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Dragon Age writer explains ESRB brothel listing

11:30 PM on 08.14.2009 // Brad Nicholson

If you want a good laugh, take a gander at the ESRB listing for Dragon Age: Origins. It confirms the existence demon breasts, gratuitous violence, and heavy caressing. It also reveals the existence of a brothel and an interesting list of choices. When players enter the brothel, they can tell the madam to “surprise me.” One of the supposed sexual surprises is what the ESRB calls an “animal.” Thinking bestiality, I asked Dragon Age lead writer David Gaider what the scene was all about at Gen Con ‘09. He told to me that it was all humor -- there’s no animal sex in the game.

“OK -- there is humor in Dragon Age,” Gaider stresses. “When it comes to a dark game, I think there should be light moments, as well. The light should exist next to the dark for contrast, if nothing else, right? Have some funny moments, have some easy moments. That way, when it does get dark, you need a gut-punch. Then it feels that much more visceral to play,” he says.

“If it was just dark, dark, dark, dark dark, I think that would be a little relentless. It would just be bleak, and I don’t think it would be as effective. So we have light moments. There are some things like that that are played for humor. In this case, I think it’s even in the ESRB statement, if you go to [the brothel], and you’re talking to the madam, she’s like, ‘what are you interested in?’ One of your options can be ‘surprise me,’ and if you say that, she sends you to your room -- and it’s part of a larger quest; it’s just sort of one element of it -- there are a number of random things that, when you walk into the room, you will find something there to surprise you.”

“There can be a pair of nugs on the bed. Nugs would be these little subterranean bunny pigs you find down in the dwarven cavern. If you click on them, it says, like, ‘the nugs refuse to look you in the eye.’ Or, there’s a transvestite dwarf with, like, lipstick and stuff. He sort of deadpans and he’s like, ‘Yes, the earth moved. It was wonderful.’ So there’s no bestiality. I guess somebody could suggest that because they put animals in my room that it was suggested that bestiality could occur. It’s just played for humor. That’s all,” he says.

For the record, any game with a transvestite dwarf is a winner. A game with a talking transvestite dwarf is absolute gold. Consider this game purchased.

Brad Nicholson,
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