BioWare's iconic game romances are evolving again for Dragon Age: Inquisition, it seems, allowing for different kinds of love between characters to shine.
This time a rival may become your "hate-filled forbidden love", or you may find yourself smooching a friend you joke around with, BioWare mentioned at PAX East as reported by attendee LadyInsanity - the only report I can find. There's also the more traditional romance route of falling affectionately in love.
Confirmed as love interests during the panel were Cullen, the templar who's appeared in every Dragon Age game so far, and Cassandra Pentaghast, the seeker who interrogates Varric throughout Dragon Age 2.
There will be nine companions in total and they'll be the best in their respective fields. They'll also be evenly spread across martial disciplines, allowing flexibility in your group builds.
There's a "solid possibility" that heroes Hawke and the Grey Warden from previous Dragon Age games will feature. Flemeth, Morrigan's mum and also a dragon, will "probably" show up, and at least one character from the Dragon Age novel Asunder will appear. BioWare didn't say who but there are a few who could: Cole, Lambert, Rhys and Evangeline.
Dragons, incidentally, will represent scripted, major confrontations that will need preparing for.
The magical realm of The Fade - the place where magic power and demons come from - is being downplayed in Inquisition. You will be the only one who can venture into the Fade rifts and close them, apparently, but you won't be doing so frequently.
Which rifts you close are your choice, as are the areas of the world you choose to bring under the influence of your Inquisition. You can send scouts ahead to learn the story of an area and understand why it will be beneficial to your cause, and you can send troops to fix and secure towers around the world.
But securing new areas will be no walk in the park. BioWare used the example of a snowy highlands area during the panel, under the organised and powerful command of a Red Templar group - raw red lyrium addicts. It's littered with soldiers all working for one cause and will require thought and muscle to penetrate. There will also be monsters such as a lyrium-mad Behemoth in that area to battle.
Stealth and traps will apparently play a role in laying down strategies to gain an advantage when fighting breaks out, but whether that means encounters are generally hard is unclear.
You'll be able to hunt animals and pick herbs as resources, but they are finite and will deplete.
BioWare talked a bit more about the curious Keep feature in Dragon Age: Inquisition, a base that has an element of social networking that you can share with people online. It's talked about as a free web-based experience, and possibly relates to what producer Cameron Lee was talking about when he said, "We want Inquisition to be an experience you can take with you everywhere - to work, the commute home, the living room, bed."
The game's due out on PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS3 and Xbox 360 this autumn.