Dragon Age: Origins, Sexual Orientation, and Player Choice

Morrigan from Dragon Age: Origins

I started playing Dragon Age: Origins a few weeks ago. I chose to play a female elf mage, Thurkear. I have heard a lot about the relationship and romance aspect of Dragon Age from friends who are playing it and a few bits and pieces in the media. Having heard about their enjoyment and engagement with this aspect of the game, I was looking forward to playing through it myself.

There are mild spoilers about non-player-character sexual orientation in this post.

At this point in the story, there are three NPCs in my party who I know Thurkear can try to romance. However, Thurkear is attracted to the only person she can’t have: Morrigan. This is frustrating, as Morrigan represents the most natural and ideal NPC my character would be attracted to, given the background I’ve thought up for Thurkear. As a player, I really like Morrigan. I was gutted when I discovered that Thurkear’s affections would go unrequited.

There are four NPCs available as romantic partners for your player-character: Morrigan, Leliana, Zevran, and Alistair. Both Leliana and Zevran are bisexual. Both Morrigan and Alistair are heterosexual.

  • If you have a heterosexual female player-character, you have two romantic options: Alistair and Zevran.
  • If you have a heterosexual male player-character, you have two romantic options: Morrigan and Leliana.
  • If you have a bisexual female player-character, you have three romantic options: Alistair, Leliana, and Zevran. Morrigan will never return romantic affection to a female player-character.
  • If you have a bisexual male player-character, you have three romantic options: Morrigan, Leliana, and Zevran. Alistair will never return romantic affection to a male player-character.
  • If you have a homosexual female player-character, you have one romantic option: Leliana. Morrigan will never return romantic affection to a female player-character.
  • If you have a homosexual male player-character, you have one romantic option: Zevran. Alistair will never return romantic affection to a male player-character.

It’s worthwhile to note that the heterosexual player-character is the only one that has unlimited potential romantic options, within the scope of heterosexual attraction. What does this mean? Let’s first re-state the obvious: a heterosexual player-character will always go for a romance with an NPC of the opposite sex. If you have a male player-character, your two options, Morrigan and Leliana, are always available to you as choices. If you have a female player-character, your two options, Alistair and Zevran, are always available to you as choices. In both of these cases, provided your player-character does the right things to win over the NPC, they will always be able to do so. Heterosexual player-characters are never denied a choice because all of the romantic options they would choose are always available.

The bisexual or homosexual player-character will always be denied choice in at least one instance. In those instances, no matter how highly the NPC of the same sex approves of them, that NPC will never engage in a romantic relationship with that player-character. Thurkear could give loads of presents to Morrigan (and she has), but Morrigan will never, ever return her feelings, no matter how much Morrigan likes Thurkear.

As we outlined before, a heterosexual player-character has all options available to them. Despite being denied a romance in at least one instance, the bisexual player-character has the most potential romantic options in absolute numbers terms. A homosexual player-character is the most constrained, with only one romantic option available to them.

This brings us to another point. There are no homosexual NPCs that your player-character can romance. What about Leliana and Zevran? Well, no. They’re bisexual. They aren’t gay. Bisexuality and homosexuality are separate and distinct sexual orientations, just as heterosexuality is distinct from the former two. One cannot equate two bisexual romance options with having homosexual romance options.

I am a supporter of more bisexual visibility in the media. I often feel as if bisexuality is portrayed and regarded negatively in entertainment media, in mainstream society, and frustratingly, even within the queer community. Biphobia is common. Whether it’s the ridiculous assertion that bisexual people can’t decide on which sex to be attracted to, that bisexual people are confused about their sexual orientation, that bisexual people will sleep with “anything that moves”, or whether it’s the mythical stereotype that bisexual people are untrustworthy or more likely to cheat on partners than heterosexual people or homosexual people. Having more three-dimensional bisexual characters in whatever media is a positive thing. Even though so many of those representations of bisexuality are likely to be flawed, negative, or stereotyped, there’s more of a chance that positive and non-stereotypical portrayals of bisexuality will emerge. Having said that, Zevran may not, at least on the surface, be the most non-stereotypical portrayal of bisexuality in the media.

I think it’s great that BioWare has two bisexual characters as romantic options in Dragon Age. I applaud BioWare for providing players with more choices. However, I feel that BioWare’s decision to have two bisexual romance options has far less to do with BioWare being advocates for bisexual visibility and more to do with the fact that the two bisexual romantic options provide more choices for heterosexual player-characters, while throwing a bone to queer player-characters. I think they wanted to provide at least one same-sex option for player-characters of both sexes and more romantic options for heterosexual player-characters.

Perhaps they felt that having a homosexual romance option would be a “waste” because it would deny heterosexual player-characters of the opposite sex from romancing a homosexual NPC. This, however, begs the following question: Why was it okay to deny choice to queer player-characters by making Morrigan and Alistair heterosexual, yet not create a homosexual NPC as a romantic option, which would deny choice to straight player-characters? If BioWare were truly advocates of player choice, then why the decision to make Morrigan and Alistair heterosexual? Surely the same standards hold for Morrigan and Alistair. Surely, by making Morrigan and Alistair heterosexual, it is a developmental “waste” because it limits player choice.

One of the most common defenses of the lack of diversity in videogames and the denial of player choice (a common example: not providing female playable characters), is raising the issue of the creative process. Morrigan and Alistair are heterosexual because that’s just the way those characters are are. Let’s not forget that this is a videogame we’re talking about. Every single detail and every single aspect of the game and its characters were designed and created, right down to the sexual orientation of NPCs a player-character can romance. If it wasn’t an arbitrary decision to make Morrigan and Alistair straight, if the creative process dictated Morrigan’s and Alistair’s sexual orientations, and by extension the denial of player choice, then why wouldn’t it make sense to create a homosexual NPC that only a player-character of the same sex can romance? Having homosexual NPCs as romance options would deny players romantic choices to the same degree that heterosexual NPC romance options do.

If BioWare wanted to provide the maximum amount of player choice in terms of romantic options for a player-character, making the maximum number of players happy, every single NPC that player-characters could romance would be bisexual. However, even if BioWare had done this, it would render homosexuality invisible. Heterosexuality already permeates every single aspect of society, so it’s highly unlikely that heterosexuality could ever be rendered invisible.

Given the existing romantic options in the game and the respective sexual orientations of the NPCs one is able to romance, it appears that it’s okay to provide more choices for straight player-characters than for queer player-characters. And it’s this disappointing situation that gamers find themselves in if they play a character that is not straight.

  32 comments for “Dragon Age: Origins, Sexual Orientation, and Player Choice

  1. 15 December 2009 at 08:43

    I keep meaning to come back to address this point, but you have explicated this point very thoroughly.

    The only other consideration I had was achievements. With the inclusion of achievements, and the likelihood of some people wanting a ‘complete gamer score,’ having achievements tied to romance as they are means that if there were a homosexual romantic option, it would ‘force’ (not a term I would use, but how I imagine it would be used) players to go through this romance, which would be considered beyond the pale. We can assume that people will be okay with playing through a heterosexual romance, but not that of a homosexual one.

    Also, in the forums, David Gaider stated that among the reasons Alistair is heterosexual is a worry that stems from the past with female romantic options, where they felt they were not given enough options. There was a fear that a backlash would ensue if females had to ‘share’ all their romantic options.

  2. thefremen
    15 December 2009 at 08:56

    [Editor’s Note: Big spoilers in this comment!]

    If you get it down to brass tacks the Morrigan-male PC interaction is limited at best. Although a man can have access to her body he can never truely have access to her heart. However, I agree that it would have been nice to have characters that are heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual. While we are critiqueing characters, I don’t like Zevran.

    At any rate it is entirely possible that they will add new romance options through DLC. Stone Prisoner added a whole new character with dialogue throughout and a part to play in the ending, after all.

    Anyways, while I agree that they probably just made Morrigan hetero because they didn’t want to limit the interactions for hetero players (while having no problem with limiting the options for homosexual players), it makes more sense for the character to only have romantic relations with a man because she is primarily interested in having a child in a convoluted scheme to be immortal.

  3. 15 December 2009 at 10:47

    I hope people from Bioware read your post and it gives them food for thought. It’s most likely the decision was made based on budget concerns, given my knowledge of the games industry. Forget romance, look at branching gameplay in general – if you provide a choice to the player and they can go down two completely different yet equally enticing paths you’ve just split your player base in half.

    Half the people who play your game are never going to see the content down the branch they never took. That content includes very expensive art and audio assets. For Bioware, I’d like to think they were doing their best to be inclusive within the constraints of budget. They didn’t think about how people could perceive the frustrations of making an actual connection to a character in the game and being unable to pursue it, they probably were just trying to provide some options but providing ALL options becomes expensive as you have to do all the voice recording and animation for every possible interaction.

    That said, I haven’t played Dragon Age yet (though I played Mass Effect 2x, once with a bisexual female character, once as a heterosexual male) and I see how the choices they made can really impact a person’s experience of the game and make someone feel marginalized. Interesting discussion!

  4. 15 December 2009 at 13:53

    You’re absolutely right, Brinstar. If they had to cut corners, I wish they would have cut them in some other way. That said, I hope they publish more characters as DLC. I really like how Shale turned out (though the $0 price no-doubt helps).

    @thefremen I almost feel like Morrigan should only be classified as a “sex option” and not as a “romance option.” It’s a personal thing with me, but I find her … difficult(?) in the way she approaches romance and sex. Then again, kudos to Bioware for making a character like that, expect for the times when I wonder if she’s intended to be some no-hassle dream-girl stereotype.

  5. 15 December 2009 at 14:01

    The only other consideration I had was achievements.

    Good point. I hadn’t considered it from that angle at all. Pretty messed up that you have to play the game hetero to get all the trophies/achievements, but can totally avoid the gay if you want.

    There was a fear that a backlash would ensue if females had to ‘share’ all their romantic options.

    I find that very…odd. How does “we dislike the lack of options” translate into “we don’t want to share” in Bioware’s mind? I am also scratching my head at the notion of heterosexual female players being upset at the possibility of more slash gay options for men in the game. Huh?

  6. 15 December 2009 at 14:05

    In the forums, Gaider has stated that a lot of it was resource issues. The persons holding the purse strings saw it as wasted resources to have purely homosexual romance options, so the characters were made with that in mind.

    That being said, there are enough small differences between how the bisexual characters interact with both male and female avatars, that this wasn’t some purely cosmetic difference; the bisexual characters are actually written as bisexual, not just falling for whatever sex you happen to be.

  7. 15 December 2009 at 17:42

    I definitely understand cost considerations as a factor for not providing more player choice. I’m sure that BioWare were doing their best, given their resource limitations. I don’t think BioWare set out to intentionally exclude anyone. I really am happy that BioWare even included romance options beyond heterosexual. I think it’s a big step in the right direction, and it is pretty encouraging.

    I guess I just wish that, in general (I’m not singling out BioWare here), people who are not a part of the majority/mainstream in terms of how they choose to role-play or what kind of characters they create, are not the ones who get marginalised most of the time.

  8. 15 December 2009 at 17:53

    Regarding the achievement issue, that’s a really good point.

    As for the backlash issue, I wonder whether there’s a difference between how big the developers thought this issue was, and whether it really was an issue in the player base. I suppose we’ll never know.

  9. 15 December 2009 at 17:57

    Oh, I don’t contest that there are probably a ton of very valid reasons for Morrigan not going after female player-characters, ranging from the reason you brought up to the simple fact that she is straight. I think I would have felt less annoyed about the heterosexual NPCs had they offered a romance option where the NPC was homosexual and not bisexual. It just seems more realistic that there might be at least one gay NPC who will never go after someone of the opposite sex, just as there are two straight NPCs who will never go for someone of the same sex.

  10. Thefremen
    15 December 2009 at 18:54

    I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I think it would make A LOT more sense if Leliana wasn’t bi. In my conversations with her she only seems to have past experience with women…IDK like I said it is something they should fix in DLC at some point.

  11. 15 December 2009 at 19:16

    How unreasonable is it to suggest one homosexual NPC, one bisexual NPC and two straight NPCs? Same number of characters, actually involves LESS branching than the current system, and shows that homosexuality is a valid orientation, as opposed to “straight only” or “any and all.”

    At first read through this article I had the same reactions I’m sure you would hear from BioWare or their defenders, but after actually thinking about it for a bit I’m convinced this is a combination of laziness/limited resources and disregard.

    The most reasonable defense I can come up with is “Well, this is true in the real world, too.” (if you are homosexual, your romantic/sexual options are numerically more limited than if you are straight or bisexual) but people don’t tend to play RPGs for a dose of ‘real world.’

    Good food for thought- going for the lowest-common denominator when it’s time to make tough decisions about how to allocate limited development resources is a guarantee for stale results.

    And to follow with commenter above- I, too, can’t stand Zevran. Beyond stereotype, he’s a clown- and not an endearing one.

  12. Thefremen
    16 December 2009 at 09:03

    Yeah I think she might appeal more to teens and younger 20 somethings who don’t want relationships and instead just want hot monkeysex.

  13. Samantha
    16 December 2009 at 16:45

    I have a question. Keeping in mind that:

    1. The party must have four NPCs, no more no less;

    2. The game must sell well in “middle America” and other conservative regions;

    3. The money and time budgeted for the game are limited and as such you cannot do everything you want to with the game;

    …how would *you* go about including every combination of male/female and heterosexual/bisexual/homosexual NPC for romantic story lines with the player character?

  14. 16 December 2009 at 20:28

    From your question and stated assumptions, I don’t think you understood the overall point of my post, nor do I think you’re interested in discussion, but I’ll reply anyway.

    Dragon Age has four NPCs that a player-character can potentially engage in a romantic pairing with, because that is the decision that BioWare made. We don’t know what drove the decision to stop at four. So your constraint that “the party must have four NPCs, no more no less” seems rather arbitrary, given the fact that we lack insight into the production of Dragon Age.

    Every game has limited resources. I’m simply stating that perhaps BioWare could have made a different choice with the resources they had, a choice that did not privilege the already dominant, in-your-face heteronormative culture that is constantly flaunted in the media and everywhere else.

    If backlash from conservatives is something that BioWare was worried about, then they wouldn’t have included bisexual characters. If a homophobic conservative person is against homosexuality, it stands to reason that they would be against bisexuality because some of those pairings have the potential to be same-sex pairings. I also think you’re making sort of an odd assumption about middle America. Iowa is in middle America and same-sex marriage is legal there. I can play Dragon Age in Nebraska and Utah, if I wanted to, and I could create a gay character and have a same-sex pairing. BioWare’s position on this already seems clear. Also, I believe Dragon Age is doing pretty well financially.

  15. 16 December 2009 at 21:13

    @Brinstar I tried to reply directly, but there seems to be something wrong there.

    Ignoring how the question was phrased there was curious one one point. How would you spilt the potential romantic options up. If bugetary concerns were indeed a factor then four potential romance options seems to be the limit. I ask how would divide it?

    Then if you had a larger budget for such things, would you add character posibilities until it’s an equal 2/2/2 split? Or would you change the number to be a closer representation of the population like 4/2/2?

    I’m trying not to sound insulting and would really like to know the answer. We can criticize and complain, but that’s pointless until you can hit the nail on the head in your criticism.

  16. 16 December 2009 at 21:43

    If budgetary concerns were the factor, and they could only provide four romantic options, I would have made all of them bisexual. This option would have excluded those who play characters that are homosexual and those who play characters that are heterosexual to exactly the same degree, without completely excluding those who play characters that are bisexual. As it is now, the exclusion is completely lopsided and people who play homosexual player-characters are left with one choice out of four.

    If there were further constraints upon branching storylines, and one or more romantic options for NPCs had to be either heterosexual or homosexual (not bisexual, so as to provide more choice), I would have had one homosexual NPC and one heterosexual NPC, rather than two heterosexuals (with the remaining two being bisexual), as is the case in the full release of the game. The reason why I would prefer one of each is because we already have so many games that perpetuate heteronormativity, without having to add yet another one. It would be nice for companies to take more risks and do something surprising, rather than to stick to the status quo again and again and again.

    I fully acknowledge that BioWare have been improving. Again, I’m in full support of what they’re doing, and I would rather they have the existing options than none at all. However, this doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement.

    I don’t think critique in itself is pointless. It gets people to think about issues. I don’t have all the answers, nor did I say that I did. I’m aware this is a complicated issue, and that there are no easy answers.

  17. 17 December 2009 at 04:17

    I recognize none of has the answers and no designer will have the answer either until they releasse a game and we tear it apart as per usual. But that aside thought experiments do help, even if its just to get the issue straight for ourselves. For instance I would have liked that response to have been part of your post and would have made it more clear what you hoped for.

    Though you say you’d have one homosexual and one heterosexual NPC to even things out. The reason I chose to keep things in even number divisions is because doesn’t that preclude choice on gender lines. If you wanted to play a homosexual male and the homosexual NPC was female then doesn’t that put you in the same situation as before? I understand the optimal answer would be increase the number of romantic options, (which the mod community will happily oblige at some point, they always do)to a 2/2/2 split.

  18. 17 December 2009 at 05:15

    This kind of answers my question, as I have not played DA: Is the character bisexual “in-game” or “out-of-game”? Brinstar’s post is very good, but it seemed to discuss points from a purely mechanical point of view (A can choose B and C, D can only choose E, etc.). It seemed to ignore the in-character feelings. Are the characters really bisexual? Or just mechanically so?

    Would it have been better if a mechanically bisexual character became a story-wise homosexual character based on player decision? Or, is a purely homosexual character the only thing that can improve on this point?

  19. 17 December 2009 at 11:56

    BioWare is commended for at least offering in-game bisexuality through Zevran. As a male, I discussed with him his bisexuality, and he admitted he was much more attracted to the curves of a female, but also found men attractive.

    Leliana seems to me as someone who could have been a lesbian, and the addition of the romance for the male sex feels purely mechanical.

  20. 17 December 2009 at 22:33

    Because I’m familiar with the game development process, or as familiar as one can be, working in a game development studio, I am uncomfortable stating what my perceived solutions should be, given a serious lack of insight into BioWare’s development process.

    The “solution” I presented above isn’t truly a solution at all as you pointed out, as it creates new issues. If all of the romance-able NPCs were bisexual, it would not only marginalise homosexual player-characters to a degree, but it would also make heterosexual player-characters feel very much like queer gamers do when their sexual orientation is erased, marginalised, and rendered invisible. Granted, I don’t personally feel that privileging heterosexual player-characters is a priority, however it’s possible that others would not feel similar. The reason I stuck with four NPCs is because this is the number that BioWare chose to go with, for whatever reason. I definitely agree that a 2/2/2 ratio would probably solve this particular issue.

  21. 17 December 2009 at 22:49

    I chose to focus on the numbers partly because my character has not met Zevran yet (so I cannot fully critique interactions with him). Another reason why I chose to focus on the development and numbers side rather than how those characters are written is because, frankly, I wanted to avoid the obvious trap of, “They’re straight/bisexual because that’s just the way their characters are written, so your argument is not valid”, which I touched upon briefly.

    The only difference between Morrigan and Leliana is that Morrigan no longer offers additional dialogue options when you try to talk to her on a one-to-one basis, and Leliana does. And the content of Leliana’s dialogue and attraction, so far, has been natural and not forced. Meaning, BioWare wrote Leliana’s attraction for female player-characters fairly naturally, at least to me, and being bisexual seems (so far) as much a part of her personality as being heterosexual is for Alistair.

    As I mentioned to Eric below, I don’t have all the answers. The only true solution to the representation issue is something that may have been beyond BioWare’s resources, namely a 2/2/2 ratio, where you have a female and a male NPC that are each bisexual, homosexual, and heterosexual. However, given the fact that BioWare provides us with four romance-able NPCs, asking for six just seems like asking for people to tell me, “You’re being selfish/ungrateful/too demanding, etc.” (Which I’ve already been accused of elsewhere. I guess people failed to read the part where I said that I support what BioWare did with the game in terms of at least providing non-hetero romance options.)

  22. 18 December 2009 at 07:00

    Sorry if you felt I was attacking you. I was just trying to view it more from a mechanics/dialogue standpoint. Just trying to figure out when viewing it from your angle, how many walls of interaction do I bring up or bash down (i.e., breaking the fourth wall). :) I definitely recognized that you thought BioWare was moving in a positive direction regardless of their imperfections with the system.

  23. 18 December 2009 at 12:52

    Oh, I didn’t feel that way at all! No worries. Sorry if I gave you that impression. It wasn’t my intention. I just wanted to give you an idea of my thought process behind why I chose not to go into certain things. :-)

  24. 18 December 2009 at 19:52

    Here’s what I think BioWare could have done with the “four NPC options” restraint. Make one female NPC and one male NPC bisexual (as they did with Leliana and Zevran), then make the other woman and the other man flexible so that (in this case) Morrigan and Alistair can be either heterosexual or homosexual depending on the gender of your player character. If you are playing a female player character, Morrigan will be homosexual and Alistair will be heterosexual; if you’re playing a male character, Morrigan will be heterosexual and Alistair will be homosexual. This would maximize player choice and allow for fairly equal representation of all three sexualities in any given play through. It would ensure that no play through (regardless of the gender of your player character or their sexuality) would be without a bisexual, heterosexual or homosexual character to, at the very least, interact with. If you have a heterosexual male player character, Alistair will be homosexual even though your player character doesn’t pursue him. At all times, homosexual, heterosexual and bisexual player characters would have the maximum number of romantic options available to them in any given play through.

    I’m not a game developer but creating two extra sexual orientations between Alistair and Morrigan does not seem like it would be that resource intensive, especially when compared to the alternative of creating two entirely new characters.

  25. 22 December 2009 at 14:58

    Dragon Age: Origins, Sexual Orientation, and Player Choice

    Morrigan from Dragon: Age Origins
    This post was originally published at my personal blog, Acid for Blood.
    I started playing Dragon Age: Origins a few weeks ago. I chose to play a female elf mage, Thurkear. I have heard a lot about the relationship and …

  26. 23 December 2009 at 04:25

    Great post indeed. I was writing a post about the exact same topic of yours Brinstar, but your is definitely better. I think these kind of critics are really constructive and I’m glad you’ve raised them. Maybe Bioware will continue in a new direction for their next games and think about all of these comments. By the way, I like the idea of having a “dynamical sexual orientation” for 2 NPC (e.g. Alistair & Morrigan) according to the player gender. It could have been a really good solution.

  27. Tom K
    30 December 2009 at 20:04

    That would’ve significantly altered the heterosexual male friendship my character had with Alistair… since I really liked that arc (especially poignant when he left due to my choosing mercy over vengeance), I’m not a fan of that idea in particular. I’m less interested in a world where every single person who likes my character wants to have sex with him or her.

    Morrigan and Leliana were both attracted to my heterosexual character. Ultimately, it kind of poisoned his friendship with Morrigan since he was attracted to Leliana. Unfortunately, neither did Leliana seem like the marrying kind, which was a dealbreaker. So, no romance for him, either, despite having two options – even were he bisexual, he wouldn’t have been interested in Zevran.

    The point being, if you want to stay true to the character you’ve created, it may cost you romance options. Unrequited love makes for great role-playing. If, on the other hand, you just want there to be an orientation-appropriate sex scene in your fantasy opera, well, everyone’s got an option available. That seems sufficiently fair to me.

    It would be better for your character if there were a conversation option to at least discuss the matter with Morrigan – but it would lead directly to an open and frank discussion of the issues surrounding sexual orientation, which I suspect Bioware would prefer to avoid and which isn’t really in the spirit of their fantasy opera, anyway.

    ‘Serious’ role playing is about treating the situation as reality – IRL, it’s incredibly common to feel your ‘romantic options’ are too limited, no matter your orientation. :)

  28. 31 December 2009 at 23:59

    2009 in Review

    I haven’t been in the habit of doing year-in-review posts, so why not do one? Looking back at the blog, I’ve drifted away from the continuous navel-gazing of play experiences, towards lengthier, more thoughtful, and less frequent posts. Over the…

  29. 1 January 2010 at 18:04

    @ Tom K:

    Your heterosexual male character wouldn’t be able to have a platonic friendship with a homosexual male? There’s no reason that a heterosexual male couldn’t be friends with a homosexual male, unless that heterosexual male is homophobic.

    Not every NPC who likes your character wants to have sex with them. This is already canon in the game. So I’m not sure I understand your point.

    The point of the post is that some sexual orientations have more options that other sexual orientations. Leliana in particular doesn’t actually seem interested in men at all. She has a very low opinion of them in general, and she had a female lover as well. Leliana reads as homosexual, and I feel that BioWare simply made her bisexual to provide more options to hetero male characters.

    I agree with the idea that one must stay true to the character, however, to reiterate this point, which I touched upon in the post: If it wasn’t an arbitrary decision to make Morrigan and Alistair straight, if the creative process dictated Morrigan’s and Alistair’s sexual orientations, and by extension the denial of player choice, then why wouldn’t it make sense to create a homosexual NPC that only a player-character of the same sex can romance? Wouldn’t that make for good role-playing opportunities?

    I completely agree that unrequited love makes for good role-playing, however Dragon Age did not even go so far as to allow for a situation where unrequited love is actually addressed in the case of Morrigan. If your character eventually chooses one NPC to woo, the other NPCs will react to your character, some with disappointment that you did not choose them. Given that BioWare went so far as to have these romance-able NPCs respond to your choices in this fashion, it appears that BioWare is not uncomfortable with addressing sexual orientation in the game. So it’s odd that Morrigan has no dialogue that effectively turns your interested NPC down in any fashion.

  30. 12 January 2010 at 00:35

    Keyword Search Analysis: Dragon Age: Origins Edition

    I mentioned on Twitter last week that people use interesting and funny key word and question searches to reach my blog. I’m going to share the amusement with you and attempt to provide some of the answers people are searching…

  31. paul
    13 February 2010 at 11:50

    I’m sure that BioWare were doing their best, given their resource limitations. I don’t think BioWare set out to intentionally exclude anyone.

  32. 14 February 2010 at 14:12

    @ paul: Indeed. That’s actually one of the points that I made. We all have these unconscious biases, and the manifestation of those unconscious biases can reveal them, and can result in exclusion.

    Thanks for stopping by!

Comments are closed.