I love Bioware games. I love Bioware cosplay.
I haven’t done a Bioware cosplay for one simple reason: my boobs are too big. For The Love of Cosplay, Bioware! Please Make A Plus-Sized Female Dragon Age Character!
If you’ve watched this week’s Agents of Cosplay, you’re already aware of the mammary mishaps related to my attempts to make a Morrigan cosplay. I finally determined that there was just too much Liana for Morrigan.
I’m not a “cosplay for your body type” purist. If you like a costume, you should wear that costume. Period. But female Dragon Age characters often have outfits that are impossible for curvy women to wear without some sort of practical engineering issue. Underneath that purple drape of cloth that passes for Morrigan’s shirt is a string bikini. That bikini ties around the neck, and on a woman with boobs above a certain size, that leads to welts on the skin over your spine because there’s just too much weight. It’s not pretty, and it hurts in a unique and special way.
Similar issues plague the J-Lo-worthy plunging neckline of Vivienne’s best-known dress. Tape is designed to secure, not defy gravity. There’s nowhere to put an ample busom in that outfit, especially the way her boobs are spaced apart like the Grand Canyon.
Leliana’s Inquisition costume has a different issue for curvy ladies: she’s wearing so many layers of draping chainmail and tunics that it just drops straight down and kills your killer curves. While her costume doesn’t provide the same outright technical problems as Morrigan or Vivienne, you’re not going to capture her spymaster air of sleekness and mystery if you look like you’re wearing a chailmail mumu. In cosplay, body type and body size are very different beasts. You can make a body of any size work with a costume as long as the proportions are similar, but if your hip/waist/bust ratio doesn’t sync with the character it’s always going to look not quite right.
That’s why it’s an issue that Isabela is the only female Dragon Age companion above a c-cup… unless you count Shale, but I think we can agree that Shale is an entirely different type of costume. You need major endurance to do mascot cosplay because it’s so very sweaty. I have the foam for a Shale costume. I’ve planned it out. But I just can’t bring myself to brave the cosplay soup.
The only remotely zaftig companion is Sigrun from the Awakening expansion. But she’s a dwarf. So if you’re under 5’4″ you have options – Branka, Bianca and Dagna are also great characters. Why do only dwarves get to have nice things!?
Dragon Age II gives taller cosplayers with curves a bit more to work with, but it’s still not quite there. I already mentioned Isabela, and at least you can wear a bra under Bethany’s costume. And of course Aveline is wearing full armor, but I think that getting Aveline to look right is dependant on having a similar long, narrow face. You don’t tend to see that in full-figured women.
This could all be solved if the Warden or Inquisitor’s armor was at all distinct, like Shepard’s N7 armor, but it’s not. FemHawke’s is, so we have something of a winner there, but… seriously? Only one character?
Okay, two. There’s no practical reason Josephine from Dragon Age: Inquisition can be recreated at any size. Provided you’ve got darker skin. A Josephine cosplay should really be reserved for cosplayers who look Antivan. But with all the other characters we get into the same issues affecting characters from past games. I would love to cosplay Cassandra… if I could squash my boobs into Seeker armor without the eye on the front looking skyward. Again, armor adds bulk, and it just doesn’t sit right if it’s not designed for a gal with ample boobs and butt. I still might try for Cassandra just because I love her that much, but I’m putting it off because it’s going to take a lot of work.
The last female Inquisition companion, Sera, is a super skinny elf, like Merril before her. I’m actually glad that option is there because there are some people who can’t gain weight no matter what they do. It’s good that their body type is represented. But even Flemeth is thinner in leather armor than the average woman is totally naked. I really applaud Bioware for creating older female characters in Wynne and Flemeth… but they’re both built like twenty-five year-olds from the neck down.
Let me be clear: I don’t expect video game developers to create cosplays just for me. But I’m only a size eight and I have these apprehensions. If I’m struggling with this, how do other cosplayers who are size 16 and up feel?
This thought hit me after I played Dragon Age Inquisition. In Inquisition, the most sexually aggressive character is an overweight Qunari who calls himself the Iron Bull. If it moves, the Bull will try to get it to ride him. So where’s a big dynamic character like the Iron Bull that big beautiful women can dress up as? No one’s going to cosplay a Broodmother with multiple pairs of exposed breasts. PAX’s rules say they can throw out a cosplayer just for having an “aggressive navel”. (Don’t ask me what that is. I don’t know.)
So I’m left with the conclusion that Bioware should create a plus-sized female character with cosplayers in mind. I’m sure there are plus-sized ladies already out there proudly representing Thedas, and I tip my hat to them. But wouldn’t it be great if there was a character where a curvier body was an asset instead of something to work around?
Granted, most video games don’t go out of their way to accommodate plus-sized women, but Bioware is a company that preaches diversity and inclusion, so I think they could really set a trend here. Before you complain that “no one wants to see that in a game”, the character could still be sexy as hell. I’ve seen plus-sized Wonder Womans and Poison Ivys who looked great, because those costumes allow for visible cleavage and a supportive bra. Really guys, are you going to complain all that much that a female character isn’t a size two if her boobs are bigger than your head? … Then again, it’s Bioware. I shouldn’t assume this character would be interested in men.
See Bioware? I love you. So love us cosplayers with more ample assets back. Give us a gal we can call our own, and let the cosplay thrive!