Dragon Age: Inquisition, the great triumph of epic single-player experiences, actually started development as a multiplayer suite prototype.
Dragon Age fans shouldn’t blow their tops just yet, because as ever the path from experiments to prototypes to full development is a complex one.
Speaking to GamesIndustry, BioWare’s Mark Darrah explained that when BioWare first started working with the Frostbite engine, it built a multiplayer prototype.
“We actually had a project code-named Blackfoot which was the first game we had that was looking at Frostbite. It was a Dragon Age game, multiplayer only, that was in development before Dragon Age 2 came out,” he said.
The tech BioWare built for this prototype was later recycled.
“That became the core of what became Dragon Age Inquisition, the techlines, more than any of the development, so we’ve actually been looking at this a long time,” Darrah continued.
Traditionally, fans of single-player RPGs have been pretty hostile to multiplayer suites, although with Mass Effect I think BioWare proved spinning off the aciton gameplay into its own deal can really work, and it’s a formula it hopes to repeat with Inquisition.
And, as Darrah pointed out, RPGs began as multiplayer games.
“At its roots, role-playing is a multiplayer experience. It’s sitting at a table with your friends and playing a pen and paper experience,” Darrah said.
“It’s been a single player experience on computers for a long time, but Baldur’s Gate had multiplayer co-op through the story. This is an attempt to get that feeling back, something you can do, get a fantasy experience, but much more bite-size.”
Inquisition is out now in North America on PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, and hits Europe on November 20. it’s absolutely sodding ginormous, and you should definitely consult our Dragon Age: Inquisition guide.