Dragon Age: Inquisition Lead Writer Defends In-Game Romance, Equality

Dragon Age: Inquistion screenshot 2

BioWare are hardly strangers to controversy (the Mass Effect 3 ending, anyone?) but rather than staying away from it, like the shy development team in the corner, they are more than happy to embrace it, with open arms and open hearts because often, the BioWare choices that cause the most flack are the ones that matter. This is according to David Gaider, the lead writer of their upcoming title, Dragon Age: Inquisition, discussing in-game romances, and he not so much kicks the hornet’s nest as he does punts it out the stadium. Read what he has to say after the break.

Dragon Age: Inquistion screenshot 3

‘Suck It, Haters’ – BioWare, Probably

Fully acknowledging the fact that people have often had an issue with some of the in-game romance choices (both queer and straight) that BioWare are known for, Gaider says that

“[He] can easily imagine a time when the romances in [Dragon Age: Inquisition] are revealed (whether that will be before or after release, [he has] no idea). There will be an inevitable reaction from people who are disappointed they couldn’t romance someone with their character of choice, and some of them will rant at length as to how they were only deprived of said romance because of some agenda.”

Gaider also wrote on his blog that some disgruntled players may even turn round and suggest that

“[BioWare] took away that romance because [they’re] mean, or because [BioWare are] boring and couldn’t [they] see that the romance they wanted would be so much more interesting? And that romance [BioWare] actually put in is not only terrible but is homophobic/biphobic/racist/pedophilia/etc., which [the angry fans’] romance pairing would not be.” without understanding the importance of BioWare’s in-game romances.

Dragon Age: Inquistion screenshot 4

Defending the <1%

In my video game diversity report, it was revealed that less than 1% of the playable characters we saw in video games in 2013 identified as queer, with just one character in the 60 game that I surveyed identifying as so. And while I doubt that Gaider has read the report, he too understands why the next set of in-game romances in Dragon Age: Inquisition will be so important.

Gaider writes that

“To [him], the thing that BioWare does best is not story but characters—[He thinks BioWare’s] characters are done to a level that few other games even attempt, with an element of agency that strikes a chord in [their] players…and romances have been a natural outgrowth of that. Sure [BioWare] could stop, but that would be turning [their] backs on something ]they] do which almost no-one else does. The question would be: “why?” And what do [they] replace it with?”

And he is absolutely right. I don’t know for certain as to whether or not Dragon Age: Inquisition will include queer in-game romances (although from Gaider’s words, he certainly suggests that it does) but without them in BioWare’s game, it’s incredibly likely that there would be no other playable queer characters in games this year whatsoever, making Gaider’s defense of them, as well as their inclusion, incredibly important.

Via David Gaider’s Tumblr.

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  • Baka-akab

    Instead of caring so much about bi-sex option (wich yet i dont mind , except when you switch mid course an established characters’ sexuality) … how about writing better romance and flirting dialogues , if you want it as part of the gameplay ? it was poorly done for all parties involved , and it boogles my mind that Bioware folks and you the press would rather keep distracting from that with deemed controversial subjects .

    I cringed a lot when even with an otherwise great and interesting character like Morrigan , it was so easy to get into her pants , and all the dialogues read like cheap softcore porn and fanfic in DAO .

    And it got even worse in DA2 .

    Some of the chosen character were annoyingly persistant , aggressive and vergeing on harassement . Ander especially . The most ridiculous part being that if you refused to make your moves on Ander then you basically are receiving rivalry points .

    Sure aggressive people do exists .. but who need that kind of realism and grievance in a game , for a supposedly optional part of a rpg ?

    Enough games , especially jrpgs have used romancing dialogue and choice element , without it turning into some softcore romance where you speak to the chosen char 3 times and hop it’s done you can go to bed and read tons of sexual innuendo , or feel the burn of the scorned

    • http://jstationx.com Jasmine Henry

      Hi Baka-akab,

      Just for reference, I can’t speak for other members of the press but I didn’t cover the story because it might be deemed controversial, diversity is what we cover at J Station X! So I felt it necessary to shed some light on a story that’s relevant to what we cover.

      As for the writing in Dragon Age and Mass Effect, I partly agree with you. While I don’t think that any character in either franchise has ever downright sad ‘I’m gay/straight/bisexual’ and therefore we can’t really know thir sexuality unless BioWare tells us, I do completely agree about the writing.

      Some of the scenes can be poorly scripted and I think that moving forward, David Gaiden and the other writers on Dragon Age: Inquisition have a big task ahead of them to make sure that’s not the case in the series’ next game, as well as trying to make sure that any queer romances are presented well.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Jasmine, Head Editor of J Station X