I’m procrastinating with the final episode of Telltale Game’s The Walking Dead: A New Frontier and I still need to get back to The Witcher 3. It’s not that I don’t want to play these games. It’s just that sometimes, life and general malaise get in the way. Also, other games get in the way too. I am currently obsessed with Darkest Dungeon, the rogue-like game that demands a lot of care and attention for your adventurers as they venture into the depths of dark dungeons, lest they get too stressed out. The game warns that victories will be Pyrrhic at best, which is what attracted me to it. I’m all about the drama, and I don’t need to have a shiny, happy ending to get satisfaction out of a game. So it should come as no surprise that I’ve already lost about five of my adventurers, but their deaths were mostly not in vain.

Dragon Age: The Masked Empire by Patrick WeekesAs always, BioWare isn’t far from my gaming mind. Though I’m not playing any of their games at the moment, I’m happily reading about the elven uprising in Orlais in Patrick Weeke’s Dragon Age: The Masked Empire. I’ve read all of the Dragon Age novels thus far, and this is the one that makes me suddenly want to see it played out in a live action movie, like Cassandra Pentaghast’s story in Dawn of the Seeker. The intricacies of Orlais’ political maneuverings in The Grand Game are as exciting to me as the battle scenes and would make for great visuals on screen.

Reading this story has also made me wish for a deeper look into Dragon Age‘s past. Specifically, I would love to see Telltale Games take on the story of Andraste and the Exalted March that ended the reign of the elves.

But enough about my BioWare obsession, let’s move on to this past week’s news. First up, BioWare!

Laidlaw Dangles the Dragon Age Carrot

Dragon Age: Knight's Errant #1 (DarkHorse, May 2017)Despite the disappointment of Mass Effect Andromeda and the lackluster introduction of Anthem, BioWare fans still love themselves some BioWare and will cling to any inkling of of insight into its other beloved IPs. Therefore, it’s quite easy for Dragon Age’s creative director, Mike Laidlaw, to tease us with talk about Jade Empire 2 and vague hints about “something” happening with Dragon Age. In his chat with the 1099 team, Laidlaw has lots to talk about during the hour long podcast, including how he deals with reviews, BioWare and the Frostbite engine, all the hiring that is going on, and the Dragon Age: Knight’s Errant five-part comic, published by Darkhorse.

Laidlaw was careful not to say much more about current Dragon Age goings on, but whatever BioWare has up their sleeve for an upcoming game that I am quite happy to pre-order right now, I hope they will consider some of my suggestions for the title of this new adventure.

Life is Queer

There was a lot of queer subtext in DONTNOD’s critically acclaimed episodic game, Life is Strange, but it fell short on inclusivity. Now, the prequel, Before the Storm by Deck Nine, is taking off the veil and allowing players to take the relationship between Chloe and Rachel further. In an interview with Waypoint, lead writer Zak Garriss explains:

“We’re not striving to speak for any one community. We’re not striving to say, ‘This is what it’s like to be queer and 16 and a girl.’ We’re striving to create Chloe, and we really want to focus on who Chloe is. There are many facets to her, and she’s not defined by any one aspect of her character—her sexuality, her gender identity. It’s an aggregate of all of that.

Life Is Strange: Before the Storm (Deck Nine | Square Enix 2017)

Chloe and Rachel in Life is Strange: Before the Storm

If we sought out to say, ‘the community is really responding to this archetype, let’s build something that responds to that,’ we’d build an archetype, we wouldn’t create a real character. We deliberately tried not to do that, but rather, to listen to voices whose experiences map onto what we’re saying Chloe’s experiences are, and to write from that place. To be vigilant, to be critical while we’re doing it.”

King’s Gaming Ladies Event Crushed Under the Weight of Misogyny

Alleged threats against a July 27th women’s only gaming event in Barcelona, Spain, which is sponsored by King, the makers of Candy Crush, have caused the company to postpone the event. The company says that they wish to ensure the safety of all participants and analyze the negative responses it received from a few, but Indie game developer Rami Ismail has condemned the cancellation:

“I don’t care if you agree or disagree with them. What is important is that you show your support for events like these, to show people who are passionate about games, that our industry is welcoming and safe. Game development is affected by this. This is damaging. This news goes around the world. How professional is this industry if people can’t go to a meetup safely? That’s not the fault of the organizers. That’s the fault of the harassers.”

If Anita Sarkeesian is willing to stand up to her harassers at large scale events, then companies like King ought to be able to do the same.