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Dragon Age lead writer on why BioWare bothers writing romances

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

BioWare's writers include romantic stories in their games because they're "something we do which almost no one else does," said David Gaider, lead writer of the Dragon Age series, in a post on his personal blog.

In response to an anonymous fan question asking if BioWare ever considered dropping romances from its games, Gaider noted that the developers usually have that discussion after the release of every game. In particular, they consider cutting romantic storylines altogether when they receive the inevitable backlash from players who felt unsatisfied in some way by a game's romances.

But when the writers think about it, they remember that "a lot of the people enjoy the romances we write very much," Gaider wrote. In addition, said Gaider, the individuals who get angry about them likely do so because they're passionate, and because the writers may indeed have made some mistakes.

"I know some fans would be happy if we just abandoned the effort altogether," Gaider continued. "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?"

According to Gaider, it's possible that BioWare will make a game in the future without romances, especially a title not tied to the studio's existing franchises. But he pointed out that if the writers were to cut romance stories — which he characterized as always having been a "Pandora's box" — they'd have to replace them with "something damned good."

Gaider concluded, "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."

The next Dragon Age game, Dragon Age: Inquisition, is set for release later this year on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.