The next Dragon Age game will probably allow you to swap your follower characters' armour, BioWare has revealed.
Dragon Age: Origins allowed this; Dragon Age 2 did not.
The next Dragon Age, presumably number three - "remember that no official products have been announced" - will be a mix of both, Dragon Age series creative director Mike Laidlaw wrote on the BioWare forum.
Followers have bespoke armour sets and you cannot tinker with their appearance. However, you will be able to equip them with separate pieces of armour. Theses won't change how the follower looks, but they will alter statistics and, therefore, performance.
"We believe that the strong visual identity given to characters by iconic appearances is an important part of their identity," explained Laidlaw.
Each follower will have multiple bespoke armour sets that can be unlocked through gameplay; doing things like personal quests, romances, story progress, etc. You can swap between these costumes once they're unlocked.
If you choose not to tinker with followers' armour pieces, they default to a basic set-up that improves as the character levels up. "Hardly optimal," said Laidlaw, "but serviceable enough for the lower difficulties."
"Additionally, we are experimenting with armour equipped to the followers having some additional visual impact on the follower's iconic appearance, but we'll dig deeper on that as we get closer to the final implementation," Laidlaw added. "As a general rule, you should expect that any deviation from the ideas outlined above would be towards more visual customisation, rather than less."
Laidlaw stressed that this is only the direction BioWare is "thinking". Things can change. This isn't set in stone.
The premise of the next Dragon Age game will be saving the world from itself amid a battle between the mages and the templars. Locations like Tevinter and Orlais were name-dropped during the panel at PAX. Morrigan, a party member from Dragon Age: Origins, was seen in concept art. Will we find out what happened to the baby Old God? Apparently the BioWare team is working on it.
Whether you play as a set character, a la Hawke, or a created character, a la Dragon Age: Origins, will be based on fan feedback. Laidlaw has previously said he wants Dragon Age to be about a time and place, rather than a specific hero. "As far as the core protagonist goes, if there is a DA3," he wrote on the BioWare forum,"it will very likely be neither Hawke nor The Warden."
The graphics and art style of Dragon Age 2 are unlikely to drastically change.
Co-op isn't planned for the next Dragon Age game, but isn't ruled out either.
Enrolling certain followers into your group in the new Dragon Age will bestow your group with certain passive buffs.
Combat in the next Dragon Age game will be more tactical, and be based on encounters rather than surviving waves of enemies.
Hawke's story will continue through DLC, which will also reveal the fate of his followers.
BioWare also expressed an interest in not reusing environments as in Dragon Age 2. Choice and noticeable consequence will be a key focus for the new Dragon Age game, too.
BioWare divided opinion with the release of Dragon Age 2 in February this year. Eurogamer's Dragon Age 2 review awarded 8/10. We also sat down with Mike Laidlaw following the game's release to talk about the heated reception in a Dragon Age 2 post-mortem.