Rumor Killers: Dragon Age 2 in 2011, Insomniac Going Multi-platform

Disclaimer: Rumor Killers is a speculative opinion piece and is by no means intended to disclose as fact whether a rumor is true or false – even though the Rumor Killers team are usually right (usually..)

Dragon Age Sequel in 2011?

Dragon Age was always destined to receive a sequel. The first game was suffixed Origins, for crying out loud. It now seems we won’t even have to wait that long to return to Thedas, as 1UP recently found a flyer in their copy of Dragon Age: Awakening (to be released next week) that advertised an upcoming title.

The logic goes like this. The Dragon Age logo has a side-on view of a dragon showing one wing, and the picture in this flyer shows a picture of the dragon from the front, showing two wings, thus denoting a sequel. The flyer also lists the date as February 2 2011, which corresponds with the release date (Q4 of the 2011 financial year) some EA penny-pinchers gave for a new Dragon Age title during their Q3 2010 financial report.

Dragon Age sold well for a title that many would consider more hardcore than skydiving into a swimming pool from space, so there’s certainly a good reason for EA to invest in a sequel. It was also a critical success, though whether the public will actually be ready for another Dragon Age title as early as next year is another question – after finishing Origins I was so exhausted I had to sleep for a week. With the aforementioned Awakening expansion, there’s a very real chance I might not be physically able to embark on another 80 hour fantasy marathon come next year.

There’s always the possibility of another expansion pack, too. Executive Producer Mark Darrah told TGR last year that BioWare had two years worth of content planned for Origins, though it does seem a bit odd to think of releasing one expansion pack a few months after the first game and a second one a year afterwards. If a second expansion was the case, I’d imagine the release schedule would be more evenly distributed across the calendar.

Nevertheless, this flyer is clearly heralding the arrival of something, and its inclusion in a game that hits shelves next week means we’ll almost definitely be hearing more about it in the immediate future. The smart money is on ’Dragon Age II’, though.

Martin’s Verdict: True

Insomniac Going Multi-Platform?

According to IGN, a “trusted source who spoke with IGN under the condition of anonymity” has discovered at this week’s Games Developers Conference that the Insomniac studio, famous for creating Ratchet & Clank, Resistance and Spyro the Dragon, is heading off into the lucrative world of multi-platform development.

From a business standpoint, the main reason would be that multi-platform development effectively doubles any potential audience. Whatever Insomniac is presently workong on that could be going multiplatform, they’re likely hard at work at it. James Stevenson, Insomniac’s Senior Community Manager, revealed last week (before the rumor went public) that the development team is working on more than one game at the moment. He wrote in the studio’s blog, “We’ve been trying to evolve our production pipeline to give us more time for iteration, as well as better efficiencies along the way."

As the publisher of Insomniac’s titles, Sony holds the rights to the team’s intellectual properties. In the same way that Bungie couldn’t bring Halo to the PS3, Insomniac wouldn’t be able to take Ratchet & Clank to the 360. This means that any future multi-platform titles would have to be part of a brand new IP.

Resistance 3 has been rumored to be in development for some time now, which would suggest that Insomniac aren’t turning their back on Sony-exclusive properties entirely, but with the developer recently opening a second development studio in North Carolina it would be entirely possible that this second studio will work on new multi-platform IP whilst the original Calafornia-based studio sticks with the beloved Sony exclusives. That would be a slightly unconventional setup, though.

It’s also worth remembering that Insomniac has had a prosperous relationship with Sony since 1994 and there’s no point trying to fix something that ain’t broke. The studio has been named one of California’s best places to work, after all. It’s not like they’re facing miserable things like job losses and axed titles.

Even if this proves true, mult-iplatform means far more than just the 360. Insomniac could be considering a DS title – like Microsoft did with Diddy Kong Racing – or an offshoot into iPhone development. Whilst both courses of action would be likely to annoy Sony, both options are also likely to be far more commercially viable for Insomniac in the short term compared to the cost and effort of developing a new IP for a PS3/360 release, not to mention establishing a new business relationship with a publisher they’ve never worked with. I’m just not seeing it, myself.

Martin’s Verdict: False 

UPDATE: Shortly after this article was written, Stevenson posted on NeoGAF with the following statement: "Well guys, Ted has spoken so you have that. But c’mon, didn’t we just deal with this rumor like two months ago? And a few months before that? And so on?"  – so there you go. 

 

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