Capcom's Dragon's Dogma may look like your typical action-RPG at first glance, but I'm told that this game lies more heavily on the action side of things. while you do develop your character, your actions aren't based on dice rolls but on your actual skill and reflexes with the controller. This isn't surprising, seeing as how developers from Resident Evil 4 and Devil May Cry 4 are involved with this game.
A dragon has stolen your heart, and you have to go get it back, which forms the plot that will lead you to explore this vast open world full of NPCs to interact with and creatures of every shape and size to battle. Your choices will affect the game, but in an interesting twist, even choices during character creation will affect you. For instance, if you make a large, muscular character, he may not be able to fit into a thin opening to access a secret area.
You have three AI "pawns" that will assist you in battle, and while there are light options for direction during combat, the goal with Dragon's Dogma is to make them independent enough that they don't require micromanaging. You can focus on yourself and your teammates will assist you. We'll see if they can program the AI to not need constant supervision! There will be one main pawn that you will develop alongside your main character, and the two secondary pawns will change depending on the mission and what skills are required.
The demo I saw (but didn't actually get to play) had the hero and his three companions battling a giant griffin. It was quite impressive, graphically, and the AI characters did seem pretty good at helping take the beast down. Well, that is until the demonstrator got so distracted by my constant questions about the game that she let the hero perish! Oops!
Look for Dragon's Dogma on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in early 2012.