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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On Concerns Regarding DAI Romances

I’ve been rather heads-down at work as of late, so I’ll admit to not being quite abreast of discussions in the fandom as I sometimes am (even though, at the best of times, I generally only get wind of such things well after they’ve occurred).

So after the excited burbling following the trailer release and subsequent announcements, it was a bit of a surprise to hear of concerns regarding Inquisition’s romance system. I didn’t think we’d actually broached the topic yet, but some comments were made in a recent interview that have been subject to speculation and some alarm. Naturally it’s not something everyone’s interested in for Inquisition, but some people are very interested and also invested in what we’re going to do.

I don’t normally do this, but since I answered a couple of questions on the BioWare forums on the subject—and have had it pointed out to me numerous times that the Tumblr crowd is not always privy to the goings-on of our forums—I’ll repost my answers here. Until we can discuss the matter at length (which will eventually come, even if it feels like it will be never be soon enough), it’s really the most I can do. If you have other questions, feel free to message me…just understand that my blog is not really intended as an “Inquisition information center”, and the questions I can answer regarding things which haven’t yet been revealed is very limited.

I hope it helps, and look forward to the whirlwind of information and speculation (as well as excitement, on our part as well as yours) to come over the next, oh, six months or so.

Veriond, on 23 Apr 2014 - 8:17 PM, said:image

The perception is that Bioware is backing away from supporting queer gamers.

Categorically not true.

I understand there are some people who prefer the idea of being able to romance any character who is able to be romanced, with any PC. That may have been a happy by-product of the system in DA2, for them, but that was not its purpose. Its purpose was to allow more than one option for every type of player, no matter who they were. That remains our goal.

As Mark Darrah tweeted earlier today, we have characters that are gay as well as bisexual and straight. I’m not going to discuss numbers or any further details at this point, so you can make of that what you will, but that allows us to tell more types of character stories without having to resort to ambiguity. Those stories exist for players who don’t romance the characters as well, and that’s also important. The rest will come as we discuss this aspect of the game in detail, but I’d hope the Dragon Age’s team’s expressed interest in inclusivity would provide us some benefit of the doubt until that happens.

stuffystuffs, on 23 Apr 2014 - 8:37 PM, said:image

Why is gender the only limiting factor when trying to make ‘realistic’ romances?

Who says it’s the only limiting factor? We’ve not said how the romances will work at all, so that’s quite the assumption.

I understand the concern about possibly ending up with the “short end of the stick”, but I’m not sure where the DA team has yet given the impression that will be so. I’m not going to tell you your concerns don’t have validity—I’m actually quite familiar with how it feels to have my interests treated as a secondary concern when it comes to popular entertainment—but I’m hoping that concern need not equate with panic at this point. We’ve got a lot of time yet to discuss this.

Personally, I’d rather the conversation didn’t start with a discussion of what is “realistic”. That’s not a bar the DA team uses to judge any of our content—not in a fantasy game. There’s an argument that can be made about internal plausibility within the setting, but the realism Cam was trying to talk about in that interview was with regards to character depictions and the variety of viewpoints that can be touched on depending on the approach. I hope that’s clear. If not, it’s something we’ll certainly be discussing more in the months to come.

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