The video game industry now finds itself filled with more titles, like Bioware’s Dragon Age: Inquisition, that pride themselves on having well-written narratives and plot as much as engaging gameplay elements. Like any form of entertainment, however, critics begin to debate when writers go too far in covering serious themes, such as rape. Many believe that topics such as this are simply too detestable to be included in anything that is simply meant to entertain. Offering his thoughts on the subject of adult subject matter, Dragon Age: Inquisition lead writer David Gaider discussed his stance on rape used as a plot device inside video games in a recent post from his personal Tumblr account.
Gaider previously revealed that a scene was removed from Dragon Age: Inquisition after female members of a peer review group felt that the scenario could be seen as a sexual assault by some. However, the story element wasn’t taken out of Dragon Age: Inquisition because Bioware wanted to shy away from the topic of rape, explained Gaider. Instead, the offending event was removed because the uneasy interpretation simply wasn’t want the writers had originally intended.
“The scene was not changed solely because the potential violation could be interpreted as problematic. Yes, that is an issue … but it is an issue of the writer getting across intention.”
From a personal standpoint, the head writer of Dragon Age: Inquisition pointed out that he feels that there isn’t anything that should be considered off-limits when creating dramatic literary works. Gaider once again reiterated that the scene wasn’t cut from the final version of Dragon Age: Inquisition because the team wanted to hide from rape, but because the theme didn’t work for that part of the game’s story.
“I mentioned that in the peer review we discussed ways that the scene could still be done, in order to keep its original intention intact. Something being problematic does not mean it should not be done at all, but more that you should not do it without knowing what you’re getting into and why.”
There was even a point, according to David Gaider, where Bioware’s writing team tried to make the scene work, even with its implications of rape. However, this simply would have taken away from what the overall narrative of Dragon Age: Inquisition was trying to convey at this particular point in the story.
“In this case, the writer felt the road to making the scene work was too far to travel for too little return. Creepy and intriguing in its potential outcomes, yes, but ultimately it distracted from what he was trying to do with the plot as a whole — and thus he scrapped it.”
In a comment from earlier this week, Gaider revealed that there were actually numerous changes in the story of Dragon Age: Inquisition throughout the course of the game’s development. The plot continued to evolve throughout the entire creative process.
“The first draft of the Inquisition plot looked quite different from how it eventually ended up — which is both good and bad. Good in that first drafts of anything usually suck pretty hard. Bad in that there’s an element of narrative cohesion that gets progressively harder to maintain as the elements change while you’re still writing.”
Bioware’s David Gaider also recently discussed his thoughts on other adult situations in Dragon Age: Inquisition, such as abusive relationships, as reported by the Inquisitr. He explained that, ultimately, the writing team’s goal is to create drama. However, they would prefer to do so in a way that doesn’t offend or invoke traumatic memories.
What are your thoughts on depictions of sexual abuse in video games? Would the topic of rape in Dragon Age: Inquisition have affected your opinion of the title if the scene in question were left in the game?
[Image via Dragon Age]