BioWare: Romance in Games is Natural, But It’s a “Pandora’s Box”

BioWare says romance is important in their games, but it can be tricky...

Romance in gaming is always a hot topic.

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BioWare has often been at the center of such controversy, as their romantic sub-plots have received plenty of attention. Their Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises included romantic sequences for their characters, and some sequences haven’t gone over well.

However, the studio is proud of their accomplishments, even if they’re aware of the minefield that is romance. A fan asked Dragon Age lead writer David Gaider if BioWare had thought about discarding romantic sub-plots in future projects. Gaider responded on Tumblr:

“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.”

Gaider added that if the developer opts to create a new IP, romance may or may not be in the cards. While fans of their games do appreciate that aspect, others always seem to have a problem with it. He likened these virtual romantic escapades to “opening Pandora’s Box,” which is an apt description.

It’s not such a big deal, is it?

Evidently, it is. There’s always so much debate and controversy surrounding certain romantic situations in video games, and I’ve often wondered why. Maybe it’s because this is an interactive entertainment medium, so players feel more in touch with what’s happening on-screen. I can accept that. At the same time, it is fiction and remember, the writers have penned a certain script for a reason.

Now, if the romance feels unnecessary and tacked on, then I consider it poor writing. I’ll conclude that content is only there to titillate, and that it doesn’t serve any real purpose. In other words, it’s not a redeeming quality. On the other hand, if it enhances the overall experience, I have no problem with it.


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A gaming journalism veteran of 14 years, a confirmed gamer for over 30 years, and a lover of fine literature and ridiculously sweet desserts.