David Gaider full interview from our Subscribathon!


Uploaded by geekandsundry on Apr 27, 2012

Transcript:

FELICIA: So if you are not familiar with David Gaider,
you are missing a great part of the world that I love.
And if you're a gamer, you know David Gaider.
He is not only did the sort of lore master and creator of
Dragon Age, but Neverwinter Nights, Baldur's Gate.
You can go down a list of games that I love and you have
created an orbit, a huge part of everything.
And I'm sure I'm missing a lot.
DAVID: [INAUDIBLE]
yeah.
I started as a lead write on Dragon Age: Origins.
But before that, I've been a writer with BioWare since
Baldur's Gate II.
FELICIA: Wow.
BioWare is very unique in the way that
they approach writing.
And can you tell us a little bit about that before we get
into our main topic?
Because really, everything comes from
story it seems like.
And how does that process work in a video game world?
DAVID: Yeah, story is one part of a video game.
I think, really, there's a lot more to the storytelling in a
video game than just the writing of it.
But I guess what BioWare does, it puts a lot more focus on
the writing than many other companies do.
A lot companies, they involve writers at a later stage.
So after they've done all the level design and stuff, they
might bring a writer in to write the dialogue or whatever
text needs to be done.
For BioWare, we generally start with the writing.
But I mean, it's collaborative there as well.
The writers sit down with the level designers, cinematics,
level artists.
And we walk through the kind of story
that we want to write.
And generally, the writers are sort of narrative designers in
that respect.
Because we'll sort of set up the kind of quests and the
goals and stuff that is needed and try to work with the other
teams to get what they want to have on it.
So if character art wants to do a certain type of creature.

I think about it, the one misconception that I find a
lot of people who are in the industry or know much about
how BioWare works, they sort have about this idea of the
writer sort of writes a story and then goes,
here you go, guys.
Go make that.
And it doesn't quite work that way.
We have to work with the team throughout the process.
There's lots of compromising.
And things get cut.
And you discover things you can't do because of technical
or resource limitations.
So it's a big juggling act all the time.
FELICIA: It's a lot more collaborative.
Because when you write a screenplay or anything, you
write it beforehand.
And frequently, you'll just hand it off.
And it gets made.
And a writer doesn't even need to necessarily go to the set.
But the cool thing is that you, as a writer, are directly
involved in the creative process back
and forth, at least.
You have to say.
Versus, like, TV movies, writers
generally don't do that.
Unless, sometimes on TV staffs.
DAVID: I think it probably does have a lot more in common
with a screenplay writer than with, say, someone's who's
writing a novel, or something.
Because for a novelist, the entirety of their creative
vision is what goes into the book, right?
And for us, if a screenplay writer was involved throughout
the entire process, then that would have more in common.
But I think it's probably closer.
FELICIA: That's interesting.
Now, to talk a little bit about what I wanted you to
talk about, because I've been wanting to do a Dragon Age
panel on this, too.
And I was like, oh, this is a perfect opportunity.
Because you are I would say--
I mean, I don't know any other games that have made me invest
in characters romantically, and/or friendship-wise than
Dragon Age has.
The only thing I could think of is Mass Effect.
So you've got BioWare as a company, and you in
particular, have such an amazing way of building
characters in this form.
How do you start with that?
How do you start?
DAVID: Well, I mean, I think that says a lot about
BioWare's approach.
We're very character driven.
And I mean, from my perspective as a writer, when
you're talking about big fantasy stories, or science
fiction, and what have you, you involve a lot of concepts
that it's not easy for the player to
wrap their mind around.
So it's easier to wrap around a person than it is about a
nation or some concept that you have no
real familiarity with.
So followers are good introductions to conflicts, to
the setting, those sorts of things.
So that's where I find they're really useful.
They're there to be emotionally invested in.
And if we can get that from a player, then we've won.
And to cry, then we've won twice.
FELICIA: Yeah.
Well, I mean, listen, Baldur's Gate had some of the most
memorable characters there are.
I remember, obviously, Boo the hamster is one of them.
But the druid, J--
how do you spell, I'm flaking.
DAVID: Jaheira?
FELICIA: Yes.
And then the little thief.
Who I wanted to be her so bad, the little red haired thief.
DAVID: Imoen?
FELICIA: Yes.
DAVID: [LAUGHS].
FELICIA: Thank you.
DAVID: Luke would smile at that.
All three are his characters, Luke Kristjanson.
FELICIA: Oh, really?
That's amazing.
So did you create characters in Baldur's Gate?
DAVID: Baldur's Gate II, yeah.
I did three of the romance characters, Anomen,
Viconia, and Aerie.
FELICIA: Oh my God.
I definitely did Aerie.
I mean, I did in a way.
DAVID: You did Aerie?
FELICIA: [CLEARS THROAT]
Hello.
So what was the decision to make the romance?
That seems like a counter-intuitive thing.
Because regardless of what is reality, the perception is
that video games are a male-oriented thing.
And did you think it was risky when romance
starts entering it?
Do you feel like you alienate men?
Or do men really actually enjoy the romances?
DAVID: I think there's plenty of men that enjoy it.
I remember when we started BG II, the romances--
this is the first time we've tried it, right?
Because, I mean, the characters back in Baldur's
Gate I were much smaller, much simpler, and there's a lot
more of them.
So we knew we'd have to write less characteristics.
So it was sort of a trade-off in that respect.
But we thought, OK.
If we're writing a character driven story, we want to
people involved, what better thing to do
than include romance?
Like, what big fantasy movie doesn't include some kind of
romantic element, right?
There are some.
But there are very few.
FELICIA: But what video games?
Can you remember video games that you played before then
that kind of inspired the idea of bringing romance in there?
Or are there any kind of relationships that were really
iconic to you as a creator?
DAVID: I don't think so.
Mainly because the ones that did it did it in sort of a
movie-like fashion.
As in, there was a set character with a set romance.
And that was the story you were being told.
Never was it really variable romance.
I mean, there was probably a few games that did it in
really minor--
like, what some people would call a romance can really kind
of vary from game to game.
So I wouldn't say we were the first to do it.
But I think we're the only ones that do it quite in the
way that we do.
FELICIA: Yeah, no, it's a fully-developed character arc,
to the point where you just can't leave that character.
Like, you feel invested.
If you feel a sense of betrayal to a video game
character, I mean, that is accomplishment number 400.
Like, that is the height of it.
DAVID: You take it to that emotional level where if I get
people going online and they're enraged because
Alistair dumped them at the [INAUDIBLE], then that's what
you want, right?
FELICIA: Yeah, no, it's just spectacular.
And that's what I noticed in working with you on the Dragon
Age web series.
That the fans are invested to the point where it's almost
intimidating sometimes.
Because they feel such ownership
over what you create.
How do you deal with that?
I mean, it's almost like, as a creator-- we were talking
about this on a novel panel, about how much do you share
ownership of what you create with your fans?
And it just seems, especially in this world where we're so
connected, how do you keep your artistic integrity at the
same time as considering other people's point of view?
And how do you balance that?
DAVID: Well, it is tough.
I think the temptation would just be to say, hey, hey.
You don't get any ownership over this,
because you're fans.
And we're the owners.
And screw you guys.
But I think that you kind of have to fight that impulse.
Because they're going to have that ownership regardless.
And it's not a bad thing.
That's where fan fiction comes from, out of devotion.
They feel that ownership.
They want to feel like they're part of the process.
And ideally, you get them to be part of the process by
getting their feedback.
You see how they react.
And you sort of keep in mind what they might like, if not
follow a blueprint.
Because if they were on an equal basis, then there would
be, like, making something by committee.
And I don't think you'd ending up [INAUDIBLE].
FELICIA: Well, yeah.
The internet is, like, you can never please everybody.
I try, I do try.
But at a certain point, there's always going to be a
differing opinion.
Because we're all the different.
And we can consume the same piece of content, just like we
draw the same animal, and it will always comes out
different in our head or in reality.
DAVID: That actually relates to the romances quite well.
Because I remember when we started with BG II, we had
three romances that were for male players.
We just assume that's our majority.
We initially had planned for three for female players, and
ended up only having time to do one.
So we had Anomen.
And we didn't think much of it.
Honestly, we just thought that nobody would really be
interested in this.
We were just trying it out.
And the reaction we got was so positive.
I mean, not everybody needs or wants romance in their game,
in their adventure.
But it happened to get this whole other group of people
really invested.
So that's we thought, well, why not expand the number
romances, the audience for these romances, and see if
there is sort of a ceiling that you can hit in terms of
how much more audience investment you
can get them that.
And I don't think we've hit it yet, actually.
FELICIA: Yeah, no, I truly believe with the expansion of
the face of the gamer, the generalized gamer, I think
that we're continuing to be a more of a
melting pot, in a way.
And that's a question from a fan, actually.
Haley Palmer asks us, "do you believe that the romance
options help bring in more minority gamers and female
gamers?" Or do you feel like incorporating that expands the
scope of who is the cliche gamer?
DAVID: I would question the idea that romance is what
female gamers are looking for, specifically.
I think there's a lot of different
types of female gamers.
I have some female friends of mine who are gamers as well.
And they're total action junkies.
So they love games where they just go
around and kill things.
So they would remind me very strongly if I dared to that
oh, no, no, girls are only interested in romance.
I think it's a problem.
Because in the industry, there's sort of this
supposition not only of what our audience is, but these
stereotypes that exist as to what they like.
The idea that as somebody who plays first-person shooters
only likes first-person shooters and would never be
interested in role playing or romance.
Or female gamers would only want romance, and want social
games, and don't want conflict.
FELICIA: Yeah, it's definitely pandering in a way in that,
you know, when you go to a game store, what do
you see on the shelf?
And what is going to immediately be
pegged as a girl game?
The idea that you're making a girl game.
And there's hot pink all over it.
And there's a unicorn on the front.
I mean, I love a good unicorn.
And the same time, I love going for Left 4 Dead and
spinning with a chainsaw and cutting somebody in half.
That's, like, the best.
DAVID: I'd really like to see a game that somebody made
thinking they were making it for women.
I don't know what that would even look like.
FELICIA: Yeah, I don't know.
Yeah, I don't know.
It definitely sells people short.
And it sells people short who might be more nuanced.
Like, guys who really love Call of Duty, or whatever, but
like the relationships in Mass Effect.
And being labeled is like that, it's kind of the most
destructive.
DAVID: Yeah, I think the thing is to get minorities more
involved is just not to create the content in a way that
excludes them.
You know, you don't want to make it so that it's really
obvious that, oh, this game isn't for you.
I mean, you might like it despite the fact that there
are barriers built in your way.
I'm sure prior to us putting romances in, we probably had
plenty of girls playing.
But I certainly think that adding romances, adding in gay
romances, adding in more recognition of the fact that
we have a wider audience certainly does open up the
number of people that can come in and feel like
they're part of it.
As opposed to maybe playing and either they like it
despite the fact that there is only a male
character, or whatever.
And that happens.
But they feel like they can probably throw up their fandom
flag, right?
FELICIA: Yeah, well, I think there's a couple different
ways of gaming.
And to me, I definitely love to project myself in the game.
So that as much as I love the Assassin's Creed universe, I
don't feel like it resonates with me, because I'm forced to
use the character that they give me.
That's just the way I like to play.
That's not necessarily how all women like to play.
But I do believe that, psychologically, there might
be different ways that people approach gaming, and how their
escapism works.
Some people just want to shoot things.
Some people just want to flip [INAUDIBLE] balls.
So I think that's more the limitation versus--
Hey, Greg.
You're early.
Hi, Greg.
Will you come back, come back.
[LAUGHS].
That was Greg, our next guest.
But it's a situation.
Yeah, I think it's what people are looking for in their
escaping games.
And that kind of transcends gender, and race, and sex, I
think, personally.
DAVID: Romance sort of adds a different element, though.
Because it did seem that as soon as we added romances,
it's like we crossed a line.
And suddenly it's not just a gaming thing.
You're sort of making a statement about what's
acceptable.
Not only in this game but sort of in general.
And you could say, oh, it's just a game.
But I mean, the same rules apply in gaming as they do in
entertainment.
And it's sort of like, once you've crossed that line, once
we said, OK, this game offers you romances, we're kind of
obligated to paint a fairer picture.
FELICIA: Yes, absolutely.
I mean, I can't tell you how frustrated I was that Fenris
would not have sex with me.
I mean, it was so irritating.
I cannot tell you.
I was using a cheat sheet on my iPad.
Like, what do I need to say to get this guy in bed?
I mean, listen.
But I was invested in this guy.
I loved his backstory and the fact that all the characters
are three dimensional.
You can't invest yourself unless somebody is drawn like
a real human.
DAVID: I mean, from a company's standpoint, like,
from a creator's standpoint, how about that?
If you've put that out there and you've asked for that kind
of personal investment, you really can't be surprised when
people come back, and they've taken it personally.
So I think there's some negative aspects to fandom.
But I mean, you take the good with the bad.
FELICIA: Yeah, absolutely.
But I think it is weird when you're a person who they know
more about you than you know about them.
That's just, like, the reality of making something and
putting it out there.
I meet so many fans.
But at the same time, I won't know as much about them as
they know about me.
Because it's just a numbers thing.
And the fact that you're not thought of as, maybe, as much
of a person.
And therefore, when they say something nasty about
something you've made, you feel
generally hurt as a creator.
You're like, oh my God, I wanted you to love this.
But they don't think twice, because--
not everybody.
But just even if it's 1 out of 100, you feel wounded.
So it's hard.
It's hard.
And you want to please everybody.
DAVID: I interact with the fans a lot
online on our forums.
And I think there's a tendency sometimes that as soon as I
have appear, I am BioWare, so to speak.
They don't necessarily know or need to know what it is
exactly that I do.
All that it matters to them is that I'm someone who's in a
position of some authority.
And therefore, I am the company.
I just have to get out of the mental space sometimes and
remind myself that, well, they're thinking of the
company has a whole, and the game as a whole, and me
personally.
FELICIA: Yeah, not you personally.
Not David who has his dinner, really doesn't like his peas
with his carrots.
Or whatever, you know, what personal thing is.
We have a lot of great questions.
Can I throw some out at you?
Oh, no, I want to ask you first, what is the favorite
romance to date that you've written?
DAVID: That I have written?
FELICIA: Who have you invested yourself in of the characters
that you've written the most?
DAVID: Oh, that's a toss-up.
I think Alistair would probably be my favorite.

I think I've said this publicly.
When I started I actually wrote a
different version of Alistair.
The initial idea was that he was supposed to be this
grizzled veteran.
And he wouldn't trust you.
And it's like that.
And nobody kind of liked it.
Because we wanted him to be sort of a-- even for somebody
who wasn't romancing him, but he could be their friend and
their buddy.
So I thought, well, I was watching a lot of
Buffy at the time.
FELICIA: [LAUGHS].
DAVID: Some had said, you've got to watch Buffy.
And I'm like, are you talking about that show that's based
on that crappy movie from way back?
FELICIA: [LAUGHS]
Uh-oh.
DAVID: Oh, no, no.
It's awesome.
It's awesome.
I'm like, all right, fine.
So I sat down and watched, like, five seasons in one go.
And I remember thinking, Joss Whedon has a certain type of
pattern to his dialogue.
And I wondered if I can replicate that in the writing
of Alistair.
And just sort of in terms of--
Because I found Joss's characters--
they're so endearing.
And I wanted to see if I could do that.
So Alastair was sort of my mix of Xander and Captain Reynolds
kind of all put into one.
FELICIA: I totally see that now that you say that.
But at the time, I just thought he was hunky.
[LAUGHTER]
DAVID: I really liked it.
Although in retrospect, I think I may have liked it to
the point that I kind of in some ways pushed the player
into a sort of back burner in terms the overall story.
But those are the lessons you learn, right?
FELICIA: Yeah, well, no.
You did an amazing job.
Because I was married to him at the end.
And then at the same time, I was still pining for Leliana.
But that was just--
Jane Hendenson would like to know, "Will you be writing a
fourth Dragon Age book?
Because I'm loving the series." And
she's reading three.
And they're amazing.
DAVID: Oh, thank you for that.
I don't know.
The problem with writing the novels is that it's such a
long, arduous haul.
Especially when I'm working on a game at the same time.
I know for the third book, I was in crunch.
So I would work until, like, 8 o'clock or so, get home, eat
something really quickly, and then sit down and write for
the rest of the night.
And the thing that made that even harder was that I'm
writing Dragon Age all day.
And then I'm writing Dragon Age all night.
So I think by the time I finished the third book, I was
like, oh, don't talk to me about mages or
templars ever again.
FELICIA: Yeah.
No, that's fantastic.
Because I did the same thing for The Guild.
You know, I've been writing for three years.
And when I wrote Dragon Age and I went back to it, I had
so many refresh ideas.
You kind of have to change gears, in a sense, and live
with other characters.
And you can come back to the characters
that you love fresh.
And I can imagine the world.
I mean, you're steeped in it 10 times that.
Because you're writing this epic, right?
DAVID: Yeah, it's pretty huge.
So I'd like to.
But I might also take a break and let some other BioWare
writers get a crack at it, too.
FELICIA: So Alistair would be your favorite relationship.
Is there a character that's fictional that you, like--
because I think it's very hard to create characters that are
romance-able in that way.
Like, you really invest in--
DAVID: We have to talk about it a lot.
FELICIA: Really?
DAVID: Yeah.
The writers, we sit around, and we talk, generally, even
before we start making what the characters are.
We could make the characters and then decide which ones of
these are romance-able.
And I think the way we've gone is we talk about the kind of
romantic stories we'd like to tell before we start actually
making the characters themselves.
I remember back in Baldur's Gate II, we came up with the
romances afterwards.
So Anomen was not built to be, like, a
romance-able character.
He was sort of this self-righteous prig, really.
And then we said, OK, make Anomen a romance.
And I was like, really?
We're going to do what?
OK, I'll do it, I guess.
But I think it allows us thinking about the romances
and who we're appealing to.
And especially now that sexuality comes so
strongly into it.
FELICIA: Well, I didn't want to bring it up because I think
it's been talked about a lot.
But a lot of people online are asking, how do you feel,
personally, about it being a controversy?
And I mean, some of the things you've said
online were very eloquent.
And saying about some of these people complaining about the
homosexuality and having sort of
different options for people.
I know you've already gone over it before.
DAVID: I'm just happy that I was eloquent when I answered
that one guy once.
Just because my first reaction was to go in with guns
blazing, right?
FELICIA: Yeah.
No, believe me, I know.
And it was so nice the way you put it,
because it was well done.
I mean, go ahead and say something.
[CHUCKLES].
You go ahead and be eloquent.
DAVID: I don't see it as a controversy, necessarily.
I mean, there's always going to be a few
people that pipe up.
And I get little messages all the time from people
anonymously sending me death threats or just
insults, what have you.
And I'm like, you know, it's not a controversy.
Especially, it's optional element in the game.
And these people, they want to restrict the ability for
others to have options, simply so that they can pretend in
their world that this doesn't exist.
I think that we get way more benefit out of offering the
options than we do out of restricting them.
FELICIA: Well, it's almost like in a world this ideal, it
shouldn't draw attention to itself.
DAVID: I'd like to get to that point where we could just
include gay romances or whatever options, and it
wouldn't be remarked upon because that's expected.
It should be expected.
This shouldn't be a big deal.
FELICIA: Now what about Kinari?
Would that be weird?
Because I know a lot of people were in love with Sten.
And then Kinari changed significantly in the redesign
from I to II.
Like, is that a cross-species?
[LAUGHS].
I don't want to [INAUDIBLE] spoilers.
DAVID: They were only supposed to be a different race.
And I think that back in Origins, we just didn't get
the resources to do them in the way that we wanted to.
But we don't want to retcon it either.
I mean, as far as we're concerned, there are Kinari
that cover the breadth from being sort of gray-skinned to
bronze-skinned.
Some have horns, some don't.
And we'll show more of that as we go forward.
In terms of romance, I mean, if you can romance an elf or a
dwarf, you can romance a Kinari.
I think that'd be awesome.

FELICIA: Gilan Batista asks, "Game stories are primarily a
complex tree of options.
How do you make those choices less obvious so gamers don't
just min-max them?" That is interesting.
Because at the heart of it is game play and choices.
But at same time, there are emotional ones.
And how are you able to fulfill so many different
emotional choices and still remain in a framework that you
can actually wrap your head around?
DAVID: Well, I think that the best choices are the ones
where the player doesn't automatically know what's
right or wrong.
I mean, you can have choices that it's like, here's the
good choice.
And it gives you plus one good points.
Here's the bad choice.
It gives you plus one bad points.
That makes it kind of easy.
And I'm not going to knock that either.
Just Dragon Age is at its best, I think, when we offer
the choices where the player has to sit back and think.
Because as long as the choices affect different things.
Because you have approval with your followers.
Some people they think, oh, Alistair's not going to like
it if I do that.
And that's more important than the moral quality.
Some people, it's the moral quality.
And it's like, well, what's the right thing to do here?
Each thing has good parts and bad parts to it.
And I think when we've done that right, I think that's
where the storytelling is at its best.
FELICIA: Well, that's what frustrated me
with Fenris so much.
Because I'm always pro-Mage.
And anything you did that was pro-Mage would piss him off.
So basically.
I left him at home.
And then I missed him.
I wanted him to be with the party.
So it was actually a really tough call.
Because I tried to play in a way--
I actually never got Fenris in bed.
DAVID: You could have rivalmanced him.
FELICIA: Yeah, I should have tried to rivalmance him.
But I read somewhere, after cheating,
that he was much softer.
And I wanted to see the softer side of Fenris.
DAVID: Well, rivalmancing, that's when you get sort of
all bristly.
And he has [INAUDIBLE] with you.
And he's turning around to walk out.
And you're like, is that it?
And that's when he turns around and throws you up
against the wall.
FELICIA: OK, I love the way you're describing this.
Please write an extra spin-off where Fenris throws
me against the wall.
I love it.
[LAUGHS].
DAVID: I think we'll leave that for the Kinari.
FELICIA: Yeah, OK.
Oh, I'm excited for the next.
Bethany would like to know, "Who's your favorite game
character that you did not write?"
DAVID: BioWare game character?
Or any game character?
FELICIA: I mean, why don't you do both?

DAVID: Favorite BioWare character that I did not
write, Aveline from Dragon Age II.
FELICIA: Oh, she was fantastic.
DAVID: Luke did a fantastic job with her.
He made a character that was a strong woman, who was not
there to be romanced.
And she had her own life.
She had her own path.
And she had this great development with Isabela.
Sheryl--
one of the other writers, Sheryl Chee--
did a great job with her.
Because the potential was there for Isabela.
You know, with the big, you know, and the lacquer pants.
She could have been a complete one note character, totally
just sex pot.
And I mean, on the surface you could see that.
And she's funny.
And she's a sex pot.
And it could have just ended there, right?
FELICIA: Yeah.
DAVID: And Sheryl took her to this place where suddenly
Isabela was saying something about self-esteem.
And she wasn't a sex pot because she was broken.
She wasn't abused.
To her it was about freedom and about power.
And she had this great relationship with Aveline,
where Aveline was lacking in self-esteem.
And kind of they grew together.
Sheryl and Luke worked on that together.
And it was just beautiful.
FELICIA: It was a really nice arc.
Because the relationship between my character and her,
you know, you could see that they were friends
that existed together.
You felt like a history over the act breaks that were
jumping forward years in advance.
And I thought that was really well done.
It was nice to have, playing a female character, a really
nice female relationship.
You don't normally see that.
And it felt really authentic.
And do you have a character that is a non-BioWare
character that you like?
It can be a book even.
But is there a character or a romance that you feel is
something that really inspired you?
DAVID: Off the top of my head, well, I recently played
Uncharted 3.
So that's probably high in my head.
So the characters in there are just great.
Although Unchartered 2 was kind of funny.
Because it was like Alistair and Morgan were in the same.
Every time those characters spoke, I was, like, God.
Claudia Black and Steve Valentine,
can't miss those voices.
FELICIA: No, the fantastic acting, too, yeah.
DAVID: I think before that, I'd say probably my best role
playing experience in another game was
with Planescape: Torment.
FELICIA: Oh my gosh.
DAVID: There's some great characters on there that
probably will stay with me forever.
FELICIA: I think that that game impacted me more than any
other game because even though the character was kind of
decided for you, the way that you could throw
yourself into it.
DAVID: To mold the nameless one sort of in the way that
you wanted was great.
It's a good argument when some people start talking about
whether a set character makes for bad role play.
And I'm like, no, no.
Choices make for good role play.
And there are many different ways to do it.
It's just about having the agency to mold the game in the
way that you want.
FELICIA: Yeah, you're absolutely right.
Because that is definitely one of the games where I played a
male character, obviously.
But it's like, I was able to be invested in a huge way
because of the relationships with the other characters.
We're going to take one more question.
The question is, "David, have you ever read any kind of fan
fic, or heard of it, that inspired you?" Or does
people's advocacy for characters or romance options
ever impact what actually gets in the game?
DAVID: It's tough, because I tend to avoid fan fiction.
Not because I don't like it.
I don't think it shouldn't exist.
I think it's great.
My problem with reading fiction is I can't get past
the fingerprints on my characters.
FELICIA: Yeah, well, it's obviously copyright also.
DAVID: Well, it's not even copyright.
I don't think it's a legal thing.
I think it's just these are my character.
So I'm much more sensitive over that line of what I think
they would say or do.
As soon as a piece of fan fiction does something with
them, and I'm like, it immediately takes me out of
the story for me.
Because it's like, no, no, no.
My character would never do that.
So it's tough for me to read it.
Although I support it.
So I haven't read [INAUDIBLE].
Do
FELICIA: You do rewrite other writers?
I mean, I don't know how the process works.
If you're in charge of a character, do you write all of
their dialogue?
And if somebody else does a pass of the dialogue, do you
feel compelled to rewrite it?
DAVID: Well, every one of my writers has a follower or a
character that they are sort of primarily in charge of.
I would have written a bit of Aveline and Isabella.
And then Luke, or Sheryl, or Mary who did Merrill,
or what have you.
My writing team is really awesome.
FELICIA: Yeah, no.
DAVID: We will each go through what everybody else has
written to keep the voice consistent, right?
FELICIA: Yeah, absolutely.
I mean, I've always written every single Guild character.
And I don't think I've ever let my hands.
And I know that it would be a good process for me to allow
somebody else to write Zaboo's voice or something.
But I just don't know how I would do it.
DAVID: I find it always very tough.
I know in DA II, we have a pretty short
timeline to work with.
And there were a few characters I always intended
to write and had created.
And then I had to let somebody else write them.
And that was tough.
It's sort of like having your baby taken away from you and
raised by somebody else.
And you're like, oh, but that's mine.
FELICIA: Yeah.
I mean, they'll do it in a way that it's not
what you would do.
But it would be just as valid.
And I guess that's the creative
process, and getting over.
DAVID: It seems you have to learn to let go enough, and
then see what they have done, and embrace that.
And think, you know what, I wouldn't have done that.
But that is awesome.
And after you sit with it for a while, it feels more real
than even what you had planned.
So that's where I look.
When you work in a game, you have to get used to dealing
with resources and collaborating.
So I'm very accustomed to having things cut or mangled.
And you just roll with the punches.
Because if you don't, you'll go crazy.
FELICIA: You go crazy as a control freak.
Well, thank you, David.
We're out of time.
But I want to thank you so much for this.
I could talk to you another hour about this.
But hopefully, in the future--
we were talking about doing a panel on this.
So maybe we could get some more voices.
DAVID: DragonCon or something.
FELICIA: Yeah, I would love to do that.
I'm going to be at Dragon Con, crossed fingers.
So if you are down there, I will talk to them about maybe
doing a big panel on this.
DAVID: I would fly down on my own power to do
that with you, Felicia.
FELICIA: Yes, well, Dragon Con people, tell Dragon Con to
make a panel happen with us.
So thank you, David.
You are definitely one of my heroes.
And thank you for being on this show.
DAVID: Thanks so much.
And good luck with Geek & Sundry.
FELICIA: Thank you.
We're excited.
OK, bye.
DAVID: Bye-bye.