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Dragon Age Writer: Romance In Games Is A "Pandora's Box"

If you're going to present the player with realistic characters, romance should probably be part of the equation.

That goes double if you're BioWare, and you pride yourself on creating likable, even memorable characters.

However, romance in games can often lead to problems (as the fans well know), and one of those fans asked Dragon Age lead writer David Gaider if the team had considered ditching romantic sub-plots. He responded as follows:

"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."

That all being said, Gaider added that romance could be sidelined in the future. He said that if they make a new IP, they may not want to "open that particular Pandora's Box," which makes sense. Still, it'd be something of a sacrifice, as he says some people really enjoy that part of their games, and they wouldn't like to see romance disappear. Added Gaider- "Some folks might be eager to write those fans off, but I'm not really sure that BioWare feels the same."

I'm still not sure why the concept of romance in games is so much more controversial than it is in other entertainment mediums. Must have something to do with the interactive nature of the hobby, huh?

Tags: bioware, bioware games, bioware characters

1/27/2014 11:00:15 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (14 posts)

Vivi_Gamer
Monday, January 27, 2014 @ 11:24:47 AM
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If it is anything like it is in Mass Effect, I can kind of see why... it felt really forced. Especially when just before a big mission the game says you've been leading two crew members on sort it out now :P

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Underdog15
Monday, January 27, 2014 @ 11:37:50 AM

Never fraternize with the pawns!

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Underdog15
Monday, January 27, 2014 @ 11:38:44 AM
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On the other hand, games like FFVIII are based on the romantic subplot and it often drives the story forward.

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Vivi_Gamer
Monday, January 27, 2014 @ 11:52:26 AM

I'd consider the love between Squall and Rinoa to be the main focus of the game.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, January 27, 2014 @ 11:50:37 AM
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I enjoy it, hey if it's character interaction driven then why can't I pick the one I like the most and live with em in my fake house?

But yeah they shouldn't feel the need to do it with every new IP. I think it works in Dragon Age though, and to some extent in Mass Effect (though a little more awkwardly).

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Shatterday
Monday, January 27, 2014 @ 11:51:39 AM
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I think, in general, this is a step in the wrong direction. For games to progress as an artform, elements like romance and other strong emotional subject matter could add tremendous amount of substance to a game. Of course, it isn't always appropriate but it definitely shouldn't be avoided.

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Beamboom
Monday, January 27, 2014 @ 1:19:43 PM
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No way. BioWare can NOT ditch romance from their games. That's unthinkable. It's been a hallmark of BioWare ever since Neverwinter Nights or maybe even earlier for all I know.

And he's totally right: It's the characters that is the strength of Bioware. And it would not have been the same without the personal relations between those fantastic characters.

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Feryx
Monday, January 27, 2014 @ 3:09:50 PM
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I love me some Bioware romances. I chose a different person each time I played through Origins and DA2.

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Bigimpactpooch
Monday, January 27, 2014 @ 4:01:51 PM
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The only ones who do romance right imo are SquareEnix

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Knightzane
Monday, January 27, 2014 @ 8:00:18 PM

You seem a little upset Tidus, you alright?

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Advent Child
Monday, January 27, 2014 @ 4:44:08 PM
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I love Persona games and a lot of that is the relationship building/dating aspect of the game. But hey I also think we should have dating games like Japan does.

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___________
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 @ 4:11:16 AM
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thats one of the things that made ME2 so special, and made ME3 such a disappointment.
in 2 you start the game and instantly you have a reporter come to you and remark back to your past, and even though you as the player never experienced that, you feel like its a part of your history.
even with the crew getting to do the loyalty missions and you learn about their past and their family what makes them tick and thats what develops the bond and what makes you actually care about them.
and thats what pissed me off so much about 3, it just did not have that!
i have finished ME2 so many times, spent god knows how much effort, to try get a perfect ending where no one dies.
not for silly trophies, but because i really cared about ALL the characters and wanted all of them to live.
ME3 i couldent give a flying f*ck who lives and who dies!

and this is exactly why ive shoveled so much flack onto ND because they are THE WORST at character development!
they did it with uncharted 2, oh heres a new character, there constantly hinting at these characters and their past experience with drake, but never ever flush out those stories.
they did the same thing with tess and joel, or hell who was joel maried to?
who knows!
you meet so many characters in the game but there nothing more than a hello and goodbye there the most empty shelled characters possible!
if ND put HALF the effort into their characters what they do with graphics they would make ME2s characters look like ME3s!

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Beamboom
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 @ 7:47:46 AM

The loyalty-missions in ME2 sure were special. I felt like you, I really got to know the characters and wanted everyone to survive. In fact, I'd say the loyalty missions is what the entire game was all about.

ME3 felt like just one giant ending. It was ME2 that made Mass Effect epic, ME3 should have been melded into that one.

Last edited by Beamboom on 1/28/2014 7:48:50 AM

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chuckuykendall
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 @ 3:32:11 PM
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Being the (failing) trophy whore that I am, I feel the need to earn all trophies in a game but I feel a little weird seeing a trophy that says "You got in on with everyone in the game, you little slut."

I would still try to get it, don't get me wrong. :-)

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