BioWare fans may recall that Mass Effect 3 allowed new players to answer a few questions about their previous exploits, so it could arrange this third chapter to their specifications. It was a nice idea that allowed those who lost their save files along the way to maintain most of their original choices, but it wasn't very comprehensive and failed to let players say that they rescued Wrex, for example. The studio has learned from this, though, and will be offering further options in its upcoming Dragon Age Inquisition via a new service called Dragon Age Keep.
"Within the Dragon Age Keep, you'll be able to customise a Dragon Age historical world state to your exact specifications drawn from Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2 story decisions," explained BioWare in its FAQ for this new program. "These include hero attributes, companion details, quest results, and more. Customise as much or as little as you wish... For new players, the Keep will serve as a great way to understand the people, places, and events that shaped the world leading up to Dragon Age Inquisition."
Since Inquisition will be available on next-gen consoles, BioWare needed to move save state data into the cloud, which is precisely what the Keep does. "You can fully explore what-if scenarios, and become aware of events and consequences in our past games that you may not have known were possible. You can then fire up the previous games and go exploring for those moments," explained executive producer Mark Darrah in The Keep's announcement. "Even if you don't go back and re-play the previous games, you can still establish that scenario as part of your world state, and import it at the start of a new Dragon Age Inquisition game to see the consequences of your actions."
There will be some form of save importing in addition to The Keep, though BioWare said it will detail that later. In the meantime, players can sign up for The Keep's beta, which will launch in early 2014.
That might seem like a long time to wait, but BioWare wants to be sure its numerous choices and consequences don't interfere with one another - something that's been a problem in the past. "An import from Dragon Age Origins to Dragon Age 2 brought across something in the order of 600 different data points, most requiring complex logic solving to answer correctly the question of 'how did the player settle this choice at the end of the game?'" explained Darrah. "As a result, some current save imports are buggy, which is our fault, and something we're committed to fixing. Permanently."
Dragon Age Keep is slated to launch a few months before Inquisition in 2014.