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BioWare says next Dragon Age still "right in the middle" of production phase

As executive producer Christian Dailey departs.

The next Dragon Age game is still "right in the middle of production", BioWare has said, while announcing the departure of executive producer Christian Dailey.

Dailey is the latest of several high-profile figures to leave BioWare, though today's blog post seeks to reassure fans that development is going smoothly with other veterans at the helm.

The timing of the blog post is interesting - just a week after Venturebeat Jeff Grubb reported the next Dragon Age would arrive in around 18 months and that the project was in good shape. (He later clarified that he had meant to say it would not arrive before then.)

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There's nothing in today's blog post which definitively narrows down the release schedule for the next Dragon Age - though word the game is still "in the middle of Production" rather suggests the game is not imminent.

Seeking to illuminate that timeframe further, BioWare laid out its various stages of game development: Concept and Pre-Production - when a game's "blueprint" is decided - followed by Production, ending in Alpha and Beta builds.

"For the next Dragon Age, we are right in the middle of Production, which is a great feeling," BioWare boss Gary McKay wrote. "Our blueprint was completed last year, so we're now focused on building out our vision: creating amazing environments, deep characters, strong gameplay, impactful writing, emotional cinematics - and much more. The blueprint for the game is well understood and the team is focused."

Christian Dailey, who joined BioWare from Blizzard back in 2018 to lead its Austin studio and work on Anthem, was no longer Dragon Age's executive producer, McKay confirmed.

Dailey had been "a big influence on our games and leadership team," McKay wrote. "The games industry is ever-changing though and sometimes folks want to go and try new things - we understand, but we will miss him as a friend and as a colleague." There's no word on where Dailey is now headed.

Dragon Age concept art.

BioWare and Mass Effect stalwart Mac Walters will serve as Dragon Age's new production director, after heading up the recent well-received Mass Effect Legendary Edition. EA design direction veteran Corrine Busche will be its game director. Benoit Houle is director of product development, after working on every single Dragon Age game, starting over 16 years ago on Dragon Age: Origins.

So, what's next for the upcoming Dragon Age? "Later this year, you will start to hear more from the Dragon Age team in the form of blogs and social content," McKay continued. "As we move through development we'll also be in regular communication with players who sit on our community council."

BioWare's follow-up to Dragon Age Inquisition has been in some form of development since at least 2017, when an early draft of its story was being written.

But the game has had several setbacks and reboots as staff changed, and as the vision for the project settled back into its single-player RPG roots following the failure of online multiplayer experiment Anthem.

Today's blog post concludes with a mention of the next Mass Effect, which is expected to follow Dragon Age.

"The team, led by Mike Gamble, is made up of a team of veteran developers as well as some new, really talented people," McKay wrote. "They are all actively prototyping new ideas and experiences. AAA next-gen games take a long time to make - and we know our fans may want them sooner. But our Number One priority needs to be quality, and that simply takes time to get it right."

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