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I got this from Tumblr. I enjoyed reading it, especially the bit about Anders which for me is like, game changing, and everything about Fenris. Hope you enjoy it too! Read the post here if you like instead: skyelinepigeon's Tumblr
Post by skyelinepigeon
So, short backstory! David Gaider is on vacation in New Orleans, where I live. I tweeted at him as a joke about giving him free alcohol in exchange for Dragon Age secrets… much to my surprise he tweeted back and offered to meet up, if I wanted. Much fangirling ensued. We had lunch today!
I am typing everything up the best I remember. There were some really interesting things we talked about, so I hope you find this information fun and exciting. :D Tis long, sorry! The Fenris bit is my favorite, I think.
Got my copy of The Stolen Throne signed, oh yeah!
- Ok, let’s jump in. I tried to be really respectful and not ask questions I know he couldn’t answer. I didn’t ask about Alistair’s parentage, I didn’t ask any end game questions, etc. Also, let me start by saying he is incredibly nice. I think some people have a bit of a bad impression because he can come across as a little brusque on the forums (who doesn’t?), but he’s very warm and friendly and really cares about the series and the fandom. I mean, obviously—he volunteered to chat with me, a stranger, in a city that is admittedly full of creepy people. You’ve got to be nice to do that. Also, I asked his permission to post this, so I am not going against his wishes.
Bullet points to keep things organized!
- Isabela & Aveline - I started off by just thanking him for the series, basically, saying that as a female gamer, it was so lovely to play a game where I really felt represented and cared for. I told him how interesting I thought the game was from a feminist perspective and how much I loved the interaction between Isabela and Aveline. He loves it as well, and said he just doesn’t understand the people that claim Isabela is a female stereotype or negative depiction, and is unhappy with the slut-shaming. woot!
- Cullen - I asked about Cullen’s backstory, but Gaider really didn’t have much to say other than “he’s a native Fereldan.” Jordan, his friend with him on the trip, didn’t even know who I was talking about, and Gaider seemed a little surprised when I told him how much the fandom has latched onto him. I really think he’s got no clue how much we all love him! But while he didn’t say much about Cullen’s history, we did talk about how we admired his personality and how reasonable he was. Also, good news—he mentioned an interest in maybe revisiting Cullen!! He described Cullen as someone who has had his good faith broken twice—once by the mages in the circle, who he trusted, and then by Meredith, who he also trusted. Gaider expects “angst” in his future, which we may see in the series. I hope so!
- Mark of the Assassin - We’ve got this one really wrong, guys. The webseries? Apparently Felicia Day’s idea, and it came about while the DLC was being planned. She got to talk to Gaider about canon questions, and he was expecting really basic ones. Instead, she asked lots of complicated things about Seheron, Qunari culture, etc. So she’s not lying when she says she’s a huge fan. Also, he called it Mask of the Defender (I think, some D word), so that was one of several alternate titles. He says he likes it better than Legacy.
- Didn’t talk too much about Legacy because I haven’t played it yet (guh, fire!). He said they were very happy with fan feedback, although they were surprised by the low critical reviews and guessed it had to do with people’s DA2 problems. Said I would love it since I love Carver. :P
- “Carver just wants to be special.” d’awww poor baby Carver
- Malcolm Hawke - Anon wanted me to ask about Malcolm! Gaider said it was important to understand that while Malcolm was an apostate, he wasn’t Anders. He wasn’t a revolutionary. He didn’t go around advocating for mage freedom, and if he ever believed himself to be in danger of demon possession, he probably would have turned himself in. His motivations would have been to protect his family, as that was his primary concern in life. Said Malcolm would have been said if his daughter ended up in the circle, it wouldn’t be what he wanted for her, but again main concern was safety. Malcolm seems like an awesome person.
- Meredith - we both love her. I asked some questions driven by this fantastic post by flutiebear which isn’t, unfortunately… all right. Gaider: “It wasn’t like Elthina went eenie, meenie, miney, mo, Meredith is the Knight Commander.” She was Knight-Captain before, and came to power by accident in kind of a freak turn of events after the previous Captain was killed. It just made sense for her to take the position and was not maneuvering by Elthina. Meredith becomes more crazy over time, and Gaider cites the scene asking why she hates mages as crucial for understanding her character. Also, the whole “If you cannot show me another way, do not brand me a tyrant?” AMAZING speech she gives? Gaider wrote it in about 10-15 minutes to give to the lady hiring voice actors as a test piece. He ended up liking it a lot and it went into the game relatively unchanged.
- Templars in Kirkwall - Ever wonder why Mage Hawke, or Bethany, doesn’t get much trouble during the first year in Kirkwall? Originally there was supposed to be a plot about the Templars pursuing Hawke or Bethany, but it was cut. This pursuit by the templars would have been part of the impetus to go into the Deep Roads; they needed to leave town to escape.
- Mages in Kirkwall - if he could change one story portion of DA2, he would have liked to write in more moderate mages, ones that weren’t possessed, didn’t dabble in blood magic, etc.
- Changes made during development - It was really interesting to hear Gaider talk about this. He was very concerned that this might come across as being negative about other departments—please don’t assume that! He stressed that game making is very collaborative and that things change based on the needs of the team, constraints of the engine, time, etc. Said other teams are just as likely to come up with great ideas and he shoot it down because it doesn’t fit with the fiction as they are to cut story pieces he likes. It just happens, there’s no one to blame. He said he can’t get to attached to his “word babies” and is ok if things get cut because it’s just part of the process. Also, a lot of the future of the series—where it’s going, what characters will be a part of it, etc.—is still undecided. You CAN’T make these decisions without serious development having been done. I got the impression DA3 (which hasn’t been announced yet, officially) is still in the VERY EARLY STAGES and not a lot has been decided yet. At all.
- Sebastian - I think we took the news from PAX that Sebastian’s character was originally supposed to be Nathaniel Howe a little too seriously. Gaider said it was an idea that was very quickly scrapped because bringing back Nate and Anders when both could die in Awakening was “a little too much hand waiving.” He things Sebastian fits a really interesting niche as a relatively moderate religious person (depending on how things go, of course). He doesn’t really understand characterizing Sebastian as a fanatic. *Also, his friend Jordan who was with him LOVES Sebastian and started berating him about the chaste romance. Gaider cackled gleefully—it was hilarious. He enjoys driving us crazy. :P Jordan and I enjoyed making jokes about corrupting Sebastian… favorite hobby of many a fangirl. Not that we would read such fiction, Mr. Gaider… not that we would know. :P
- Anders - I asked my Anders/Justice separation question! Gaider answered that if Anders wanted to do it, the two probably could be separated, very similarly to the way that Connor and the demon were separated in DA:O. a lot of why they won’t separate has to do with Anders’s attachment to Justice, how it was willing, etc. Also notice that in the fade, the two are not separate entities, unlike Connor and the demon. If there would be a separation between the two, it is more likely to happen towards the end of the game as Vengeance (the name Gaider used) and Anders become more disparate. Lastly, Gaider implied that spirits and demons are, by nature, different, something which I was never quite clear on. They are not exactly the same thing, despite what Merrill and others would have you believe.
- Fenris - What effects the lyrium would have on Fenris is completely up in the air. Fenris was a test case by Danarius, the first of his kind, so anything can happen (lots of jokes about how fanfiction could go crazy on this, haha). It may make him crazy, may give him added powers, we don’t know. Also, since Danarius isn’t around anymore to “maintain” the lyrium (Gaider’s word), it could become unstable. Gaider imagines lyrium like mercury. Favorite part: Gaider wrote the Fenris romance with a male Hawke in mind! I am a F!Hawke/Anders, M!Hawke/Fenris girl so this was neat to me. The rivalry romance was the one he wrote first, and the one he prefers. He absolutely insisted on the whole slamming against the wall bit. Which, oh god, great judgment call. mmmf, hawt.
- Starkhaven - the Scottish accents were suggested by the lady that picks voice actors. We may see more people from Starkhaven in the future, and it’s a possibility we could go there, but it’s unlikely because Mike Laidlaw has really expressed an interest to get out of the Free Marches and get into new locations
- Romances - Gaider believes that Fenris and Anders occupy the same kind of “romantic space,” the ‘oh, you musn’t love me’ man pain thing. He regrets that and wished they would have been differentiated more, but it was an accident. When he and Jennifer came together with what they wrote, they went with it but sort of felt, and I quote: “Oh god, we made Twilight.” hahahahahahaha! Also, apparently if you want the art department to create attractive characters, DO NOT specify that they are love interests and should be attractive. Apparently the first render of Carth Onasi looked like Burt Reynolds. If you don’t specify, the characters will come out attractive (which is how we got Cullen, he said, lol Gaider thinks Cullen is attractive, WE DO TOO). Also apparently telling them you want the character “clean cut” will also make them turn out well. :P
- I THINK THAT IS IT. Besides the bit where we talked about X-Men, specifically the potential of a Magneto/Professor X/Fenris crossover slash story. Specifically Magneto/Fenris, since, you know, lyrium is a metal so magneto can do whatever the hell he wants with Fenris. Gaider was somewhat dubious about this because he imagines lyrium like mercury, and can Magneto control mercury? Jordan and I assured him that this is fanfiction, an thus anything goes. Of course it’s possible. :P And now I need someone to write that story immediately, yep.