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Will The Hero Of Ferelden Be In Dragon Age 4?

"Origins," the first entry in BioWare's critically acclaimed "Dragon Age" series, introduced players to the deadly world of Thedas. After falling victim to unfortunate circumstances, the main character is recruited by the Ferelden branch of the Grey Wardens, an ancient order devoted to driving back the recurring threat of the Darkspawn, the monstrous horde of malevolent creatures that emerges from its subterranean dwelling periodically to destroy other civilizations. These campaigns, known as a "Blight," are spawned by the corruption of the draconic Old Gods, who, once tainted, lead the scourge to the surface as newly transformed Archdemons.

Swept up in the fifth Blight, the main character, initially referred to simply as "the Warden," must find a way to defeat the latest Archdemon and save Ferelden. They accomplish this at great cost, earning the title "the Hero of Ferelden" as a result. Depending on your choices throughout the game, the Hero of Ferelden may or may not survive the final battle. If they do pull through, they take over as the leader of the local branch of Wardens before disappearing by the events of "Dragon Age 2." Though "Inquisition" sheds some light on what the Hero has gotten up to, their ultimate fate remains up the in the air, leaving a promising opening for the former lead to return to the franchise. Will the Warden finally make a comeback in the next addition to the lineup? The answer, like so much about the worrying development of "Dragon Age 4," is complicated.

Former creative director says no Hero in Dragon Age 4

Mike Laidlaw, the lead designer and director for the first three "Dragon Age" games, has stated multiple times that the Hero of Ferelden will not pop up in "Dragon Age 4." "The HoF will not be appearing in future 'DA' products," Laidlaw wrote on Twitter in 2017. He expanded on this the following day in a Reddit thread, detailing the many reasons why the Warden's inclusion in another series entry would prove problematic. 

"I think it's important to note that 'Origins' was about sacrifice. It was a story in which literally everyone gave something up to stop something horrible. One of those options was the HoF giving up their lives to stop that horrible thing, and frankly, a lot of people took it," Laidlaw explained. "Now, fast forward to a theoretical moment where the HoF plays a major role in a future game. Suddenly your sacrifice feels like it was the wrong choice, no? Well, it wasn't. It was a perfect ending to the core themes of 'Origins.'"

Beyond conflicting with BioWare's vision for "Origins," the fact that the Warden is deeply customizable with "hundreds of options to account for" all but guarantees that a "canon" version of the character would disappoint hundreds, if not thousands, of players who have bonded with and pictured their protagonist a specific way. "I firmly believe it would not live up to expectations unless we poured SO many resources into it that it would damage the rest of a game's potential," concluded Laidlaw.

While these pronouncements may make the situation seem cut and dry, it's important to note that Laidlaw left BioWare a few months after making the above statements (via Twitter). Several other franchise veterans have since departed, leaving "Dragon Age 4" in the hands of a mostly different group of people. The remaining developers (or publisher Electronic Arts) could decide to bring back the Hero of Ferelden regardless of Laidlaw's views on the matter.