Dragon Age: Dreadwolf Is Officially in Alpha, Playable from Beginning to End

Alessio Palumbo
Dragon Age: Dreadwolf

Today, BioWare General Manager Gary McKay provided an update on the development of Dragon Age: Dreadwolf, the next installment in the RPG franchise. McKay revealed that the game has reached the Alpha milestone, meaning Dragon Age: Dreadwolf is now fully playable from start to finish.

Up to this point, we’ve been working hard on the various parts of the game, but it’s not until the Alpha milestone that a game all comes together. Now, for the first time, we can experience the entire game, from the opening scenes of the first mission to the very end. We can see, hear, feel, and play everything as a cohesive experience.

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Of course, the game is not finished by any means, but Alpha is one of the most important game development milestones for a number of reasons. First and foremost, we can now turn our sights toward bringing the visual fidelity to its final form and iterating on gameplay features. The big question now is, “Where do we focus our efforts?” To answer that, we solicit feedback from a number of sources, including our Community Council members who each have unique perspectives and experiences, our quality verification team, and extensive internal playtesting. Gathering feedback from multiple sources gives us the greatest insight on where we need to spend more time improving the experience.

Additionally, we can now evaluate the game's pacing, how relationships evolve over time, and the player’s progression, as well as narrative cohesion—essentially how the story comes together. We can take the story we’ve written and see if we’re expressing it well through the characters, dialogue, cinematics, and ultimately, the player’s journey. Now that we have the ability to do a complete playthrough, we can iterate and polish on the things that matter most to our fans.

McKay also noted a couple of his favorite things from Dragon Age: Dreadwolf so far. The first is the characters, who are so interwoven in the game's plot that they will push BioWare's concept of 'stories about people' further than ever.

The second is the ability to explore Minrathous, the capital of the Tevinter Empire. Previously trailers and even an art book had hinted at the Tevinter setting, but now it's official. McKay said the magical city comes through pretty spectacularly in Dragon Age: Dreadwolf thanks to its unique visual identity, though of course, technical advancements probably help as well.

As noted by the BioWare General Manager, the game is not done yet. For comparison, Dragon Age: Inquisition was declared in Alpha in late May 2014 and then shipped around six months later. That doesn't mean the same will apply to this new installment, but it's a good ballpark to estimate that the game could be released anywhere between April next year and late next year.

The development of the fourth Dragon Age installment was quite troubled over the years. The first project, codenamed Joplin, was supposed to be a smaller scale game (albeit still set in Tevinter). It was eventually canceled in 2017, though, and Creative Director Mike Laidlaw left the company.

The following year, a new project codenamed Morrison began as a live service title in the vein of Anthem, featuring Matthew Goldman as the new Creative Director. However, following the failure of Anthem and the success of single player games like Respawn's Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, EA eventually pivoted back to single player and removed all live service components. A few months later, Matthew Goldman left BioWare, and Corrine Busche replaced him as the Creative Director for Dragon Age: Dreadwolf.

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