Dragon Age 4 is going to be a solo experience after EA's change of heart

Dragon Age
(Image credit: Tor Books)

A new Bloomberg report claims the upcoming Dragon Age 4 will be single-player only, news that comes a day after BioWare abandoned Anthem’s planned overhaul to focus on other games.

The yet-to-be-named Dragon Age 4 had been designed with a heavy multiplayer emphasis, but transitioned to a single-player only game in recent months following “a recent multiplayer flop,” according to Bloomberg’s sources – heavily implying that Anthem’s decline partially caused the pivot in Dragon Age 4.

But there was another motivating factor, per the report: the success of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, a single-player only game from BioWare parent company EA that sold very well, which could have led the studio to ease up on its previously-reported pressure to convert projects like Dragon Age 4 to multiplayer in order to earn higher profits. 

Dragon Age 4, as it’s colloquially referred to, started development in 2015, but EA had rebooted the game in fall 2017 to build in long-term monetization potential, leading creative director and Dragon Age series veteran Mark Laidlaw to leave. EA announced the game’s new direction in 2018, but hasn’t released any info since.

Anthem’s loss is Dragon Age’s gain

Anthem’s demise felt like a second death: while BioWare pledged to improve the game after its poorly-received launch in February 2019, the playerbase shrank and news dried up about the planned content releases, leading folks to wonder if EA was quietly letting the game expire. 

But the publisher announced an overhaul called Anthem Next in February 2020 to revive the game, and sporadic updates from studio director Christian Dailey let Anthem hopefuls know his small team was plugging away at the update despite pandemic conditions.

Until a day ago, when Dailey regretfully announced Anthem Next was cancelled, vaguely noting that BioWare was refocusing efforts on the next Dragon Age and Mass Effect games. The writing may have been on the wall by December, when Dragon Age 4 lead Mark Darrah shared that he’d be replaced by Dailey, which didn’t bode well on the Anthem subreddit.

The new Bloomberg report states that Dailey’s 30-person team will help develop Dragon Age 4, according to sources. 

While this is likely disappointing for Anthem fans and anyone who may have been excited for a multiplayer Dragon Age 4, its single-player predecessors have been so successful without online interactions that this pivot is likely encouraging for long-time fans of the series. 

David Lumb

David is now a mobile reporter at Cnet. Formerly Mobile Editor, US for TechRadar, he covered phones, tablets, and wearables. He still thinks the iPhone 4 is the best-looking smartphone ever made. He's most interested in technology, gaming and culture – and where they overlap and change our lives. His current beat explores how our on-the-go existence is affected by new gadgets, carrier coverage expansions, and corporate strategy shifts.