BioWare has been relatively secretive about the development of Dragon Age 4, with only a handful of updates and peaks behind the scenes to give players an idea of what they might be in for. The Dragon Age series has become a firm favorite with fantasy and RPG fans over the years, with the latest entry, Dragon Age: Inquisition, winning various accolades and Game of the Year titles and becoming one of BioWare's most commercially successful releases. The announcement that Dragon Age 4 was in development was met with much excitement from fans, and the upcoming title has to be among the industry's most anticipated.
With the conclusion of Dragon Age: Inquisition's story and the release of narrative DLCs like Trespasser, players have a fairly good idea of where the game will be set and who it will focus on. With the legendary Dread Wolf and former companion Solas likely to be the game's antagonist and the Tevinter Imperium setting looking more and more certain, gamers know some of what Dragon Age 4 will entail. But despite some heavy speculation regarding the game's story and setting, there is still a lot that remains unknown. This hasn't stopped fans from hoping for certain features and familiar faces, and even some new directions for the series like a focus on female qunari.
Given the very likely Tevinter setting for Dragon Age 4, this points towards a more prominent role for the horned warrior race. Up until now, the qunari have rarely been seen outside their Qun-controlled lands, and qunari characters in Dragon Age games are few and far between. This has added an air of mystery to them, which is only compounded by the qunari's secretive and complex society. Some of their practices may be considered severe by other races, but the differences between the many societies and factions within Thedas only serve to add to the franchise's incredible worldbuilding.
While qunari characters have appeared in previous games, it wasn't until Dragon Age: Inquisition and its DLC that they began to take on a prominent role. Not only was Iron Bull the franchise's first qunari companion, but players could also create a qunari Inquisitor in the game's much more expansive character creator. The Trespasser DLC also centered around a qunari plot and featured Viddasala – a female qunari – as one of the main antagonists.
Females Front And Center
The character of Iron Bull in Dragon Age: Inquisition certainly made an impact, not least because of his dominant personality, imposing figure, and touching relationship with his Chargers. Iron Bull was also the first qunari to be a companion or a romance option, and many players welcomed this new addition. One of the biggest criticisms leveled at Dragon Age 2 was its narrower take on playable characters and companions, and the third game really focused on addressing this. Dragon Age 4 could take this a step further, centering on characters like female qunari and female dwarves who up until now have mostly been relegated to the sidelines, if they've been featured at all.
The developers have given a glimpse of some of the game's concept art, including potential Dragon Age 4 companions. This has unsurprisingly got fans talking, as companions are such a vital aspect of Dragon Age titles and have an important hand in the game's story and level of enjoyability. One of the characters in the concept art has caught the eye of many players, and this is the white-haired qunari warrior. Her design is distinctive, and she pops up often enough in looks behind the scenes that many fans are hoping this means she'll also make an appearance in Dragon Age 4.
Qunari are definitely popular with fans, as they offer something very different from Thedas' other races. Not only visually but also culturally, and more qunari characters will help to differentiate Dragon Age 4's story and settings from the previous games in the series. Gender roles are very prescribed in qunari culture, and exploring this in greater detail, especially from the perspective of a Tal-Vashoth who has rejected the Qun or a female qunari who in her own society was not allowed to become a warrior because of her gender, would be a fascinating avenue to take the story down.
The Dragon Age series has always been good at providing in-depth and complex explorations of its lore, especially through the representation of its many races and how they interact with each other. Up until now, this hasn't really featured the qunari to a great extent, but with the significant conflicts between the followers of the Qun and the mage-dominated Tevinter Imperium, this looks set to change. It's likely that a Tevinter/qunari conflict will be a major thread in Dragon Age 4's story, so more qunari characters seem inevitable. Given the fairly serious lack of female qunari up until now, it is even more probable that Dragon Age 4 will feature them more prominently.
Potential Directions For Dragon Age 4
Dragon Age: Inquisition was arguably the most diverse game in the series yet. It opened up new options for playable characters and featured some unique companions and inclusive LGBTQ+ representations as well. It makes sense that Dragon Age 4 would want to continue this trend, opening up the role-playing aspects of the game with even more customizable content and varied approaches to character and storytelling. As romance is such a central (and fan-favorite) aspect of most BioWare RPGs, adding to the different options with things like a romanceable female qunari seems like a logical next step.
Fans have already been pushing for more diverse romance options, like more qunari or dwarven characters, which is thanks in part to the popularity of characters like Iron Bull and Scout Harding. Dragon Age: Inquisition represented lots of firsts for the series, but there are still many directions the sequel could go in. The Mass Effect franchise had a similar problem with including female members of certain races like Turians, which didn't make any kind of appearance until the fourth entry. With major video games striving for diversity more and more in recent years, not featuring females alongside their male counterparts seems ridiculously outdated. Hopefully, BioWare will look to rectify this in Dragon Age 4 with a renewed focus on previously under-represented character types.
Dragon Age 4 is in development.
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