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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My friend and I were discussing the heir problem of DA: O and one thing made us wonder. We read that Anora was supposed to be infertile and that this is the reason behind why Cailan was going to leave her for Empress Celene. However, the entry further said that it was eventually erased from the original script. But, is it still considered as 'canon'? Or is there another reason why Arl Eamon urges Cailan to look for a different bride?


The plot involving Empress Celene was cut from Dragon Age: Origins, but the story behind it was resurrected for the Return to Ostagar DLC. Whether Anora was actually infertile is unknown. She was believed to be (or, at least, Arl Eamon believed her to be), but then again none of the Theirin boys have been particularly laden with children, so perhaps the problem was Cailin himself. If you’re looking for me to confirm whether this belief was, in fact, the truth, then I’m afraid I won’t do that.

Do you ever look through a character tag and just raise your eyebrows?


Not really, no. I find that doing searches by tags (of any kind) exposes me to stuff that just makes me crazy, so for my own sanity I avoid doing that. I’ll eventually see all the awesome fan art and such come across my dashboard anyhow. I primarily use Tumblr as a blogging site, after all, not a “look for interesting things” site.


Empress Celene of Orlais rose to the throne of the most powerful nation in Thedas through wisdom, wit, and ruthless manipulation. Now, the empire she has guided into an age of enlightenment is threatened from within by imminent war between the templars and the mages, even as rebellion stirs among the downtrodden elves To save Orlais, Celene must keep her hold on the throne by any means necessary.

Fighting with the legendary skill of the Orlesian Chevaliers , Grand Duke Gaspard has won countless battles for the empire and the empress But has he fought in vain? As the Circle fails and chaos looms, Gaspard begins to doubt that Celene’s diplomatic approach to the mage problem or the elven uprisings will keep the empire safe. Perhaps it is time for a new leader, one who lives by the tenets of the Chevalier’s Code, to make Orlais strong again.

Briala has been Celene’s handmaid since the two of them were children, subtly using her position to help improve the lives of elves across Orlais. She is Celene’s confidante, spymaster, and lover, but when politics force the empress to choose between the rights of Briala’s people and the Orlesian throne, Briala must in turn decide where her true loyalties lie.

Alliances are forged and promises broken as Celene and Gaspard battle for the throne of Orlais But in the end, the elves who hide in the forests or starve in the alienages may decide the fate of the masked empire.

Guess what’s out today?


Danny does not have a password on her phone. Foolish, foolish girl.



Sorry, but we had to just get that off our (ample) chest.

In recent news: anticipation mounts. Or so it would appear.

On Becoming a Voice Actor

Hello Mr Gaider, I was wondering if you had any information on being a voice actor in general and being one specifically for bioware. Thanks! — fan question

I know only a little about this, being exposed to one part of it, so rather than give an answer based on my assumptions, I sat down next to Caroline Livingstone (our VO director and producer) and got her input regarding it. That wasn’t too hard, as we were in an airport waiting for our delayed flight.

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Do you think that people who can write, draw, and program have a better chance of working in the game industry or do you believe that it acts as more of a hindrance? Have you come across many people in the industry who exhibit this sort of tour de force or is it rare?


Being able to wear multiple hats can be incredibly valuable, particular if you’re trying to get on with a smaller company. My impression is that, the smaller the company is, the more flexible they’ll need their people to be. They won’t have the money to hire a dedicated writer, for instance, so they’ll value a programmer or an artist who can also write. The larger the developer gets, the more and more specialized they’ll need their people to be.

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I've always been curious about how much "pull" a lead writer has. To my understanding, you've developed much of the world or at least have fleshed it out a fair amount. Does the amorphous entity that controls the writing team allow you to ever go, "No, that's not really how it would work," or do they tell you what they want and you have to write to fit within it? Do they police just story elements of the game or do they go as far as dictating something like dialogue and characterization?


How much “pull” a writer has is going to vary from company to company, as well as from team to team. It depends on the culture of the company, really, as well as the personalities on that particular team—some leads might micro-manage everything, and some people are going to have more or less sway over the direction of the project by virtue of their personal charisma and/or the respect they command, regardless of their individual position.

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On Voice Over

One thing I’ve discovered over time is that people don’t really understand the process of voice over recording—how it’s written, how it gets into the game, anything like that. They understand, on some level, that at some point actors have to show up and speak their lines…but beyond that? It’s pretty vague. So here’s some elaboration on how that works.

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On Character Popularity

"Who would you say is possibly the most fan requested companion and LI in the whole Dragon Age series? Would this be enough for you to add them into the game on that basis? (assuming they can slot into the story quite nicely.) Has this ever been done before?" — fan question

I’d say it’s fairly difficult to judge the popularity of any given character, particularly if the barometer one is using is the amount of discussion about that character on places like Tumblr or the BioWare forums. People tend to measure that discussion in terms of volume, not quantity, and that’s a pretty sketchy way to measure it.

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