Dragon Age: Inquisition isn’t open world, is “multi-region” says BioWare

Wednesday, 11th September 2013 12:43 GMT By Dave Cook

Dragon Age: Inquisition isn’t necessarily an open-world game. According to BioWare’s Mike Laidlaw the game’s world exists in a “multi-region” format instead, with large, wide areas full of discovery.

Speaking with RPS, Laidlaw was asked if BioWare considered Dragon Age: Inquisition an open world experience. “Open world” I think is a really loaded term,” he replied, “because everyone immediately thinks of Skyrim and assumes everything will be exactly like Skyrim. In our case, there are extremely large regions you can explore.

“It’s a multi-region game, which means that you’ll travelling with a world map. You’re travelling across this chunk of the continent in which the game is set. And each of the regions is purposeful. It has a reason you would be brought here. It ties back to the story, or at least to the overall themes of the game. “These are my enemies and they’re very active here. I should find out why.”

“That kind of stuff. That means that they aren’t necessarily laden with story, because story is the antithesis of discovery, right? It tends to lead you along. But when you’re discovering things, you should feel like they’re part of the overall game and not random. I would say that it has elements of open world for sure, but it’s something closer to the feel we had in the Baldur’s Gate games or in Origins, even, where it’s larger areas, big spaces, and the chance for you to move around and see a wide variety of different terrains and locales and so on.”

You can check out our latest Dragon Age: Inquisition preview and interview with BioWare here.

What do you think of Laidlaw’s response? Are you fine with multi-region play, rather than true open world? Let us know below.



  1. Luciferous

    I’m more than fine with it.

    Skyrim is awesome, but it was all very ‘samey’ across the land and that is because transitioning between environs is tricky to do in a game and make it feel real, but with multiple regions you don’t have to deal with the miles of terrain it can take to change from desert to lush farm lands.

    This way we can have diverse areas to play in without unnecessary areas for transition purposes.

    #1 1 year ago
  2. Gheritt White

    This will probs be the first Dragon Age game I play… and I’m actually really rather looking forward to it.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. gulfy

    its just another trick they borrowed from Reckoning. Different Bubbles linked by passages. Worked ok in that game so not a real issue for me in this one.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. ududy

    @4 – when did you start playing games? Yesterday? Kingdoms of Amalur invented nothing.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. bradk825

    Open world is a lot of fun, but only if it can be done right, filled to plenty of interesting detours and good design despite the size. Doing open world just so you can say you have it would ruin your game.

    I like what I hear about DA:Inquisition. I don’t care if it’s open world or not, there are plenty of valid ways to lay out your storytelling.

    #5 1 year ago
  6. ChandlerL

    I enjoy open world games such as the Elder Scrolls series as much as the next RPG fan. However they tend to be thin on story. So I look to Bioware’s RPGs to fill that void. Having fast travel areas with areas that are orders of magnitude larger than Origins/DA2 areas is fine by me. I’m wagering that these areas are filled with things to discover that enhances a deep narrative. That’s what Baldur’s Gate, KOTOR, Jade Empire and Origins was to me.

    With that said, I’m curious to see if Witcher 3 delivers an open world WITH a deep story. Looking forward to both.

    #6 1 year ago
  7. bradk825

    @8 Oh man I forgot about Jade Empire. That game was SO kickass. Why didn’t the do another one of those?

    #7 1 year ago
  8. Phoenixblight


    Didn’t bring enough interest in the first game. So they moved on.

    #8 1 year ago
  9. Fethennour

    “Not an open-world” “multi region”. Much like Kingdoms of Amalur : Reckoning. Pretty cool !

    #9 1 year ago
  10. Blue Oni

    So it’s more like Xenoblade Chronicles world?If it is then that’s cool.

    #10 1 year ago
  11. Pitts

    Bethesda do open world great because they’ve had more than a decade to refine their process.

    Bioware trying to go open world would likely not be wise imo. Especially since it would greatly interfere in what they consider to be their strength, storytelling.

    #11 1 year ago
  12. AlexDaedric


    There’s been a recent interview with Bioware about the future of their company and RPG’s, and Jade Empire is mentioned as a franchise they most likely will revisit in the future =D

    It’s an awesome Interview, about 30 minutes long, Jade Empire is mentioned about 20:50 minutes in =)

    #12 1 year ago
  13. TheWulf

    That’s not at all a bad thing.

    If you have a smaller area, it’s easier to design it in a much more interesting way. Look at the first Gothic game, yeah? It was tiny compared to Skyrim, but it was also way more hand-designed.

    I don’t know quite how to explain this, but I’m very acclimatised to detail and design. I notice things that other people don’t. I pick up on little details. My friends have noticed this and we’ve had long discussions on it. I have poor sight, so I really shouldn’t be able to pick up on such small items of design perfection, but I do.

    The consensus is that most people just glaze over it because they take their sight for granted, whereas I actually have to stop and really look at a thing for a moment. This makes my visual processing more acute and different to that of someone who has healthy vision.

    As such, I spot things.

    For most people, when trudging and hiking from place to place in games like Oblivion and Skyrim, the sameness and verisimilitude of the environment is likely going to be blocked out. I can’t do that, and I’m familiar with terrain generation technologies. So I’ll look at both of those games and I’ll see so much that was clearly procedurally designed by a computer, rather than designed by hand by a person.

    It’s the same when I’m playing Grand Theft Auto, except instead of that, I’ll see incredibly heavy use of copy and pasting. This is why there needs to be a hook for me to actually enjoy an open world, something wonderful that makes up for it (like the ridiculous fun of Saints Row IV). Otherwise I’m bored, and I’m taking far, far too much notice of the environment, and it’ll irritate me greatly.

    I don’t like open worlds because they feel lazy when compared to smaller areas or linear level design. Very lazy. Open world sometimes, to me, feels like an excuse to be lazy. When I see “fancy new open world game” I tend to read that as a game which is lazily put together. And then I find myself asking what’s good enough about the game to actually make up for that.

    Though with it separated up into smaller areas (as LEGO Batman 2 did), then it’s easier to actually create something which is all designed by hand. And if you compare LEGO Batman 2 with Grand Theft Auto, you can tell which one is more lazily designed, and which isn’t. There’s stuff crammed into every inch of LEGO Batman 2, whereas there’s so much bland copying and pasting in Grand Theft Auto that when you actually find something interesting, it’s massively exciting, because the rest of it is such a boring pastiche of itself.

    That kind of gameplay doesn’t work for me. Just as in MMOs where I don’t want to have to grind to have fun, I don’t want to spend hours of my life driving through samey scenery to find something that I’ll be impressed with for two minutes before moving on. It’s padding, really.

    And I really do pick up on it as padding, as repetition, as laziness of design.

    That’s why I don’t like open world games unless they present something very engaging and fun to make up for it. By splitting things into smaller areas, they can actually design things more by hand, rather than just relying on terrain generation. And here’s the thing: With the smaller areas, if they rely too much on terrain generation, people are going to be more likely to call them on it because it’s going to be explored so much more quickly. It’ll just be a bunch of empty spaces.

    So I think this approach is good. It forces them to do more interesting things with their smaller spaces than Skyrim did with its one big one.

    I’m still very, very wary about this game. As wary as hell, to be honest, since I’m terrified it’s going to be that generic Western fantasy tale that I’ve played twenty-flarkin’-bazillion times before of Generic Hero gears up, kills Generic Bad Things, fights Generic Faceless Villains, kills Generic Faceless Evil, saves world from Generic Corruption, has Generic Happy Ending. Fuck I’m tired of that.

    So I’m still very watchful and cautious of it. But this is good news.

    #13 1 year ago
  14. TheWulf


    The hell? That’s been around in games forever, now. MMOs have been doing it for longer than Kingdoms of Amalur did. (In fact, that’s why I disliked Amalur, because the setting was as everyday, common, and generic as an MMO, and the story was every bit as badly written as an MMO.)

    And there are old, old, old PC first person RPGs which did it, too. Hell, I believe even Strife did it, which was an RPG based upon the Doom engine.

    And now I want to play Strife again, as I have memories of Strife being really very good.

    #14 1 year ago
  15. bradk825

    @14 THANKS! Good to know.

    #15 1 year ago
  16. PartyLikeANinjaStar

    The closer this is to Baldur’s Gate, the better. That series is still in my top three for favorite games and I’d honestly much rather replay through that for the umpteenth time than most modern games. I can’t wait for next fall!

    Also, open world games are fine, but usually too big and there’s no focus. You’ll spend more hours wandering than making any actual progress into the game. I’ve yet to complete an Elder Scrolls game and GTA gets boring to me fast. I did play Fallout 3 to death, but that game felt more focus than the Elder Scrolls did while still offering plenty of freedom. And speaking of ES, Oblivion had a horrible main story line. That game was fun until I actually tried to finish it.

    #16 1 year ago
  17. bradk825

    My favourite story in Skyrim was the Dark Brotherhood, mostly because it began with taking out that evil orphanage woman right in front of the kids, and they cheered her death, lol.

    #17 1 year ago

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