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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Answering Questions: Follower Depth

About your post “on romances in games”, although I totally share your opinion I think you misunderstood the thing about Thane: the writing of his romance story in ME3 has no connection to the ME2 one and I’m not talking about his death. Most of us expected him to die but we did not expect that BioWare “would forget” his ME2 background and would rush a new story, opposite to the former one but simpler. Do you think it’s better to create many simple characters or few deep ones for romances? — earendil87

You’re not the only one to bring that up about Thane. I’ll point out that I did not say “everyone who is upset about the Thane romance arc feels this way”. I said there are people who were unhappy because they couldn’t cure Thane— and there are. I’ve seen many posts to this effect. If others feel differently, that’s great. I was not referring to them.

Considering I have nothing to do with Mass Effect, it’s not something in which I have any particular investment and it has very little to do with my original point. Sorry.

Insofar as your question, I’d say my preference lies towards fewer but deeper. You need to walk a fine line there, however. We’ve discussed at various times the possibility of just having a single party of companions— so, say, three. With three known companions we could make them incredibly deep and interactive, even having them change a great deal based on the player’s actions/choices… but would that be better? In some ways, but it would also sacrifice variety. You’d be giving choice on one hand and taking it away with another, not to mention sacrificing a bit of replayability (assuming that wasn’t replaced by having more variability in those followers, though that might be meaningless if someone didn’t care for them).

There’s no pleasing everyone on this front, obviously, but doing the opposite— going broader but shallower— would probably invite more unhappiness. Or maybe not? There are people who were satisfied with the Skyrim romances, after all, so perhaps it’s simply dependent on player expectations (in line with reality or not). There are many approaches that could potentially work, depending on the context.


  1. heraldofandraste reblogged this from dgaider
  2. earendil87 reblogged this from dgaider and added:
    First of all, thank you for answering my question. I hope BioWare never considers making Skyrim-like romances (if...
  3. renmiri reblogged this from dgaider and added:
    Skyrim romances ??? Ugh Shouldn’t even be in the same sentence as Bioware romances!
  4. zevgirl reblogged this from weirdoqueen and added:
    Agreed. But I’m more concerned with what seems to be the main voice of Bioware these days subtly putting down other...
  5. weirdoqueen reblogged this from zevgirl and added:
    perhaps, but I don’t think most players play Skyrim for the romances, and Bethesda know that. hell, marriage wasn’t even...
  6. phdfan reblogged this from dgaider
  7. prevolt reblogged this from dgaider
  8. ohnotherancor reblogged this from dgaider and added:
    Personally, I wouldn’t be happy with shallower companions. I’ve seen many complaints about the lack of depth the Skyrim...
  9. der-erlkonig reblogged this from dgaider
  10. upsettingshorts reblogged this from dgaider and added:
    I cannot wait to find out how much Eurogamer will insult my intelligence and willingness to read the source with its...
  11. katiebour said: I love Skyrim, but not for the depth of its characters. Bioware is my go-to game maker for awesome character development, and I as a user wouldn’t change a thing. Keep being awesome, sir!
  12. izzyhasthoughts reblogged this from dgaider and added:
    David Gaider, please do not ever write ‘more but shallower.’ I think you do a great job with the companions as is, and...
  13. kunari reblogged this from dgaider

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