RPS: You can choose your race and your sex again in this one. I assume that’ll have a pretty major impact on what you see and don’t see this time around? You previously noted that the year-long delay allowed you to make some pretty big changes on this front.
Laidlaw: To some degree. Our big goal is that there’s some sort of significant impact to making that choice. I don’t think I want to spend the entire game being called a knife-ear because I chose an elf, over and over again. At that point it just becomes background noise. But at least at one or two points in the game, I want it to rear up and say, “So you chose elf! Cool! Let’s deal with that.” That, to me, is a very intriguing element of the game and it always has been.
RPS: Yeah. It’s something that genres like fantasy or sci-fi are pretty well-equipped to discuss, because you can take a fairly sticky subject and abstract it and see the effects of it. There was a lot of stuff dealing with race in DA 2. Is that still a big theme, a big thread in the game?
Laidlaw: It always has been. Again, to some degree, you being an Inquisitor overrides some of the race stuff. But yeah, the elves are still considered lower-class citizens. The dwarves are still this kind of alien culture. And if you’re on the surface, by nature you’re an outcast from the real dwarven culture, as far as they’re concerned. They have this weird internal racism.
And then on top of that, Qunari bring in a really interesting new wrinkle, in that they’re kind of the barbarian invader race. They’re a highly advanced barbarian invader race from across the sea that everyone’s terrified of, because at one poine they tried to conquer the whole darn place. They fought to a standstill and they never really were pushed back at all. So suddenly one of them is Inquisitor. It poses some interesting challenges.
RPS: You’ve mentioned that romances are going to break outside the box of traditional “BioWare romances.” They’ve been described as more “event-based.” What does that mean? Do you reach this point in the game/romance and this thing happens, next point, this thing happens?
Laidlaw: No, no, I wouldn’t say so. It’s just attempting to get away from the idea of, “Oh, +10, and here’s a gift, +5.” Getting away from that kind of raw, mechanical, insert happiness event kind of stuff. So event-based is more just a general approach.