A fresh development titbit from Dragon Age Inquisition studio BioWare has revealed the game’s ability to make your horse “sprint” was in fact just an illusion.
Indeed, the game simply “added speed lines and changed the camera so it felt faster”, BioWare veteran John Epler has revealed.
Epler, now creative director on the upcoming Dragon Age Dreadwolf, was responding via Twitter to a thread of little-known development facts, stunning fans.
“Just to be SUPER clear, riding a horse is faster than being on-foot,” Epler said, “but the difference between normal horse run and horse ‘sprint’ is non-existent except for making it look faster.
“There were three days on that project where my entire job was ‘try to make horse sprint feel faster’.”
when you ‘sprint’ on a horse in DAI it doesn’t really do much because frostbite couldn’t stream in levels fast enough, so we just added speed lines and changed the camera so it felt faster https://t.co/VDDvOGlSS5
— John Epler (@eplerjc) February 2, 2023
So, why the subterfuge? Epler blamed Frostbite, the ubiquitous EA engine originally designed by DICE for its Battlefield first-person shooters, which apparently “couldn’t stream in levels fast enough”. Hence, the horses had to be hobbled.
BioWare’s struggles to adapt Frostbite for its role-playing games has been a notable theme over the past decade (looking at you, Anthem and Mass Effect: Andromeda). The upcoming Dreadwolf is also being made in Frostbite, albeit after much more experience with the engine.
That said, it’s notable that the studio’s further-off Mass Effect 5 will be BioWare’s return to the more industry standard Unreal Engine, used for the original Mass Effect trilogy and its recent remaster.
So, fake horse sprinting. Could you tell?
Speaking personally, Dragon Age Inquisition had me foaled.