Dragon Age: Inquisition has driven a wedge between Brenna and her best bro.
There are a lot of good reasons to be mad at your friends and family, like forgotten birthdays, piles of laundry and general betrayal. Right now I am super mad at my big brother, and it’s all because of Dragon Age Inquisition.
At the time of writing it’s been over an hour since our argument started and I’m still sitting here with my face solidified into a bulldog grimace and anger roiling bile-like in my solar plexus.
I don’t know when I’ll be able to talk to him again with anything approaching calm. That big old idiot.
My brother spoiled the ending of Dragon Age: Inquisition for himself. Fuckin’ perfidy.
Listen: clearly I love video games most tenderly and my reactions aren’t always in the realm of normal people. But I think you’ll agree I’m justified in not talking to my big brother because he – you know what even just typing it, I had to pause and bit my fist and blink away tears, because I’m so disappointed in him.
Y’all: my brother spoiled the ending of Dragon Age: Inquisition for himself.
This is how it went down: Matt, my usually delightful brother, picked up Dragon Age: Inquisition last week. He knows I know every god damned thing about the franchise, and has been chatting with me pretty frequently about it. Some of our exchanges have been kind of amusing, like when I asked him about romances and he eventually said he liked Sera best. Ha! Ha! Ha! Good luck, mate.
Anyway, today we were talking on IM about the composition of his party and I casually suggested he keep a certain character close for the terrific interactions they cause. He said he liked said character but was thinking of swapping them out for gameplay reasons.
On the other hand, he added, he might decide to keep the character in because [post-credits ending sequence revelation].
What do you mean, I answered. What are you talking about. That’s not a thing. Why would you think that.
Have you finished the game, he asked me.
Yes, I said, and then, with mounting wrath, I asked if he had finished it.
No, he said, but he’d read about it in an article, which he then proposed to go and find for me.
I told him not to bother. And then I went ape shit. Please excuse any typos that follow, I was fuelled by a passionate anger.
(I genuinely was texting my friends at the speed of light. I have one particularly beloved friend who is just about the only person I’ve ever met who has something like the same feelings about BioWare games, and she backed me 100%; see boxout.)
MATT I’M SO MAD AT YOU RN
This is not at all the first time a BioWare game has caused a real world rift for me. There is no meeting of minds between myself and people who want Anders dead after Dragon Age 2, and I’ve had debates over this at parties break into shouting. My partner of the time tried to ban Mass Effect after my romance with Liara T’soni started taking up significantly more of my time than our relationship.
BioWare games aren’t perfect, but they have tremendous personal meaning for me, because I buy into them. I engage with BioWare’s characters and world setting. I hook right into the lore, and I follow the ongoing story. I know I’m not alone here; just look at how many people were fucked up by the ending of Mass Effect 3, for example.
I loved Dragon Age: Inquisition, and because I loved the first two games as well, I probably feel even more invested in it. Returning characters, continued stories – every one of these felt like a personal present from BioWare to me, a reward for taking part in the studio’s marvellous fictions.
The ending of Inquisition, which I won’t discuss because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, Matty, was a huge pay-off for me. It provides a terrific surprise; it ties together threads from all three games; it opens doors for big things in the future; it is, in short, rather marvellous.
When I saw it, I think I shrieked aloud. I certainly clapped a hand over my mouth, and had to stand up and jog on the spot for a bit. (I’m a very physical person, and I have lived my life trying to have as many feelings as possible, because it makes everything much more interesting.)
I have, over the past few months, greatly enjoyed living this moment over again vicariously through my friends, as some of them did when I myself finished the game and text them a frantic string of confused emoticons, inevitably receiving a “I know, right?” response, followed by hours of excited discussion.
The ending of Inquisition was a huge pay-off for me. It provides a terrific surprise; it ties together threads from all three games; it opens doors for big things in the future; it is, in short, rather marvellous.
I was so much looking forward to talking about it with my brother, one of my dearest friends, while he too was caught up in that rush of surprise and intrigue (although probably with less shrieking; he’s much more reserved than me, alas) and I feel almost robbed by his failure to experience it. I feel as if the delight and impact of the ending had been taken away from me, somehow; made significantly less by its casual acceptance in a spoiler without the hundred or so hours that should come before it.
Obviously, it hasn’t been taken away. I did have that experience, and next time someone I care for plays the game I’ll hopefully get to live through it with them again. And I’ll soon stop being mad at my brother, even though I’m so disappointed, on his behalf, that he’s robbed himself of one of the keen pleasures of playing video games.
I don’t know how to end this article. BioWare games are amazing. Spoilers are a disgusting travesty. Video games are incredible and move us in ways no other art form or medium can. Matt, I am going to mail you a glitter bomb.