Identity Crisis: Navigating Sexuality in Dragon Age: Inquisition
As a homosexual man, creating a gay character in Dragon Age: Inquisition was always the main goal for me in the game. Through my first and second playthroughs it was easy, mission accomplished, seemingly nothing to write home about. However, something became quite clear when looking back on those respective playthroughs: Inquisition’s heterosexual characters were fantastically written. This isn’t exactly surprising, of course, but realizing this made me feel the urge to create a character specifically for the purpose of romancing some of the straight male characters that BioWare created. This, I found, created a conundrum.
How does one create a character that a straight male can – and will – fall in love with, I wondered? Intent on finding out, I spent hours refining and restarting characters just to see how each’s voice, face and features played out in-game.
What should I add? What should be taken away? Does this look good? I think she looks good, will Cullen? Will Blackwall? These thoughts and questions kept rattling through my mind with each adjustment of Inquisition’s character creation sliders. The task of crafting a character that a straight male would fall in love with had never been on my plate before, but I was dedicated to perfecting my new character.
Finally, the most underprivileged and oppressed character I made, the result of hours of dedication and scrutiny, was created. Her destiny was set, to become the leader of the Inquisition and the potential bride for one of Thedas’ most eligible bachelors.
The pieces had been put into place – each feature of my new character crafted with an attention to detail like never before – and my game had truly begun. My journey as a homosexual male warrior had ended, now, I was reborn as a heterosexual female mage.
I leapt at the first opportunity I had to flirt with Cullen. The chuckle and smile he responded with has stayed with me as one of the shining moments in Inquisition that filled me with absolute glee. The characters of Dragon Age: Inquisition are all so well made and complexly crafted that they come across as genuinely real people, with actual feelings. Their reactions felt so close to reality that I relished my new found ability to make Cullen blush.
Solas, the solemn mage, sowed seeds of doubt in my heart. He drew me away from my pursuit of Cullen, much like Iron Bull had in my male playthroughs. Originally, I had planned for Dorian to be the one to capture the heart of my male mage, but Iron Bull and his charm swept me up. His humor and top-notch banter with the other characters provided for some of the best moments in the game and I found myself head over heels (and even Freddie Prinze Jr. knows it).
Solas has some fantastic dialogue with female elves, especially with mages. His deep love of the ethereal Fade, the elven people and their history creates for emotional moments that will make anyone swoon. Solas is so full of passion that it is almost impossible not to get swept up by him. However, [SPOILER ALERT] knowing that his storyline ends with him leaving and becoming possessed by whatever the hell Flemeth is destroyed my will to pursue a romance with him.
I have yet to finish my playthrough with Evaleyn, but I cannot help but be impressed with BioWare’s efforts in Dragon Age: Inquisition. Thanks to the game’s strong writing, Inquisition has made me – a mere human homosexual – feel the stress and anxiety of being a magical, heterosexual elf woman. The dynamic characters of Inquistion have the opportunity to surprise me at every turn, something that is unparalleled in other games. For now, I will continue on, discussing boys with Leliana and Cassandra.
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