Dragon Age: Inquisition’s release will soon be upon us. October 7 isn’t as far away as it sounds, and developer Bioware has started releasing more details to the public about the new characters and the world they live in. Through a series of developer interviews, lead writer David Gaider has explained the development of some of the newer characters in the franchise. This week he was interviewed about the mage Dorian.
Dorian hails from the Mage province of the Tevinter Imperium, whose culture and customs vastly differ from the rest of the Dragon Age world. Tevinter is governed by a ruling class of mages all of whom are wealthy and influential in their region, and arranged marriages are the norm as a way to keep power and wealth isolated in the hands of the mages. Magic is also a closely guarded secret in Tevinter, and children are raised from birth to be the embodiment of what a perfect mages should be.
The houses here play a game of power as they are all positioning themselves to surpass their rivals, using their wits and intelligence as their weapons. As skilled as Dorian is with his words, he has still become something of an outcast as he outspokenly opposed to that way of life, choosing to go his own path. This has made him rather cynical about the world around him as his worldview has become jaded by his past.
During the developer interview, David Gaider also revealed that Dorian is the first gay character he has ever written for any game he has worked on. Previously, Bioware’s characters have batted for both sides, but Dorian marks the male first character to be exclusively available as a romance option for males only.
“It added an interesting dimension to his back story, considering he comes from a place where “perfection” is the face that every mage puts on and anything that smacks of deviancy is shameful and meant to be hidden,” said David during the interview. “Dorian’s refusal to play along with that façade is seen as stubborn and pointless by his family, which has contributed to his status as a pariah.”
David fully expects there to be some level of controversy surrounding the fact that Dorian is gay, but he also felt a personal connection to the character and that it makes him a more fully realized vision. Bioware is no stranger to controversy surrounding sex and sexual identity within their videogames as the Mass Effect series was routinely criticized in popular media. But the fact remains that we live in a modern, progressive society where different sexual orientations are a fact of life widely accepted.
Dorian’s history and his cynicism will aid in him the long running Dragon Age tradition of the beloved side characterss bantering between each other while on missions. Dorian’s world view will clash with other members of the Inquisition who stand starkly opposed to his personality and ideals. Specifically, Gaider mentioned Vivienne and Iron Bull, as both come from vastly different cultures and the Qunari have been at war with Tevinter for centuries. Dorian has not fully left behind his homeland despite their opinions of him and his orientation, and feels that Tevinter can still be saved from itself. His magic will make him a powerful ally on the battlefield and he is certainly one of the more interesting characters that we’ve seen so far.
Check out the full interview with David Gaider and we’ll keep you posted on anymore updates.