The Bittersweetest Thing

Lead Writer of BioWare's Dragon Age game series, lover of fan tears. This is where I blog about game development, fandom, and narrative design. Anything I say here is my opinion alone.

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I remember the days when games were about worlds you could explore and about being good, and not about who's got representation and gender this and sexuality that. I miss those days.

Anonymous

Those days miss you, too. I recently found a yellowed letter under one of the floorboards, and it was addressed to you and signed by those days with a tear-stained kiss of lipstick.

Meanwhile, in the present, those of us who work in the industry and who are—amazingly—able to consider more than one idea at the same time, will continue to create good games about worlds you can explore AND occasionally talk about inclusivity.

If you are feeling compassion fatigue, I think it might be okay to sit out those discussions, at least until you get your strength back. While it will be tough not having you available for close consultation, somehow we will soldier on.

But if the question was TV show, it'd be Archer, right?

upsettingshorts

That depends. In this fantasy scenario, is Joss Whedon calling me to do a CRPG adaptation of Firefly? No? Then yes, I am all over an Archer CRPG like Pam on a coke-laden body cast.

If you could make a video game RPG based on any movie franchise what would it be? LotR? Twilight? Die Hard? Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day? You name it!

kal-el-fornia

Blade Runner… or Priscilla Queen of the Desert. I can’t decide.

Knowing me, I’d find a way to mash them together.

"Priscilla, Blade Runner of the Desert!"

inquisitorsfancyhats:

I would pay good money for Bioware to release a video of voice acting bloopers

I think my personal favorite would be the time Susan Boyd (Wynne from DAO) was delivering a line in her typical, grandmotherly fashion… and then accidentally knocked over her water bottle and suddenly launched into a string of very decidedly non-grandmotherly expletives. Everyone in the booth laughed and laughed.

(via winterlive)

Dear Mr Gaider, I'm very curious what do you think about Anita Sarkeesian's video series "Tropes vs Women in Video Games" especially since she often speaks about BioWare games.

mrkjad

afaerassumption:

dgaider:

I think they’re quite thought-provoking. While I don’t always agree with her conclusions, I tend to agree more often than not… and, even if I didn’t, I fully support her right to ask these questions even about games on which I’ve worked or which I love.

The guys who defend their vile rhetoric (or outright abuse) regarding Anita with “because I think she’s wrong” clearly never grew out of the kindergarten-level mentality which says the only way to disagree with someone is to punch them in the face.

In fact, now that I consider it, I’ve seen children in kindergarten with better conflict resolution skills, so it’s more likely these guys are just assholes. They feel impotent in every other aspect of their life and are thus desperate to feel manly by lashing out at someone they’ve built up as a villain in their heads… and nobody took them aside in the schoolyard to educate them that hitting a girl is, without question, the least manly thing you can do, no matter what you think she’s done.

Either way, the videos are worth a watch. Those who don’t know about them can catch them on the Feminist Frequency channel here.

Mr. Gaider, to think that you would insult a group of people baselessly and with such vitriol is… greatly disappointing; especially since you’ve been one of my favourite video game writers since I bought Dragon Age Origins. You paint all disagreement with Sarkeesian as bullying, demeaning, disrespectful and baseless.

Sad to say, there were quite a few reactionaries in the early days of her infamy that were bullying and threatening and this is a stain on video game discourse in general. Worse yet it allows people to paint any criticism of Sarkeesian’s information as sexist bullies — much as you hear for just about any criticism leveled against any claim made by any feminist. This constant act of Strawmanning that you just took part in, is a great disservice to honest and reasonable discourse everywhere.

Is some of criticism against her disrespectful? Yes, absolutely; know why? Well, Mr. Gaider you’ve been working on a game where the is a focus on taking action to grow your organization’s influence in the world, so surely you must understand that respect needs to be earned not simply given.

Anita Sarkeesian has given no one any reason to respect her; her cherry-picking of facts and manipulation of information to always make her and her causes look victimized is simply disdainful. I refer you to the video below — in which her work is deconstructed thoroughly and without vitriol.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuRSaLZidWI

No one doesn’t support her right to ask her questions, what people take issue with is her spreading of misinformation and her portrayal of everything as victimizing women, and while there most certainly is still some victimization and marginalization of women in media, the idea that it is some all-encompassing, monolithic structure in media anymore is utterly false.

I would also ask you about this statement “and nobody took them aside in the schoolyard to educate them that hitting a girl is, without question, the least many thing you can do, no matter what you think she’s done.” Why is it only ‘hitting a girl’? Should it not be ‘hitting anyone’ — though I disagree that there is never a reason to hit someone, I will agree that out of a philosophical difference is never acceptable — why should that statement only apply to women? Men, women and any non-binary person should all be equally protected from violence. We ought to live in a society where all people are treated equitably; putting such a strong focus on any one group within is, in truth, detrimental to that cause.

In short Mr. Gaider, while you personally do have my respect and admiration, the way you portray any disagreement with Ms. Sarkeesian is entirely assinine and I hope to see some evolution from you on this matter. Thank you for your time.

Oh, please.

I did not portray “any disagreement” with Anita as anything. I said those who use vile rhetoric or outright abuse. Why you’d choose to lump yourself in with those you yourself call a stain on video game discourse, I can’t really imagine. You’re not one of those people? Awesome. You disagree with Anita, and can do so in a respectful manner? Even better.

Because you’re wrong about one thing. Respect does not need to be earned. You shouldn’t have to go out of your way to prove that you deserve to be treated in a respectful manner. Unless you’re confusing respect with admiration, that should be pretty clear.

As for “why is it only hitting a girl?” — come on, man. Seriously? Yes, you are absolutely correct that it’s not okay to hit anyone… but if there are men out there who didn’t figure out at some point that it is indeed worse when their target is a woman then they simply don’t know what it actually means to be a man. Worse, they aren’t listening when a woman says it is not the same as when the situation is reversed. Because it isn’t. I learned that in the schoolyard—why didn’t you?

Dear Mr Gaider, I'm very curious what do you think about Anita Sarkeesian's video series "Tropes vs Women in Video Games" especially since she often speaks about BioWare games.

mrkjad

I think they’re quite thought-provoking. While I don’t always agree with her conclusions, I tend to agree more often than not… and, even if I didn’t, I fully support her right to ask these questions even about games on which I’ve worked or which I love.

The guys who defend their vile rhetoric (or outright abuse) regarding Anita with “because I think she’s wrong” clearly never grew out of the kindergarten-level mentality which says the only way to disagree with someone is to punch them in the face.

In fact, now that I consider it, I’ve seen children in kindergarten with better conflict resolution skills, so it’s more likely these guys are just assholes. They feel impotent in every other aspect of their life and are thus desperate to feel manly by lashing out at someone they’ve built up as a villain in their heads… and nobody took them aside in the schoolyard to educate them that hitting a girl is, without question, the least manly thing you can do, no matter what you think she’s done.

Either way, the videos are worth a watch. Those who don’t know about them can catch them on the Feminist Frequency channel here.

Hi feel free to ignore/delete this cause this is just curiosity about the DA universe. Is there anything on Astronomy in Thedas? Constellations, Star charts and the like?

platinumpirategiraffe

What an oddly well-timed question (you don’t work for EA Marketing, do you?) The answer is yes, and this will come up— at length— when you play DAI.

Indira Varma (the voice of Vivienne) in a skit with jessicamerizan!

This may, in fact, be the best thing ever. Indira, aside from being an absolutely perfect Vivienne, is so completely game. :)

I sent you two asks now and you didn't respond. Why not? All I want to know is whether the keep will be released befroe the game comes out. Is that really so difficult?

Anonymous

This is my personal blog. The questions I answer are the ones I feel give me a chance to blog about something in which I’m interested, provided they don’t involve me discussing aspects of projects which haven’t already been announced. I am not an on-call source of information for Dragon Age, particularly when it comes to things with which I have no involvement (like the DA Keep).

I sometimes respond privately to questions, if it’s something I don’t want to blog about and I have the time (I get a lot of asks), but if someone sends me an anonymous ask and my only option is to post that publicly then it’s not going to get answered. I also don’t answer questions when the answers are available elsewhere, or I’ve already blogged about it, and they could be found with a little searching.

If you want a Tumblr which exists to answer any and all Dragon Age questions from Tumblr users, my suggestion would be to direct that request to someone on the Community team (like jessicamerizan). Sorry.

I saw the backgrounds go up in the DA website, and it says the kossith player is Tal-Vashoth and not Vashoth, as had previously been stated. I'm confused. Which is it?

Anonymous

In case anyone’s curious, the backgrounds being referenced are the ones posted on the Dragon Age website here.

As for the question, let me preface it with a clarification regarding terminology in Dragon Age. There is terminology as used by the Qunari themselves—meaning the followers of the Qun, who have very specific and rigid standards regarding their classification of things, standards which are meaningless to anyone outside of the Qun—and there is terminology as used by everyone else in Thedas.

If one is talking to a follower of the Qun in-game, they will use their own standards for terminology and simply do not care if whomever they are speaking to doesn’t understand. That doesn’t matter. They are wrong. Everyone else will use the regular terminology, although some might be aware of Qunari terminology.

Which is a long way of saying that the difference between “Vashoth” and “Tal-Vashoth” is really only of interest to followers of the Qun, much like the difference between “kossith” and “Qunari”. I’m aware some fans like to use Qunari terminology as the only “correct” one, regardless of context, so for them I’ll say that the Qunari PC is indeed Vashoth as previously clarified. We will use Tal-Vashoth, as the difference is meaningless to everyone but a follower of the Qun…and trying to walk the line of definitions as the Qunari would see them isn’t a rabbit hole we’ll go down right off the bat (though it may indeed come up in-game, again depending on the context of the conversation).

Hope that makes sense, as I’ll not explain it again. :)

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