Writing romances is opening "Pandora's Box", says BioWare writer David Gaider
Posted: 23.01.2014 13:46 by Simon Priest Comments: 6
Dragon Age: Inquisition lead writer David Gaider has discussed the topic of romance in BioWare's RPGs, and how some would be happy if they "just abandoned the effort altogether," but it's tricky.

There are those who enjoy BioWare's tales as much as they do because of romance options, but the team often feels the pressure and always ask 'should we bother?'

Gaider can already imagine the various reactions once some of Dragon Age: Inquisition's potential relationships are revealed, and the conspiracies concocted.

"I can easily imagine a time when the romances in Inquisition are revealed (whether that will be before or after release, I have no idea)," Gaider wrote. "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."

"We took away that romance because we're mean, or because we're boring and couldn't we see that the romance they wanted would be so much more interesting? And that romance we actually put in is not only terrible but is homophobic/biphobic/racist/pedophilia/etc., which their romance pairing would not be."

"Yes, at that time, the conversation of why we even bother certainly can and will come up within the team. For the most part, it's not hard to soon remember that we bother because there are a lot of people who enjoy the romances we write very much - and if there are people who take it to an angry place, it's probably because they passionately care. And also probably because we do sometimes make mistakes and can indeed do better," he conceded.

Whether you like them or not, romances have become a staple of BioWare's storytelling, with considerable time and effort into crafting them for Dragon Age and Mass Effect. Before that they were also present in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Jade Empire. More recently they're littered throughout Star Wars: The Old Republic.

"I know some fans would be happy if we just abandoned the effort altogether," he continued.

"Generally those are people who don't use that sort of content in our games anyhow, so us not pursuing it naturally wouldn't bother them. I'll just ignore the element who see romances as a thing that only 'fangirls' like, and which is thus of lesser value to a 'real game'."

Confirmed party members in Inquisition are Dragon Age 2's dwarven story telling and rogue Varric, and Chantry Seeker and warrior Cassandra Pentaghast. There's also a new character called Vivienne, a mage from Orlais. Another confirmed returning character is Morrigan however she won't be a full party member.

"To me, the thing that BioWare does best is not story but characters - I think our characters are done to a level that few other games even attempt, with an element of agency that strikes a chord in our players...and romances have been a natural outgrowth of that. Sure we could stop, but that would be turning our backs on something we do which almost no-one else does. The question would be: 'why?' And what do we replace it with?"

"It's possible we could answer that question," Gaider mused.

"We've made a few games without romances before, and we could do it again. Perhaps, if we made a new IP, we might decide it's best not to open that particular Pandora's Box (which, yes, romances have always been) and go with something else...but that 'something else' better be something damned good, as there are a lot of people who enjoy that part of our games immensely and who might not be willing to buy into a new series which didn't have it."

"Some folks might be eager to write those fans off, but I'm not really sure that BioWare feels the same."

Dragon Age: Inquisition releases on PC, Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One and PS4 in Q3 2014. Sometime early this year BioWare will be beta testing their Dragon Keep system which is designed to store playthroughs of Dragon Age and let us craft what took place in previous Dragon Age adventures to carry through our decisions into Inquisition.

Source: OXM


By Voqar (SI Core Veteran) on Jan 23, 2014
I love RPGs and BioWare makes some great ones but the whole romance element of it is not something I've ever cared about, and the idiotic debates and issues that end up falling out from it make it even less desirable to have.
By FoolWolf (SI Elite) on Jan 24, 2014
No - don't bother - it will most likely come down to your hero waking up wityh the walk of shame for ending up in a romance just because you said "Good Morning" instead of the "F U a-hole" comment in the next "ingenious" wheel conversation mode.

Let's face it - the real consequencies of romance in BioWare games simply becamse wishy-washy rince and repeat crap compared to those of Baldurs Gate 2.
By nocutius (SI Elite) on Jan 24, 2014
Unless romance is a meaningful decision with actual effects on the story I don't care for it either way. And those gay options don't bother me either, I'm all for giving people options to play the way they want. The last thing I want is a world where deviating from the norm in any way results in a social suicide. One dark ages were enough.
By LukeDion1987 (SI Core Veteran) on Jan 26, 2014
Well, after DA2 they should be caution with things like this, I mean DA1 had both romances and good story/gameplay, the same ME1, so why delete it from games that are known for that type of content?

But as long as the game will be very good I can live with that...
By DustynB (SI Newbie) on Jan 26, 2014
Damnit Bioware why couldn't I romance a Darkspawn?! Wtf! ha ha
By nocutius (SI Elite) on Jan 26, 2014
Eeew :).

Not that I'm judging but they seem to have pretty sharp teeth and a very strong desire to bite :P.