comScore
  1. Mediaite
  2. Gossip Cop
  3. Geekosystem
  4. Styleite
  5. SportsGrid
  6. The Mary Sue
  7. The Maude
  8. The Braiser

What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

Of Course!

Dragon Age‘s Head Writer Explains the Value of Women on His Writing Team


We were sitting down to peer review a plot— a peer review being the point where a plot has had its first writing pass completed, and whoever wrote it sits down with the other writers as well as representatives from cinematic design, editing, and level art to hear critique. We’ve all read it first, and written down our thoughts, and go around the table to relate any issues we encountered.

As it happened, most of the guys went first. Typical stuff— some stuff was good, some stuff needed work, etc. etc. Then one of the female writers went, and she brought up an issue. A big issue. It had to do with a sexual situation in the plot, which she explained could easily be interpreted as a form of rape.David Gaider, in a post on his Tumblr.

This is two mere paragraphs from from Gaider’s post (whose writing on issues of representation in games we’ve highlighted before), which outlines precisely how having the input of people from a variety of cultural and societal backgrounds can reveal the unintended connotations of a story, even to the most well-intentioned writers.

Are you following The Mary Sue on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, & Google +?

Previously in Dragon Age

TAGS: | | |


  • http://twitter.com/Loerwyn Kathryn

    Hardly proof of the value of women on his writing team, really. Proof of the strength of different interpretations, or perhaps a sign of how blind most on the team are to how their writing is coming across.

    And let’s not forget this is David Gaider, someone whose name is not without controversy amongst BioWare fandom (and I’ve not forgiven him for writing the same book twice). Nor have I forgiven him/the BioWare team for the “female” Dwarf in the brothel in DA:O. Not. Funny. At. All.

  • http://twitter.com/acidragdoll Bel

    I’m going to be over here tearing my fucking hair out while people give him another round of asspats for a post that basically amounts to “Wow, women seem to have individual tastes, but also view things differently as a collective!” as if he has discovered some kind of fascinating paradox in our ladybrain hivemind and/or the fact that we are people despite shared experience.

  • http://twitter.com/acidragdoll Bel

    Seriously. And now people are going to be lining up to give him a fucking medal as if this is a new idea that has never been expressed by anyone before – least of all the women actually playing his games.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashe.samuels Ashe P. Samuels

    Yeah. Funny how it always takes a man to reveal the value of a woman’s opinion in the industry.

    Because when women bring it up, they’re being obnoxious feminists who want special treatment.

    When a man brings it up, ~~*~*people start to think a little differently~*~*…

  • http://twitter.com/acidragdoll Bel

    A million times this.

  • http://twitter.com/nachtritter Duke Fleed

    Women play video games? You mean they know how to operate a computer, and consoles, and handhelds? Women, out of a kitchen? When did that happen? Quick, men! To the bunkers!

  • http://twitter.com/nachtritter Duke Fleed

    “And this thought occurred as well: if this had been a team with no female perspective present, it would have gone into the game that way. Had that female writer been the lone woman, would her view have been disregarded as an over-reaction? A lone outlier? How often does that happen on game development teams, ones made up of otherwise intelligent and liberal guys who are then shocked to find out that they inadvertently offended a group that is quickly approaching half of the gaming audience?”

    Game writing inadvertently offending women? Erm, you don’t need to look very far to find examples of this. So many games are guilty of this, it would be shorter to write a list of the exceptions.

  • Canisa

    The number of times I have seen this exact thing happen, it’s utterly ridiculous. In the past I have actually seen men get congratulated on their insight after directly *copy-pasting* things that have gotten me shouted down as being a radical feminist looking to be offended by things.

  • Anonymous

    Is this the same Dragon Age game that had the broodmothers, monsters created from rape and cannibalism? Oh, it is! Yeah, still not buying it. The game or your bullshit.

  • Anonymous

    Thank god you said it. I was afraid of saying it. Not a big fan of this guy or his asspats.

  • Anonymous

    “And this thought occurred as well: if this had been a team with no female perspective present, it would have gone into the game that way. ”

    Because there’s no way men could possibly infer a subplot that might be offensive to women, only other women can? That’s as stupid as saying only black people can infer a possibly racist subplot, or only homosexuals can infer a possibly anti-homosexual subplot. Or, to turn it around, only men can infer a subplot that’s sexist against men.

    Don’t get me wrong, a female presence in a major game company is crucial, but this gives the impression to me that the non-female members of the team are a bunch of myopic idiots who couldn’t possibly consider other viewpoints without having it spelled out to them. It’s a step in the right direction, sure, and it’s good that they can admit their mistakes, but I’m kind of with Bel on this.

  • Anonymous

    It also gives the weird impression that the token girl is only good for pointing out things that might impact other girls (like sexual issues), not for, you know, being a great games writer.

  • http://twitter.com/Super_Widget Joanna

    Wait…so guys don’t know what constitutes as rape?

  • http://twitter.com/acidragdoll Bel

    Seriously. These rhetorical questions are basically just “I have literally never thought about any of these things before!”

  • http://www.heroinejewelry.com/ Rose – Heroine

    That was my thought exactly!

  • Not So Young Democrat

    It’s kind of depressing that these guys needed a woman to point out to them that something might constitute a rape scene.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashe.samuels Ashe P. Samuels

    Yeah. It’s frustrating how the same issues will be passed around and around and around, and it’s only when someone from the privileged group (that caused it in the first place) picks it up that it starts getting recognition.

    To me, you’re not really learning anything about a woman’s perspective if you absolutely MUST hear it from the mouth of a man in order to take it seriously.

    This could be applied to any marginalized group: straight people only want to hear about LGBTQ rights from other straight people, white people only want to hear about racism from the mouths of white people, and men only want to hear about a woman’s perspective through a man’s lens.

    Fucking sick of this.