BioWare: Choices and Consequences

Have you been frustrated over the lack of storyline support for the choices you've made in the Dragon Age and Mass Effect series? So are the editors at IGN, as they break down the choices that we've had to make in BioWare's two popular series and how the results of those choices are oftentimes overshadowed by what the developers wanted us to do.
A lot of Mass Effect fans I know are agonising like crazy. They're on their fourth or fifth playthrough of the first two games in the lead-up to the third: "This time will be my canon story," they insist, every time. Maybe you know what's up. It's often difficult to shake the feeling that you have chosen. poorly. When I capped Wrex for harshing my Krogan-neglect buzz and summarily had his corpse disposed of in a nearby swamp, I felt a pang of uncertainty. Not because it was a totally brutal act that saw the end of a long-standing comrade, but because it seemed somehow incongruous. Wrex felt like a character who should be there at the end. Upon meeting Urdnot Wreav in Mass Effect 2, a sense of narrative displacement was felt again: Am I doing it wrong? Offing the Council, picking Ashley over Kaidan (really, who's more interesting?), putting a hole in Conrad's ADIDAS when I should've nailed him in the plums; a lot of it doesn't feel "right." Why should anything need to feel right? Those choices were mine to make.


Dragon Age: Origins is largely responsible for sowing these seeds of insecurity. It soon became clear that, although the choices afforded your Warden were drastic and their outcomes severe, BioWare had a plan in mind. When Morrigan came to my bedchambers on the eve of battle demanding that I poke around in her enchanted forest one last time, I had to say no. She wanted to birth a terrible demon spawn using my Dalish goodness. Sounded like a bad idea to me. "No demon intercourse tonight, babe" was quipped, and so she became a sexually frustrated wolf and disappeared. Super, possible Old God apocalypse averted. Didn't think much of it. The final battle loomed and, despite Loghain's generous protests, my Warden consigned himself to the void for the good of everyone. A tragic, fitting end to a reluctant anti-hero cruelly plucked from his nomadic tribe to battle Tolkien knock-offs.

But then, a wild Dragon Age: Awakening appeared and it asked me whether I'd like to import my character. My heroically dead character. "Er, sure," I told it. Quoteth the manual's fine print: "If you choose a character that died during the climax of Dragon Age: Origins, you play Awakening as if the character had lived." Thus the fatalistic finale of Origins was wiped clean in an instant for narrative convenience and there he was again, very much alive. Okay, weird but workable. It wasn't until Dragon Age II that the ripple effect of BioWare's historical dissonance truly began to blot the pages of a story I thought I had been writing. Some folk around Kirkwall referred to the Hero of Ferelden as dead, others as very much alive and ruling his roost with ruthless glee. What the?