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How Dragon Age's costume designs are influenced by cosplayers

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Designers add in-game pockets so cosplayers can carry cellphones

Cosplayers at events like PAX Prime help video game costume designers to perfect their work, according to Dragon Age: Inquisition creative director Mike Laidlaw.

Laidlaw told Polygon that BioWare's costume designers learn a lot about the practicalities of their digital creations, by observing and talking to cosplayers.

Hundreds of cosplayers are walking the aisles of PAX Prime right now, covering dozens of games and franchises. Dragon Age is especially popular. BioWare staged a PAX Prime cosplay contest and a fashion show this weekend, while yesterday's DLC announcement was attended by dozens of cosplayers.

"Having someone come up in this amazing Avaline costume or seeing Morrigan and Cassandra all over the place, it's a validation of our work," said Laidlaw.

"The neat part is watching our lead concept artist. He sees a good cosplay and he goes and talks to them, he asks which parts are the hardest to put together or which parts are the least comfortable.

"I remember hearing feedback from cosplayers that they had nowhere to put their cell phones. They're wearing all this chain-mail and there are no pockets.

"So it actually became a mandate that we wanted to put more pockets on costumes. It's a real life need that helps ground the costumes. The need for cosplayers to have a cellphone and some hand sanitizer is also the same as the need for the actual characters to carry things, like bandages.

"The cosplayers have real needs and you have to think that the character they represent would also have needs. I don't mean a mage needs to carry a cell charger, but they probably have to carry something. It creates an interesting collaboration."