I haven’t yet written about Dragon Age: Origins on this blog. To be succinct, I absolutely adored it. I snatched up the expansion pack, Dragon Age Origins: Awakening, this week.
Thus far I’ve only played the very beginning opening sequence, but I’m in a state of high dudgeon. SPOILERY SPOILERS AHOY!
In the original game, my mage character fulfilled the romance quest with Alistair: Morrigan got knocked up with her god-demon baby and Alistair and my character both survived. Because my character was an elf, rather than a noble female, she couldn’t be queen. Therefore, I had Anora (daughter of an enemy, but more qualified than Alistair to rule) ascend the throne, and Alistair and my character romantically rode off into the sunset (in postscript, anyway) to rebuild the order of Grey Wardens together. Hurray!
This was one of the only endings that allowed one to carry on the romance—Morrigan takes off on game’s end, with or without demon baby or love; Leliana (in my varied but not lovin’ experience) says she’s going to hang out with the Urn of Sacred Ashes people or go back to Orlais; and Zevran (again, no lovin’ yet, but EVERY time so far) chose to keep hanging out with the main character and fighting the good fight.
I was very satisfied with the outcome of my original romance quest in Dragon Age: Origins. Then I started playing Dragon Age Origins: Awakening.
When my gentleman friend (with a male dwarf character from Dragon Age: Origins, who had hooked up with Morrigan and made Anora queen) played the intro to Awakening, Queen Anora greeted him at its end. When I played through with my character, who should meet up me after killing a castle-full of Darkspawn but KING ALISTAIR. King Alistair who must be married to Queen Anora, who can only be involved with my character if she’s a piece on the side.
No, no, NO!
Alistair went on to call my character “love,” mention that he wished he could keep her “at court,” and kiss her. Somehow, he turned into the king instead of a plain old Grey Warden. WHAT?! Did Anora eat a poisoned shellfish and keel off between then and now?
Thanks to Mass Effect 1 and 2, I know Bioware is perfectly capable of creating a seamless storyline between original game and sequel. In Mass Effect 2, relatively insignificant side missions I’d performed in Mass Effect 1 popped up and affected—at the very least—conversations I had whilst running around on various planets. I didn’t engage in any of the love quests in Mass Effect 2, because it made more sense for my (imported from the first game) character to stick it out with her original love interest. After seeing the way plot points of the first game carried through to the second, I had complete faith that my character’s initial love would come back in a significant way in the third and final chapter.
After playing the intro to Dragon Age Origins: Awakening, I’m shaken to my romance quest-loving core.
I made specific, seriously game-altering choices in order to gain the outcome I arrived at upon the end of Dragon Age: Origins. In DA:O, it was a big mothereffin’ deal to choose between Alistair and Anora as the ruler of Ferelden. I’m shocked that something that was such a pivotal point in the original game (complete with dramatic music!) was completely squashed out of existence when I loaded a preexisting female character into Dragon Age: Awakening.
I’m pissed that my OG romantic ending is ignored in this game incarnation, but I wonder about the further implications. I long ago started two separate female characters in DA:O, one of whom I meant to pair off with Zevran, the other with Leliana. If I had paired up with the ex-prostitute bisexual male elf, or the lesbian bisexual female human option, would the game remain true to my choice of Ferelden’s ruler? Or would Alistair still turn up as king, speaking to my character as his lover?
I’m going to play back through Dragon Age: Origins and check it out, because the inclusion of King-lover-man-Alistair—in my game, anyhow—is extremely reductive and obnoxious.