Amid a lot of nastiness in the gaming community back in late Summer, #IPlayBioWare was created on Twitter (read this Dialogue Wheel post ‘Why #IPlayBioWare and Think You Should, Too’ for the origin of the hashtag). I was one of the many who responded and, in honour of Dragon Age: Inquisition’s UK release , I decided I’d expand on my tweets here:
#IPlayBioWare for the stories, the companions, the community, and because I'm not forced to play as a male character.—
Emma Palmer Brown (@epalmerbrown) September 04, 2014
#IPlayBioWare because the stories feel like MY stories.—
Emma Palmer Brown (@epalmerbrown) September 05, 2014
1. The stories
The stories in BioWare games are deep and complex, and the choices they offer up can be genuinely difficult; even the most seemingly obvious ‘white hat/black hat’ decision can throw up unexpected consequences, which you may only discover hours later. Frankly these games are better than many novels in terms of the emotional investment invited by the character’s stories – and I’m not just talking about the protagonists.
2. The Companions
If you read my Fictional Friends post you won’t be surprised to hear how much I love the companion characters in BioWare games. In fact Mordin’s death (“Had to be me; someone else might have gotten it wrong.”) should probably have made my list. Beyond the attention to character development, the fact that you have a group of companions – you know, like every great fantasy hero – who actually interact and have opinions about the quests and your actions, sets these games apart from many similar single-player games.
3. The Community
Take a minute to actually read the Dialogue Wheel post I linked to in the opening paragraph and you’ll see what I’m talking about. My experience with fellow fans on the BioWare Social Forums, Twitter and elsewhere on the Internet has been overwhelmingly positive, and I believe this is part of why BioWare developers are so great about interacting with us.
4. Female Hero (not heroine)
Joss Whedon once said (to paraphrase slightly) that in creating Buffy he wanted her to be a hero, not a heroine who needs to be rescued every 5 minutes. Many games let me be the hero, but getting to be the hero and also a girl? That’s a great feeling.
5. MY stories
What I loved most about Dragon Age: Origins when I first played was that it felt like I was creating the story as I went along. Since then I’ve played many games that allow you to shape the story through the choices you make, but the only ones that have come close to giving me that feeling were, you guessed it, also made by BioWare.
I’m blogging my way through my first playthrough of Dragon Age: Inquisition over on Dicing With Dragons, which, if you’re interested in what I’ve said here, also has a number of archive posts on different aspects of the Dragon Age series.