Heroes cannot be heroic without the bad guys, and BioWare has revealed what it is like to write villains for Dragon Age: Inquisition.
Like in previous Dragon Age games, the action unfolds in the land of Thedas. A “cataclysmic event” causes great turbulence in the land, and of course the player will have to make sense of a chaotic environment and become a hero.
The player will play the Inquisitor, and can choose the character from several different races. The Inquisitor has a role to play in an all out war between the mages and the templars.
In an interview with the Dragon Age official website, writers David Gaider, Sylvia Feketekuty, and Luke Kristjanson reveal their creative process when it comes to creating villains and characters in general.
When asked what makes an evil character “truly memorable,” Feketekuty says: “A good dynamic foil.
“A viewpoint that fascinates, even if it’s self-serving or covering an agenda. (There’s a reason everyone remembers the cuckoo-clock speech from The Third Man.) The antagonists who stay with me typically change a story’s protagonists when they clash, whether by forcing them to adapt or by irreversibly altering their entire worldview.”
Kristjanson feels that it is essential to give villains “flaws they know and defend, and flaws they don’t know and ignore.
“That gives them understandable reasoning and unexpected blind spots. Villains are often just heroes taken to an internally consistent logical/emotional extreme.”
As for the writing process for villains, Gaider notes that they have to approach them “very differently.”
“The story is largely from the hero’s perspective, so you have to account for the villain’s presence from that hero’s viewpoint.
“The player is only aware of who the villain is and what they’re doing insomuch as their character is aware of it, and you have to write the villain with the core idea of motivating the player to care about stopping them,” he said.
Kristjanson says that “in a BioWare RPG, the “villain” is defined, and the “hero” is more of a blank slate.
“The risk, then, is that the hero can be less relatable than the villain.
“I have to try to accommodate as many internal motivations for the player character as I can, stated and unstated.
“The motivation for the villain is always consistent, even if his or her actions have to adapt to the variables of the player character.”
Check out the full interview here.
Dragon Age: Inquisition will be released for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC on November 18.