Dragon Age Keep shapes the history of Dragon Age Inquisition… and why it scares me

It comes as no surprise that BioWare is going to push you to make some tough choices in the new Dragon Age Inquisition (new gameplay trailer below!), the third chapter in the Dragon Age series. This was apparent in the previous iterations in Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II. Something that they have also been employing in the series are save game imports, which will shape the world in the next game with the decisions that you made in the previous.

But how would you be able to import save games to the next-gen? PC users will have no issue, but those who played the Dragon Age series on the console will need a way to import their saves in some manner that is probably not supported by either Xbox One or PlayStation 4.

So what is the answer? Look to the clouds.

BioWare last week revealed Dragon Age Keep, an online tool that will allow you to choose the outcomes from the previous games to shape the world of Dragon Age Inquisition, just as importing your save games would. This should eliminate any technical hurdles that may arise. There is also a “logic validator” that will ensure that the choices that you had previously made make sense in Inquisition.

At first I thought this was a great idea, which frees me from searching archived or back up files for old game saves. And then I thought about how I could change something to the story that I never really liked the outcome from the decisions I had previously made. But then it became quite apparent that if I really wanted to, I could completely change the outcomes that I had chosen and go with an entirely new backstory that may influence Inquisition in a way I had not thought previously…

This temptation scares me now. No need for me to replay the game just to change that one decision. Just one click, and it is erased. Oh so easy… ***Minor spoilers ahead if you haven’t played the previous games***

Yet, I thought about all those hours I had poured into DAO and DA2. How many times had I sat there thinking about how my actions and words meant something to the story and the characters involved in that particular questline or to a companion. That is when the moral dilemma will develop that I don’t want to even consider, and who knows, that I may be the only one who thinks about it.

Long story short, this entire thought process led me to what is really going to irk me about this online tool: those who hadn’t played either DAO or DA2 can just skip these games and play Inquisition. They can skip all the hours that I played (and enjoyed) for some meaningless clicks that they won’t be able to experience but through some online application. I am sure BioWare will spare no expense to make the tool slick and savvy with their fancy Flash animations that will probably show cut-scenes and what have you, but this tool also increases the accessibility of the game, something us hardcore fans get all feather rough-led about.

In the grand scheme of things, this is a small quip. If someone wants to play Inquisition, why shouldn’t they be able to get the full experience of the game (which you won’t technically until you buy and download all the DLC!)? That’s fine, but maybe they should just be asked some questions at the beginning that shape their characters based on answers that may or may not mean nothing to them. That sounds reasonable, and if they are really interested in the backstory, they should go back and play the other games in series.

The story in Inquisition hinges on the previous games, so the need to secure the backstory makes sense. If those players don’t, that’s fine. They will be missing out on some awesome elements and adventures that I really enjoyed.

Yet the internal conflict remains. And some gamers, like myself, may be tempted to change something from their countless hours to get the small satisfaction that yes, while Isabella was way hotter, her romance probably didn’t mean as much as if you had chosen Merrill for Hawke in DA2.

So I write this to my fellow Dragon Age fans: stick to your guns. Keep true to your choices that you invested in while playing the Dragon Age series. Then go back and see what happens if you told Alistair to shove it.

And to those who are new to the series: there is still time! Go play the others and make your own choices based on your gameplay and relationships you form with your companions! That’s why BioWare games rock! You won’t regret it!