In wake of the news that Dragon Age 4 would no longer be a service game and would now be entirely single player, I rewatched the trailer with renewed anticipation. In doing so, I noticed a detail that has struck me as odd the first time around, and it seems like the Dragon Age die hards have been bubbling over with conspiracy theories in the aftermath of this potential tease, though it has slipped the notice of gamers-at-large. I think this detail means we might be getting crossover classes in the next Dragon Age.
Typically, there have been three classes in Dragon Age: Warrior, Rogue, and Mage. Warriors can either have a big sword or a smaller sword with a shield, Rogues can use daggers or bows, and Mages can specialise in different types of magic. There’s room for you to make the class your own, but otherwise you’re pretty rigid. Moving forward though, that might not be the case.
As far as I can tell, we saw three companions in the trailer. The first was a set of Grey Warden legs facing down a herd over overgrown turtles, and it’s pretty obvious they’re a Warrior. Next, an Antivan Crow sipping a goblet on the rooftop before cornering someone in a dark alley. They’re a Crow and wield a dagger, so Rogue. Another easy one. Finally, we saw a woman in a horned headpiece (or potentially just with horns) stalking through the forest with a bow. Surely then, she’s a Rogue as well, right?
Actually, I don’t think it’s that simple. This bow doesn’t appear to have any string, and when the woman attempts to draw it, the string appears out of nowhere, as if by magic. Say, the kind of magic a Mage might use. Could Dragon Age 4, set in Minrathous where magic is openly used in the streets and incorporated into the architecture, see BioWare combining classes together by letting Mage’s take up a physical weapon too?
To make things even more juicy, this magic is green, meaning it’s highly likely to be powered by Rift magic. After the Inquisitor lost their Rift mark at the end of Inquisition, it’s unclear how Rift magic works in Thedas, or how big a role – if any – it will play in the story. However, if this bow really is Rift powered, we haven’t seen the last of it yet.
If magic is to be fully incorporated into other other two classes, it offers a range of possibilities. While this companion – and since she’s taking on a Red Lyrium Hurlock Alpha, she definitely is a companion – is shown to be an archer, who’s to say that the stringless bow can’t double up as a staff for more traditional magic? Or if we have a magical dagger Rogue, they might be able to conjure up different elemental knives depending on the situation. Likewise, a Warrior might be able to flip between two handed sword and shield and sword stances on the fly, with their weapons no longer made of steel, but magical aura. We can already imbue physical weapons with enchantments, so this is the next logical step as we enter Tevinter for the first time.
I don’t think all of the companions will be Mage crossovers, nor do I want them to be. The whole reason I’m excited about this potentially happening is because it offers some variety, and if it happens to everyone, well, that’s not very varied now, is it? However, it is highly likely that magic will play a much greater role in the story than ever before. Not only is the new game to be set in Tevinter where magic is encouraged, but the plot will revolve around tracking Solas, a powerful Mage himself.
Perhaps this is underselling Solas a little bit; when he himself was a companion in Dragon Age: Inquisition, he was a powerful Mage, but the game’s ending revealed he was actually an old Elven God. It may be that we haven’t seen Solas at full capacity yet, and therefore, we’ll need all the help we can get. Interestingly, an in-game fable called ‘The Slow Arrow’ depicts the Dread Wolf (AKA Solas) as an archer, not a Mage, lending more credence to the chance of a Mage-Archer crossover class.
Maybe this is just a fancy bow and I’m overthinking it. Maybe this is a magical bow, but it’s almost entirely aesthetic and only available to this one companion in particular, like Varric’s crossbow. Hopefully though, the game will take advantage of Tevinter and mix things up a bit. Either way, the shift to single player only seems to have buoyed expectations, so let’s hope we hear more about the companions soon.
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Stacey Henley is an editor for TheGamer, and can often be found journeying to the edge of the Earth, but only in video games. Find her on Twitter @FiveTacey
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