Dragon Age: Inquisition is bringing back the racial options for the first time since Origins. While creative director Mike Laidlaw says it's based largely on fan feedback, he also points out it gives them freedom as designers to tailor experiences to each race.
"Race is more than just 'how do I look' in Dragon Age," Laidlaw told Game Informer. "It's really the idea of, as an elf you're an underdog. As a dwarf, if you're on the surface, you are by default outcast from your own society. That's intriguing, that's interesting, and it creates a scenario where we give ourselves so many more opportunities to react to that player's choice."
As an example, the team cites elves as a servant class in the Dragon Age universe, so as an elf you'd be able to talk to servant elves with more comfort and ease than a human player. The idea is to make each race have its own wrinkles, and occasional large impacts, so that you'll see unique content that friends playing another race might not.
"When someone reacts to the fact that you're an elf, in a very specific and poignant way, when you see content you otherwise wouldn't have," Laidlaw said. "And when you can share with your friends and say 'oh yeah, this happened.' And they're mystified by that. It's gratifying as a designer, I think it's gratifying as a player, and I think it lets us color your experience from the word 'go.'"
All in all, it sounds fairly similar to Origins, which is probably the point. BioWare has been frank about taking fan feedback seriously, inviting discussion before the game was even officially announced and promising that your decisions in previous games will have an impact.