The First Major Dragon Age II Expansion Seems Like an Apology

What was wrong with Dragon Age II, Dragon Age fans? Too many recycled environments? Not enough tactical variety?

It seems that BioWare has heard you.

At a summer showcase for EA games in California, one of Dragon Age's producers, Fernando Melo, said that Dragon Age II: Legacy, an expansion set for release on July 26, will show how the series' creators have "taken to heart" the feedback from people who played the game.

Yeah, new and old fans liked a lot of DAII, Melo said, but, well... he knew there was a "but." Hence Legacy will be a little different than the game it appends to.

The First Major Dragon Age II Expansion Seems Like an ApologyS

"You're going to be traveling to all-new areas," Melo said, "not just outdoor areas, but you're also going to be diving very deep into an ancient Grey Warden prison. You're going to be taking on brand new creatures as well, including some new Darkspawn.. and you're also going to be challenged much more tactically than before, where Hawke and the followers are going to have to use the environment a lot better as well as all of their abilities in order to be successful.

Legacy will focus on a great evil that has been kept secret by the Grey Wardens and will reveal details about the protagonist Hawke's father. That's all well and good, but the promise of non-recycled environments and more complex tactics are likely to be the draw for series fans and grumbling reviewers.

The First Major Dragon Age II Expansion Seems Like an Apology

During a brief demo of the expansion, Melo showed Hawke and three followers fight down a stone path, battling a new shield-wielding creature who set up an ambush for the party. Enemies, Melo reiterated, will force players to be more strategic than they were in Dragon Age II. Later in the demo a mini-boss proved tricky as he split into multiple forms. After he was vanquished, the player could customize one of Hawke's weapons by accessing one of several pillars—the "pillar of stun chance", the "pillar of critical damage" and so on. Melo said that players will be able to bring their customized weapons back to the main Dragon Age II game as well as to future expansions.

The First Major Dragon Age II Expansion Seems Like an ApologyS

It wasn't clear from the demo how Legacy will integrate into the world of Dragon Age II nor how long it'll last. But it is being touted as the "first" story-based expansion to the game. So expect more. This one's coming out soon, on July 26 on PC, Mac, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It'll cost $10.