Dragon Age: Inquisition designer explains choices and ripple effects

Dragon Age: Inquisition will give you a clearer idea of what's at stake in your decisions, but won't lay out the future ripple effects, according to lead designer Mike Laidlaw. The driving force behind the upcoming sequel says it's important to keep some surprises in store, and part of that comes from not fully knowing how your actions will impact the world.

Laidlaw told Rock Paper Shotgun that the new tool to help clarify choices "never tells you the outcome," and instead simply clears up what you're deciding. Rather than directly informing you that you're going to start a war, for example, it might simply make sure you know that you're choosing to behead a man. That resulting in a consequence of war is never spelled out.

"I would never want to tell you the outcome, because that's annoying. There's GameFAQs for that."

He said the Kaiden/Ashley decision in the first Mass Effect is a great example of the game setting clear stakes without a correct answer. "That's a great dilemma, to me, because you have to ask yourself [to make a tough call]. There is no right way to do this. There's just a choice to make. Those kinds of things can be very compelling, because they pull you in.

"Now, sometimes, you need to be surprised. There needs to be a choice where it's, 'Okay, I'm going to do this,' and you may not understand that there will be repercussions later in the game. But I do think they are at their best when there’s some sort of immediacy to the change, whether it's a different scene happens, or some element appears immediately, but long term it's always a pleasant surprise when the game remembers and somebody comes seeking vengeance or what have you."