Bioware has made a comparison between the PS4 and Xbox One versions of “Dragon Age Inquisition” to the PS3 and Xbox 360 iterations. According to a report from Segment Next on April 17, Ben McGrath confirmed that the next-generation systems allow the development team to add more to the visual aspects of the action-role-playing game. One of the examples he talked about was the water effects.
The liquids in “Dragon Age Inquisition” on the PS4 and Xbox One is going to be more interactive as it will react realistically to reflections, ripples and splashes with the character is passing thorough. Furthermore, Bioware was able to implement displacement mapping thanks to the extra power of the hardware systems. The new feature gives some elements from the terrain more pop than the normal mapping used on the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions. You can find full comments from the lead environment artist below (courtesy of Bioware Blog):
Interactive water is one of the key things we’ve added to next-gen. It’s got realistic reflections, and also realistically ripples and splashes as you walk through it. Displacement mapping adds a new level of realism to the environment. Normal maps [in previous-gen technology] brought great detail to surfaces, but displacement mapping actually pushes those details out so you can see them in the silhouette. The place where it’s probably the most noticeable is on terrain. Pebbles, sand ripples, cobblestones, and other details all pop out from the terrain and make it far more detailed than ever before.
The PC version should also feature the same visual elements from the PS4 and Xbox One versions of “Dragon Age Inquisition.” However, they system requirements have not yet been announced by Bioware. Aside from the visual differences, the PS3 and Xbox 360 ports should provide the same gameplay experience as the other iterations. You can find a screen showing the environmental graphics from the official “Dragon Age” Facebook page with the photo near the top of this article.
To use the water effects and displacement mapping, Bioware had to switch from their old engine to the Frostbite 3, an upgraded graphics engine that was developed by the developer of “Battlefield 4.” Electronic Arts, the publisher of “Dragon Age,” is using the same set of tools for other video games, including the tentatively-titled “Mass Effect 4.” “Dragon Age Inquisition” should be arriving on the PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One platforms this fall season in North America.