniMax Acquisition Pushes Xbox Game Pass Into Overdrive

THIS WEEK IN BUSINESS | Microsoft's plan to change the way we play games received a considerable boost this week, but what happens if it works?

Nier Replicant's Remaster Will Arrive Next April

Rediscover where Nier started.

Baldur's Gate 3 Backs Up Its Early Access One More Week

Baldur's gonna be just a little late.

Former Skullgirl Devs Form Future Club, a New Worker-Owned Studio

The creatives behind Skullgirls are taking the wheel.

Need help?

Witcher 3: How to Start the Blood and Wine DLC and Meet Its Level Requirements

We explain how to get to Toussaint and what level you should be when you do.

Witcher 3: All the Correct Play Lines in "The Play's the Thing" Quest

We explain how to perform the Doppler's play with Priscilla, as well as whether to choose tragedy or comedy.

Pokemon Sword and Shield Mystery Gift Codes List (January 2020)

You can get free gifts in Pokemon Sword and Shield by entering certain Mystery Gift Codes. Here’s a full list of all the active codes available right now.

The Outer Worlds Shrink Ray - How to Get the Unique Shrink Ray Science Weapon

This is where you can get the Shrink Ray science weapon in The Outer Worlds, one of the unique weapons in the game.