Dragon Age 4 is reportedly only going to release for the new generation PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S consoles alongside a PC version, ditching the last-gen PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. With the game’s release window still to be announced, indicating that it could be at least a year away, if not more, this will no doubt please gamers wanting to get the most out of their shiny new toys.
The news comes via the LinkedIn profile for Dragon Age’s lead player designer at BioWare (first spotted by Faizan Shaikh on Twitter), which only lists PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S and PC as platforms for Dragon Age 4, however this has subsequently been confirmed by VentureBeat’s sources.
As we approach the first anniversary of the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S launch in November, there have already been a lot of question marks over when developers and publishers will move on from the last generation hardware. Companies are now much more comfortable with straddling a generation, especially when you can build in cross-gen and cross-platform play in blockbuster games like Call of Duty: Vanguard, and that’s a boon when supply of new consoles is unable to keep up with demand, leaving tens of millions of gamers patiently sticking with their PS4s and Xbox Ones.
However cross-gen development is a tricky beast, even when there are architectural similarities as we’ve seen with the new generation. The older hardware is now sorely lacking in CPU power in particular, the GPUs are obviously much less powerful, and there’s the constraints of spinning HDDs instead of ultra-fast SSDs. All of that combines to restrict what developers can achieve on the consoles, and there has been a lot of hand-wringing over games like God of War: Ragnarok, GT7, Horizon Forbidden West, Halo Infinite and more being cross-gen titles, for fear that they will be “held back”.
EA is also indulging in some cross-gen game development, most notably with Battlefield 2042 straddling the generations, despite being pitched as a next-generation multiplayer shooter. However, where DICE can push for 128-player battles on PS5, Xbox Series X|S and PC, the PS4 and Xbox One are limited to 64-players and are on separate servers.
Another other factor that we’re seeing play out is that countless games have been delayed over the past 18 months, extending this cross-gen development period much longer than some publishers might have wanted.
Even so, the decision to develop for certain platforms will have been made years ago at this point. Dragon Age 4 was first teased at The Game Awards in December 2018, before making a fresh appearances through 2020 at EA’s showcases and again at The Game Awards. In each instance, it’s always felt like the game was relatively early in development, with teasers, aspirational videos and ‘in-engine’ video. There’s also reportedly been some chopping and changing over multiplayer components.
Basically, it makes sense that the next Dragon Age is still a while away and has been planned to exclusively target PS5, Xbox Series X|S and PC because of this.