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Dragon Age: The Veilguard Is Taking a Smart Approach to Difficulty Options

One for all.

Two animated characters in medieval attire inside a dimly lit tavern, the man cheers with a mug whil...

It’s been 10 years since the last Dragon Age game, which means inevitably Dragon Age: The Veilguard is bound to attract some new players. It’s not surprising, then, that BioWare has opted for a true action-RPG combat system, versus the blend of action and tactical elements from previous games. To go with that, it seems like Veilguard is going to include a suite of difficulty options, with a couple of particularly smart changes that can help the game appeal to an even broader audience. If Dragon Age is going to find success again, this is a step in the right direction.

The difficulty options of Veilguard were detailed as part of Game Informer’s hands-on cover story, showing that there will essentially be four different options. There are the standard three options, this time labeled Storyteller, Adventurer, and Nightmare — which likely correspond to easy, medium, and hard. The additional mode, however, is what sounds really interesting.

The Veilguard drastically changes the series’ combat options for a more action-RPG approach.


Titled “Unbound,” this difficulty option will lets players tweak a variety of parameters on the fly and fine-tune their experience. You can enable aim assistance or auto-aim, adjust the windows for parries, up your own damage output, tweak the health of enemies, and even turn off your ability to be incapacitated, meaning you’ll never see a Game Over screen.

With the rise of Soulslike games over the past decade, there’s been an increasingly relevant discussion about difficulty, approachability, and accessibility in video games, particularly RPGs. There’s certainly an argument to be made for a game like Elden Ring to not have difficulty options, but with something like Veilguard, the approach is completely different.

BioWare has made it abundantly clear the focus of Veilguard is the story, and particularly the diverse set of companions you’ll meet. Because of that, it makes sense it’d want as many people as possible to be able to play through that story, or at least be able to tweak their experience to fit their own skill set or needs. This ensures that what BioWare wants to focus on, the narrative, is always going to be the central focus, with options to work around the other facets of the game, for those that need or want them.

BioWare has been extremely vocal about party members being the big focus of Veilguard’s story.


The fact that it’s been 10 years since Dragon Age: Inquisition makes this even more crucial, however. Dragon Age has a dedicated fan following, but Veilguard will inevitably need to attract new players if it wants to be a success. The game has the unenviable task of needing to appeal to both longtime fans and newcomers. It’s hard to say what the best approach is to do that, but taking steps like these difficulty options ensures that newcomers won’t be scared off by complexity or a high skill ceiling, while longtime fans still have options to tune things how they want as well.

There’s a lot that remains to be seen about Dragon Age: The Veilguard, and the game will ultimately have a lot to prove, but providing these kinds of robust options for difficulty can only make things better as a whole.

Dragon Age: The Veilguard releases fall 2024 on PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.

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