Gaider explains the different romantic choices in Dragon Age II

Thursday, 24th March 2011 18:45 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Dragon Age lead writer David Gaider has replied to a post on the DAII forums, which accuses BioWare of not catering to the “straight male gamer,” but instead providing “exotic” choices catering more to – in his opinion – homosexuals and females instead of focusing “on making sure male gamers were happy.”

The poster apparently had issue with only given Isabella and Merrill as the only female options.

Here’s a blurb: “I felt like most of the companions were designed to appeal to other groups foremost, Anders and Fenris for gays and Aveline for women given the lack of strong women in games, and that for the straight male gamer, a secondary concern.

“When I say BioWare neglected The Straight Male Gamer, I don’t mean that they ignored male gamers. The romance options, Isabella and Merrill, were clearly designed for the straight male gamers in mind. Unfortunately, those choices are what one would call “exotic” choices. They appeal to a subset of male gamers and while its true you can’t make a romance option everyone will love, with Isabella and Merrill it seems like they weren’t even going for an option most males will like. And the fact is, they could have. They had the resources to add another romance option, but instead chose to implement a gay romance with Anders.”

In response, Gaider said the romance options in the game are created for everyone’s taste, not just a select demographic, meaning the romance partners were designed to appeal to the majority of folks purchasing the game.

“The romances in the game are not for ‘the straight male gamer’,” he said. “They’re for everyone. We have a lot of fans, many of whom are neither straight nor male, and they deserve no less attention. We have good numbers, after all, on the number of people who actually used similar sorts of content in DAO and thus don’t need to resort to anecdotal evidence to support our idea that their numbers are not insignificant… and that’s ignoring the idea that they don’t have just as much right to play the kind of game they wish as anyone else. The ‘rights’ of anyone with regards to a game are murky at best, but anyone who takes that stance must apply it equally to both the minority as well as the majority. The majority has no inherent ‘right’ to get more options than anyone else.

“The truth is that making a romance available for both genders is far less costly than creating an entirely new one. Does it create some issues of implementation? Sure– but anything you try on this front is going to have its issues, and inevitably you’ll always leave someone out in the cold. In this case, are all straight males left out in the cold? Not at all. There are romances available for them just the same as anyone else. Not all straight males require that their content be exclusive, after all… Romances are never one-size-fits-all, and even for those who don’t mind the sexuality issue there’s no guarantee they’ll find a character they even want to romance. That’s why romances are optional content. It’s such a personal issue that we’ll never be able to please everyone. The very best we can do is give everyone a little bit of choice, and that’s what we tried here.

“And the person who says that the only way to please them is to restrict options for others is, if you ask me, the one who deserves it least. And that’s my opinion, expressed as politely as possible.”

In Dragon Age: Origins, there were four optional romance partners: Morrigan and Alistair for heterosexual couplings, and Leliana along with Zevran are the bisexual romance options.

At least in DAII there was one extra option.

Via: Kotaku.



  1. Hunam

    So someone was moaning that the game doesn’t tailor itself entirely to straight white men and is angry about this? That’s pretty shocking thing to moan about. Mass Effect is for the straight romances if you are scared of gay content. Christ. You’d think people would be past this by now.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. HauntaVirus

    Who gives a rip about this “game” anyway…?

    #2 4 years ago
  3. YoungZer0

    Isabella was disgusting and Merill or whatever her name is was just boring. So i did Anders, did him like they do it on discovery channel.

    Don’t see any problem here, actually. It’s not like they force you to actually fuck a character in real life.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. ManuOtaku

    I believe when you need to explain something regarding a game, or any entertainment product for that matter , it is nor right or good, but maybe iam wrong.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Shonak

    OM NOM NOM NOM Isabella. :D

    #5 4 years ago
  6. nikk900

    I don’t get this, in the game it has two guys and two girls, you can “romance” all four regardless of your gender I thought.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. jacobvandy

    Yep, Isabela is a whore you have fun with and Merrill is a nice girl you marry. Coincidentally, that’s pretty much what I did in my playthrough, and that reminded me of that choice game “Fuck, marry, kill.” Then I remembered I killed Anders, lol.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. klewd

    The poster makes it sound like the writer was rationing romance options, as if this was a piece of hardware or pair of shoes. Games are not “customizable fantasy simulations”, deal with it.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. OrbitMonkey

    Threatened straight male gamer feels threatened, Lulz. Buy DOA, you need virtual poon so bad ;-)

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Stephany Nunneley

    @3 Thanks for that. First time I laughed in days. :D

    #10 4 years ago
  11. Mace

    It’s just gratuitous and gimmicky how everything in this series revolves around sexual smalltalk. Making everyone bisexual and allowing every combination makes it completely random and also less meaningful. It is reductive of the characters themselves.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. Old MacDonald

    It is kinda fucked up that the most attractive female companion in the game (both physically and in terms of personality) is… your sister.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. M. K.

    I did Isabella a few hours of playtime ago \:D/ Anders hit on me, but hell I got angry and made him clear that I’m not interested. Well I tried atleast, Hawke cant get “really” angry like Shepard :/

    #13 4 years ago
  14. Phoenixblight


    Uh not in my 3 playthroughs infact all of them she became a dog, I wouldn’t touch her with someone else’s in my playthroughs.

    #14 4 years ago
  15. IL DUCE

    Yeah I’m a straight male gamer and I think Isabella is fine as hell…so I’m cool with that

    #15 4 years ago
  16. Ireland Michael

    @12 Different strokes for different folks. =P

    #16 4 years ago
  17. hitnrun

    @11: I agree, and I always go back to this preview, even if it didn’t end up being quite that bad. They were aiming for some breed of provocative and it just turned into juvenile nonsense, particularly for a long-form roleplaying story game.

    #17 4 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.