Dragon Age: Inquisition brought back player character Hawke from Dragon Age 2, but should Dragon Age 4 bring back the Inquisitor?
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The Dragon Age games have changed their player protagonist with every new chapter. After the return of Hawke in Dragon Age: Inquisition, however, BioWare has set a precedent for old player characters returning as NPCs by Dragon Age 4.
There are pros and cons to the Inquisitor, the player character from Dragon Age: Inquisition, returning for Dragon Age 4. While there are some inherent risks with the possibility, which is by no means confirmed, there”s a few reasons why the Inquisitor could still remain important to the plot of the next game.
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Dragon Age 4″s New Hero
Dragon Age 4 has made no secret of the fact that it’s leaving the Inquisitor behind as a player character. The trailer from The Game Awards 2020 explicitly stated that the new hero would have “no magic hand” like the Inquisitor and the rift-closing Anchor imbedded in their palm. That doesn’t mean the Inquisitor will not or should not return, however.
There are some very good reasons for the Inquisitor to return. For a start, it’s already been established in the same trailer and other promotional materials that the villain of Dragon Age 4 will be Solas, the Dread Wolf. Solas was a companion in Inquisition, and even a romance option for a female elven Inquisitor. In other words, regardless of who the player character is, the villain of the game is still a continuation of the Inquisitor’s story in some sense. Cutting them out of that story, especially given that much, may risk feeling like ignoring the PCs role in the last game entirely.
Fortunately there’s a great way to explain why the Inquisitor might be involved in the plot but in a less central role. At the end of Inquistion’s Trespasser DLC, the Inquisitor lost the arm that had the Anchor in it, making it unlikely that they would be able to return in a combat role. This does set them up as a great potential mentor for Dragon Age 4’s player character or something of a similar vein.
In fact, the Dragon Age 4 protagonist being mentored by the Inquisitor to some degree might explain a lot. In Inquisition, there was a disconnect between what the Inquisitor understood and what the player understood from previous games that caused a degree of dissonance when it came to roleplay. Most players, for example, were willing to treat returning companion Varric Tethras as an old friend and close advisor because of a relationship formed with him over the last game that Varric and the Inquisitor did not have when they first met.
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The Inquisitor”s Return: Downsides
There could be downsides to the Inquisitor”s return, however. For a start, taking the Inquisitor out of the player’s hands risks them making decisions in the story that some players will feel are incongruous with their imagining of the character. Dragon Age: Inquisition handled this fairly well with Hawke, however, by importing or having the player select Hawke’s personality based on the dialog system in Dragon Age 2. It wasn’t a perfect system, but it went a long way to maintaining consistency.
That”s not the only risk, however. Having the Inquisitor mentor the player character may undermine BioWare’s claim that the new protagonist will explore “what happens when you don’t have power.” However, the fact that The Game Awards trailer has Varric, now the Viscount of Kirkwall, saying he’s got the players’ back already undermines that point to some degree. This statement, notably, probably refers to the player”s personal abilities rather than their connection to powerful returning characters.
If nothing else, having the Inquisitor return helps them avoid the fate of Dragon Age: Origins” Warden, who went from being a well-renowned hero and even potentially the ruler of Ferelden to disappearing almost entirely in the following games. Fans know they are working on the Calling ehind the scenes, but it would be interesting if they were actually more involved in the next game too somehow. Ultimately, as BioWare likely wants players to get invested in the new player character, it will have to show that old player characters aren’t ignored in the series’ following chapters.