Dragon Age writer ponders romances; would you buy a BioWare game without sex?

"To me, the thing that BioWare does best is not story but characters"

by

The inclusion of sex scenes and romances in BioWare's games has often led to heated discussions, with the original Mass Effect's same-sex love scenes being debated at length by mainstream media.

But would BioWare ever make a game without romances? That was the question asked to Dragon Age: Inquisition lead writer David Gaider on Tumblr. In a lengthy and fascinating reply, Gaider admitted straight away that "sometimes it’s tempting" to think of losing the developer's controversial love scenes.

Gaider said that there will be an "inevitable reaction" from disappointed people when the romances in Dragon Age: Inquisition are revealed. "Some of them will rant at length as to how they were only deprived of said romance because of some agenda," he said.

"We took away that romance because we’re mean, or because we’re boring and couldn’t we see that the romance they wanted would be so much more interesting? And that romance we actually put in is not only terrible but is homophobic/biphobic/racist/pedophilia/etc., which their romance pairing would not be."

It'll be at this point, Gaider says, that the development team at BioWare will have a "conversation of why we even bother."

"For the most part, it’s not hard to soon remember that we bother because there are a lot of people who enjoy the romances we write very much--and if there are people who take it to an angry place, it’s probably because they passionately care. And also probably because we do sometimes make mistakes and can indeed do better."

"To me, the thing that BioWare does best is not story but characters--I think our characters are done to a level that few other games even attempt, with an element of agency that strikes a chord in our players…and romances have been a natural outgrowth of that."

"Sure we could stop, but that would be turning our backs on something we do which almost no-one else does. The question would be: 'why?' And what do we replace it with?"

"There are a lot of people who enjoy that part of our games immensely and who might not be willing to buy into a new series which didn’t have it. Some folks might be eager to write those fans off, but I’m not really sure that BioWare feels the same."

Discussion

226 comments
SHERNEE
SHERNEE

Why not just have a button in the Options menu to skip/turn off any sex scenes. That way everyone is happy. I personally love Bioware games because of the relationships I can develop with/between the characters and to me the intimacy is a part of that.

rhymesmatter
rhymesmatter

Oh i can smell the Fat one on this one! You know ever since DA 2 and more specifically ever since ME 3 i stopped caring about and trusting in BioWare Games. Even Swtor was a huge let down for me. If they manage to put Morrigan back in the game and have there just as a supporting character and completely UNROMANCABLE (if that word makes sense lol :P) then you can bet all your money that all the fanbase rage will be concentrated on that. Now here is the funny part : BioWare KNOWS that. Oh they DO know that as there have been countless of posts regarding that SPECIFIC matter on their official community fan page plus...they are not as stupid so as to not predict that , especially after the love Morrigan received on DA:O. Yet despite having that knowledge, i am 100% sure (especially after this particular statement David Gaiter about the "inevitable" disappointment after the available romances are revealed) that they will do exactly that and make Morrigan unavailable for romance! A lot of people , like me , that have romanced Morrigan with their Gray Warden from DA:O might not find that as bad! Well she does remain loyal to our 1st character after all. But i am sure that the people that simply like Morrigan and want to romance her with whoever will rage to infinity! And i honestly don't blame them since this should be an option for the most famous character of the franchise! So you probably don't need me to say this to you BioWare but : BRACE yourselves for the upcoming SHITSTORM equivalent , in scale , of the ME 3 Ending :P

Fartman7998
Fartman7998

I'd probably still buy it, but I would be vastly, vastly disappointed.  

m_bd89
m_bd89

Yeah I realize that DA is a big expensive project but I never liked it when developers worry about who will or won't buy their game. I think they should make the game they want to make, as best as they can and that's it. Because no matter how much sex they put in there, there will always be people who won't buy it. So your best bet would be to go with what's feels right for the game. I just really dislike the idea of games being thought of as purely a product.

nocoolnamejim
nocoolnamejim

Sex is a vital part of romance, at least for adults.


It's not hard to notice that the Bioware sex scenes have grown progressively more tame since the ME1 controversy. With this being EA, I fully expect them to play it even safer than they have been and have a chaste kiss on the cheek and a firm hug meant to imply they did the full fledged shagging.


Part of good writing is knowing when the right moment is to let the curtain fall. We probably didn't need the full detail of the bath scene in Witcher 2, but the recent Bioware ones have certainly felt "we're afraid of making waves and want to be particularly careful" to me.

Shielder7
Shielder7

Yeah sure it's not like sex scenes in Dragon age were any good anyway they looked like Team America puppet sex sex scenes, the Witcher did a good job tho. When it comes to RPGs you have to treat it like a Novel, if it wouldn't improve the novel to have sex in it it's not going to improve the game and vice versa.   

I just hate it when games have guys heads flying off with blood spilling all over and treat sex topics like some Taboo thing that should only be hinted at with discretion like in Skyrim it makes no sense.

Either make a dark medieval fantasy like with Witcher that covers all topics equally or make a T rated RPG.  Don't try and do both because it just looks out of place and stupid.

amdreallyfast
amdreallyfast

Yeah I'd buy a DA or ME game without the sex scenes.  That's private stuff and I personally object to it being used as entertainment.  A romance in a game is all well and good, but the final goal seems to be to get into the other person's pants, which is NOT the best part of a spousal type relationship.  The best part is knowing them and trusting them and doing stuff with them, which could be worth a lot more interesting content than a single loyalty quest and watching some animated rigs get it on.

So yeah, I'd be interested to see what you would do with relationships if there wasn't some easily identifiable end to the mechanics of the relationship (i.e., working towards the sex scene and that's pretty much it).  Real time, conversational AI, maybe?  That could be really cool.

vadagar1
vadagar1

some one spot half a boob and call fox news :P

spector000
spector000

Maybe Bioware should spend more time looking at why DA:O was a great game and why DA2 was a failure then thinking about 5 minutes of unnecessary sex scenes. 

NTM23
NTM23

I honestly couldn't care less if there was sex in it or not, unless they have you romancing a character, then, well... Just have Kenny G compose the soundtrack. I feel like Bioware's romances are too easy, and I like that aspect kind of since I don't have to think much, but still. It pretty much just hands everything to you from your choices, and it should probably be more deep than that.

vadagar1
vadagar1

also they should maybe put several approaches to each character's romance... I mean maybe a slow drawn out flirting kinda thing where the other npc will open up to us and say "I like u, blah blah..." and u can say no or wait or yes...etc 


and a direct approach where we can say "I want to make out with ur sexy face" which can lead to the npc, hating u or liking u, or just loling at u 


what im saying.... if they want to put romances I hope they REALLY put some effort (and money) into them this time

rossocuore
rossocuore

Of course there has to be romance and love scenes. Of course they can be made better and more intense. It's a player's choice to follow such paths.. Like in a person's life. And that's something every RPG should try to do.. Choices and immersion.

orbit991
orbit991

Sure I would, their idea of sex is very awkward usually so it's not a big loss.

Mariner32
Mariner32

Well considering that's not why I play BioWare game in the first place, yeah. I would buy a BioWare game even if they removed the sex. The main problem I see with this issue is that they seem to needlessly conflate romance with sex. You can keep the romance options in a game without needing to have them culminate in a sex scene and keep both sides of the argument relatively happy. Personally, I've come to understand that no matter what any games publisher does, someone is going to complain so BioWare should just do what they think is best.

Creed02
Creed02

Make those scene more passionate..  

nparks
nparks

A romance doesn't have to culminate in a sex scene.  I do agree with them on one point though, Bioware does characters better than anybody else in gaming, but that extends well beyond the romance partners.

RC-Sev
RC-Sev

Romance and sex is all you have left, Biowaste. And even that you can't realise well.

pound-u
pound-u

The sex scenes were crap, and the romances aren't as great as they believe.

saintwu
saintwu

I like the romances. It fleshes out your character and makes them seem more realistic. Love is an important element in our real lives why not in our video games? In terms of the sex, I don't mind seeing some make out scenes. The reason it usually looks bad is because of poor animation or execution. No nudity though because even I'm not that pervy :p

choco1989
choco1989

please dont  remove this from the game even do it been awkward is still fun just do better more intense in my opinion.



Zloth2
Zloth2

I can't say I like the romances all that much.  Say something nice to this person three times and, POOF!, you're in bed together.  It might work out better if the romance were to develop over three games.

He is right about the characters, though - Bioware has all the best.

Gantrathor
Gantrathor

They should keep the romance if they want to, but improve the sex scenes or just remove them all together, because BioWare have constructed some of the worst sex scenes I have ever seen in a video game, in a medium rife with terrible sex scenes.

I'm less inclined to pursue a romantic relationship with a character if it leads to an awkwardly animated scene of two characters dry humping in their underwear.


Their depictions of sex may not reach the same levels of bad as, say, Ride to Hell: Retribution, but I have yet to not roll my eyes and laugh at all of the poor attempts made by BioWare.


ANGRYWOLF
ANGRYWOLF

I have more of a problem with Bioware's hubris than I do with anything else.The romances are ok.The games don't require you to do the romances, if you don't like them don't do them.However, I expect they'll eventually do away with them because they'll see they can get customers without the romances.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

I don't know about nowadays, but I don't recall sex in KOTOR. Removing romance completely will be bad. If a character is well made and attractive, naturally I'd want my character to pursue a relationship with her. After having such freedom in many recent Bioware games, not having that freedom will feel too restrictive.

divinejester
divinejester

I have yet to play a Bioware game that has sex. All they have are these awkward scenes where fully clothed individuals spazz out.

biggest_loser
biggest_loser

They can have the romance, that's fine, but ditch the sex scenes. That's not because I'm prudish but because the sex scenes are cheesy, awkwardly staged and generally unnecessary. I liked Mass Effect 2 but one stupid thing was the way they teased the sex scene with Miranda and held up right till the very end. I guess Dragon Age 1 had a sex scene right at the end too but it felt less like they were just trying to titillate sex hungry nerds. 

spikepigeo
spikepigeo

Even this guy seems to be missing the point, though I agree with what he says nonetheless. What Bioware does great is story and characters, sure, but what they do best is choice. The romance should always be in their games in case players want to choose that. If they don't, then fine. That's how they want to play their game. That's the heart of a Bioware game. Choice.


Hopefully all of this is still relevant discussion and EA hasn't completely fucked up this once incredible IP so much that no one even cares what's in the game.

Melchior111
Melchior111

KOTOR 1 had no sex scenes and the game was awesome.

DARKKNIGHTPRABZ
DARKKNIGHTPRABZ

i see it as an achievement ... lol  bang the finest chicks in gaming with created players that look like yourself. LOL 


as if most of you wouldnt want that .

hadlee73
hadlee73

I don't care if they remove the sex, but I'd still like them to keep the developing relationship stuff in there. Trying to remain friends with your party members is part of the fun of this series.

Patohua1
Patohua1

If anyone plays Bioware games just for the sex scenes they are pathetic pieces of shit. If anything, I am less likely to play a Bioware game with sex scenes in them because they are just soooo awkward and actually RUIN the romance. Also, my wife would not be pleased to come home to a video game sex scene on the screen. They intentionally alienate their fanbase who come for the great stories and games and then have to awkwardly sit through that shit.

DirkXXVI
DirkXXVI

@SHERNEE  Agreed.  It's sad that in spite of so many companies going on record of wanting to appeal to a wider audience/cod crowd/casuals etc they opt to nuke the core elements of their respective IP's rather then simply providing players with options.  At the end of the day what a lot of players want more then anything is the type of flexibility that allows them to create their own tailor made experience.  

rhymesmatter
rhymesmatter

@Shielder7 That -->"Team America puppet sex sex scenes" made me LAUGH to infinity! Brilliant :P 

Shielder7
Shielder7

@amdreallyfast"Yeah I'd buy a DA or ME game without the sex scenes.  That's private stuff and I personally object to it being used as entertainment. "

Than use the skip button.  You getting mad and upset at what other people are "watching" is no different than Muslim objecting and getting mad at what western women wear.

GyroGate
GyroGate

@NTM23 Agreed, you don't have to work at romances at all.

amdreallyfast
amdreallyfast

@rossocuore But the way that romances are implemented seem so shallow in the game.  It's more of a quest line than a deep relationship.  There doesn't have to be a sex scene to develop a deep relationship.  Some classic RPGs are excellent examples of doing without and still making great relationships.

rhymesmatter
rhymesmatter

@nparks Nope...Not anymore!BioWare used to be the king in Character development with USED TO being the magic word here! I BARELY remember any of the characters from DA 2. I think that CDProjekt Red is taking the lead on that department now.

jhpiv4
jhpiv4

@Zloth2  I agree about the romances.  The way they handled romance with Bastila in KOTOR was great: small doses over the whole game.

Shielder7
Shielder7

@Gantrathor   Agree 100% the sex scenes looked like something out of

Team America: World Police

They need to either go all out like the Witcher 2 or cut it completely because half A$$ing it out of fear of offending someone makes them look stupid.

TimberWolf_CLT
TimberWolf_CLT

@Gantrathor I agree, my feeling is along the  Yoda "do or do not, there is no try" line.  Either put it in and do a good job with it or don't bother.

So far the scenes have been like Jr. High School fumbling...

amdreallyfast
amdreallyfast

@biggest_loser I don't know why the female leads suddenly got extremely form-fitting clothing in ME2.  They looked normal, and therefore cool and better, in the first game IMO.

Wraith3
Wraith3

@biggest_loserI agree they were lame. Have the romances, but leave sex up to our imaginations because they do a better job.

zenstrata
zenstrata

@Patohua1 if you do not like it, then try maybe not clicking on the conversation options that obviously lead in those directions?  Rather than trying to force everyone else to fit your situation.  Let players make their own choices.

Shielder7
Shielder7

@amdreallyfast@rossocuoreThan just use what I used in DAO the skip button.. Stop complaining about ^%$& they're not forcing you to watch.   If the romances implemented seem shallow taking away sex scenes doesn't change that, same as a bad movie in fact in a bad movie sometimes it's it's own saving grace.

You seem more upset that other people are watching it which would make you "one of those guys"  You know one of those guys that goes around telling people what they should and should not watch or do because their bible tells them so.  Seeing some shoulder boob isn't a reason to get all bent out of shape, I would go and tell you to play the Witcher 2 and get back to me, but I'm afraid you would organize a mass suicide in protest.

rhymesmatter
rhymesmatter

@stan_hg @Mariner32what on earth are you TALKING about!? That russian woman DRY humps while you are chained on a table!!!Which part did not seem like "Sex" to you???

TimberWolf_CLT
TimberWolf_CLT

@TheWatcher000 Intolerant much? 

Translation: "Please don't remove this from the game even though it has been awkward.  It's still fun.  Just do it better and more intense in my opinion."

How freaking hard was that?

amdreallyfast
amdreallyfast

@zenstrata @Patohua1 I'd like to pursue relationships with various characters and be nice to them without inevitably leading to a bed scene.  Being nice to someone should be allowed without necessarily leading to bed.