Will Dragon Age: The Veilguard Be a Mass Effect 2, or a Mass Effect: Andromeda?

Bioware recently gave us a look at their upcoming game, Dragon Age: The Veilguard, with a reveal trailer, and a longer gameplay trailer. There have been many mixed reactions to these trailers, some criticizing the art direction, and others ruminating over the lack of strategic gameplay. In this article, I want to put Dragon Age: The Veilguard’s sticky situation into the context of past Bioware titles — notably, Mass Effect 2, and Mass Effect Andromeda — since there are some general similarities to the history of their development.

No Dragon Age game has been similar to the one before it, and the upcoming title is definitely different from Dragon Age: Inquisition. Its gameplay is more akin to a hack ‘n’ slash game, with the series’ standard take-control-of-a-companion mechanic going out the window. You can still direct companions by telling them where to target their abilities, but that’s about it.

Since Veilguard’s predecessors came out many years ago, allow me a moment to rehash some of the franchise’s history. A similar shift in gameplay happened back when Dragon Age II released following Dragon Age: Origins. The release of the second game in the franchise saw a fast-paced game that swapped out slow CRPG strategy for button-mashing action. While DA2 has its fans, it scored lower among the critics than the other two, and I personally haven’t heard of anyone claiming it as their favorite.

What puts even more pressure on Veilguard is the fact that the previous game (and third in the franchise), Dragon Age: Inquisition, regressed back to a more heavy RPG focus and found more acclaim among critics and fans. This is part of the reason why some fans are struggling to reason out the logic behind why BioWare is shifting back to a more action-first gameplay. The change seems jarring, perhaps even chaotic.

Enough about the past Dragon Age games; let’s start drawing some development comparisons between Veilguard and the two games we mentioned in the title: Mass Effect 2, and Mass Effect Andromeda.

For example, Mass Effect 2 also had a drastic shift in gameplay. From garaging the Mako, to putting more emphasis on gun play and action, ME2 was quite different from the franchise debut. However, the gambit paid off, with ME2 still held in high esteem by many gamers to this day.

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Shephard reaching to save Dragon Age: The Veilguard

As for the similarities with Mass Effect Andromeda, both it and Veilguard were/have been plagued by development woes. Andromeda was supposed to be quite a different game, but when the original vision changed, they had to rush production to keep pace. This resulted in a less than stellar quality assurance — and some funny memes. Also notable is that the art in Andromeda was a departure from the original series, looking a little more…cartoonish with the lighter color palettes.

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That face you make when development just isn’t working out

Compare that short history of Andromeda with the production details surrounding Dragon Age’s next installment. Veilguard was pushed back, and its entire concept changed multiple times. At one point, it was supposed to be a live-service type game with a focus on multiplayer, but that idea was shut down after Bioware’s most notorious failure, Anthem. Furthermore, Veilguard’s art is in stark contrast to previous series entries (which was mentioned at the start). Considering the likeness of these details, it’s hard not to speculate if Veilguard is on a similar trajectory.

So it seems that there are two paths that Veilguard can tread, which aren’t too different from BioWare’s classic choice-driven narratives. On one end, there’s the good path, the way of the Jedi, the mass relay to Mass Effect 2, or whatever you want to call it. In theory, the game releases, and its new gameplay mechanics and art direction all click together. The story ends with fans surprised that they’ve ever even worried.

Then, on the other end of the lightsaber, there are the Reapers, the glitchy mechanics of Andromeda, and the calamitous reception that Anthem received. I don’t think anyone wants to see this come to pass, but it’s hard not to acknowledge several of BioWare’s specters looming over the anticipated Dragon Age: The Veilguard. They’re wondering if it’ll join them on the dusty shelves of the neighborhood Game Stop — returned, never to be repurchased.

I’m personally holding out hope that Dragon Age: The Veilguard will follow the former path, but it’s hard to say. What do you think? Are you worried, or are you so sure it’ll be good that you’re preordering it? Let us know in a comment!

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Kelson H.
Kelson H.

Kelson is a spud head from out west. He is most happy when holding a milky tea with too much honey and playing a sprawling role playing game or reading a fantasy novel. His video game tastes vary but his main genres are looter shooters, RPGs, and real time strategy games.

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