That’s a pretty safe bet. A while back I wrote a similar piece, arguing that the new MMO should have adopted the buy-once, play forever model of Guild Wars 2. There’s certainly a huge risk in adopting a subscription model in an age of free-to-play.
Glancing over the past few games BioWare has released, there’s reason to be worried about the next Dragon Age. Mass Effect 3 was easily the most controversial title of 2012, and Dragon Age 2 was widely criticized as a step down from Origins. Then there’s the afore-mentioned Star Wars MMO.
I’m actually really excited for Inquisition. Everything I’ve seen about the game so far looks great. Multiple playable races are back, as is an optional top-down tactical view. The game looks gorgeous, and promises even more customization options than Origins. And, perhaps most importantly, it’s been in development for quite a while already, so we don’t have to worry about this being a rush job like Dragon Age 2.
Of course, for BioWare to salvage its good name and restore its brand, Inquisition needs to be a great game. It must be head and shoulders above anything they’ve done in years, and stand up to the competition—The Witcher 3 in particular. EA and BioWare need to hit this one out of the park. They simply can’t afford another disaster.
If Dragon Age: Inquisition isn’t an incredible game, the fallout will be huge. Financially, it may not be the calamity of a failed MMO like The Elder Scrolls Online. But EA risks more damage to its reputation and BioWare risks falling into obscurity.