Dragon Age: The Veilguard gameplay details you might have missed

Combat, choices, and character control

A few days after revealing all seven Veilguard companions, BioWare showed off roughly 20 minutes of Dragon Age: The Veilguard gameplay. Much of that was actually dialogue, but we still managed to glean a fair bit about what to expect from the upcoming RPG.

First up is your custom character, Rook. BioWare used a human Rogue with a Shadow Dragon background, and that background came up in a few conversations just in the first 10 minutes or so. Whether it’ll lead to anything important is anyone’s guess at this point, but it’s a nice touch. Hands-off previews from Summer Game Fest all say you can play as a human, elf, dwarf, or Qunari, and you can also customize your Inquisitor.

Combat looks like a mix of Final Fantasy 16

and Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth. You have a series of basic attack combos using your class weapons, which, for the Rogue Rook, included melee dagger attacks and ranged bow shots. The preview Rook had eight arrows that slowly replenished over time, and there was a cooldown timer for a weapon skill you can assign to buttons on a little hotbar. There are only three, unlike Inquisition, which had four, and you have to fill up a meter for them to be usable.

There’s also a skill menu you can bring up seemingly at any time for magic, possibly other, more advanced actions, and skills you can’t fit on the hotbar as well. Time pauses while you choose a skill, like when Cloud picks a magic attack in FF7R.

Speaking of Final Fantasy 16, you can’t control party members in Dragon Age: The Veilguard. You can, however, issue commands from the ability wheel, a la FF7 Rebirth and Remake.

The conversation wheel is back. Okay, that’s impossible to miss in the trailer, but what you might not have seen is that each choice corresponds to a little icon of some kind. One, where Rook can say they’re in a hurry, has an “arms crossed” image, and another has exclamation marks when they say an attack shook them. 

What these mean isn’t clear, since none of these choices had any noticeable influence over what happened next, though a later one did have branching arrows that, presumably, suggest what follows differs depending on your choice. If nothing else, the choice in question made Neve angry and Harding happy.

This is all just from the game’s first 20 minutes, so there’s probably a lot more going on that we don’t even know about yet. Expect more gameplay details in the months leading up to Dragon Age: The Veilguard’s fall 2024 release date.

Barring whatever Nintendo has in store, that pretty much brings Summer Game Fest to a close. If you're just catching up on everything that happened, check out our roundup of every SGF announcement and Xbox Games Showcase recap.

Josh Broadwell