Dragon Age Just Got Gayer, Get Your Lesbian Avatar, Let’s Play

The role-playing game Dragon Age: Origins included some potential lesbian love scenes that you’re still recovering from, so sorry for bringing it up — but Dragon Age II stepped it up and gave players the power to engage in something beside heterosexuality! You heard me right and this is very exciting: saddle up ladies, this is going to be a fun ride (and you have no excuse since you can play it on your PC, Xbox 360 or Playstation 3) — picking up chicks AND kicking ass in the digital world.

The new release allows people to engage in a wide variety of romantic options — regardless of the gender of your avatar or your in-game romantictarget. Let’s call it “Equal Opportunity Romance.” Sounds nicer than “the continuing battle for gay rights!”

Dragon Age is made by the famously choose-your-own-queerventure game developer Bioware, and as such is known for its relative gaydom. Of course, including homoertocism in gaming adventure still doesn’t cure all the ills of a limited RPG character creation system, as Taylor wrote a while back about the trouble with gendered avatars. Dragon Age II’s character creator has some seriously gaysexy appeal though, as you can see in the picture above, which is a far cry from your average fair maiden.

And though Bioware is perhaps the best major game dev known for queering things up (like in Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2here was a long string of controversy about trans representations in Dragon Age when the first installment’s inclusion of trans characters was limited to ‘female’ prostitutes (the characters use those quotes I promise). GayGamer posted about that and said it right:

It can be difficult to write into media a character that is considered a minority and underrepresented. Among those difficulties is when finally including characters of the minority, having only a few examples tends to mean that it’s the only representation players have of said persons. When that is a stereotype, it can be easy to be disappointed.

What you see above, in the brothel, is my human mage standing next to a woman who is coded as trans. Unfortunately, these trans women (both the ones in the screenshot include “female” companion), are already made known to us that they are trans by the nature of the quotations around female, as if to say, “This is no real female.”


PS: No controversy like this one has broken out yet about Dragon Age II!

So here we are, moving right along on our merry way toward better games for gay people, and we arrive at Dragon Age and get our gay on, right? Well, it turns out that even though things like gay marriage are irrelevant in magical lands, backlash isn’t. So while you’re buying more leather accessories for your avatar’s lesbian lover, some straight male gamers are being downers about the whole thing. A specific post on the BioWare forums highlighted that the game was “ignoring” the straight male demographic and was catering to gay people, and women! And HOW DARE THEY!!1! Mike Fahey responded and I swooned:

And suddenly I feel bad for being a straight male gamer. This wasn’t Gaider’s intent, of course, but after reading the words of someone claiming to speak for my demographic turned about in such a fashion, I can’t help but feel a little bit dirty.

While I deal with straight white male guilt, I leave you with Gaider’s sharp and poignant parting words.

And the person who says that the only way to please them is to restrict options for others is, if you ask me, the one who deserves it least. And that’s my opinion, expressed as politely as possible.

So keep on livin’ your rogue life in a magical land, no matter what system and no matter what your avatar looks like. Because now, you can just live your (digital) life, no matter what.

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Carmen spent six years at Autostraddle, ultimately serving as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director. She is now the Consulting Digital Editor at Ms. and writes regularly for DAME, the Women’s Media Center, the National Women’s History Museum and other prominent feminist platforms; her work has also been published in print and online by outlets like BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic and SIGNS, and she is a co-founder of Argot Magazine. You can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

Carmen has written 919 articles for us.


  1. stfu straight white male gamer… you only have 99999 games to choose from. i dont see how inviting more options = limiting. if they took out the option of male+woman interactions then maybe, but we all know that would never happen. srsly.

  2. Just because you have the option to go gay in a game and sex up some girls does not make said game good.

    This is something that becomes particularly poignant in the case of DA2 since if you view it as a game and not a dating sim it really doesn’t have a fucking leg to stand on. Unless you really fancy the idea of a hack&slash buttonmash grindfest.

    Tried it out myself a while ago and the combined awfulness of the gameplay and controls meant I uninstalled it from my drive after the opening fight.

    Protip, check the user score; http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/dragon-age-ii

    • Well, some of us love hack ‘n slash, so… ;)

      Honestly, the draw for the DA games (and pretty much 100% of Bioware games) is the story, not so much the gameplay.

      • Unfortunately, getting to the story is made difficult by the cumbersome changes to the battling system. I loved DA:O; I loved how it was queer friendly, but as someone who games, I also loved how battles were fun and challenging. Yeah, you could do hack and slash. But I loved being able to approach battles tactically and decimate the opposition.

        In DAII, the combat was ‘streamlined’. Which would be fine. But all of a sudden, endless random-spawn wave combat destroys my ability to be tactical. And lack of AOE moves for my main results in each endless battle being stressful. The reused maps also … don’t help.

        There was a lot of potential in DAII. But really, if character interactions are all that’s going for it, I’d rather play a dating sim.

      • The story is in no way well written, and they even cut down the dialogue options so you can only ever respond with POLITE, WACKY or ANGRY.

        And for fuck’s sake, the lead writer has said himself he draws inspiration from Twilight when it comes to romance.

        DA2 is the Direct-to-DVD sequel to what what was the rather promising DA:O feature film.

    • “Unless you really fancy the idea of a hack&slash buttonmash grindfest”

      That’s what she said.

  3. I like DAII a lot more than DAO. Part of that is the streamlined combat, but I also think the characters are much more interesting and nuanced in this game. I’ll concede I’m a completist so I enjoy the side quests, too. Obvs I despised the representation of trans women (however brief, it just bummed me out) in DAO, as well.

    My partner and I are big bioware fans and have played just about everything they made (BTW any of you eve play Jade Empire? That had a lesbian love interest option and it is a neat game anyhow). we both think the sexuality in this game hits a new high even for bioware in the following sense: whom you choose to sleep with and / or have a relationship with just isn’t a big deal. just how it should be.

  4. I was planing to buy it next payday. I just got the platinum achievement playing Origins in PS3 so it´s properly a good time to get a new one.

    And there were always gonna be haters whatever bioware would have done.

  5. its funny, the more in the present i am, the less i buy videogames. i acutally end up playing MORE classics (now that there are playstation/xbox era emulators).

    you cant beat that shit.

  6. the more in the present i am, i find my videogames all the more enjoyable.

    overall DA:O is a way better game than DA2 – you can’t compare the two. but there’s something about DA2 that i harbor a big soft spot for. i think it’s the characters and the voiced dialogue. conversation options might be more limited than in DA:O, but i thought it breathed life into Hawke in a manner that was lacking in the Warden. the characters and their development were well written, or well written enough that i felt emotionally engrossed in the story, as well as morally invested in the choices I made.
    Bioware definitely could’ve done more with the game – it’s obvious they pulled a lot of shortcuts. it felt like they just hucked a half-baked game to its audience – but like many things half-baked, if it’s tasty enough, I’ll still enjoy it.

  7. @ Anonymous wannabe fail troll
    either you are a fail troll or just really stupid (hmmmmm kinda the same eh?)
    if you are not a fail troll- please refrain from insults or cussing (which means the argument is more invalid) and at least try to be polite when presenting your OP to avoid making others angry and then just going on the Def. and starting the cycle over

    now then, if you want a site that did an indepth review and called DA2 a game of bingo gone wrong- go to lemonparty

  8. YAY FINALLY! I hated the limitations on the character creation in Origins let-me-tell-you. I could never make my Dalish look queer enough. *lol* If I haven’t creamed myself over this game enough, now I really can’t wait for it.

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