Dragon Age lead writer on the role of romance

Dragon Age and Mass Effect, BioWare's two biggest franchises, have a few things in common: Customizable characters, ethical dilemmas, and interspecies smooches. Whether they're fighting Reapers or the Blight, players find love can bloom, even on a battlefield.

Some of those players get that a little bit out of proportion with the main game, Dragon Age lead writer David Gaider wrote on his blog.

"Romances are a sideshow, not the main game. Yes, some people like them a lot, and I have absolutely no beef with them doing so. In fact, it’s very gratifying. While I suppose a game could be made where the romantic plot takes a level of importance equal to that of the critical path, that has never been the case with the games BioWare makes."

He said he could happily make a game without romances, or spend as much time developing non-romantic relationships with a game's followers. Platonic love aside, Gaider said he wouldn't expand the role of romance in BioWare's games without also changing their nature:

"Adding an element of failure, for instance, or by having not all characters be available to all player characters (they’re attracted only to certain types, for instance). Adding different types of romance: tragic romances, romances where your partner cheats on you, romances where the character is already involved in another relationship, characters that don’t know how to relate to someone else on a romantic level or aren’t interested in such."

Would you prefer a BioWare game with more potential romantic partners, even if it meant they might--gasp--not work out?


  • alex-roy-bristol - January 15, 2013 1:28 p.m.

    I would like to think that if a romance didn't work out in a Western game, that the people (players mostly) would be able to take it and feel something. I am an avid player of dating sims/eroges and, I honestly DO think that romance can improve a story, and that sex can make things a lot more meaningful, just like in real life. HOWEVER!, also much like in real life, if not done well, it can just be stupid and meaningless, and even have a very large potential to simply ruin the game/relationship/image of the devs and even the gamers that play such games. tl;dr: Go for it Biowear, I fucking love you guys, and think that more emotion will make a better Biowear game. Not all games need so much emotional strain mind you, but Biowear games simply are NOT Biowear games if you don't feel some feels man.
  • Silvercloak - January 15, 2013 9:43 a.m.

    I miss RPGs that had the romance as a central thematic element to it's storytelling. Final Fantasy 10 for example...
  • ChiChiRocket - January 14, 2013 10:11 p.m.

    I just like how relationships, in general, worked in the DA games over the ME games. Having characters do better if they liked you more just seemed to fit, rather than relationships being purely a story element in Mass Effect. It would certainly be nice to include some variety in relationships in upcoming games. It was really annoying how every character in DA2 was attracted to Hawke, no matter the circumstances. I wouldn't mind seeing certain characters becoming available/blocked depending on key plot choices as you play through the game.
  • jackthemenace - January 15, 2013 7:47 a.m.

    I'll agree with that. It was annoying that Mass Effect's romances were so dull, especially since you could easily get a character to 'fall in love' by choosing the answer on top the of the conversation wheel every time- at least, in the first two anyway. I don't remember Dragon Age's romances being much better, but having certain characters perform better if they're in love with you might be a more interesting feature to incorporate, rather than tying romances to the main story, especially if only certain characters can be romanced based on decisions regarding either story-matters or in your character customisation. One thing I'd like to see more of is a reason to do romance in games besides achievements/extra items/sex scenes. Like, say if each romance had it's own small sub-story, that was self-contained, in a way, that would play out differently depending on how you proceeded with the romantic interest, and even depending on the choices you made when talking to other potential, or even not potential, romance choices of the same gender.
  • Tjwoods18 - January 14, 2013 8:25 p.m.

    Mass effect romance scenes were ecentric, while dragon ages was a little bland. Mass effect definatly won.
  • StrayGator - January 14, 2013 2:04 p.m.

    Earlier today I decided to google-translate everything I read to French in order to speed up my learning, and this happens to be the first article I've done so. So I just read it in french, slowly and aloud. Sexy time.
  • Connor Sheridan - January 14, 2013 3:01 p.m.

    Ceci n'est pas une bad idea.

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