Dragon Age through history
Experience Dragon Age for the first time on screen in the new animated series Dragon Age: Absolution
If you know me, you know that I love Dragon Age a lot. I have 300 hours in Inquisition and I’ve only ever beaten the game once. It’s my favourite game, my favourite franchise, and there’s a lot going on right now in the Dragon Age world.
But, let’s start at the beginning.
It’s 2009. BioWare, the company behind Baldur’s Gate, releases a new game: Dragon Age: Origins. A fantasy game not afraid to be too dark or too sad. It won several Game of the Year awards and goes down in history with the video game greats.
The story takes place in the fictional world of Thedas, within the kingdom of Ferelden. Unfortunately for Ferelden, they’ve got quite a few issues. Nobility is fighting over everything, the neighbouring kingdom of Orlais is breathing down their necks, and there’s a Blight on the way. A Blight occurs when an Archdemon combines forces of monstrous Darkspawn, and they invade an area.
You, the player, are a Grey Warden. The Grey Wardens’ job is to stop Blights. Unfortunately for you, there are only about two Grey Wardens in Ferelden; you’re one of them, and the other is one of your travelling companions.
You can choose to be a human, an elf, a dwarf, a rogue, a warrior, or a mage. Each choice comes with its own unique backstory and skillset. You get to create what your character looks like and their name. In this game, they don’t talk, so they don’t get a fun voice. As you progress through the game, you level up, gather party members, build relationships with party members – sometimes even romantic relationships – and work to build up allies to end the Blight.
The characters are all incredibly well-written and fun, with in-depth backstories. The game isn’t afraid to cause character conflict with the main character, they might even leave the party. The game isn’t afraid to break apart romantic relationships either. The game isn’t even afraid to kill you, the main character, if you make the wrong choices.
Soon after in 2011, BioWare released Dragon Age II. Most believe this to be the worst game so far, but it’s honestly my favourite. It removes elements from the first game like choosing between a human, elf, or dwarf, and instead only lets you play as a human. The combat system was changed, and instead of taking place through a kingdom, it took place in the city of Kirkwall.
In this game, you play as Hawke (who finally gets a voice), a refugee of the Blight, as you arrive in Kirkwall and attempt to make your way up in the city.
My favourite part of this game is the moral dilemma. You spend the entire game seeing different perspectives on who’s morally better, mages or templars, and your companions often have strong opinions of either side.
Following Dragon Age II was 2014’s Dragon Age: Inquisition. Inquisition is an absolutely incredible game. The setting is beautiful. You return to choosing between all three races and all three classes, and the moral dilemma from Dragon Age II.
One of the standouts in Dragon Age: Inquisition are the incredible companions. Each has a fleshed-out storyline that you can follow along with, and the romance options are dynamic and interesting.
It brings back a lot of things from the first game that were optional side quests and a lot of familiar places. In Origins, you travel to Redcliffe Castle through a secret passageway and you get to take the same passageway in Inquisition depending on the choices you make. Leliana, one of the companions from Origins, returns as Spymaster in Inquisition and has different dialogue if she was in a romantic relationship with the Grey Warden. A small side quest in Origins lets you work with the Red Jennys, a group you can become deeply involved with in Inquisition. The decisions you make in Origins, like who rules Ferelden, who rules the Dwarven kingdom, who lives, and who dies, all affect your character in Inquisition.
Unlike the first two games, you can travel to multiple kingdoms in Inquisition. You go through Fereldan, Orlais, and influence events in other kingdoms like Tevinter, Nevarra, the Free Marches, and Antiva.
The fourth game which is currently unreleased is called Dragon Age: Dreadwolf. The title was announced in June of 2022 and will likely be released in late 2023. The main playable character will not be the Grey Warden from the first game, the Champion from the second, or the Inquisitor from the third, and will instead be an entirely new character. The game will take place in a new setting: Tevinter. I don’t want to spoil anything, but Dreadwolf is highly tied to the ending of Inquisition.
The most upcoming piece of Dragon Age media is Dragon Age: Absolution. Absolution is a Netflix original arriving on the platform in December of 2022. It’s an animated series taking place in Thedas. Similar to Dreadwolf, Absolution will be taking place in Tevinter. This will be the first time Tevinter will be seen on screen.
Netflix has stated that many things already seen in the games will be in the show, including the Qunari race, the Red Templars, elves, and mages, who each have their own struggles and motivations in the games.
The main character of Absolution is an elven rogue named Miriam who is joining up with several other adventurers to try and procure an artifact. From the trailer we see known characters Cassandra and Leliana. Cassandra is an important character from Dragon Age II and Inquisition, and Leliana has been featured in all three games.
The only other character from the trailer that we know of from the games is Fairbanks. Fairbanks is the leader of a group of Orlesian refugees fighting back against a rebel group in the Dales. He is part of several quests and you can learn his secret backstory in Inquisition.
Definitely check out Absolution when it comes out of Netflix, and let it drag you into the depths of the world of Dragon Age.
I highly recommend these games to everyone, all of the time, and you should play them. They’re incredible. The story is great and the characters are fantastic. If these are the things you look for in a game, you should play Dragon Age.