I’m slightly less panicked about Dragon Age: The Veilguard after seeing 24 seconds of gameplay

I wasn’t expecting to see Dragon Age: The Veilguard turn up at the Xbox Games Showcase over the weekend ahead of the gameplay reveal it had already planned for tomorrow. But turn up it did, with a CG trailer that had a lot of fans, including me, very nervous about the plastic-y, poreless character designs. Partly to quell that public panic, I’m willing to bet, BioWare just gave us a “sneak peak” at 24 seconds of the planned 15+ minute gameplay reveal tomorrow. Everyone take ten deep breaths. It looks better—probably.

As my colleague Robin Valentine pointed out yesterday, the CG trailer debuted at the Xbox show had serious hero shooter vibes, with a “hello fellow kids” kind of banter that I don’t associate with the dry, dark humor of Thedas. 

I was worried too, and spent the evening consoling myself with thoughts of the Sacred Ashes trailer for Dragon Age: Origins and the Dragon Age 2 Destiny trailer, both of which looked very different from the actual games. The Veilguard’s trailer did say “game engine footage,” though I’m not certain how much stock to place in that.

Anyhow, here’s that new 24 seconds of The Veilguard which definitely is in-game footage:

“Rook and Varric arrive in the stunning—and seedy—city of Minrathous. Little do they know what dangers await,” BioWare says in the accompanying post.

Now look, this thing is a somewhat compressed video posted to X in a maximum of 720p so I can’t tell if the whole world looks just as shellac-ed as Scout Harding’s face did in that reveal. We don’t see either Varric or our protagonist Rook’s faces here either, but this seems like something I might be happy to call a Dragon Age game. 

It’s dark. It’s moody. And if it’s not as grimy and gritty as we’re used to, well, we already knew that the cultural hub of Minrathous was going to be way more advanced than the backwaters of Ferelden where the series began. 

We’ll see the remainder of this scene tomorrow, I’m sure, but for now we can hear Varric and Rook deciding to chase down one of the game’s companions Neve Gallus to help track Solas, the presumptive villain of Veilguard who lost his name rights when the Dreadwolf title got replaced.

It is funny to me that this first peek shows us walking around on a quest with Varric. From the companion reveals yesterday, we assumed that he wouldn’t be a full party member again. That’s likely still true, but neither has he been relegated to hub areas like the advisors of Dragon Age: Inquisition. He’s still got to get out and about. Please let that man put his feet up for once, damn.

I don’t think this gameplay peek entirely assuages the fears I share with PC Gamer mag editor Rob Jones who worried that Dragon Age has lost its identity based on the cartoony physical gags of the reveal trailer. But it’s a nod in the right direction, at least.

The rest of the gameplay reveal is scheduled for tomorrow, June 11 at 8 am Pacific / 11 am Eastern. I’ll reserve my full judgment until then, but I’m feeling a little less leery than I was this weekend. 


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