When Dragon Age: Inquisition was first announced, BioWare waffled somewhat on the issue of save game importing. And though they eventually clarified their position and stated that save game imports would happen for Inquisition, their initial hesitance wasn’t terribly difficult to understand. Contra the first two Dragon Age games (which were built on Eclipse/Lycium engine), Inquisition is being built with the brand-spanking-new Frostbite 3 engine. This shift in technology meant that there will almost certainly be a number of complicated technical hurdles which would need to be overcome in order to pull save game information from the first two games into the third entry in the series.
BioWare, however, appear to have come up with a solution that should satisfy everyone, including those who haven’t played either of the earlier Dragon Age titles, but wish to experiment with some of the variables from the first two games and see how they impact the world of Inquisition. Producer Mark Darrah writes:
I’m excited to announce the Dragon Age Keep. Within the Keep, you’ll be able to customize a Dragon Age historical world state to your exact specifications. How did you modify your Warden and Hawke? Who were your companions? Who did you choose to romance? Who rose to power, and who fell in defeat? What legacy did you leave?
Within the Keep, you’ll be able to customize as much or as little about the world of Thedas as you wish. Then you’ll be able to import your saved world state into DAI at the start of a new game. Have you lost or corrupted your save files? No problem — remake your world state on the Keep, and preserve it for the future. For those folks new to the Dragon Age franchise, the Keep will serve as a great way to understand the people, places, and events that shaped the world leading up to DAI.
I’d like to give some history on how the Keep came into existence. Very early in the planning of DAI, we began to think about how we were going to address the issue of importing save game files. We were dealing with a brand new game engine, plus the next generation of consoles. It was a priority that our fans be able to have their decisions carry forward, regardless of their past or future platform.
We realized that in order to make this work, we’d have to look into a cloud-based solution. Moving to the cloud allows players to take their unique world state into any platform (present or future) and even other media. For existing fans, an advantage of being in the cloud is that (if you are ok with spoilers) you can fully explore what-if scenarios, and become aware of events and consequences in our past games that you may not have known were possible. You can then fire up the previous games and go exploring for those moments.
Starting today, you can visit the Dragon Age Keep and register for its beta, set to kick off early next year. We’re eager to hear your feedback and get your impressions before it launches publicly in 2014. The Keep will be available to everyone a few months before DAI gets released, in order to give fans plenty of time to experiment with scenarios and make their history exactly how they want.
As is noted above, beta signups for Dragon Age Keep are currently being accepted at the Keep website proper. Click on through and sign up for it! You’ll have to write a short blurb about why you should be chosen as a beta tester, but you already know the answer to that question, don’t you?