Much like other BioWare games released over the past decade, Dragon Age: Inquisition features an a range of opportunities for players to build romantic relationships with different members of the game’s supporting cast. In a new post on the developer’s forums from creative director Mike Laidlaw, you can see a list of what those different options are.
While none of the story specifics are spoiled, it’s fair to warn you at this point that light spoilers lie ahead. Stop reading here if you want to remain in the dark until Inquisition‘s November 18 launch.
Laidlaw begins with a preamble explaining why BioWare’s chosen to reveal such a spoiler-y facet of the game. The short version is, Dragon Age: Inquisition is a very long, very large game, and some players might prefer to know going in who will and who won’t respond to their character’s affections, so as not to waste time. Laidlaw admits that plenty of players might prefer to not know; he just wants to accommodate those that do.
He goes into greater depth on the studio’s reasoning, and on the design process informed the writing and development of each relationship. He also adds that while the romantic options listed below are all in the game, they don’t all necessarily end with a… consummation. As he puts it, “These characters have their own agendas and opinions, and the choices a player makes during the game have a definite impact on their affections. That’s intentional.”
Now that the stage has been suitably set, let’s take a look at who you can potentially knock boots with, per Laidlaw’s post…
Here are our “core” romance options. They are available to players of any race, and fulfill our first design goal of providing multiple options to everyone:
- Cassandra is interested in male characters.
- Blackwall is interested in female characters.
- Josephine is interested in both male and female characters
- Iron Bull is interested in both male and female characters
- Sera is interested in female characters.
- Dorian is interested in male characters.
Two “additional” romance options were added to the game as a result of the extra development time DA:I received. They are more limited in scope, largely for reasons directly related to their story arcs, but are otherwise the equal of the other options:
- Cullen is interested in female elves and female humans.
- Solas is interested in female elves only.
This means that of our core cast, Varric, Vivienne, Cole, and Leliana are not romance options. While we know this may disappoint some fans who were interested in them, we don’t believe that they lose out, as each character engages in their own meaningful story.
BioWare is one of the many developers out there that has demonstrated an active interest in improving the way it communicates with and delivers content to an increasingly diverse audience. The studio’s heavily story-driven role-playing games have always put a premium on the relationships that develop between characters, and over time we’ve seen that approach evolve to include more non-traditional relationship structures.
Is it perfect? No. Many people take issue with the idea of a gender binary (male/female), preferring to see gender as something that’s more broadly defined across a spectrum. Some reject the idea of single-pair romantic relationships entirely, preferring instead any number of non-traditional arrangements. The simplest explanation is there’s no “right” way to romance in the real world; everyone defines it differently within the realm of their own experiences and inclinations.
Even if Inquisition stops short of embracing any of the less traditional approaches — and that remains to be seen, to be fair — it should be clear by now that BioWare put significant thought into avoiding a situation where Dragon Age: Inquisition leaves a segment of players feeling alienated. And to that we say kudos.