In earlier Dragon Age games – and even in Mass Effect – many of the key goals when entering into a relationship with a character ultimately culminated in sex. There will be deeper relationships in Dragon Age: Inquisition, but creative director Mike Laidlaw told IGN that the studio looked at The Last of Us and The Darkness to craft platonic, non-sexual moments as their basis.
“The most romantic moment in a video game that I’ve ever seen is when Jackie visits his girlfriend’s apartment in The Darkness. She baked me a cake, she’s moving in, and you watch possibly the entirety of To Kill a Mockingbird as she passes out on your lap because she’s tired and snuggly. That is amazing.
“[That scene] is as close as video games came to that first ten minutes of Up. Both scenes share the same purpose of making the audience think, ‘I really care about this character – aw, f**k,’ and their motivations change.”
The relationship between Joel and Ellie in The Last of Us also played a role in influencing the team. “Let’s not have gifts that buy affection. Let’s not have sex be the end goal. Let’s instead try and reach for something that’s like genuine affections and let you go up and say, ‘Hey you, we’re going to kiss now.’ And let players enjoy that, and feel like, yeah, that’s a real thing.”
Dragon Age: Inquisition releases this November for PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3 and PC and thus far, Bioware has been making all the right moves. We’ll see how it plays out in the final game.