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Off Topic > Video GamesJun 9, 2024 7:30 pm CT

Maybe Dragon Age: The Veilguard isn’t actually vaporware — there’s a trailer now

In its heyday BioWare put out Dragon Age games at an unbelievably fast pace. Dragon Age: Origins came out in 2009, Dragon Age 2 in 2011, and Dragon Age: Inquisition in 2014. (And at the same time, the company rolled out the entire Mass Effect trilogy, with games in 2007, 2010, and 2012.) But now it’s 2024, and the latest Dragon Age game has been stuck in development, with the team suffering leadership turnover, layoffs, and general attrition. And all the while, the game that would become Dragon Age 4 has gone through a lot of iterations… and very little of the game has been show publicly.

BioWare promises the game will finally arrive in 2024 — which I remind you is already halfway over — so a look at the actual game is overdue. Today we finally got a trailer for the recently-renamed Dragon Age: The Veilguard (previously Dreadwolf). And, well, it has an odd vibe.

The trailer feels rather like the introduction for a heist flick (or a Guy Ritchie film, or both), and the art is more stylized than we’ve seen in Dragon Age before. And, having not seen much of the game to date — just a handful of teasers that suggested Inquisition-style art — it’s certainly a surprise.

After a couple of watches, the style is growing on me. And while I’ve heard some — okay, a lot of — negativity about the video’s superhero-style vibe, I think it works for Varric, who always wants to dramatize. As a character introduction trailer, it gets the point across effectively with a title and a short sequence of each character in action.

Returning for Veilguard are fan-favorites Varric and Harding (though it seems like Varric will not be a full companion, as he was narrating that punchy intro sequence rather than in it). But as with most Dragon Age games, a lot of the cast is new. The video introduces:

  • Harding (Scout), otherwise known as everyone’s best friend in Dragon Age: Inquisition. She’s a Dwarf who’s shown wielding her usual bow, so we can expect a ranged type, perhaps mimicking Varric’s usual skillset since she’s seen fighting alongside him in the trailer.
  • Neve (Detective), a Human with steampunk-style prosthetic leg, who we see using magic to blast an enemy at close range. She’s a mage-type, but her shadowy introduction suggests there might be a little roguishness character to her as well.
  • Lucanis (Mage Killer), a Human dual-wielding swords and getting right in the middle of the fight. We’ve seen mage hunters before, and they’re a dangerous bunch. Expect a DPS-focused melee fighter, perhaps with some extra magic defense.
  • Bellara (Veil Jumper), an Elf with some kind of device on their arm that seems to transform into a bow. We see her jumping out of a Fade portal, but there’s no suggestion she’s a magic user.
  • Emmrich (Necromancer), a Human with the power to raise the dead. His face is the most stylized of the lot, to the point where it really stands out (for better or worse). As a Necromancer, he may hail from Tevinter, like Dorian in Inquisition — Dorian was also a necromancer, but raising the dead wasn’t a notable part of his playstyle. The trailer certainly suggests Emmrich spends more time playing to type.
  • Davrin (Warden), an Elven warrior-type, shown playing defense with a sword and shield. He seems to have some sort of gryphon companion which we see leaping from his shield to maul a Darkspawn — otherwise known as the ultimate ranger class fantasy. Hey, does this mean we’re finally getting a real Warden on the team, for the first time since Dragon Age: Origins?
  • Taash (Dragon Hunter), a Qunari shown dual-wielding axes and leaping through the air to hit a dragon in the face. She’s certain to be a brawler-style warrior, and already reminds me of Iron Bull from Inquisition. (But who am I kidding? No one could replace Iron Bull.)

Then, of course, there’s you. As always, your character will be customizable to play what you want, and you should be able to supplement your strengths and weaknesses with a party of your choice. Each character has what BioWare promises will be a “deep and compelling” story, and the gameplay around companions sounds very much as you would expect from a Dragon Age game.

Fortunately, we won’t have to wait years for the next trailer: a 15 minute gameplay trailer airs on June 11, in just a few days. And,even though this character trailer makes me a little bit uneasy due to the shift in tone and style, I’m still eager to see more of the latest game. You’ll find the next trailer here once it airs.

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