So, we all thought that Mass Effect 4 was going to be lightyears away, but thankfully, a while back we received some reassuring tweets from Yanick Roi, Bioware's studio director. In these tweets he stated that Mass Effect 4 isn't exactly that far away from us as they are building up its core systems off the back of the Dragon Age: Inquisition system.
This allows the team to start from scratch with regards to the story, but not with the actual core mechanics of the game. So, with this in mind, and with Dragon Age 3 out for the world to play with, what exactly will Bioware be bringing to Mass Effect 4 from this outstanding RPG?
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Dragon Age: Inquisition & Mass Effect 4
So I got my review copy of Dragon Age: Inquisition yesterday, and like Bart, once that bell went off in work, I legged it home! Food was quickly made and my man cave was set for hours upon hours of exploration, and so far, I haven't been even slightly disappointed, but rather constantly exhilarated by Bioware's world. If they can instil this sense of wonder and joy into Mass Effect 4, they'll already be on the right path.
But looking at Dragon Age: Inquisition, it is quite a different game in comparison with the Mass Effect titles, so what ways could these aspects be transmuted over to the next generation of ME?
Taking Control of your Party in Mass Effect 4
I feel that the character dynamic presented in the Dragon Age titles, in that you can take control of the other players in your party, could really suit the Mass Effect universe. If the option to play as a different race isn't present, then this really would be the next best thing.
With the availability of controlling other characters, we can ensure that Mass Effect 4 will actually give us the option to progress through the game and play as every race that we've always wanted to. Each one would have a different combat style and array of moves that would constantly shift the feel and pacing of battles. Imagine cover based fighting where you can swap back and forth between the likes of a Garrus and Talian, cover to cover.
Pause and Plan
Dragon Age: Inquisition reintroduces the use of pausing the game and planning your attack that we had in Dragon Age: Origins. Could this style of combat suit the Mass Effect universe, or should it be left as an effective and fast paced 3rd person shooter? This system would help moving from one character to another so that you could ensure they weren't moving from one cover to another one once you switched.
There are of course a lot moves that Shepard can use in battle such as stasis, ones which pause the action as you select them, but it'd be interesting to see if the option of pausing and selecting different teammates to perform varying functions would work in this setting. It may disrupt the action too much though and affect the pacing of the combat. Obviously this is a far more suited system for Dragon Age and its true RPG framework.
Though Dragon Age: Inquisition isn't exactly an open world game, it has a tremendous amount of space for you to explore. You travel to a different land and in that land you have free roam, there are of course boundaries but it takes you quite a bit of time in order to run into one.
Imagine this style in Mass Effect 4, wherein, we are dropped onto a planet and can choose to drive around it on our Makko as much as we like, or perhaps move around on foot. This way we could interact with side quests on every planet in a whole new way, giving us far more freedom then other titles did.
Though the issue with this, is that Mass Effect really is an action RPG, and this allowance for wandering may have a serious effect upon the narrative thread and fast pacing.
In terms of choices, Dragon Age: Inquisition is quite similar to how Bioware have developed their games for the past few years. However, the inclusion of the war board and being able to control where you venture to, who you save and how disperse or order troops could be a very interesting addition if Mass Effect 4 features a story that resembles the Inquisition's vital world-saving mission.
What else do you think Bioware could be using from the Dragon Age: Inquisition system for Mass Effect 4?