The first pre-production shot of Dragon Age 3: Inquisition was shown last night during the Bradford Animation Festival, where Bioware art and animation director Neil Thompson gave a talk on the progression of video game art.
The screen shown was snapped by an attendee, and posted on the Bioware forums.
“That is Dragon Age: Inquisition,” Thompson said as the slide was shown. “It’s the first time anyone has seen a frame of it outside BioWare studios”
Eurogamer, which was in attendance, said Thompson went on to discuss why Bioware switched from using the Eclipse engine to Frostbite 2 with Dragon Age 3.
“Mass Effect was done on Unreal of course,” he said. “Dragon Age was done on the proprietary engine Eclipse. I think anyone who played Dragon Age 2 would agree that engine was starting to creak a little bit by the time that was released.
“Obviously Frostbite is the Battlefield engine built by DICE. It’s a beautiful, beautiful engine. And what we’ve found is an improvement with DA3, is the artists who were really battling with the Eclipse engine have just embraced Frostbite. The work they’re doing now is stunning. I think the screenshot I showed earlier is pretty stunning. That’s unusual for pre-production. Usually you don’t get to that kind of quality until a week before gold master.
“It makes my job easier because then it’s all about discussing the aesthetic and what you want to achieve. When you’re a character artist or an environment artist you’re focusing on a small aspect of the greater whole of the game. As an art director you’re concerned about the whole, the frame and everything it contains and how everything sits and the consistency. An engine like Frostbite allows you to focus more on that rather than the technological challenges of just getting the damn thing to run.”
Dragon Age 3: Inquisition is slated for an autumn release in 2013.