Dragon Age : The Birdcage

Sorry, that was the most sensationalist title I could muster.

Can you spot the gay party member in this picture?

News this week, on the heels of Canada’s Pride Week in Toronto, is that Dragon Age: Inquisition will have the first openly gay party member for the series – Dorian. The events aren’t even close to being linked, just a happenstance coincidence (no doubt.)

I’m sure some hardcore gamer boys will be upset and it is somehow “in their faces” but I still say good job to Bioware. It takes some courage – not like the real courage it takes for gay people to come out to their friends, families, and communities – but courage nonetheless. Bioware has always been more open about same sex relationships in their games anyway. Time it was brought out of the closet (did they have closets in Dragon Age?)

My take is pretty consistent here when it comes to community. Look around you – do we all look, talk, think or love the same? Of course not. I want that diversity in any community I am a part of mostly because it is reflective of the real word. I support the human rights regardless of how they view themselves or how the world views them. Video games are growing up as both an entertainment and artistic medium and it makes sense to have diversity in our fictional worlds. I know it is offensive to some on “religious” or “moral” grounds, and gamers (in general) get a bad rap for their intolerance towards sexuality (and maturity..) but that is ok – they have the option to not use Dorian and I’m sure Dorian isn’t going to spend battles hitting on the protagonist. He’ll probably just fight, kill and maim like most other Dragon Age party members, while putting in a genuine effort to save the world from some menacing threat. Only with more style. (I had to say that – I mean, I barely used ANY stereotyping in these 500 words…). Sure, its a single player game so the sense of community isn’t the same as say, an MMO, but it will continue the conversation and just maybe it will give an MMO developer the guts to try it next.

I’m curious what style of personality Dorian ends up having and looking forward to DA:3. On the heels of all the gender diversity in Warlords of Draenor discussion and even WildStar lacking strong female character develpment let’s see how this conversation unfolds.  The video game industry does such a great job representing women to begin with that I can’t possibly see any issues building out a believable and supportable gay character experience. (Do I need to note <mild yet obvious sarcasm> for that last line?)

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