My finger is hovering over the pre-order button for Dragon Age: Inquisition, but being a responsible adult, I have not yet committed. It will happen though. No matter how much Bioware has hurt me with tri-coloured endings, missing Wardens and almost everything else about Dragon Age 2, I just can’t quit them. It certainly doesn’t help that they know all the right buttons to push. And by that I mean companions.
Aside from the fact that Bioware is fully embracing the concept of DiversityTM and Strong Female CharactersTM, and totally standing behind their choices, with team members openly shutting down the bigots, their NPCs are always just … awesome. And Bioware knows it.
Subject Zero convinced me to play Mass Effect, thanks to her teaser trailer. She might not seem like much more than an angry woman child looking to rage out on anything in her way, but getting to know her meant that, by the time I met up with her again in Mass Effect 3, she had made mama so damn proud.
Bioware’s characters are so wonderfully nuanced. Layers upon layers, with rich histories and connections that players can only truly learn by taking the time to talk to them and to listen to what they have to say. Reading their bios isn’t good enough. You have to truly hang out with them to appreciate them. That doesn’t mean players are meant to like all of them. That’s the best part – the characters are so realistic in their quirks and their flaws that everyone can relate to them in some way, for better or for worse. Making the effort to get to know the NPCs can lead to some of the games best moments, and because of Bioware’s obsession with ChoiceTM, the NPCs reactions and interactions can be completely different from playthrough to playthrough, revealing even more about them.
I’m currently playing SWTOR as much for the class stories, as for the companions related to each class. Unfortunately, there are limitations to the amount of interaction the player gets with each of the five companions, but I grasp at those little tidbits of goodness, and am sad when my companions run off on their own personal missions, but don’t invite me along.
It’s fun to compare the companions from one Bioware game to another, because the writers have clearly developed a framework of their own special archetypes. The child-like apprentice-type, who isn’t as naïve as they seem to be. The anarchist. The mother figure. The eager to please. The uncaring. Archetypes typically found in other media as well, but Bioware seems to have developed and branded their own little twists.
Bioware also knows that some of us (lol we are the 99%) are here for the pixelated romance. How many times have I vowed not to romance Alistair, but end up falling for this every time? So why fight it? In fact, with the introduction of Dragon Age: Inquisition’s Dorian Pavus, I am, for the first time ever, making plans to make my legacy character a male. You don’t understand how major a decision this is. Because boys are yucky. They can be nice to look at, but if I have the choice, I prefer to create female characters. I suppose the simple answer is that, being a female, I relate better to female characters. The simpler answer is that, if I’m going to be staring at the same character for 100 hours, I want it to be appealing to my eyes – which leads to the simplest answer: boobies.
But Dorian Pavus fascinates me. I’m not *just* making a male NPC *just* so I can bed the rebellious Tevinter mage, but I know that romance options means even more opportunity to get to know the characters. I’ve also already planned out the rest of my main team, which will be comprised of the following:
Iron Bull: Because the kossith have developed over the years and we’ve gotten to see them from the more rigid qunari religious aspect. I expect lots of interesting dynamics between him and Dorian, since the kossith have a long history of animosity with the Tevinter.
I’m leaning toward a mage for my first character, though I haven’t spent too much time exploring the class options. I’m more interested in the party dynamics. My second will likely be a rogue, a class I’ve learned to appreciate since Dragon Age: Origins and have honed in Skyrim. This one will likely be a kossith female and I’ll definitely have Cole in party, at least for a few minutes. I know Cole from the book Asunder and was so pleased when he was announced. He’s a ghost of sorts, with physical form that is forgotten if you move away from him, and I’m curious to see how his story continues here.
Save for the latest book, The Masked Empire, I’m all caught up on my back stories, which I know will play into the game. Non-lore hunters won’t be hurt by not reading all the surrounding materials, but for me, it’s almost necessary. When such effort is put into creating a world with such depth, why wouldn’t you go beyond simply killing all the things with fire.
Not that I won’t be killing all the things with fire, mind. I just haven’t paid much attention to the game mechanics. It’s not my main point of interest, and considering I’ve struggled through games with awful and even glitched mechanics just for story purposes (and Kreia), I’m really not worried about Dragon Age: Inquisition causing me any more stress.
Now all I need is Prince to show up in Orlais, and all will be well in my world.