Extra Punctuation: Roleplaying Homosexual in Dragon Age 2

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So he's saying that he actually role plays in RPGs? Wow. Too bad more people don't.
I'm inviting him to join my Rifts campaign now.

you know i don't think this is limited to homosexuals. i did go for anders as well but i'm female so i had 3 choices: Sebastian who was super hot, Fenris who was broken but tore out people's hearts with his hands and Anders who was possessed by the spirit of justice. I was really leaning towards the other two but I ended up doing all of anders quests because i knew him from awakening and kept hoping for sirpouncelot to make an appearance. It just clicked. Broke my heart a little at the end but I couldn't do away with him and now my blitzle is called Anders in memory of his blue glowy magic :)

Great read, and in a queer weird way probably the most positive thing that I've read about DA2.

I'm glad someone's finally discussing Dragon Age 2's strengths as a role-playing game. I think the most interesting thing about attachment to characters in DA2 is how it averts gameplay-and-story segregation. When you lose characters, even if you're only kind of attached to them as characters it's still devastating because you're losing part of your carefully constructed team. At the end of the game, even though my Hawke had romanced him, I strongly felt that I couldn't let Anders get away with what he did. But that meant going through the rest of the game without a healer. It made my decision much more powerful and completely devastating.

The human side of Yahtzee makes for a great read.

..and you are the only person I know that picked Tepig or Pokemon White for that matter (I have black / snivy). Anyway..

I bet they didn't complain about the lesbians. Bloody double standards.

Of course not, hypocrits never point out their own faults.

I, not a big RPG player, am kinda impressed at the way video game characters can leave such a lasting impact on the players. It's kinda interesting how such a thing could leave an imprint, haha. I wonder if a year from now, the name Anders will still ring a bell in your mind.

"Are there men so insecure that they're offended by fictional gay men coming onto their fictional avatars?"

Not me. But then again, I tend to play as a woman...

I did that too and totally appreciated the romantic storyline...after having a one night stand with Isabella.

Is it really so wrong to just not like a certain group of people? I don't like nazis, I usually don't get along with "gun-nuts" and I don't make a habit of surrounding myself with stupid people (especially the ones that make it extremely obvious the moment they open their mouth). Now I don't care how they live their lifes and I'm not going to go on a campaign against anyone (there are also exceptions - but that's usually from a person to person basis), but all this "gay people are generally cool and we totally have to respect them cause they're sooo SPE-SHUL and I'm going to show how awesome I am and show everyone how open-minded I am by supportin' their cause" in TV, movies and general media is really pissing me off lately...

It kinda always reminds me of the reverse-racism theory from "The Animal" just with gay people where they get special treatment, "quota" job-offers etc. to be "politically correct"

And always remember that anyone who hasn't got only praise and love for them is a "homophobe" e.g. is apparently "affraid" of them instead of just not liking it or being grossed out by the act.

I've never been that engaged in a romance plot ever, but it's interesting to hear the perspective of people who have been.

I actually managed to make my Fallout: New Vegas character gay by accident (foolish me for not knowing what a "Comfirmed Bachelor" is), so I can relate to just going with whatever suits the character instead of plastering your own sexuality on them regardless of how they relate to their companions. It's certainly refreshing to see someone play out relationships that go against their own preferences to experience emotional development, rather than just for the novelty of it, though.

D'awwwww *gives Yahtzee a big hug* You big softie :)

Very well written article. As a bisexual male I find it fairly easy to fall in love with a "person" as opposed to a gender, and a lot of what he said makes sense. Of course, I don't think a proctologist's exam is going to set ANY man's world aflame; be they gay or straight - in the same way I think most women will tell you that going in for their pap smear at the gynecologist certainly isn't a turn on. That's... well, that's silly.

Bioware's collected data seems to indicate, from what the company has said, that many, many people explore the "gay" romances in their games. I am assuming that at least some of the people who do so are heterosexual and able to get over the fact that in a fantasy computer game with dragons and Templars and magic, you're not exactly playing a carbon copy of yourself. Some people DO enjoy roleplaying heroes as close to themselves as possible but I'd wager that Hawke's physical prowess and build alone sets him quite a bit different from your average "Escapist" forum reader. ;)

I've roleplayed since I was a little kid and I've had fun roleplaying as both genders even though I am 100% certain that I would never, ever want to be a woman. (I've been married to my wife for 11 years now and seeing what they have to go through isn't appealing for me in the slightest. I am so, so glad I was born a man...) - This doesn't mean that I haven't enjoyed roleplaying women in tabletop games. One of the most fun adventures I ever ran through at a convention was "The Terrible Tomb of Lum the Mad" where I played as a flirtatious, female bard. Did it make me question my gender identity? No. Did I have a lot of fun (and laughs) putting on the shoes (high heels?) of a woman for a roleplaying experience? Yeah, it was fun.

As I continue to notice more and more as I grow older, the people most secure in their gender identity and sexuality have no problem with gay themes or characters in games; it's the insecure people who perhaps question their own sexuality but are ashamed to admit it that have an issue with being exposed to anything that is not straight, male, and preferably objectifying of women.

Which is perhaps where this little study bears quite a lot of thought -


Basically, it's a government study (one of many) that shows homophobes are those people who are actually most aroused by gay porn. Heterosexual men who have no problem with gays (and are secure in their sexuality) don't really respond to gay porn. People who are violently anti-gay, however... they tend to get a bit of a chubby watching man-on-man action.

And it's pretty easy to figure out why.

Again, great post.

Regarding the question about male insecurity, I have experienced that a lot. I'm sure of my own sexuality, so I feel little to no desire to stand for it, when it's questioned. But my workmates are always trying to impress themselves with chicks they dig, or whatever they thought it makes them look manly.
I've been asked if I'm gay at least 10 times now, and even if I find weird how many people that doesn't know each other could thought of that. But in any case, it's something very common.
I am not fond of Dragon Age, but their approach as it seems it's something worth seeing.
I think that half the experience should be delivered by the game, the rest should be in the player, that's how it should be, that's how we got to think Peach was important to save in SMB, that's how we fill the blanks on old school games, and that's how it should be in those so called next-gen games as well. Pushing buttons and expect to be moved works only in microwaves, when you're get your meal out of it.

Anders annoyed me in Dragon Age 2. I got "with" him in my first and only play through and because of that I found the end thingy alot more powerful.

I would love to play a second play through without him but unfortuntaly I don't fancy making my character a healer for ungreatful AI idiots. I don't want to choose the other option.

Goddamn Bioware, how dare you make me care about a fictional set of data and pixles.

I wouldn't be surprised if 75% of first time players of Dragon Age 2 copped off with Anders because of him being a healer or them being creepy wierdos (which I most certanly am not).
Bioware do sort of force him on you. It's like unintentional virtual rape.



Sniper Team 4:
I was going to ask how he handled the end game, but I see he covered that. I wasn't interested in Anders, and man was I angry at the end. I can only imagine someone pursuing a romance with him would be even more upset.
On a personal note, I don't think I like Anders being gay. (Throws in quick self-defense speech here), but because in Awakening, there was no hint of it. He seemed to be solely focused on the the ladies, so much so that it got to the point where I wanted to tell him to shut up. Him suddenly being gay was a bit of a jerking turn for me, breaking his character a bit. If it had been any other character I wouldn't have even noticed, but Anders I went, "Wait. Since when are you gay?"

I'm going to quote Torchwood for this one, when Yanto's sister confronted him over over his relationship with Jack Harkness.
"How long (have you known you were gay?)"
"That's not it. Its not guys, it's just him."

I thought this was a great romantic line and it can work the same way for Anders. Just because he didn't hint that he liked guys in Awakining, doesn't mean there isn't a man out there for him. Hawke can just have something special about him that gravitates him more than any other character previously seen. Just because he didn't hint it before, doesn't mean it can't be there with out being forced.

GMTA. Aka "Gay only for you."

I was saying it might be the case, or it might be that he just didn't show intreats in any man in the game previously. I actually haven't played awaking or origins so really I don't know how bad the transition is, but I know that some people won't realize there bisexual until the right person of the same gender comes along. It happens that way sometimes

Because in Awakening, his single loop gold earing oozed such heterosexuality? Let me put it this way, I wasn't surprised he went both ways in Dragon Age 2.

I found the realtionship system wonky I ended up sleeping with Isabella, Having a 3way with zevran and isabella. I romanced and slept with merril even though I was at full rivarly with her. At the end cut scene Isabella stayed with me and not merril. All in the same playthrough

Its super silly.

You know what? I actually went 'Awwwww' :D

I feel the exact way you do Yahztee, only it was while playing Dragon Age: Origins and it was for Leliana.

Mmmmm . . . Leliana.

I think this is Yahtzee's best column yet. Quite relevant and deep and absolutely hi-larious at the same time.

Many props, it was a great read xD

While I think it's sad he had to spend an entire paragraph pretty much going "I'm soooo not gay, trust me!" I know it's just unrealistic idealism, but I like to think we're beyond the need for such audience reassurances in this day and age. That said, this is my favorite Extra Credits, possibly my favorite thing Yahtzee has contributed to this site. Period.

I think it's a sad, sad commentary that so much time and effort is spent discussing the "romances" in bioware games.


Romance, love and the erotic are some of the most vital and important parts of humanity. Not exploring it and discussing it's representation in art is vitally important.

I think it's great that at least some gamers are looking at this stuff...

I think it's a sad, sad commentary that so much time and effort is spent discussing the "romances" in bioware games.

Yep, totally agree.

Get something worthwhile to do with your lives people.

Spending so much time agonizing over fake, badly written 'romance' is quite, quite pathetic.

I'm a male and played as female Shepard alot in ME2. When it came down to it I had no problem romancing Thane when the time arose. That's right, THANE. Garrus was too busy with his damn calibrations for love! No it's not gay but it's my avatar taking interest in a male and I was totally cool with it.

So speaking of cross-gender RPG romances I was wondering... if you're a heterosexual male and are playing an RPG of the online variety as a female character, would it be more gay to start a romance with another female avatar being played by a dude or with a male avatar being played by a lady?

Wow, that is exactly the same way I play these sort of games. I usually don't have a plan but just play through the game making decisions that I think fit the character I'm playing. That way these games are so much more enjoyable because if the writing is good enough things like these relationships feel natural because of how you shaped your character.

On my first playthrough I romanced Merril but that just happened because of the way I played, I had no clue that she was even romancable.

Many call these 'romances' Bioware comes up with in their games to be wonky or sappy or whatever. I just think that's because of a lack of characterisation of their own characters.

I can't stand the women in this game (except maybe Isabella... ) so I used a male character and he's gay. Girls are icky :p.

<clears throat>

... Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.

I find this article striking a chord with me. In most games, I find romance angles largely interchangeable; I mainly just want to see what happens with them to see if there are rewards, just because &c.. But for me the Tali angle in Mass Effect 2 felt right, it followed from how I'd played the first one, it all sort of...worked for me. And for all the perfectly reasonable criticisms you could levy, you wouldn't be able to stop that romance pleasing me, in pretty much the exact same way as Yahtzee described his role played relationship here.


I think it's a sad, sad commentary that so much time and effort is spent discussing the "romances" in bioware games.

Yep, totally agree.

Get something worthwhile to do with your lives people.

Spending so much time agonizing over fake, badly written 'romance' is quite, quite pathetic.

I am willing to concede that BioWare romances are often overwrought, and not fantastically written. It's sort of teething I'd say, figuring out how to do something like this well in a game. But discussing an aspect of a video game that you think is interesting is not pathetic. You can probably point me to examples where maybe people maybe do dwell on them too much, but we should look at them. No-one is trying to claim they are all there is to the game, that they make them, that you even must play X game for X romance. But discussing how a feature of a game, whether you enjoyed it overall or not (as Yahtzee clearly did not like Dragon Age 2 overall), enhanced your experience of it, gave you food for thought, and was just touching in itself, is a very important part of any community experience. It is as worthwhile to discuss as a mission, or a gameplay aspect, or a feature of the world. These are important things to look at and consider. I think it is a good thing so many people are willing to look at features of games in such a personal and in depth way, even if it is not always right in each specific treatment. I for one don't want something more 'worthwhile' to do with the, oh, 5 minutes (at a stretch) it took me to think and articulate my feelings on a bioware romance above.

Great article. I also find that my characters tend to develop as I play without necessarily going in with anything too specific in mind, especially on a first playthrough.

Some people are commenting on how odd it is that relationships get so much discussion time when a Bioware game is on the table, but I would actually say it's quite natural. Bioware is really the only company that really seems to care about relationships at all, particularly in an interactive sense, and relationships are an integral part of almost every great story. Certainly Bioware doesn't get it all right, and even their best realized relationships tend to run a little shallow, but at least they're moving in the right direction. At least they're trying.

You know you're now going to get a few dozen Anders stories, if you haven't already, right?

Tepig? Wait so Yahtzee is playing Pokemon? Well color me exited for his next review.

If I at some point play Dragon Age 2, I'm most likely to make a character that reflects my own sexuality(at the first play-through anyway), but mainly because you don't get to play as a lesbian often enough.

I, also being a lesbian, really liked the way that you can romance women. Lesbian romances are very rare in games, but what was even more surprising was that the romance subplot (Merrill, for me) felt genuine and engaging. It was parts like this in DA2 that made up for its many, many flaws.

What's this, Yahtzee, you did not end with a punch line? In any case, great read....and my thoughts exactly. Well, almost all of them, because I had my avatar bone that excitable elf, Merill. Which is new, I guess, because that's the first time I've pursued a relationship with a non-human.

man, yahtzee is bashing these homophobes HARD. He just does not give a good dam what you think, lol.

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