Everyone remembers the lovely romantic relationships in Dragon Age, but the series’ former lead writer, David Gaider, actually wasn’t a fan of writing these intimate storylines at first.
“It’s incredibly weird for anybody who knows me that I’ve become the romance guy,” said Gaider in an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun. “I’m the least romantic guy. Especially when I get to the characters saying ‘I love you’ to each other…” Gaider goes on to say that he did such a good job on Baldur’s Gate II’s romance options, that developer Bioware kept giving him more lovey-dovey material to tackle. “And, god, I hated it so much,” Gaider continues.
That’s somewhat ironic since romantic storylines were almost a Bioware signature in the following years, and are still regularly used as a selling point for modern RPGs such as Starfield, a game that Gaider recently defended. But for Gaider, it all began on Baldur’s Gate II which “was really just Lukas Kristjanson and I sitting down, figuring out time-based conversation triggers so that your relationship grows.” Gaider continues to explain that the appeal of these relationships comes from “the feeling that this is a character you’re dealing with that has agency of their own.”
Gaider also looked back at Bioware’s history with queer characters, which started with a same-sex relationship in the criminally overlooked Jade Empire. “When I heard that the other team had done this, I was like, this is something we can do in a video game? Holy crap.” Despite that significant milestone, Gaider remembers much “trepidation” at the studio when it came to developing queer characters in Dragon Age: Origins. “I had a character I wanted to make gay - Zevran, the assassin.” Apparently, the studio had thought that would only represent a small portion of the audience, so Zevran eventually became bisexual (like many of Bioware’s early queer characters) to “do double duty” for players.
After serving as the lead writer on all three Dragon Age games, Gaider soon founded his own development house, Summerfall Studio, which recently released Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical. Our review had good things to say about the sing-song adventure game.
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