Dragon Age: The Veilguard is "almost the total inverse" of Mass Effect's "big action, minor RPG" split, BioWare lead explains

Dragon Age: The Veilguard screenshot showing the RPG's companions standing as a united group, the main protagonist at front wielding a sword
(Image credit: BioWare)

Dragon Age: The Veilguard's big blowout at this year's Summer Game Fest surprised me in that it looked like it was taking cues from its intergalactic sibling Mass Effect - see: ability wheels, three-man (three-qunari-dwarf-elf?) squads, and no open world - but Veilguard's director says the game's RPG progression is "almost the total inverse of that."

In an interview with RPG Site, Dragon Age: The Veilguard director Corinne Busche called the upcoming game's progression "incredibly deep," while comparing it to BioWare's other long-running series, Mass Effect. "I really view Mass Effect as an ARPG," Busche added. "Big action, minor RPG. We're almost the total inverse of that." A big emphasis on the RPGness, then, rather than the bombastic spectacle that Mass Effect's firefights eventually evolved into.

Busche continued to explain that, surprisingly, Final Fantasy 10's Sphere Grid and Final Fantasy 12's License Board "heavily influenced" Dragon Age: The Veilguard. The player character's skill trees are apparently sprawling, "web-like" menus that you work outward from, while still offering tons of flexibility.

Each class has its own "bespoke" skill tree that eventually branches off into another three specializations that you can choose from. Specializations aside, the regular skill trees are also divided into three sections to let fixate on particular builds. "In the case of Warrior for instance you have a section that's more defense-oriented, one that's more weapons-oriented, and one that's more ability-oriented," Busche explained. 

Gamesradar's hands-on Dragon Age: The Veilguard preview said the game's character creator is the best in BioWare history - add on what sounds like a really deep skill tree, and we should have tons of roleplaying options when the game comes out later this year. 

Dragon Age: The Veilguard’s Baldur’s Gate 3-style romance has “limits,” according to the series’ original co-creator, but “if they unapologetically lean into it as BG3 did it should be fine.”

Freelance contributor

Kaan freelances for various websites including Rock Paper Shotgun, Eurogamer, and this one, Gamesradar. He particularly enjoys writing about spooky indies, throwback RPGs, and anything that's vaguely silly. Also has an English Literature and Film Studies degree that he'll soon forget.