Dreadwolf is the next Dragon Age, but what’s it about?

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Dragon Age 4 finally has a title: Dreadwolf. Bioware dropped the title in a short blog post that dipped briefly into what we know of the next game’s featured antagonist, the ancient elven mage Solas also known as the trickster god Fen’harel, and the Dread Wolf of elven mythology.

Given the events of Dragon Age Inquisition’s final DLC, Trespasser, the antagonist reveal shouldn’t be a surprise to long-time Dragon Age fans, though the Dreadwolf should get a proper introduction in-game for first-time players as well.

Dreadwolf has been in development hell for a while now, if we’re being honest. First announced in development in 2017, it’s had a tumultuous time, with initial ideas including live service multiplayer, and what seems like a revolving door for people in the production team. Still, with the failure of Anthem and recent EA single player success stories, reports are that Dreadwolf has ditched the multiplayer aspects for a more single player story driven experience.

We got a quick teaser of the game in 2018, and a slightly more substantive cinematic trailer during the 2020 Game Awards that showed off, among other things, the magitech neon cityscapes of the Tevinter Imperium, where a significant portion of Dreadwolf is reported to take place.

There’s not a lot concrete about Dreadwolf, least of all its release date, as all indications are that the game is still very much in development, but there are some interesting things from what we know so far. The 2018 teaser showed off a dangerous artifact that should be familiar to Dragon Age 2 players: a red lyrium idol that looks identical to the one that the Templar Knight-Commander Meredith obsessed over in Dragon Age 2.

Dragon Age Dreadwolf

A behind the scenes look during gamescom 2020 had writer Patrick Weekes talking about the next story being about “what happens when you don’t have power. What happens when people in charge aren’t willing to address the issues?” Past Dragon Age games have seen protagonists gain “official” power, whether through the treaties of the Grey Wardens, the wealth and privilege of the Champion of Kirkwall, or the wide-ranging influence of the Inquisition. It doesn’t seem like you’ll be wielding that kind of authority in Tevinter Imperium, the slave-state magocracy widely regarded as one of the most oppressive societies within Thedas. There, a cabal of incredibly powerful mages lord over the rest of the free and unfree populations, led by a schismatic “Black Divine” that has taken a wildly different interpretation of the teachings of Andraste.

That said, the Dragon Age writing team has been consistent in challenging what previous games have set as canon, with problematic histories and unreliable narrators, and characters such as Inquisition’s Dorian Pavus to offer different perspectives. Tevinter’s own complicated history, from its destruction of the elven homeland of Arlathan to the rise of its blood magicians and the creation of the Darkspawn Blight are just as likely to be cast in interesting new lights. Here’s hoping we get a chance to explore Tevinter and challenge its Magister-slavers and the Dread Wolf’s own machinations sooner rather than later.

I am however, miffed that we won’t get to revisit the relationship between the Inquisitor and Solas. Sadfaces for all of us that did an Inquisitor-Solas romance in Dragon Age Inquisition.