Mike Laidlaw Reveals the Secrets to Dragon Age Character Writing

Dragon Age Characters Earned Their Unique Voice With This Little Trick

A few days ago, several major storytellers in the RPG space came together on a podcast: the RPG roundtable. Mike Laidlaw, of Dragon Age fame, was among them – and offered key insight into the writing process of the game’s most important characters. Your in-game companions are something the Bioware of that era really wanted to get right. And in that effort, to give each character their own unique voice, each character was assigned a specific writer, who would take artistic ownership of their direction

Dragon Age 4

We were firmly in the [camp of] ‘You own this character, you are the voice holder for this character,'” Laidlaw said. “I imagine that’s fairly common—then you have someone do a pass at the end of the game to go through the character and make sure it fits. But we would typically sit in writing rooms, and the writers would shout out, you’d have Mary [Kirby] owning Varric and Lukas Kristjanson would be like, ‘Hey, what would Varric say to this thing that Sera says?’ She’d be like, ‘He’d probably be annoyed.’ And she’d throw in a line or something like that.

Laidlaw also explains why one key member of the Dragon Age cast, Varric, is ineligible for romance. The character’s author just didn’t want to write it! “Mary, she’s like, ‘Not romanceable! Because I don’t do that.’ Fair enough. Mary just hates writing romances. I’m like, ‘Good, they don’t all need to be romanceable.’

You can listen to the podcast in all here.