Dragon Age The Veilguard title artwork.

Dragon Age: The Veilguard

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Updated Jun 13, 2024 at 04:45PM EDT by Zach.

Added Jun 13, 2024 at 08:49AM EDT by Brandon.

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About

Dragon Age: The Veilguard (DATV), previously under the name Dragon Age: Dreadwolf, is the fourth installment of the Dragon Age RPG franchise, and a direct sequel to Dragon Age: Inquisition (DAI) released in 2014. The game, set in the same timeline as Inquisition and slated to release in the fall of 2024, has many returning characters from the video game series, playing into an ongoing controversy regarding the franchise that has taken over conversations regarding the game since the first trailer debuted in June 2024. Since being announced after 2014's Inquisition, Veilguard underwent a tumultuous development process, reportedly being scrapped and rebuilt over its decade-long development under BioWare and EA, with reports of high staff turnover and several leading producers and developers leaving or being fired. Originally being developed under the title Dreadwolf, Dragon Age 4 suddenly announced a name changed to "The Veilguard" in early June 2024, which debuted during the Summer Game Fest. Following its trailer and gameplay reveal, the RPG was received with polarizing opinions from fans, game journalists and creators online, with some expressing negativity toward elements like the combat system, companion system, name change, etc., while others received it more positively.

History

Early Development Issues

Following its initial announcement after the release of DA: Inquisition in 2014, Veilguard (originally announced under the name Dragon Age: Dreadwolf) experienced a notably turbulent journey through its development phase. Over the span of a decade under the development of BioWare and EA, the project encountered significant upheavals, marked by instances of complete overhaul and reconstruction.

According to a 2019 Kotaku[6] article that spoke with the original dev team about the early stages of DA4, an anonymous developer said about the project:

"[Dragon Age 4 was] some of the best work experiences" they’d ever had. "We were working towards something very cool, a hugely reactive game, smaller in scope than Dragon Age: Inquisition but much larger in player choice, followers, reactivity, and depth," they said. "I’m sad that game will never get made."

In late 2016, troubles with BioWare's game Mass Effect Andromeda resulted in staff being pulled away from the project to fix the game, resulting in delays to DA4, which were then reportedly furthered by the "all-hands-on-deck disaster" that became Anthem.[6]

Reports later surfaced detailing a substantial turnover in the dev team surrounding Dragon Age 4, with numerous key figures and veteran Dragon Age staff (such as Mike Laidlaw, lead designer and director of the first three games) departing from BioWare after the original iteration of the game was canceled in 2017.[7]

In 2018, development was reportedly restarted on the game, with Matthew Goldman taking over the position of creative director and Mark Darrah remaining as executive producer.[8] A teaser trailer was released during the 2018 Game Awards shortly after (shown below).



Numerous changes to the staff took place between 2020 and 2023. Darrah resigned from BioWare in late 2020 and was replaced by BioWare Austin studio head Christian Dailey. In late 2021, Goldman then left BioWare and was replaced by John Epler as creative director. Dailey left BioWare in early 2022, with Corinne Busche becoming game director after, Benoit Houle as director of product development and Mac Walters as production director. In early 2023, Walters then left the company, replaced by Darrah who returned as a consultant.

In mid-2023, BioWare then reportedly fired 50 staff working on DA4, including Mary Kirby, one of the series' original writers. This, combined with the staff turnover in previous years, resulted in much of the original Dragon Age team no longer being part of the series.[9]

Summer Game Fest 2024 Reveal

Originally being developed under the working title Dreadwolf, Dragon Age 4 underwent a sudden change and adopted the title The Veilguard in early June 2024. This rebranding was unveiled to the public during the Summer Game Fest event.

On June 9th, 2024, the official Dragon Age YouTube[1] channel released the reveal trailer. In the trailer, the main cast of the game is shown, as well as showcasing sneak peeks at what some of the plot and gameplay would look like, earning it over 1.8 million views in three days and teasing further reveals in the coming days (shown below).



Two days later, on June 11th, the YouTube channel for Dragon Age[2] made good on its earlier promise, releasing a 20-minute gameplay reveal in which the player character goes through the prologue level of the story mode, showing off combat and in-game dialogue and cutscenes, before ending it with a boss fight (seen below).



In the comments, one of the chief complaints that spread around as a general sentiment was the usage of neon-purple as a color palette for the demon enemies, as it was noted that it was a stark departure from the previous entry in the game series, which was often darker, grittier and more in line with the original "dark fantasy" label associated with the games.

Online Presence

Shortly after the reveal and gameplay trailer in June 2024, the discussion surrounding the game and controversy about it began to brew online. Many gamers were quick to discuss the reveal trailer and the "quippy-ness" of it compared to the tone of the previous games, with numerous complaints that it is no longer gritty or edgy, instead relying on a more humorous and MCU Avengers like in its dialogue due to the stereotypical one-liners.

This was pointed out by X user @Grummz[3] in a June 10th, 2024, post in which he complained about the "girlbossification" of the game and spotlighted the dislike ratio of the reveal trailer via the Return YouTube Dislike Chrome extension (shown below).


Grummz @Grummz Subscribe The Dragon Age Veilguard trailer is packed full of diverse and girl-boss representation while looking like a Calarts version of the original gritty tone. Who could have predicted that fans would hate it? ThatParkPlace does a few great articles on this, links in reply. DRAGON AGE READWOLF queer trans woman, I have a perspective gon Age has long been a place where LGI es, represented respectfully. It's inherently marginalized communities to have repres Follow ful in how we are depicted." . 7:41 PM • Jun 10, 2024 60.1K Views 1:13/201 Dragon Age: The Veilguard | Official Reveal Trailer Dragon Age TEASH THE DRAGON HUNTER From Dragon Age Dragon Age The Vel> 15 зак GP173K Share

In the following days, content creators continued to emphasize what they perceived as the extreme quirky nature of the dialogue from the reveal trailer by making memes and videos about it.

For example, on June 10th, 2024, YouTuber LordxLaw[4] uploaded a video in which he pretended to be playing the game and listening to the cringe lines delivered by the cast, including direct quotes like "They Fly Now" and other pop culture references before ripping into the game (shown below).



This focus on the tone shift, for a game that is supposed to be a direct sequel to its prior entries, continued to be the focus of discussion among fans in the following days.[11] This discourse largely centered around those who felt Veilguard was even more of a departure from the dark fantasy tone of Dragon Age: Origins than Inquisition, as well as numerous critiques about the combat and gameplay continuing to shift away from the more tactical nature of the original game.[10]

On June 11th, 1014, after the gameplay trailer was revealed, X user @Mangalawyer[5] uploaded the Dragon Age: Origins trailer from 2013 as a way to contrast it with the reveal trailer for Veilguard, showing how different the two are and saying that it is a conflict of visions (shown below).


Additional Reactions

@bhaaldie Suddenly I am very concerned with the blight and saving the Wardens from their pact 🥵 #dragonageveilguard #dragonage4 #dragonagetrailer #veilguard #dragonageromance ♬ original sound – Taylor Swift

@dizzyndazed They look like friends 😭🫶 #dragonagedreadwolf #dragonagetheveilguard #dragonage4 #dragonageinquisition #da4 #dragonage ♬ som original – angel
@dmotta3 Replying to @HungryHungryShoggoth🍉 #dragonage #gaming #videogames ♬ original sound – Danny Motta

@felassanis He's gonna ruin me more than he already did #dragonageedit #dragonagetok #dragonagesolas #solasedit #dragonageinquisition #solavellan #dragonagetheveilguard #solasdragonage #dragonage4 #dragonage ♬ original sound – 𝕱𝖊𝖑𝖆𝖘𝖘𝖆𝖓𝖎𝖘

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Top Comments

qx1511
qx1511

“Bioware magic” wasn’t a thing that was gonna last forever, but the things that EA has done to Bioware, its developers, its properties, its legacy… I’d say that Bioware made a deal with the devil allowing themselves to be bought by EA, but I think even the devil would’ve treated Bioware better than this.
There’s no words in any language to describe just how much potential got wasted by EA

+37

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